Masks

October 18, 2018
by Cheryl Mariano (Cheremiah)

1 Timothy 1:15 – This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (KJV)

I'm not proud to say it, but I can identify with the apostle Paul in this statement. Before I was saved at the age of thirty, I was well acquainted with sin. But then, a prerequisite for salvation is that we must know and admit that we are sinners. Why else would we need a Saviour?

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (KJV)

As a result of sin, undesirable consequences follow. They might be manifested in one's health situation, family relationships, finances, living conditions, etc.

As a Christian just recently saved and planted in a church, I felt out of place, like I didn't belong. Many times when I was listening to different ones speak or share, it seemed as though they had always lived a rather perfect life: no problems, no worries, no cares, well-adjusted children, many even in the ministry.

But as for me, before I came to Christ, I was a wreck! The only difference after I was newly saved was that I was a saved wreck! My family was in shambles, finances were a mess, and unhealthy living had played a part in my poor health.

Because others seemed to do so well, it got to the point where I didn't feel safe or secure letting people get to know me or my family. I mean, what would they think of me?

I wrote the following poem to describe how I felt.

    Masks

    In my bedroom drawer
    Neatly tucked away —
    What mask to church
    Will I wear today?

    There are four from which
    I have to choose.
    But today, I'll wear the one
    That hides the Blues.

    My Smiley mask
    I've nearly worn out.
    It hides so well
    My fears and doubts.

    My Spiritual mask
    Works like a jewel.
    It hides me when
    I've been mean and cruel.

    The mask I call
    My Ace in the Hole
    Hides me when
    My heart is cold.

    Sometimes I wish
    Others could see
    Right past the mask
    And into me,

    And help me find
    My way back home
    To God's dear arms
    From whence I've roamed.

    But others seem
    To do so well.
    My failures I wouldn't
    Dare to tell.

    Then the question
    To myself I ask:
    I wonder if they too
    Wear a mask.

Praise God, He gives us a new start upon salvation, but so many are hurting from the consequences of sins made in the past. Let's be sensitive, and, of course, uphold them in prayer, as they grow and mature in Christ.

Prayer: Lord, we thank You for one another, and that in Christ, we are family. Amen.

About the author:

Cheryl Mariano (Cheremiah) <cherylmariano@gmail.com>
Chandler, Arizona, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    I love your poem. In fact. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.


    Thank you so much for sharing Cheryl. You have made me feel so much better.


    WOW!!! You hit the nail right on the head. I love the poem also.
    Thanks.


    Hi Cheryl
    Wow, can I identify with this devotional. Love the poem also. God bless.


    Very brave post, Cheryl, and I’m sure your poem will resonate with many. God bless you for sharing!


    Thanks for the courage to remove your mask and bear it all! Blessings,
    (Ont)


    Thanks for your devotional about masks. It will help readers to overcome hiding from God, others and self.


    Thank you for your wonderful message.
    Yes, I have worn a mask too. Praise God that he gives us new beginnings.


    Good one. We all wear masks. If we all share our true selves we can be a strength for each other.
    God bless.


    People identify more with honesty than with those who appear to have it all together – and none of us do. Thanks for the honesty. Been there, done that.


    Dear Cheryl, Thank you for sharing so truthfully your feelings and wonderful poem. I understand completely, and I have been a “Christian” all my life because I was born into a Christian family.


    Dear Cheremiah,
    Your words and truth of “Masks” run deep into our hearts to help us open up. You help us to be real in Christ. Thank you for your thoughts.


    What a meaningful poem and message. Thank you for sharing. And if you haven’t figured out the answer to your your question, I believe we all wear masks!
    Blessings.


    This is oh so true and I too have worn that mask to church. This is something that turns so many of the younger generation away from the church.
    A very special poem and message.


    Hi Cheryl: This was a beautiful poem. We are “all” on a journey to grow and be Christ like. Thank you for your transparency and I am so glad you found Christ. He is a friend that never leaves us. Thank you for your message. God Bless!


    Thank you for writing and submitting this devotional. Your poem is exceptional. Just last Sunday, the minister at my new church said to me with his own concern… ‘You’re wearing a Presbyterian smile.” – I think I was wearing one of your masks!


    Thank you for this devotional. It is so true. We ALL wear masks. Even those who look like they have it all together and have been Christians for years. It is SO sad we can’t be honest and open – and accepted like we are. Bless you.


    Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing this heartfelt devotional with us. As I read, I thought the author might be another Daily Devotional writer whose testimony is so much like yours. Your story mirrors mine. So very many of us have had the same rescue from sin’s grip. Blessings.


    Hi Cheryl:
    I can so relate! I thought I walked into the Twilight Zone! Thank the Lord I realized I was walking out of that terrible zone.
    God bless and keep you.


    Hi Cheryl,
    Thank you for your openness. I imagine you eventually learned that we all wear masks to church. Have you heard the story about the family that argues in the car all the way to church, then steps out of the car with big smiles and greets everyone like nothing happened? More common than you think!


    Good morning dear “sister” Yes, Christians are “family” in Christ. I so enjoyed your devotion this morning. Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings on your day today!
    (Ontario, Canada)


    Greetings Cheremiah,
    Many thanks for another poignant devotional. Your creative poems are always a special addition to your writings.
    Blessings,
    (B.C.)


