Snippets of the day flash across my mind’s eye as I lay in bed, trying to sleep. The pictures and memories play over and over with this song as the soundtrack. “This is the stuff that drives me crazy….This is the stuff You use.”

'Tears are tasteless' photo (c) 2008, LMAP - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Tears for Ellie again in the worship service at church, and the growing dread as October (it will be 3 years since she died) and winter (with its dark and depression) draw ever closer. (gratitude for the difficult graces… #435-436)

…The unshakable and unsettling sense of inner homelessness. (#437 – empathy for others)

…Mixed signals from a friend who seems distant. (#438 – not all the signals are negative)

…My son’s arm around my shoulder and my daughter’s head resting on my other shoulder. Even though I’ve been out of sorts, still they draw near. (#439-441, one for each affectionate child)

…Husband and kids in one room doing our bedtime routine while I curl up on the couch, tired and unwilling to join, yet feeling guilty for not joining them. (#442-445 – a husband who reads, prays, sings, and tucks kids into bed)

…Sunshine, blue sky, cool breeze, and the kind of conversation I crave. (#446-449)

…Pressing my face into prayer-pleading palms and begging through prayer-pleading fingers for God to give me a sense of being accepted and at peace even if my circumstances don’t reinforce that. (#450-452 – God hears and listens and is patient with me)

…Tonight’s epic failure to communicate what I mean, added to the ever-growing pile of previous such failures. Words are so difficult and misunderstandings seem to multiply the harder I try. So why am not able to walk away? Why do I keep trying? (#453-454 Jesus is the Word of God in flesh, so words aren’t inherently bad. My failures point me to the perfect Word.)

…Discovering 1 Peter 4:10 as my answer. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (#455)

'Broken Glass at Work-6' photo (c) 2008, Eric Schmuttenmaer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’m broken. In both the sense of “not whole” and in the sense of “malfunctioning.” I don’t live consistent with the things I claim to believe or be. Those inconsistencies aren’t hidden. I can’t hide them and yet I can’t fix them. (#456-459)

But being whole and being perfect isn’t a requirement God asks of me. God chooses broken people, the ones least likely to succeed, the ones H.R. would pass over when looking to fill an open position. Jesus went to Galilee to choose his first disciples, a place full of troublemakers and half-breeds, the worst of the worst, the ones Jews were ashamed to call Jews. Jesus gave them one instruction, “follow me,” and a promise – “I will make you fishers of people” – I will equip you. (#460-463)

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1 that God chooses the foolish, weak, and silly to show God’s love, grace, mercy, and power to transform ugly into beautiful. (#464-470)

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

Social media makes it easy to create fake portrayals of ourselves. While it’s possible to share too much, I grow weary of all the “I have it all together” super-people posts. Posts like this discourage me and make me question whether God can use a screw-up like me.

I need to know that you are foolish and weak too, and that God has chosen you and is working through you in spite of or because of your weakness.

I’ve discovered that when I share things like this, you find encouragement too. (#471)

life: unmaskedSo, let’s do it. Take down the masks and be real with one another. Share slices of real life from the previous week… the real, un-photoshopped, deal. Be honest about our brokenness, and rejoice in how God works in and with us anyway. We all have real-life messes, slip-ups, and embarrassing moments, and we all can find God’s grace in those moments. We’ve all learned simple but profound lessons that could help another through the rough patches of life we all have to go through… if we will share them.

Life: unmasked buttonJoin me and write unmasked once a week. Encourage others with your story. Invite them to lose their mask too. Write your story any day of the week, grab the Life: unmasked button code in my left sidebar, and share it here on Wednesdays in the linky I’ll have up. If you are blogless, write your story in the comments or if you prefer a more private approach, type it up in Word. Email it to me if you’d like. (I will not share it with anyone.)

I look forward to living life: unmasked with you.

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