Tag Archives: Lord

Unmasked

emotion
Behind a mask, your fear resides.
And you carry with you a shield of pride.
They may protect you from the pain,
But they also insure no significant gain.
The very walls you think protect,
Leave you lost and alone in a life of neglect.
Your very soul is dying inside,
So why would you choose to continue to hide?
Remove the mask and walk into the light,
Cause it is there that truth and love collide.
I wrote this poem after the realization that so many of us put on a facade to hide who we really are and what we are struggling with from people around us.
For years I lived in my dream home driving my dream car with three beautiful kids and to outsiders I had the perfect life and everything money could buy. Everyone wanted what we had and we were very good at pretending everything was wonderful. But in reality I was dying a slow painful death. My husband (now my ex-husband) had an addiction to pornography which escalated to full blown affairs before long and I wasn’t allowed to talk about it. I was told that our personal lives were no one else’s business and sharing would be disrespectful to him, which was frowned upon by God. And since I wanted to be the woman God called me to be, I kept silent for a very long time.
So I put on a mask. I wore the mask of joy. I put on a smile and pretended to be so happy with my life. After all, God had blessed us with all the material things we could ever dream of. Who wouldn’t be happy with that? Right? I wore the mask of love. God says that love conquers everything so I loved my spouse with every ounce of love that I had in me, but inside I hated him for putting his insecurities and wants ahead of loving his family and God. I also wore the mask of contentment but deep inside my soul something was missing and as the days passed, my love for life grew weaker. And I wore the mask of fear. Fear of the future. Fear that my prayers would never be answered. Fear that I would never escape the living hell I felt trapped in.
After a decade of hiding and pretending, the truth was brought into the light. I removed my mask of joy and found true joy in God. Psalm 30:11-12 says, “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” God met me right where I was and my mask of joy was no longer necessary. Even though my circumstances remained, my new found joy in the Lord allowed me to experience joy no matter what was going on around me.
The mask of love was a little harder to tackle. I can honestly say that I didn’t love my ex the way God called me to love others because he was my enemy. I knew that the bible said to love your enemies but I just couldn’t do it. I truly hated him and there were many days that I wished death upon him so that the pain he caused others would cease to exist. But God was using him to teach me how to love those who persecute you. Letting God love me was the key. Once I gained a true understanding of how much my Heavenly Father loved me, then I was able to give that love away to those who I thought didn’t deserve it. Don’t get me wrong, I still get angry and hurt by the decisions of others but I now choose to respond in love. And on days that I can’t find the strength to do that, I don’t respond at all. Instead I take it to God and lay it at His feet.
It wasn’t until reading, “The Wall Around Your Heart” by Mary DeMuth that I gained a deeper understanding of why I wasn’t content. God created us for relationships. When sin entered the picture, with it came a multitude of disagreements. Those disagreements created strife in a key relationship and without harmony, contentment was very difficult and almost impossible. It wasn’t until I closed that chapter of my life that my contentment returned.
The most difficult mask to remove was the mask of fear. That very fear paralyzed me,  keeping me torn between doing what I knew was right and doing what I was told. If I did what God called me to do, I would cause more problems in my marriage. If I did what my husband wanted, I would go against everything I believed in. But along my journey God was giving me little nuggets of hope by showing me that as long as I was walking with Him there was nothing to fear. He revealed Himself in such a way that I finally let go of all my fears and nailed them to the cross. Letting go allowed me to finally become the woman God created me to be without hiding behind another mask.
If my story resonates with you, know that God is with you. He lives in you as a believer and He will never leave you or forsake you and He will work everything for your good and His glory. Just be patient, cry out to Him when you are at the end of your rope and let His love engulf you during the trials. And never forget that He loves you more than anyone on this earth so don’t put on masks to hide who you really are from the world. He created you for a divine purpose and you cannot fulfill that purpose if you are hiding behind a mask.
Dear God,
Please give each of us the strength and courage to remove our masks so that we can become men and women you can use to further your kingdom. Teach us how to be authentic in such a materialistic culture. Let your love heal our hurts and your truth capture our hearts.
In Your Precious and Holy Name,
Amen.
Advertisements

Forgive Me Father, For I Have Sinned

Over the years, God has been speaking to me very subtly. His voice would start as a soft whisper and over time it would magnify into a loud roar if I didn’t catch on in a timely fashion. Most of the time I caught on at the whisper stage, but then there were times that I needed to hear Him yell to get the point.

