Let’s paint a picture…
So in Cinderella, do you remember when she was at home with her Step-Mother and Sisters, how she was seemingly poor, her clothes were torn and ripped, held together by seams that were loose?
In that story the way it is outlined, she was a good girl and seemed to be the one wronged. We only got her side of the story. Her step-mother and step-sisters were told and shown to be evil through the creation of this fairy tale.
We will come back to this…Hold it tight in your mind.
Unveiled- The conference this weekend was an incredible time to learn about who you are underneath of everything that you use to cover your flaws. They gave the example of wearing a mask, at some point after wearing a mask for a long time, your face grows to the mask, and to remove the mask would be physically painful as well as psychologically and spiritually painful.
I will use my life as an example, I know God will continue to deal with me on this, but from this weekend I learned many things about myself. From childhood to 19, I was almost an angel. Truly. I was so firm in my standards to live by the word of God. I made mistakes, some big ones, that have affected me everyday since. I have baggage that I have to carry because of those mistakes. I thought I was like the cream of the crop Christian. I had it together and everyone could see it. I knew how to pray; well. I could sing, I could dissect scripture and lead others, and through all of the beauty everyone saw on the outside I was full of sin. I was so self-righteous. I was one of those people you didn’t want to confess anything too, because you would be judged. My role quickly reversed. I was brought to a place of great trial, and intense pain and since that day 10 years ago, I have been on a constant journey to find me.
I re-met my husband in August of 2003. He was a dear friend to me from Middle School on and I thought so much of him. He had gone away to college out of state and I hadn’t seen him in 3 years. I couldn’t believe what a man he had become in those 3 years. He is a tall man who was always thin, but now here he was, tall, dark and handsome. He had filled out. Know what I mean? 🙂 I was hooked. We went with my brother and now sister in law, my best friend and his cousin to dinner, and dinner lead to drinks, drinks lead to a fuzzy head. My brother, my dear friend, my family suffered great loss that night; I was gone. I was so caught in Tim. I couldn’t see anything but him. I was in LOOOOVVVE. I fell away from church gradually over the next 2 months.
My family disapproved, my friends disapproved, not of Tim, but of me changing me to be with him. I changed, whew I ran the complete opposite way of Self-Righteous, we began an immediate trip into sin, and I would go on to sacrifice relationships that it took decades to build.
I began wearing a mask that year. I hid myself behind layers of confidence and security, and I felt none of those things. From there, the hurt I felt created in me anger and cut off my family. My friends were history, they can tell you parts of this story that I wasn’t there to witness; time spent with my family in agony crying out to God on my behalf. I didn’t want anyone in my life who didn’t support me in my relationship. Oh, the things I have learned from this decade of pain, of inner torment, the masks that I put on one at a time, and called them reality. Mistakes, seems too small a word for the life I lived out of God’s will.
If we could sit down, the story I would tell you. Some parts I have such shame about, and I pray that God will do what He did for Adam and Eve for me.
Would you take just a few minutes to read this part of scripture? Read it slowly and as you read it picture it, hear it with music playing softly behind it that would amplify the words spoken. Read the Bible verses first. They are the important part and after that you can read my words in navy blue.
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (There is always something set on our course to detour us)
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (She didn’t actually hear God say this, Adam was told, before God fashioned Eve from His rib, it doesn’t excuse her disobedience, or her desire to step outside the bounds set for her and her husband)
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (The enemy speaks to us with our own voice, to convince us that we aren’t actually going too far, he makes it seem so harmless, although it brings death. Did anyone ever wonder if the animals in the Garden of Eden spoke? I mean it doesn’t say in any translation that she was startled to have a snake/serpent speaking to her.)
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (I have to wonder if the serpent took a bite himself, and showed her the inside of the fruit dripping with juice, and seeming more appetizing than being disobedient, more like when we are physically craving something that leads to sin?)
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. (Isn’t this what we do? We try to make something that covers our mistakes, our sins.)
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (How this must have hurt the Lord, His friends, His creation hid from him.. but that’s what we do right? We hid from God during moments of weakness and shame)
9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” (This was probably the first time since Adam’s creation that He had to look for him.)
10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Oh the sorrow God felt to know it was intentional.)
11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (He must have thought, your protection is gone, Your life has been shortened, you will know pain, you will know sorrow, How I wanted to protect you from those things)
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (Eve probably elbowed him right in his gut. You traitor she probably said, you ate it too. We love to have someone else fall with us, then it’s not just a focus on us in our sin)
13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. (My favorite part… they made fig leaves to clothe themselves, but our God says, “my love, that is something you made, your mask is something you made, let me clothe you in righteousness, in a new skin, in my grace, in my mercy, in my love.”)
Isn’t that beautiful. They had one law, one command, one rule to obey. Although there were consequences, consequences we all still pay for, he made a way to restore them even from their sin, to make them new. He is a good God. A gracious God, a King worthy of worship.
When Cinderella met her Prince, she was clothed in a different version of herself than she had previously known, created by one who loved her, who clothed her in beauty, in a fashionable garment when she was used to filthy rags. She was presented to him without blemish, spot or wrinkle.
Our God is looking for us, He is searching for the bride who is wearing only one glass slipper, He is looking for us in our beautiful garments, the ones He created us in, that He designed specifically for us. But we are hiding, behind a mask, behind a tree in the garden, behind our past; and He is calling, “Come out! Come out! My bride, I am searching for You, Why do you hide from me? I love you, I long to be your beloved and for you to be mine.”
He can’t find us if we aren’t willing to come to him, even naked and ashamed. He has a new gown for you. It’s beautiful, and He is so anxious for you to put it on. Let’s do that this week, slip off one mask. One area of your life that you hide from Him and allow Him to take your filthy rags and turn them into silk.