Over the past several months, it’s been made clear to me that I need to write. As I began to think about a starting point, starting a blog came to the forefront of my mind. I titled this entry Taking the Mask Off because that is exactly what I am going to do with this blog. I am very nervous being the private person that I am. I have come to know all too well, that this life is not about me, but it is about me doing what God wants me to do. As I begin to unmask, I pray that someone might be encouraged to know that no matter what you’ve done or are going through, God is ever-present.
As I sit here looking at this photo of me being silly with those sunglasses, my mind began to ponder on so many things. The first two things to come to mind was: this was the first day in several months that I did not have some type of dreadful or worrisome thought when it comes to my second son(really the first time since he was born); and looking at me wearing these sunglasses, I am reminded how females are taught at an early age to wear a mask of some sort because somehow it will make us more beautiful or attractive. These two thoughts at first glance may seem unrelated, but as I begin to share, it becomes more evident that they are very much connected.
In this photo, in my opinion, my hair is a mess, I am not wearing make-up, and I have huge bags under my eyes due to a lack of sleep. Many people may look and immediately zone in on the sunglasses. They cover up my blemishes and tend to take the attention away from parts of me that I was not too proud of in that moment. As a woman, I have learned how to wear make-up, style my hair, and even wear certain styles of clothing to look my best. These are all some form of a mask. To be totally honest, even if I do all of those things, and I do, it does not in any way dress up what is going on within me whether good or bad. There’s a scripture that I and many other Christians can quote without even thinking, “....I am fearfully and wonderfully made...Psalm 139:14” Truth is, that scripture is easy to memorize, yet not always as easy to really know that every one of us were thoughtfully and perfectly constructed by the Master Creator himself, God. And to add to that, we were made in His image.
Now getting back to my first thought about actually having a worry-free day! My second son was born at only 26 weeks weighing 1 lb 10oz. We knew we were in for a long road, but did not expect what happened on day 10. I will probably go into more detail later on, but on day 10, my husband and I were told that our son had gotten an infection and was not going to make it. There are so many women having babies prematurely, and we all have our stories and all of our babies have to fight, however we were not expecting this particular journey. Throughout all of this, I was dealing with major anxiety and was diagnosed with postpartum. I never thought I could struggle so much, but here I was in the midst of it. And also having to care for our two year old son who had no idea what was going on. I am happy to say that after almost 4 months in the hospital, our son is alive and the anxiety still comes and goes, but is not to the extreme that it was.
Throughout this journey, my family and I have had the support of our family, friends, and church family. Sometimes we might receive a text with encouragement, a gift, or someone might just show up to help. All of these gestures of love make me know that we are on God’s mind. Even in the darkest valley to date, God is with us. Even when I did not have any words to pray, He heard my heart. He put us on other’s hearts to pray.
One lesson that I am continuously learning is that it takes a daily, sometimes moment by moment choice, to acknowledge that God is present, and He hears our prayers. When our circumstances are not favorable, we have to know that God will make good come out of it in some way. We may not always know how or when, but we know Him. If there is anyone reading this who is dealing with an extremely difficult circumstance like an illness, loss of a close relative or friend, or even financial difficulty, my prayer is that you begin to really see God in the midst of the storm. I pray that your faith in Him be strengthened and that the peace and wisdom of God rests upon you like never before. In Jesus’ name, Amen.