I had just purchased the car of my dreams and had been toying with the idea of a personalized license plate. I wanted something that would be a testimony to others. After brainstorming for a couple of days, I thought “I’m His” would be perfect. I procrastinated a little too long and the dealer plates arrived. I placed them on the trunk of my car to install and got sidetracked with the kids. Later that day I went to the grocery store. It wasn’t until I arrived back home that I realized the plates were left on the car and were now gone. I drove my route hoping to find them on the road somewhere between my house and the store, but no luck. So I ordered replacements. Two weeks later my plates arrived and I opened them to see 850 HYS. My heart stopped. Was this for real? I thought I was seeing things. At that moment I knew God had something very important he wanted to share with me. I went straight to my bible in search of verse 50 in chapter 8.

Before I tell you what I found, you need to know what was going on at that moment in my life. I was married to a man with a sexual addiction. In my brokenness, I had justified certain behaviors of my own. The lines between right and wrong had turned from black and white to grey in our household. After years of pain, instead of relying solely on God to comfort me, I found comfort in things that never gave me what I was longing for. I turned to friends for ungodly advice, spent countless hours easing my pain with shopping, and even turned to another man to meet my needs for emotional support.

I found three verses in the entire bible with a chapter 8, verse 50. All three of them hit my like a ton of bricks. 1 Kings 8:50 says, “Forgive your people who have sinned against you. Forgive all the offenses they have committed against you.” The moment I read the verse, I realized my pain and agony had not subsided because I had unforgiveness and fear in my heart. I had forgiven myself but I was holding captive the forgiveness towards my spouse because I didn’t want to get hurt again. Luke 8:50 says, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” This verse was God’s way of telling me to trust Him and believe that He had a plan for me and that He would meet all of my needs. John 8:50 says, “I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.” Through this verse, He revealed that He is the judge, not me.

God took something he placed in my heart and used it to teach me a very valuable lesson that day. Healing will never take place the way God intended for it to until we forgive others the way He forgives us, trust Him and believe His promises, and let Him be the judge of those who disobey.

If you find yourself in pain, whether it is the result of your own sin or the sin of someone else, know that God is right there waiting for you to give it all to Him. He is the only one that can heal and restore what Satan has tried to destroy.

 

Put On the Armor of God

Lord,

Help me put on the belt of truth today filtering everything the world tells me through the light of Your Word. Remind me with the breastplate of righteousness that I cannot achieve goodness by the things I do or don’t do. You were the perfect sacrifice and I stand forgiven because of my hope in you. Help my feet carry your message of peace to a hurting world. Let me encourage those around me with the story of your gospel and son, Jesus Christ. Give me strength to carry my shield of faith. I am a part of a community of faith and we all stand together against the attacks of Satan. Cover my mind with the helmet of salvation. Help me think on things that honor you and give me discernment to do what is right and best. Arm me with your sword and hide your scripture in my heart. Your words, not mine, are powerful and effective. i pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, who was the perfect sacrifice to overcome death and give me eternal life.

Amen.

Wake Me Up

IMG_4104

A year had passed since my divorce. I had met a man that seemed to be everything I had wanted in a man, except for one little problem. He was expecting a child with another woman. When we started talking, he was open and honest about his predicament, so I felt he was safe. All I wanted was an honest man who treated me with love and respect and so far so good. In the back of my mind, I knew better. A very small voice told me to be careful, but not only did I ignore it, I rationalized everything this man did that were huge red flags right from the beginning. And because he was honest on day one, I assumed he was an honest person. I never questioned anything he told me until he ripped my heart out by walking away.