    Thanks for sharing. How often have I looked out on my congregations and known the situations in front of me and yet everyone has their smiley faces on and we miss out on the true fellowship, love and support we can give or receive! In fact, the word “hypocrite” comes to mind. Because we are too afraid to be real, we actually are NOT “the church”, we are a theatre troupe pretending. How sad!


    A very poignant poem, Cheryl. I believe we all wear masks of one kind or another at one time or another.
    Do you know the hymn “Be Not Afraid”? It’s often sung as funerals/Celebrations of Life, but it’s a beautiful affirmation that Christ goes before us and is always there for us….no matter what mask we may be wearing.
    Keep writing.


    Hello Cheryl – Oh. You are definitely not alone in feeling this way.
    I can relate in all circumstances. Thank the Lord for His love and grace, and for Jesus’s death for us.
    I have worn many masks in my life. I still tend to slip behind one when I am feeling ‘out of my depth’
    So, my dear, you are not alone.
    Blessings to you
    (ON. Canada)


    Thank you for your devotional today. Your poem is very powerful and speaks very deeply. You are far from alone in feeling that sometimes you are wearing a “different face” in church – I say this as a pastor who sometimes finds himself feeling the same way!
    I offer you another thought that you are not alone – you may already be familiar with the song, “Stained Glass Masquerade”.


    Good Morning Cheryl, from Northern Ontario, where we have just had our first snow.
    Thank You so very much for caring and sharing this morning! Much of your road I have also walked… and it’s not a pleasant trip. What keeps me going is the knowledge that there is no sin that Jehovah will not forgive, except taking His name in vain, which I do not do. I wish for you God’s Blessing, today and every day, as we continue the walk God has planned for us.
    Amen
    (Northern Ontario)


    What a revealing poem… so many of us can think of when we have worn a mask!
    I was one who knew a stable life with churchgoing a regular routine, but in my 30s, I realized that there was something more. Praying the “sinner’s prayer” was so humbling, but the uplift I experienced was priceless.
    Now in my 70s, I acknowledge sin is still in my life! Jesus and I are working on it!
    Thanks for a simple poem to share with my study group!
    (BC)


    Hi Cheryl,
    So well said. Thank you for sharing with such honesty and strength. Our pastor spoke with the message that our suffering and difficulties can and do surface as Christians as well and that there is no shame or is it an indication of lack of faith nor is it a punishment.
    God did not say there would not be any difficulties but that he will be with us through all our life experiences. And our response is to be there for each other as well.
    May God continue to bless you. May your message touch the hearts of others to reach out and be real.


    Dear Cheryl,
    Good morning! I really enjoyed your devotional, especially the poem.
    In answer to your question at the end, yes, I think we all wear masks!
    I am going to save your poem to read when I have my devotional time.
    God loves you even without your masks! I know that sometimes when I wear my smiley mask to hide the blues, it is so hard to hide my inner mess that is going on inside. I feel the same way about wondering what people would think of me if they knew the real me.
    Thank you for sharing this with all the devotional readers and may God bless you greatly! You are not alone.
    (Texas USA)


    Thanks for the beautiful poem, Cheryl. It describes how many of us feel, I imagine. I have often longed for the church to be a group where we can drop our masks, and I think there have been times and places with the church that I have been able to do so. The best worship creates space for me to drop my mask before God. As a leader in the church, I feel responsible to be the one to create such a space and yet I have no clue how to do that. And I long for it myself, but don’t wish to put the burden of my own longing onto the ones I serve. So, I stay stuck, just scraping by.
    I love how poetry can tell truths that are hard to say any other way. Poetry used to be one of my ways of saying those things, of daring to say them. Thank you for daring to share yours.
    God bless.


    Oh Cheryl, what a fabulous testimony you have given us this morning. I can relate and I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way. Thank you for your honesty, and words of encouragement.
    I intend to share this devotional with our Ladies Group. We are a group of awesome retired ladies who love the Lord and have studied God’s Word together for many years.
    The middle of July this year we had a family situation that left me reeling and heartbroken. I too have felt like I have been wearing a mask, the mask of bitterness for the past three months. With the help of God’s Word and two dear friends who have lifted me up daily in prayer I am now starting to heal.
    God Bless you and keep you my friend.


    Thanks, Cheryl for a wonderful devotional. Your poem is an excellent explanation of just what happens when we pretend to be what we are not.
    Please keep writing.


    Cheryl, you expressed this very well, good work in God’s Service!!!
    You told my story of when I was first saved many years ago. Things are different now, but I truly believe that your testimony will help many newcomers on their journey to Christ JESUS. Praise the Lord. There is power in testimonies.
    (Sask. Canada)


    I love your honesty Cheryl. As I read your Poem, MASKS – I vividly remember walking into a room, finding someone I knew in tears. She told me something horrible had happened. Then only minutes later, she put on lipstick, smiled in the mirror and said something like; Ok let’s go! And I followed her out in the crowded hall, (my face looking like shock) and hers with a big smile on her face. I whispered to her – Are you ok? She said; Yes. I don’t want anyone to know. In reading your Devotion and Poem – it brought to my attention how Only God really knows each of us, and what we are going through. And how much He must want us to come to Him for help. (Matthew 11:28)


    Cheryl,
    Great devotion today!
    Your past never can define who you are in Christ in the present. In His economy He uses all of our experiences… everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly to minister to others. You have a unique story to share and no one can tell it like YOU!
    Shine His light because there are so many around you who need that warmth, depth and light of Jesus!!

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