Tearing Off the Mask

Moving from a life of shame to a life of walking in freedom with Jesus Christ.

Sometimes You’re the Bubble, and Sometimes…You’re the Bubble July 9, 2011

Filed under: July 2011 — tearingoffthemask @ 11:41 pm
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I had my nieces overnight this week, and we made these large bubble wands.  It was a lot of fun to make these enormous bubbles and watch them pop.  It didn’t matter how long we did it…it was exciting with every bubble.  We hoped that it would last longer than the previous bubble, and that the breeze would carry the bubble, in tact, far off into the sky. 

I’m a bubble.  I am in a cycle of insanity…for those of you who don’t know the definition to insanity, it’s doing the same thing over and over again–expecting different results.  I get my hopes up for staying inflated for longer periods of time, but life happens and pops me…spilling me vulnerably out of my thin shell. 

What’s the answer?  I already have Jesus.  Why hasn’t that just “fixed” everything?  What’s going to make this life better?  Oh, I know how Paul felt when he longed for heaven.  I want my Lord to return today…to end this pain and heartache and to rescue us into His arms.  The wait is baffling to me, as I do not understand what He is waiting for.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow will be the day.  For now, I will continue on…and hope.

 

My Cardboard Testimony July 5, 2011

Filed under: July 2011 — tearingoffthemask @ 11:16 pm
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http://journeytobeloved.blogspot.com/ (One woman’s journey to discovering God’s passionate love for her.)

Cardboard Testimony Lie-Speaker Now Truth-Seeker 

 I was born into a cult that hid behind the word “truth”.
But the truth was not accepted.  
We lied about who we were, what we did, and how we thought.  
I lied to avoid rejection. 
I lied to cover my sins. 
I lied to please others.  
I lied because I didn’t know what truth really was.  
We said one thing and did another. 
It was hypocrisy, and it was exhausting.  We belonged to “the truth”, but we
were going to hell–and we knew it. 
It was a helpless, miserable existence.
Then Grace came and swooped me up from the pit of despair.  
I learned that He is not who I thought He was. 
He loves me.  He wants me.  He cherishes me.
People still tell me the lies. They say I need to look better to be
accepted.  I need to have a nicer house, fancier car, better job.  I
need to talk less and laugh softer.  I need to conform to the
pretending, lying ways of the culture around me. 
I struggle today. 
I struggle to shed the lies and grasp onto the truth-but I continue to
SEEK TRUTH. 
My Jesus continues to guide me and love me…
unconditionally.
 

Testimony July 4, 2011

Filed under: July 2011,June 2011,Uncategorized — tearingoffthemask @ 6:01 pm
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This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.   For there are three that testify:  the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.  Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.  And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.   1 John 5:6-12

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:  “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and he authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.   They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”  Revelation 12: 10-12

These were the verses we focused on at our last Bible study.  I admit that I am not spiritually mature enough to appreciate the depth of these passages.  Our leader asked us a difficult question, however.  What is your testimony?  I immediately thought of my “being saved” story as my testimony, but he questioned us further.  What is your testimony of what God is doing in your life today?   I was stumped.  Kind of pathetic that I’m such a mess that I had no idea what he is doing in my life right now.    I’ve been pondering it all weekend, and I keep feeling this pressing on my heart: “this is My church”.  Yes.  My Lord is teaching me what it is to be a part of His church–a REAL family.  I had no idea what a healthy family or what a healthy church family looked like.  To me, church was a building that you hated going to, but you went anyway.  You pretended to be way better than you really were.  You left before you got stuck talking to anyone, and fellowship was a foreign word…a foreign concept.  Now, when I’m at my lowest and highest, I seek the church.  These people know me more intimately than any other human ever has, and they still want to be around me.  They still love me, help me, guide me, hold me accountable, and laugh with me.  As a teenager, I hated spending time with my biological family.  Not real unusual for a teenager, I know.  When it was my birthday, I got to spend it with whomever I wanted.  When I was a younger child, it was with friends; as I got older, it was with friends or a boyfriend.  As an adult, it was with my husband.  On a day when I could choose anyone, I never ever chose my pastor, Sunday school teacher, elder, or anyone who was a “good” member of the church.  This past Friday, it was my 35th birthday.  I chose to spend the evening with my church family at home where we had “house church”.  This is a beautiful illustration–not of me, but of my church family.  I see Christ in them, and I long to be around them.  We ate together, worshiped together, studied together, prayed together, and worshiped some more.  Thank you, Jesus, for showing me your love through Your people.  Unlovable Beloved.

 

Happy 35th Birthday to Me! July 1, 2011

Filed under: July 2011,June 2011,Uncategorized — tearingoffthemask @ 8:15 am
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Really, nobody cares about your birthday after a certain age.  (I’m thinking 10-ish or so.)  But, I thought a little photo celebration was appropriate since I’m a photo freak.  My favorite is the picture of me sleeping in the back window of our 1977 Caprice Classic as we made our way halfway across the country to Washington state.  

