Masks Defined

Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I just got home before the downpour of rain would pound on the earth’s hard surface. I walked for hours and hours, praying to God, listening to God’s voice, admiring God’s country. I walked and I wrestled with myself for many, many hours. I walked and I reflected on the book I am reading (Brokenheart by Jules Riding). Once I was cowardly and denying my deep inner turmoil, now bravely realizing that I am too a broken heart, a wounded spirit, with a waterfall of emotion caressing the back of the cliff’s rugged surface threatening to erupt as I seek to be fully healed in the name of Jesus.

I came to a realization that I have been wearing a mask of grief, a mask of pretence that I am doing ok. A mask of denial and anger. So many different masks My thoughts throughout the entire walk were so rapid – I couldn’t keep up with myself. I imagined what I would write, I imagined the letters I would write to my family if I were to leave Slovakia one day. I imagined fulfilling my dream of becoming a writer, and writing till my last dying death. I imagined having my son here. I imagined what it would be like to just surrender myself to God, and give Him my all. I imagined what God would want me to do with my life. Is my life going to be in Slovakia forever? Or will I move someday many hundreds of miles away? Wherever you want me to go Lord, I will follow You. I will follow You! I WILL follow You.

I remembered a time when I used to walk all the time, simply because it was the cheaper thing to do at the time. I remembered how I used to walk along the river, and sit by the river for hours pouring my heart out to God. The river was my cross, this was my special place of reflection. My quiet time, where I was connected with God. Where I learnt to appreciate His word, and the miracles of life that could be performed only by Him. I remembered the time that I was living up North in England and how I walked all the time during my pregnancy and how excited I was for the birth of my son. I used to skip down the road. I reflected on how I heard God’s word. Be still my child, be still my child, come unto me. Matthew 11:28 Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. And so that was what I repeatedly read throughout my wilderness days and still I am reading this as I am still stuck in the deep wilderness of my soul; battling the battlefields of my mind, fighting to keep going, to come out on the other end; fighting to live. Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Do not be afraid to share your burdens with God. After all he knows everything about you, and will give you rest if you only allow to let Him make a dwelling place within you. Psalm 139: 13 For you formed my inward parts, You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I was vulnerable then, I am vulnerable now. The only difference between then and now is that back then I was fully dependent on God and I put my full trust in the Lord that whatever will happen He will provide. That His will be done in my life. He whispered silently in my ear to go home, to go home to my parents, and so that is what I did. After 6 months of resting in the Lord’s presence I left and I went home.

I remembered how God was with me, how God is with me, even if I don’t feel it. Broken and defiled I come to the foot of the cross and by the grace of God I will be healed. I realized in the last week, that just because death meets birth, and that tragedy happens in my life, that my life has not ended yet, that there is so much I can still do, I can help, I can write, I can live, if I chose to live my life by God’s grace.   I want more Jesus in my life. I want more of Him.  I want more of Jesus so that I can feel His for me though I do not deserve it.

When my son Sebastian-David died, I thought that was the end of my life. I retreated to solitude, and that is where I stayed. I stayed hidden behind my mask, I stayed hidden because I was afraid of hope, I was afraid that if I were to hope for a future, for some small happiness that it would all come collapsing but to have hope is to live by faith, and to put your trust in God. To have no hope is to live in fear. Which is better? I would say to have hope is better, because at least you allow yourself to live. You allow yourself to be vulnerable and allow people to have a glimpse of your soul. Deep calls to deep. Pain calls to pain. Joy and mourning come hand in hand. I remembered the death of my son very clearly, the days prior and the days during labour and the days after his birth. The pain. The deep heart wrenching grief that shook me to my very core. I never understood why it happened. But one thing I can say for sure is that I was safe in the arms of Jesus that day. Jesus was holding me and still is. My son is safe in the arms of Jesus. My daughters are safe in the arms of Jesus. I thank God every day that they did not have to live a life of sin. That they were spared this trial of life.

My mask went on that day as soon as my world turned upside down. I learnt to wear different masks in different social settings because people either didn’t want to know or see the grief that was so clearly etched on my face. The pain, the human suffering so clearly seen. This is when I started writing more and more. Though I have written for years on and off, my son helped me to release my trapped emotions that were threatening to erupt all the time. I have always been a sensitive person, I never really understood why – but now I do. I am Celine and I have a den of emotions hidden well away from view. It comes freely with the package of being a writer, an artist at heart! After my son died, it became therapeutic to write, to release the heartbreak, in a way it was cleansing. It helped me to make sense of the thousands of emotions that were hitting me on a near constant basis. It helped me to process my thoughts. Writing was where I sat at the foot of the cross. Where I expressed my anger, and deep anguish. It was the only time where I did not wear a mask. It was the only time where I was honest with true self and allowed my vulnerability to shine through the papers. Allowed myself to talk to God so freely. It was a time where I could be in the presence of the Lord, and make sense of the whys? The what ifs? The hows? it was a place where I could learn to forgive myself. A place where I could repeat myself as much as I wanted to and no-one would care one ounce if I did.

I learnt recently that it is OK to have all of these emotions inside of me, and that it is OK to grief, but at least I know that I don’t have to do it on my own. At least I am being challenged by the things I am reading in the book. I am learning. I am hopeful. I am waiting. I am sitting in the presence of the Lord and I am learning to worship God alone. I feel free this week (it is as if I reached that point I did two years ago when I was pregnant with my son, when I felt that freeness, it was so liberating). I can smile – how refreshing that feels. And its thanks to the talk I heard, to the book I am reading. There is hope in my wilderness. There is hope! There is hope! There is a hope so sure! And so I learn to sit quietly in God’s presence to hear His word. This is my challenge. I want to bring all I am to God. By doing that I must do it Philippians 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

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