Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)
- TITLE: The Mask
By Robyn Burke
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Protection was my motivation. I had been hurt too many times to allow anyone to get too close to me. The wall I had carefully constructed over a lifetime was reinforced in every possible weak spot. It was imperative the wall be maintained at all times.
We all have walls from time to time. Areas that we do not allow others to get close to, let alone enter. My wall was in the shape of a mask, and I wore it faithfully. On the outside I projected a happy woman, with a wonderful marriage, home and life. No one knew the pain and ugliness hidden behind the charade.
The constructing of my wall began in childhood. Home was not a happy place; the protection one expects from ones parents didn’t exist in our family. I felt out of place in school, not a total outcast but not welcome in the popular circle either. I used the shield of humor, telling jokes and shooting quick witted retorts to ward off the pain of emptiness. I was funny and entertaining. The mask was being formed to fit my face quite well.
I was desperate to escape my dysfunctional household, and the notion of marriage was romantic and that first boyfriend, dangerously thrilling. Not being wise enough, nor experienced enough, to discern any danger signs, I married him. I was not quite 18.
By the time I was 25 I had birthed two children and been beaten down by my husband more times than I could count. He worked hard at keeping me isolated; there was no one I could confide in. The wall became firmly set in place.
I wore the mask 24-7. To allow honest emotion to surface would be to cut the jugular and bleed to death. So it is still amazing to me how God penetrated the barrier around my heart to speak His love to me.
I had developed a habit of taking my morning coffee before anyone else was awake, relishing the privacy, solitude and peace. I had no agenda other than to spin dreams and gather up energy for another day.
Suddenly breaking into the quiet thunder of my thoughts, came a voice that reverberated into my spirit. I knew without a doubt I had just heard the voice of God. It is hard for me to distinguish between what was heard and what was felt, even all these many years later. The Holy Spirit, breathed words into my spirit, words that resonated deep into the depths of my soul.
What was said doesn’t matter as much as the wonder and mystery of how the Spirit works in our lives. That moment was the turning point in my spiritual journey. It was the moment in which I realized that I mattered. That the God of the universe cared enough about me, to wait patiently for that one nanosecond of openness on my part, spoke his love for me more tangibly then the fact that a man had died on the cross for my sins.
It would be a process over many years, discovering the great love Jesus has for me and the lengths He would go to prove it. Years where I continued to suffer silently under spousal abuse. Years where my spirit shrunk almost to the point of non-existence. Years before I would take that whispered caress of the Holy Spirit and use it to unlock the chains that held me captive.
I sometimes jokingly say that every 10 years or so God speaks to me. For it was a decade later that I once again, in a moment of quiet, felt another gentle whisper. I was divorced by this time and learning how to rebuild my life as I struggled with trust issues. The moment was similar in that I had allowed myself to relax and let the wall down ever so slightly. And He was waiting.
He offered me a promise of healing and restoration if I would take off the mask, forget the charade and let down the walls once and for all. It was a moment that called for complete surrender and the risk was enormous. But I knew I would never experience peace and wholeness without it. With a passion I thought had ceased to exist in me, I met Him there in my heart and soul, and whispered in response to His call, “Come in”.
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