The Perfect Mask


I recently encountered a situation where a friend decided to file for divorce after three kids and many wonderful years of marriage.  She explained her side of the story and why she, “has given up.”  The hard part for me was recognizing how the enemy had slowly deceived her and was playing her like a puppet.  Now here I am, faced with the risk of being shut out by a dear friend for sharing why I disagree with her decision.  Sometimes the greater risk is keeping silent.

All the years I spent on the platform as “the speaker of the group,” I did my best to be transparent and simply share from a heart of love.  I believe it to be a tragedy if we go through a hard time and come out victorious, yet do not share the lessons learned.  Because of that, I feel committed to share some personal struggles Warren and I faced.

Many of us who have lived a life on stage tend to hide behind the mask of other’s expectations that we have it all together all the time.  Over time we take this mask on as our identity.  We place ourselves and others under a tremendous amount of pressure to live up to an expectation no one can measure up to.  Truth is, we are all human and all fall short; it’s getting back up after a fall that makes the difference.  We need to learn to be real with our self and with others.  Learning to be honest and taking the mask off most likely will help us to avoid future wrongdoings.  We will become accountable to others and hopefully begin to think twice before we act.

For a long time I could not respect Warren as the head and authority over our home.  I perceived that he did not understand the deep spiritual side of following Christ.  I had been brought up with the mindset that those of other denominations were somehow second rate because they were not vocal about “The Gift” of the Holy Spirit.  I was so blinded by my own denominational bubble that I often failed to see the strengths others possessed in their God given gifts.  I underestimated Warren, and in doing so, I drove a wedge between us.

I was the one who was wrong.  I had become self-righteous and blinded by my own understanding.  I failed to trust God’s ability to give Warren the wisdom and knowledge he needed to take care of us.  It seemed like all he cared about was the music and work of the ministry, rather than the things of the Spirit.  In truth, he was praying and seeking God on our behalf.  He loved me when I didn’t think he even saw me.  He loved me when I was very difficult to love.

Our marriage almost didn’t make it through the first few years.  THANK GOD I learned to respect my husband and learned how to pray differently over the situation.  I began to pray for God to change my heart and show me truth.  The truth soon became apparent to me.  If the enemy could tear our marriage apart, he could also defeat our ministry; our testimony given from the platform of our lives regarding Christ would be void to many.

Warren certainly had his own fault in our issues, but I chose to lay my knowledge aside.  I asked God to show me the areas where I was wrong and then help me to see Warren for the godly man he was.  What a beautiful difference!  Here’s the wonderful thing:  Warren then began to talk and walk with a new boldness and confidence in God.  Could it be that he had always been that way?  I may have been too blind to see it had I not prayed for God to change me.

When a man knows he is not respected by his wife, he closes off emotionally – godly and ungodly alike..  He internally wonders why he’s not enough.  It’s in the very make-up of a man just like we, as women need to know they find us beautiful and we are safe with them.

“(…If a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.  Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” -1 Tim. 3:5-7

Who we are in public is who we should be in private.  If these two do not align together, we must search our heart as to why then make the proper adjustments.  This applies both in the physical and in the mind of our private life.  Choose to live what you say.  In John C. Maxwell’s book, ‘The 21 Indispensable Qualities of A Leader,’ Arthur Gordon acknowledges, “Nothing is easier than saying words.  Nothing is harder than living them day after day.”  Only you can choose who you are.

If we wear the masks of perfection, we not only deceive others but we deceive ourselves.  We are not walking around in faith but in pride.  If you play with a thought long enough, you will eventually live it outwardly.  Most affairs start in the mind.  If the thoughts are not taken captive by saying “NO!” to them, they will work their way to the heart, then be acted out in the physical.  This goes for any thought, not just a marital affair.  Thoughts come into our minds and if not carefully discerned can cause great damage to many.

“He must not be that close to the Lord because I don’t hear him pray like I do.”

“She wears too much make-up and jewelry so she must have a vanity issue.”

“He did this… She did that…”

We must seek God’s wisdom!  What we think is discernment could be nothing more than our own judgmental pride!

Are you willing to humble yourself before God and allow Him to show you the difference in judgment and discernment?  This humility is the first step on the path to discerning.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” ~Psalm 139:23-24

What’s really sad is that much of our “spiritual discernment” has led to all-out war.  Look at the wars in the Middle East.  How about the bombs going off in Ireland over the argument between the Catholic and the Protestant?  Warren was born and raised in Ireland until he was 10 years old.  He was the first to admit people didn’t even know what they were fighting over anymore.  It’s simply pride that keeps it all going.  Both sides refuse to admit they’re wrong and lay down the sword.  We, myself included, have a tendency to read the Bible and point fingers at everyone else, but fail to deal with the speck in our own eye.  This reminds me of a spoof song that went around a few years back, “If There’s Hair In Your Ears, There’s Sin In Your Heart.”  It’s a funny little ditty, but true to how we really judge each other.

I feel extremely blessed that God opened my eyes to my pride.  I thank God often that I was able to stand over Warren’s grave with no other regrets than not having more time with him.  I am fully aware I have more junk to uncover and this process requires continual growth.  I have not arrived.  Actually, I realize the more I learn the less I know.

