• Laura Alvarado-Newson

When the mask comes off

Lately I think about how many times a day I look in the mirror to make sure I look halfway decent before going out in public. I check to make sure clothes are covering all the right places, make-up isn't smeared (if I had time that day to put any on), hair is in place, and so on. However, recently I have been focusing on a different mirror, that mirror I prefer to ignore because whatever has gone awry will not be an easy fix because I am a fixer. That mirror is the spiritual mirror God is holding up constantly, but I seem to have the ability to avoid looking into it. What a patient and merciful God we have, He holds up the mirror again and again knowing that I really won't look into it and focus until I am good and tired of the super-spiritual, strong, have-it-together mask I have been wearing to get me through the day. Do you know when this mask got uncomfortable and downright useless? When my circumstances were touched by hardship and suffering, when my routine was set and I had a decent amount of control to say "I got this, no problem", just to realize, oh my gosh, this is bigger than me and I don't know what to do. I am not saying I stopped loving the Lord, but there comes a point in every one's life where we find a spiritual comfort zone. Maybe it's right after a major storm, and the calm has somewhat set in. I say somewhat because life is never conflict-free and won't be until we go to heaven (Oh happy day!)

I started relaxing. I thought deep down that maybe my character molding was progressing quite well; we (my family and I) have learned to navigate our special needs family boat with all of the bumps and bruises quite well. I am even a little proud at how well we learned to navigate, so it was smooth sailing from here on. Until this second hit, a big threatening hit to our life as a family, as a marriage, and a major hit to my faith. This was not cool. We already had our big trial; our major test! So after grieving, the anger sets in; angry at God for allowing yet another crisis to hit, angry at myself for not handling things the way I thought I should handle them, In a strong, spiritual, faith-filled manner, with nothing but praises and thanksgiving on my lips. In my mind's eye, this was how I was going to handle any other problems that came my way. Well, it isn't happening that way at all and just as a facial will initially bring out impurities on the skin; especially if there hasn't been a deep cleansing for awhile; impurities will show up when a new and bigger crisis comes. Right now I am in the midst of just staring into that mirror, hmmm, I see lot's of pride spots, a few pimples of inflexibility, the blackheads of control sharing space with the wrinkles of auto-justification and some ugly spots of self-pity. It's not a pretty sight.

The comfort I have is that our God, when He does a cleansing, it is gentle and loving and the results? The reflection of His Son Jesus; because that is what a spiritual make-over should be about, not who we are, but who Jesus is and what He did for us and what He will do through me, His humble servant and instrument. I can guarantee more impurities will surface and we don't have to wait for perfection, because with every impurity, Jesus' purity shines through; He is strong in my weakness. My job is to look in the mirror; admit and confess my need for Jesus and that spiritual cleansing, stay put and allow God to work in me and through me, at the same time replacing these impurities that I must be willing to let go of, which means no more denial, and looking more and more like Jesus. This is my goal! Finish line seems far away, but I will get there eventually and so will you.

Romans 8:28-29

And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

I speak to those of you wearing a mask because it is too painful to face the realities of your spiritual condition. Take off the mask, look into God's mirror, His word. Listen to His gentle, loving voice pointing you towards His mirror, showing you those impurities that keep you from being the person He created you to be. You just have to look and surrender all of those impurities to Him, He will handle the rest.

Some things to think about. What is your mask? Success? Beauty? Ministry? Busyness?

What are some impurities? Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Anger? Doubt?

I don't know about you but I want that destiny and plan God has for me and my family, it hurts, but I want it.....

Til next time...

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