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 An Event Blog
            I attended a women’s conference this weekend entitled, Surrendering the Mask, which evolved from a book of the same title.  Not having read the book, I only surmised what the theme of the conference would reveal.  I celebrate the young woman visionary, young women speakers and leaders of the conference on its inaugural occasion, they did an exceptional job.
            So the focus was that women wear many different masks for many different reasons.  Masquerades, charades, and facades that disguise and cover up, and I would venture to say sometimes protect.  They are things that we hide behind to keep from being seen by others or secret things that blind, bind and imprison us.  They are life events that have shaped how we look at ourselves: traps of guilt, shame, and failure.  Sometimes these things are imposed by others through violation and some are self-inflicted by poor, irrational or ill-advised choices.
            The dynamic conference speakers talked about masks of control, pain, lack of repentance and unforgiving, toxic thinking, obstructed vision, how masks affect our health and wellness.  One of the speaker’s comments even revealed how masks meant to disguise us from others, can boomerang and disguise us from ourselves. That was a ‘wow’ one for me.
“Masks will be broken not because we are going to break them, but by God’s orchestration.” ~ LSP
            So often God is working things out for and through us, but we manipulate and control situations so that His process is either prolonged or aborted over and over again.  We are guilty of not surrendering all to God, not yielding and trusting Him with the whole of us.  We say, non-verbally, through our behaviors and actions, God I trust you for this much, this far, but this I’m not so sure about.  Or we, of our self-preserving nature, are too afraid to trust Him with the totality of our lives.  So we find ourselves coming time and time again to the altar or threshold of deliverance, only to walk away unfulfilled, undelivered, unhealed.  We must endure the process, even when it is scary, even when we cannot see through the darkness or the murky drowning waters.  Because when we release control, when we take hold of the Shepherd’s hook He extends, when we walk through that portal, open our eyes and hearts, we will find He is there to rescue us.
            One speaker spoke about the mask of pain.  How we must exercise faith to confront the thing we are hiding from. Faith is operative, you have to be willing to defy yourself and other people, risk judgment, reputation, and criticism. The woman at the well, she took a risk.  The woman with the issue of blood, she took a risk. The Shunamite woman, the woman with the alabaster box, they too took risks for what they needed.  How desperate are you to be delivered, uncovered, to emerge from hiding? The speaker spoke of how pain isolates us, but God calls us to Him.  He said in His Word, come unto me, and cast your cares upon me, He’s always reaching out to rescue us.
            Lack of repentance and unforgiving hearts are reasons we wear masks. Like David, we have to confess with a spirit of humility and honesty seeking the face and mercy of God.  Many times, we are guilty of clearly knowing what we need to confess, but we won’t utter it.  Spiritual healing and deliverance comes from an audible utterance to God, an acknowledgement and confession of what we need from Him.  My God, how cleansing it is to speak the thing that you are too afraid to utter!  When you do, you severe the bands of the adversary to use that thing against you, you become free to receive God’s deliverance.  I know, because I did it.  When we give those things to God, we become ‘loosed of infirmities’ that cripple us and have us ‘bent over’ spiritually.  We become free of soul ties, emotional connections, slavery and imprisonment.  We have to give it all to God so He can rescue us.
An appropriate segue was a song verse …
Create in me a clean heart, purify me, purify me
Create in me a clean heart so I can worship you
            Additional highlights for me included … All the masks of emotions that we wear cause our physical bodies to suffer and become impaired with fatigue, obesity, and chronic illnesses.  We already know our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, vessels unto God.  He created these temporal houses and gave us stewardship over them.  Emotional eating is a mask.  Imbalances; lack of discipline and will power; crutches and excuses; seeking comfort for some hidden craziness, some self-satisfaction that does not satisfy.  These are reasons for the mask.  Fitness instructors and experts chime all the time about the importance of having a healthy relationship with food, not living to eat, but eating to live.  In print media, speaker forums, talk show television, we are constantly infiltrated with health and wellness, fitness, and a myriad of ways to get fit, stay fit.  If you, like me, fight this battle every single day, you know we need God to rescue us.
            A few more notable nuggets …(1) satan plants seeds of deception in our minds and thought processes, we must not water, nurture nor believe or accept them.  We must be careful what we invest our thoughts in.  We must take authority over our thoughts.  We must be careful to daily renew our thoughts and consciously remember what God says about us and His ability to rescue us. (2) People seem to always be searching, asking about, seeking to know their purpose and it was clearly demonstrated by one of the speakers that purpose is always right in front of you, it is your essence, but often it is obstructed from view by emotional masks, masks of self-doubt, people pleasing, comparisons, fear of failure and fear of judgment, paradigms, and social and religious constructs.  We need the fortitude and attitude to knock down all those obstructions, to clearly see and embrace our purpose in life
            Finally, I wrote above about one of the speaker’s comments that revealed how masks meant to disguise us from others, can boomerang and disguise us from ourselves. She stated that so many masks of trauma had silenced her voice to the point that she didn’t even recognize her own voice.  That was a ‘wow’ one for me.  I’m always championing for people, especially women and young people to find and use their voice.  Why?  Because I know why the caged bird sings or the masked woman is screaming in silence.  Because she feels inferior, that no one cares to hear her; that her voice doesn’t matter, that she doesn’t matter.  She feels so misunderstood that she masks her voice and her words from being misjudged, picked apart, and trampled underfoot.  I submit, as I wrote in a recent blog post, use your voice even if it quivers and trembles as long as it is seasoned with love and grace.
            One other really poignant thought that was expressed, came from the Worship Leader who stated, ‘Some of us are wearing not only face masks, but masks here, here, here, and here which she demonstrated by pointing to all the parts of her body.  That was another ‘wow’ for me.  When I heard that, I thought, body masks!  But I didn’t get stuck there. I thought we have to exchange these masks for crowns.  Surrendering these masks is a process.  As much as we perform symbolic exercises every time we attend these types of conferences and meetings, often it is a process.  While God does work miraculously and He can do a thing suddenly, often it is a process.  A process that begins with the release of control, the application of faith, an uttered confession to God, true repentance and forgiveness, an insatiable hunger for change, using my voice to speak to myself healthy, positive affirmations, taking authority over my thought processes, and destroying every imagination that obstructs my purpose.
            Lastly, I want to share my God-moment.  The Worship Leader came forth and I felt she began her expressions from a position of assignment.  But as she continued, I felt God transform it from an assignment to a connection with the women in the room.  Then we began to sing, I love you Lord and I lift my voice to worship You, oh my soul rejoice; take joy my King in what you hear and let it be a sweet, sweet, sound in Your ear. We exalt Thee, we exalt Thee, we exalt Thee oh Lord.  In that moment, that worship, I was lost in His presence, bowed down in reverence, assured and empowered.  She directed us to say out loud what we came for and I said, “God, I came for YOU”.  Then we were released to minister to others that tonight they would receive what they came to receive.  For me, that was a God-moment of worship, surrender, and blessing to others.
            God does not want us to wear disguises. So we can end the masquerades, charades and facades. 
            He wants us to live the abundant life that He gave His life for us to live.
            So take courage, remove the mask(s), and put on your crown.  *Q
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” ~ Galatians 5:1