If I am writing to someone who’s thinking of walking out on a marriage, let me encourage you to take each thought captive.  Ask God out loud, “Is this a truthful thought?”  Then ask Him to silence the voice of the enemy and only allow His absolute truth to fill your mind and your heart.  I pray this prayer on a daily basis, “Father, Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil.  Help me not to fall.”  If you truly love God and others, decide to get real with yourself today.  A life of secrecy will lead to an act you’ll regret.  Also, please consider going to counseling.  If there are children involved, they need to be included in parts of the counseling.  Divorce is never just about two people.  The legacy you leave to your children and grandchildren will pay a high price for this broken covenant.

I do want to mention, that after talking with my friend again she has kept in contact with me.  Our fears of loss and separation cannot be the foundation on which we make our decisions.  I had to ask myself the questions, What’s the greater risk?  Do I risk sharing my perception and possibly seeing my friend’s marriage saved, or do I stay out of her business and risk witnessing a family shattered?  I did my best to place myself in her situation and think about what I might want; then I chose to share my thoughts with her.  Of course, these decisions need to be made through prayer and with a pure heart.

It was others sharing their struggles that helped open my eyes to my own faults, and for this I am forever grateful.  Warren and I had a lot of lessons to learn and would still be learning today if he were here, but I thank God we had 9 1/2 wonderful years together as a solid team.  Just the other day I was reminded of our great adventure as a husband and wife as I flipped through old photos.  I do believe he loved me more than I ever realized.

Thank You God for turning the mirror on myself to reveal my own selfish pride and for giving me the courage to face it.  Thank You for setting me free from these chains.  Continue to change my heart to beat in-sync with Yours; place in it a passion for the life You have for me.

Shannan Parker

‘The Perfect Mask’ -Nov. 01 ‘2009

Shannanparker.wordpress.com

copyright 2009

BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN FOR MY UPCOMING BLOG, “Poopy Happens ~ I Dare You To Laugh!”.  IT’S FULL OF POOPY AND PHOTO’S OF THE CRIME!!!

9 Comments

  1. Richard said,

    11/22/2009 at 11:50

    Nice Post, I have bookmarked your site and will return again.
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    • shannanparker said,

      11/25/2009 at 11:50

      So glad you enjoyed Richard, Thank You.

  2. Jess said,

    11/22/2009 at 11:50

    Hey Shannan!
    I had tears in my eyes when I read this. I know I didn’t know you at the time when things weren’t going so well for you but I am very thankful to God that He took care of things becuz you guys played a huge part of my life. I was awed by you guys it’s like all I ever talked about was Parker Trio. I love you guys and even though you say you had a mask on on the stage….it was a good one. Thank you for being there for me like you were. I’m so glad that everything turned around for you both. I’ve been learning more then ever these days that God is always there….even coming through at the very last possible second. I’m loving being so close to Him. I don’t even know how I’m going to make it through this week but I know it will be ok. Thank you for everything you ever said either on stage or in person and can’t forget single every signed merch with scripter and encouragement. 🙂
    You are loved and looked up too! ❤ huggggs
    your lil' friend.
    jess

    • Cynthia said,

      11/23/2009 at 11:50

      Shannan, your words of truth, insight, trust and thankfulness gripped my heart, my eyes, my ears. You are such an incredible daughter of our Heavenly Father and I am deeply thankful and feel such favor and love from the Lord, in knowing He perfectly placed you on my path, in my heart. You are not only such a wondeful friend but, your being my sister in Christ gives me tremendous strength and love in all my relationships…God, Jeff, my children and friendships. I love you Sha

      • shannanparker said,

        11/25/2009 at 11:50

        Cynthia, You are a treasure. You have been a tremendous encouragement to me and your prayers have carried me far. Thank You!

        The storms we face in life are only tragic if we do not learn and grow from them; then share our lessons that others may avoid the same mistakes. ~Shannan

    • shannanparker said,

      11/25/2009 at 11:50

      Dear Jess,

      Thank you for your kind words and love for P3. I am thankful for the years God allowed us to travel and share His word. We meant every word we said both on and off platform, and did our very best to live accordingly. We, like everyone else, we’re learning and growing as time went on. Always remember, the words “I’m sorry” are powerful. Sometimes it’s the greatest way to say, I love you.

      Hugs To My “lil’ Friend” 😉
      Shannan

  3. Tracey Paris said,

    11/27/2009 at 11:50

    Shannan….thank you for letting God use you. It is amazing how every word given by God can be used in some place in our lives…if not the exact situation…it will apply somewhere…taking off our masks and being real is so important…it is so true…that God will carry us…we should never let the mask become who we are. Thank you…for the time you take to uncover so much of your journey to help others on theirs. We miss you and we love you…keep on keeping on! May God’s Grace and Mercy be with you all the days of your life….love you!

    • shannanparker said,

      12/02/2009 at 11:50

      Tracey, Every word of encouragement that comes back is equally inspiring to me. I am amazed with each response. I know my weakness and my many faults, yet God allows me to speak/write His Holy name. I love all of you and appreciate your friendship!

  4. Charles Amonett said,

    02/18/2013 at 11:50

    Thanks for sharing, Shannan.


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