At that moment in my life, I was attending church religiously. I was the photographer for the women’s ministry and I attended every church event that I could. I felt that there was no way for me to be going down the wrong path because I was doing everything God’s way. Boy was I blind! Church was my crutch and that man was an idol.
I was working for a local company at this time as well and everything seemed great on the surface. I had been hired as a referral and the job was a God send. I thought my life was finally getting better. But when my personal life started to crumble, my health took a downward spiral. I wasn’t eating, I couldn’t sleep at night and everything made me cry. I was depressed. I forced myself to get up every morning, take my kids to school and go to a job that promised me security. Somewhere along the way, my job security also became an idol. God was preparing me for what would be a huge turning point in my life. Two weeks before the next big blow, I prayed this prayer, “Lord, please show me what is best for me and give me the strength to go through the fire one more time if I am not where you want me.”
One month after that man walked out of my life never to return again with no explanation to me or my children, my boss fired me. Everything came crashing down. I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. During that time frame I had been to see my doctor and my friend suggested that I go get something to help me get through this. The doctor recommended an anti-depressant, but God kept telling me that I needed Him, not a quick fix. The doctor suggested that he call in the prescription and if I decided to pick it up great, if not no harm done. So I agreed. I also requested a sleeping pill so that I could get some rest at night and he prescribed a Vitamin D supplement because I had a deficiency. He said he would call them in. That day I prayed about what I should take and not take and when I went to pick up the medicine, the doctor had only called in two of the medications. The pharmacy tech said there was not a sleeping pill, so I went ahead and picked up the two she had ready. I contacted the doctor’s office, but they were closed and I would have to wait until morning. I had been crying all day and at bedtime I prayed that God would let me know what to do about taking the medication. My friend called and was an answer to my prayers. She explained that she had taken the same medicine after her divorce just to take the edge off so she could get through that rough time more level headed. So I took two Tylenol PM and what I thought was the anti-depressant and laid down. I remember having a conversation on the phone with my sister. I was feeling very light headed and although I had never been drunk in my life, I felt wasted. She even said I was sounding crazy. The last thing I can recall was telling her that if I didn’t wake up in the morning, it was that stupid medicine I should never have taken. What happened next still shakes me to the core.
I woke up and all I could see was a bright light. I walked closer out of curiosity and there I was standing at a huge pearly gate that extended as far as the eye could see. It took me a minute to figure out where I was and then I knew. I was at the gates of Heaven but I was’t afraid. I felt at home for the first time in a very long time and my joy had returned. But then I heard a familiar voice. It was the voice of my Heavenly Father and all He said was, “Shannon, it is not your time.” The next thing I know, I am awakened with severe stomach pains and violent vomiting. I honestly thought I was losing my mind at this point. I went straight to the medication I had taken the night before and discovered that I had somehow brought home Ambien, a very strong sleeping pill, instead of the anti-depressant. So I had taken two sleeping pills and an Ambien. I knew immediately that I had overdosed. I called my doctor and saw him first thing that morning. I explained what happened and he said that I was lucky to be alive given the fact that I only weighed 105 lbs. and had taken what I did.
My life took a dramatic turn that day. God had given me a second chance and saw a reason for me to stay on this Earth for a little while longer. I never took another pill. I knew in my heart that God was the only thing I needed to get through the pain. He was my rock from that day forward. He proved that only He would love me the way I longed to be loved and only He would meet all of my needs. No man, no job security, nothing but Jesus could mend my broken heart and start putting the pieces of my shattered life back together again.

Betrayal to Forgiveness

This is the poem I wrote to the women in my past that betrayed our friendship by sleeping with my husband. This is very raw and it still pains my soul, but there is healing in taking the last step to letting it go. I forgave my ex years ago, but my friends were the hardest to release. Holding on to the pain has held me captive and it has also kept me from letting other women get close. I pray that if you read this and have scars like me, give it all to God and let Him set you free!
He played a game, your heart his pawn.
Betrayed your trust, he led you on.
You always thought somehow you were special,
But that’s never the case when you dance with the devil.
He feeds you lies, consoles your cries,
But day by day a part of you dies.
Little did you know, you weren’t alone.
I too had placed my heart on his throne.
He became my God and I his slave,
which led my soul to an early grave.
For years the one I blamed was you.
How could you betray what I entrusted to you?
I shared my hurts, my fears, my dreams,
And you used that knowledge to fulfill your schemes.
You took what was mine and lied to my face,
but my problem was putting my husband in God’s place.
It has taken me years to break free from these chains,
But with God by my side, I have healed from the pain.
So thank you for opening my eyes to finally see,
And I forgive you because my God forgave me.