 

I Came from a Normal Family (of course) June 29, 2011

Filed under: July 2011,June 2011,Uncategorized — tearingoffthemask @ 11:35 am
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Me and my dad in Chinatown (Seattle) when I was 5 (he was 29). I was so proud of those shoes because they were exactly like his shoes (except mine were velcro–I was stylin’ like that).

Yes, our family was normal…isn’t everyone’s?  For years I believed our family was normal because we were surrounded by like-minded people who had the same types of lives and beliefs as we did.  We did normal family stuff like vacations, working on the garden together, taking turns with the dishes, sibling fights, chores, going to the library, etc.  I knew that we were a part of an abnormal church, but we were prepped for this.  The teachers at our schools told countless stories about Christian martyrs and how people will make fun of us for being a part of the Netherlands Reformed Church and School.  We quickly learned to be proud of our “persecution” and felt vindicated by it.  “The world will take the easy way out.  They do not like our religion because they want to belong to something that tells them what they want to hear,” was a common mantra by our Catechism instructors and teachers.  Truthfully, I happen to agree with that statement.  We live in a world that proudly says “well, the Bible may say that, but I don’t agree.”  Picking and choosing what Biblical truths to live by has become commonplace, and our culture is overwhelmingly unwilling to blindly follow God’s commands and desires (myself included).  Today, I pray that God grants me the willingness to give up–to stop trying to rip the stearing wheel from His hands for fear of being out of control.  Thanks for driving, Jesus.  You are so much better at it than I am.  I love you.

 

The Hottest Levels in Hell June 25, 2011

Filed under: July 2011,June 2011,Uncategorized — tearingoffthemask @ 11:00 pm
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 If you’ve ever read “Dante’s Inferno“, you are familiar with the phrase levels in hell.  I had never heard of Dante’s Inferno until I was a junior in high school, but I was all too familiar with levels in hell at a fairly young age.  The parochial school I attended had Bible class each day and Chapel each Wednesday.  Mr. Van Tol*, my junior high Bible teacher, was good as far as teachers go.  Looking back, my instinct is that he was (and is) a good man, but he had some really messed up theology and passed his religious dysfunction on to his students.  One of the most prominent memories I have of Mr. Van Tol are his words: “There are levels in hell, and the hottest levels in hell are for Netherlands Reformed boys and girls…because you know the truth, but you won’t listen.”  Just another affirmation that I was damned to eternity in hell…a neverending existence of agony and gnashing of teeth.  If I ever bump into Mr. Van Tol again, I think I will ask him if he still feels this way.  Maybe–20+ years later–he has experienced grace as I have.  If he has not, I think I will share my story with him…I will tell him this:

By the time I was 17, I had developed an eating disorder that, over the years, bounced back and forth among anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating.  Misery, depression, and hopelessness plagued me.  Even though I felt damned to hell, I prayed often and went through spurts of Bible reading with the hopes of being miraculously saved by God.  The hope was faint as I was convinced that I was too evil to be saved, and I kept trying to fix myself up, so God would find me worthy of saving.  The depression hit an all-time low, and I spoke to my 12-step sponsor.  “Have you given it to God?” he asked.  Of course, the phrase “let go and let God” is thrown around quite a bit in 12-step circles, so I this was not an unforeseen statement.  “I’ve tried,” I said, “but I just can’t seem to stop holding onto whatever it is that’s hurting me.”  He responded, “Go home.  Get on your knees, and ask Him to take it from you.”  I did.  I went home and physically got onto my knees.  I wept and begged God to take it from me since I couldn’t seem to give it away completely.  Suddenly, I felt a physical load lifted from my body, and calmness overcame me along with a fullness and warmth.  I felt these thoughts pressed vividly into my mind: “He is not who I thought He was!”  My image of God was transformed from a God of wrath, damnation, and scorn to a God of grace, love, and compassion.  The next realization that overcame me still brings tears into my eyes: “And He wants me.”  There was no reason for me to have this revelation–not a book or a conversation that caused me to change my view of the Lord.  I know now that it was the Holy Spirit who revealed the true God to me. 

John 14: 16-17, 26-27   But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Grace.  Yup.  It really does exist. 

 

 

 

 

 

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of people in this blog.

 

Orphan now Daughter June 22, 2011

Filed under: July 2011,June 2011,Uncategorized — tearingoffthemask @ 12:35 pm
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This isn’t me, but I found it online today.  Amazing.  It gives me hope.

http://journeytobeloved.blogspot.com/2011/06/cardboard-testimony-orphan-now-daughter.html

Cardboard Testimony- Orphan now Daughter

  
From the time I was born, fallen man has fought to convince me that I was worthless. 
An Orphan. 
Alone. 
Abandoned. 
No one there to fight for me.
For the longest time I believed every word.
My daddy committed suicide while I was in the room, when I was 3.
My Step-Dad drank and beat me, told me that I was no good.
My grandmother tore me down with words dripping with poison, and stripped me of all self-worth.
My mommy killed herself by the bottle when I was 14.
But when Love took me in His arms and tenderly wooed me, when He whispered that I was no orphan, that I was His…
I believed for the first time that I was created for a purpose. I was created to be loved, and to love.
I was created to be His Daughter.