The Masks We Wear by Heather Hodges

 

By Heather Hodges

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
— Isaiah 41:10, English Standard Version

We often feel the need to hide our brokenness, sin, pain and suffering behind a mask of happiness and perfection.

We conceal our true selves out of fear or self-preservation. The masks we wear become so comfortable and familiar. They become part of us and we would feel naked without them.

During those moments when our guard is down and we remove the mask, we feel vulnerable and exposed, but we are also authentic and raw.

Wearing the mask only perpetuates the pain and loneliness. But when we take the mask off, we open our hearts to the presence of God and to healing, restoration and transformation.

When we summon the courage and remove the mask we feel the presence of God surround and strengthen us.

Peace and love to you. “Soli Deo gloria.” To God alone be the glory.

HEATHER HODGES is a mom, wife, artist, inspirational speaker and follower of Christ. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Abilene Christian University in Texas and has been in ministry alongside her husband, Wade, for almost 20 years. They worship with the Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas, where Wade Hodges serves a preaching minister, with their sons Caleb and Elijah. See her gallery at heatherhodgesart.com.

 

Hoot’s Musings

The reading for this morning was 12 very short chapters, Psalms 120-132. Easily, they are some of my favorite psalms. The devotional is going to be a little different this morning. It is going to be a confession of faith, based on one of these psalms.

 I was moved by Psalm 130 this morning, as its message really spoke to my heart. In the NLT that I am reading this month, the 8 verses of the chapter are divided into 5 sections. We will list each section, and then comment on how it applies to our life of faith.

 “From the depths of despair, O Lord,

I call for for your help.

Hear my cry, O Lord.

Pay attention to my prayer.”

(Psalm 130:1-2, NLT)

Lord, I know what I am. I am the creature that struggles every day to live for you, the creator. I know that I am a sinner saved by your grace, that is dependent on you to sustain me every day. Lord, I need to know that you are there, that you hear, and that you pay attention to my struggles, needs, and call for help.

 “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,

who, O Lord, could ever survive?

But you offer forgiveness,

that we might learn to fear you.”

(Psalm 130:3-4, NLT)

Lord, we know how weak and frail that we are, and that because of our sin — the only hope that we can have is because of your unfailing love. Father help me learn who you are, and respect what you are, because of the forgiveness that you give to me.

 “I am counting on the Lord;

yes, I am counting on him.

I have put my hope in his word.”

(Psalm 130:5, NLT)

The saddest two words in the English language are “no hope.” I have made the decision to choose the Lord, and be able to live in the hope of forgiveness through grace, and the hope that this world is not all that there is. Those two avenues of hope, forgiveness and life after death, make this life better. So, yes I am counting on the Lord.”

 “I long for the Lord

more than sentries long for the dawn,

yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.”

(Psalm 130:6, NLT)

I have never been a night watchman, but I would imagine the last three hours of the shift are the toughest. From 3:00 a.m. til 6:00 a.m., you long for morning to arrive. In the very same manner, I long to be with the Lord, more than the night watchman longs for morning. What he has done for me, is doing for me, and will do; makes that longing go stronger every day.

 “O Israel, hope in the Lord;

for with the Lord there is unfailing love.

His redemption overflows.

He himself will redeem Israel

from every kind of sin.”

(Psalm 130:7-8, NLT)

As a part of “spiritual” Israel (the chosen people of God), my hope is in the Lord. I don’t understand how people can make it through life without the hope that he gives. A hope of a love that never ends. A hope of redemption from sins that constantly torment us. A hope that this world is not all that there is!

Peace.