Monday, October 31, 2016

The Masks We Wear

Image Courtesy of pixabay.com
Asking my daughter with special needs to wear a mask over her face for Halloween is like trying to put a costume on a cat! Just getting her into a costume can be a challenge.  Her school puts on a fantastic Halloween event for families at a local Embassy Suites that they call “Trick our Suites.” Different companies decorate an entire suite and then students can go from room to room to trick or treat instead of navigating streets and houses.  The whole event is amazing, but best part of the day is seeing an entire school of children with varying disabilities all dressed up.  Wheelchairs and siblings stroll from room to room and you can hear the enthusiasm spilling out into the hallway. High fives and photos are being passed between strangers and friends. There is a sense of celebration for being who we are…a special kind of family.

This is our daughter’s last “Trick or Suites” since she will be moving on to high school next year. I don’t even like Halloween but I got a little sad in the car on the way home! This is one of the only times during the year that we are with other families like ours.  We all walk around encouraging each other, waiting patiently for wheel chairs to pass by, commenting on the great costumes.  No one has anything to hide.  We know exactly, to some degree, what each other is dealing with and it’s okay.  No one feels bad for us, all the siblings understand these kinds of disabilities and so, there is a great sense of peer acceptance and kindness as you move from room to room.

I don’t know about you, but for me this kind of “disability friendly” environment is incredibly refreshing.  That’s what having a community is supposed to feel like.  Sometimes church doesn’t always feel that way. It is designed to, it is meant to, but we have a tendency to hide. There is a song out right now by Francesca Battistelli called “If We’re Honest.” The chorus describes what Christian community is supposed to be, “So bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine.  'Cause love can heal what hurt divides, and mercy’s waiting on the other side…if we’re honest.”  I look at my daughter and I see a young woman who is perfectly comfortable being herself.  Her disfigured fingers, hearing aids, drool, and CP walk doesn’t stop her from doing anything or loving anyone. She is completely unashamed.  She has nothing to hide behind, and this is her freedom. 

That kind of freedom is meant for you and me as well.  Ephesians 3:12 says about Christ, “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (NIV) If the work Christ did on the cross is enough to cover our sin, it is more than enough to cover our shortcomings as well. In 1 John 2:1 we read, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (NIV) Because of the forgiveness available in Christ, we can be completely unashamed.There is no need to come before him, or his people, wearing a mask.  He knows us intimately, and loves us.  As a result of having been lavished with this kind of love, we have a responsibility to offer it to others.    We can take off the masks we wear and be honest with God, ourselves, and others about what we're dealing with. Christian community is a kind of special family too...with people just like us. It's a beautiful thing when we do it right!

“Lord, help me to be more comfortable being myself in front of your body.  Help me to live free in Christ, forgiven and unashamed. Give me the grace to help create a place where others feel free to be themselves as well.  Thank you for seeing every part of who I am, and extravagantly loving me anyway. There is no one like you. Amen”

~Kimberly M. Drew

3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You're so welcome! I'm glad this encouraged you! :)

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  2. Kimberly you are an amazing woman and mother! Such a blessing❤️

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