Article by Tara Chadwell

Living life without Jesus had brought me a large collection of masks. Just a short time ago, I LOVED my room full of masks. I had one for every occasion, every outfit, every circumstance and my most favorite mask of happiness. This mask was the most beautiful of all. Everyone that walked across my path noticed it and  “loved me.” This mask brought so much to my life…..much more than any of the others. This mask grabbed much attention. You see, this one was the most colorful and bright, and it reflected light like no other. When light hit the jewels, everyone noticed and the attention gave me everything that I needed. Happiness of course, followed by pride, a healthy dose of arrogance, beauty, power, confidence and security. As I wore this mask it became more and more a part of me as if it were attaching to my flesh. I began to wear it constantly because removing it was too painful. It was more comfortable to leave it on, why would I want to take it off anyway?

In my mask of happiness, my life was what seemed to be perfect until it was shaken by a car accident involving my grandparents. My mask did several things, but there are also things my mask DID NOT DO! My prize possession DID NOT CRY or SHOW DESPAIR! What was this? My best friend, my comforter, my security, was ripped from my face. I was lost. I had nothing to cover the ugliness, shame, guilt, insecurity, filthiness, jealousy, selfishness, hatred, anger or any self-seeking ambition that this mask covered. I was bare. For the first time in thirty-one years, I was bare for all to see, and this all happened in a matter of seconds. While rushing on July 25, 2004 to the scene of the accident, I cried out to God. Never before had I done this, never had I prayed like I did in my car that sunny day. Never had I asked for God’s Will, I’d never even heard those two words together, not to my recollection.

This was the day that Jesus, the Light of the World, brushed His light across my face. There was no mask to deflect it or reflect a cheap fake to others. There was no longer a disguise to obscure my character. It was then that I found truth, peace, happiness, and love all in the midst of a storm.

The Bible says that the eye is a lamp unto the body. If we are staring at one another with eyes of darkness, judgment, and condemnation, how will anyone ever see Christ? Jesus touched and healed a leper! We often mock or turn our heads from someone with a tattoo, piercings or odd clothing. Is this the way Jesus served? Jesus as we know loves the unlovable! He looks beyond the facade and loves us anyway. Remember even through a mask you can see the eyes if you choose and we know that God sees and judges the heart and its motivation.

When I find myself standing back in the ballroom, I’m reminded that I’m holding a mask and not the cross. If I’m not putting on Jesus daily…..I’ve settled for an imposter which holds no key to the Kingdom.

You’ll find Tara Chadwell (most any day) teaching at her dance studio, Grace in Motion, 57 West Main, Taylorsville.  For more info, call 477-1110.