Tearing Off the Mask

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

August 7, 2011

Filed under: August 2011,Uncategorized — tearingoffthemask @ 8:49 am
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  Today, my counselor and I visited the little girl that I blogged about in my last post.  He led me to immerse myself back into the situation and let my mind lead me where it will.  My mind led me to imagine that God was there, watching me as I wept at the thought of the impending eternal damnation.  In my mind, I could see God…oddly enough, He looked like a combination of my earthly father and the Jesus we often see in pictures.  God was sad.  He rubbed my back as He tried to soothe me.  He repeatedly sang, “You are the apple, you are the apple, you are the apple of your Father’s eye.”  (If you don’t know what song I’m talking about, click here http://youtu.be/GilWu6LqHpM .)  When my counselor asked me to reflect on this, I felt as though God was beside me all along.  He was trying to comfort me, but my angst overwhelmed any sense of His presence.  I then imagined Jesus as my could-have-been-playmate.  I would run the Barbie, and He could control the Ken doll.  Of course, I always made it that Barbie and Ken fought over who got to use the car.  Jesus probably would have had them pray together and work out some sort of compromise.  These thoughts make me smile, and I think they make Him smile, too.  I think it saddens Him that so many who were and still are in the cult-church have not been able to experience His grace.  It frustrates and angers me, and I feel a sense of urgency to do something to help.  It does seem like the only way out for many people is for them to move away for college or marry someone from outside the church.  There needs to be an opportunity to see another way…a more beautiful, grace-filled way.

I wonder if this will always be my default.  If I will automatically feel fear and shame and then have to talk my way into grace-receiving thoughts.  Will I always be the scared little girl?  Or will I truthfully find my identity as His daughter without any doubts or waivering?  Today, I just need to repeat in my mind: I am the apple of His eye.  I am the apple of His eye.

 

I Am Here for You, Little Girl August 2, 2011

Filed under: August 2011 — tearingoffthemask @ 11:05 pm
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I didn’t dare to go to sleep for fear that I would wake up in hell.  I imagined a dungeon-like pit–a seemingly neverending well–that was made of large gray boulders.  At the bottom, it was dark and engulfed in flames.  I was in the middle of the flames, burning and screaming in agony as I reached my hands to the pit’s opening far above.  As I reached, I could see heaven and God.  I have no picture of what heaven and God looked like in this scenario, just the knowledge that they were there.  I was ignored as my screams drowned out all other sounds.  As I saw these things in my mind’s eye, tears ran down my face as I felt helpless in my bed.  I was a scared little girl, sure that I was so despicable that God hated me. “Don’t fall asleep.  Don’t fall asleep.  Don’t fall asleep.”  I’d fight it until exhaustion won.  In the morning, I’d awaken with relief that I had gotten by for at least one more day. 

I don’t know for sure how old I was when I first started having these horrid nights, but I was as young as 8 years old.  Recently, I worked through some of these events with the help of a counselor.  I was surprised at how quickly those terrors flooded my soul.  I wept and felt that intense fear–fear of waking up in hell.  That scared little girl…I wanted–I want– to hold her.  I want to love her and cuddle her.  Then, I want to rescue her and her brother and take them far away from the crazy church, the crazy people, and the crazy lies.  I want to tell her that I love her more than anything in the whole wide world and tell her that she is special and beautiful and a child of God.  I want to give her hope and show her grace.  So I will.  That little girl is still so very much inside me.  She is afraid and feels unlovable.  When I am relentlessly degrading myself for being too fat, too loud, too sad, too overbearing, too impulsive…well, I need to remember that little girl and her need for acceptance and love.  She is imperfect and always will be.  Instead of striving toward that unattainable perfection, I pray for the strength to give up and just melt.  I imagine her crawling into the lap of our Father as He wraps His strong, protective arms around her.  She puts her head on His shoulder while He nuzzles her hair as a loving father does.  “Shhhh,” He says.  “Everything’s going to be okay.  Daddy’s here.  Daddy’s right here.”    Thank you, Daddy.  I love you.

 

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.

 

Broken. Wounded. Redeemed. June 17, 2011

Filed under: July 2011,June 2011,Uncategorized — tearingoffthemask @ 4:44 am
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Born into a shame-based religion, I knew I was hell-bound from the time I had the language to express it.  I knew that I was dull-minded, a daydreamer, and unloveable.  I accepted my demise with helplessness and continued my hollow life.  Then, when I was 29, I was awakened by the One who loves me.  I remember this spiritual experience like it was yesterday as it is forever etched into my being.  The God of hell and damnation was not. Yes, the revelation was clear: “He is not who I thought He was!”  And even more profound…He wants me. 

It seems like that should be it.  I’ve been saved–uprooted from the hopeless existence I had come to accept.  Jesus redeemed me, and now life is good.  Unfortunately, it isn’t.  In fact, life stinks.  Shame and self-loathing were the scaffolding of my persona from birth.  Although Jesus has made me a new creation, I struggle with shedding these unwanted feelings…thoughts…this identity.

The blog is for me.  Selfish, isn’t it.  I’m going through some intense counseling that is forcing me to face deep pain, ripping off scabs of hidden wounds.  I’m hoping that the blog will help me process some of this, so that I can let it all go for good and truly live a restored life.  Maybe your thoughts, words, and experiences will help me dismiss the lies that I’ve been told.