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Live Beyond The Mask

Susan wakes to the shine of sun streaming through her window. The dog is licking her cheek. The warmth of the blanket brings a comfort that she wants to remain in forever. Maybe if she lays perfectly still this moment will be lasting. But she knows her feet must hit the floor. She must stand today.

Maybe a shower will do the trick? No, not yet. She hurries back to the comfort of her bed and the gentleness of her pup. A friend who loves her in spite of who she really is.

What if people knew who she really is? Would they still love her? Would they still respect her? She has attended church and sat in the same pew for twenty-five years. She has taught Sunday School and lead in women's ministry. She's out going and beautiful. She is always wearing a smile. That mask covers so much. No one sees. Maybe no one cares. Would they even recognize her if they could see the sins of yesterday upon her forehead? The reality?  She knows what's underneath.

The prostitution when she was young. The abortion after a night that cannot be remembered. The drugs that hooked her hard. Her past is shattered. Pieces of devastation that exploded beyond herself and wounded many others. The tears that she brought to her parents. The worthlessness that still seeks her to bring her down.

As Susan curls in bed, she is reminded of who she was. Satan is there, tempting her emotions. He wants her to remain in yesterday. She isn't that girl any longer. Grace has covered her. Her sins have been removed, but they have not been forgotten. What is it that reminds her? The words and conversations of others.

She hears the people at church talk about the sins of others, but never their own. She hears how they speak of women who have given too much of themselves in search of love. She hears the voices around her judge those going through drug abuse programs. What if they knew that was her? Would they see past her transgressions or would that be their focus?

Susan seeks Christ on a level that most of us simply haven't reached. She lives as though her life is Christ's. She is the girl with a faith that is seeking a heart like Christ. She follows His Word. She lives it. She reaches out beyond her circle and loves into the hearts of those hurting. She can see in the eye of man the hurt he is living with. She knows the masks all too well. She has felt the judgement that goes with imperfect people.

She still stumbles. She fails when the world seems to crush upon her hopes. She wants to serve more. But she isn't given that chance. So in the stillness of the night she wonders, "Why would Jesus love me?" Others see her personality and how she flutters about like a rhythmic butterfly on a mission. But then night falls and all changes. The hurts come tumbling back. She questions herself and ponders those what if thoughts.

All Susan wants is to be real with people. But she feels that she cannot. Why? The fear of rejection. She has been rejected so often in her life, she doesn't think she can go through that again. If only she was encouraged by the words of others. If only people wouldn't say much unless it was in a positive light. Do people really consider who is around them hearing the words they speak?

Just yesterday she heard a woman ranting on the sin of women who abort their babies. There wasn't love spoken. No grace to be shown. Only the sad fact of what she already knew. She had sinned. A sin she will live with for the rest of her breathing days. A sin that brought the consequences of no more children to be born from her womb.

What if people really knew she struggled with wanting to drink her troubles away? The whiskey is there before her. The shot glass remains empty. Untouched, but thought about on those days of hard.

She just wants to share her story. Susan wants to be real. She knows that she can't be the only one. She knows this pain is all too real and if she could only share from her heart. Down from the depths of the hell she has felt, just maybe others could be changed. Maybe they would no longer feel alone, but accepted as sinners in need of grace. Sinners in search of God's healing. Sinners in search of more than this world or people can offer. Children of God wanting to move in a radical way for Him to bring others to know there is a better way.

She spends time in prayer seeking her Lord and Savior. She finds the strength she needed to head for the shower. Today is the day the Lord has spoken. He's asking her to remove her mask and share her story. He is asking her to reach out in truth. If she will let go of the fear He will fill her with a rich hope that sees beyond her past and allows her rest in His comfort of forgiveness.

She realizes she must live her life to the fullest and not worry about what others will say or if judgement crosses their lips in secret. She can't worry about the stares and glares of others. Remove the mask and true beauty is shown. Grace is alive when the mask is removed. No hiding out any longer. Susan knows her story can reach the hearts of the youth. She knows there are women in the pews who have been touched by abuse and heartache. Just what if that man in the third row hears her story and realizes the girlfriend he abused is the daughter of the King of kings. Just what if the words she shares gives him new insight and he can see the road of destruction ahead. If one person is touched by her story, just one, it's all worth it.

Susan is choosing faith instead of fear today. She is choosing to allow God the room He needs in her life to bring about beauty from the ashes. She is choosing to reject the judgement that comes with honesty. She wants others to see what a real and intimate relationship with Christ has done in her life. She is a work in progress. Some days that work is on over time while on other days the movement is a bit slower. But it all depends on how much she is willing to give to God. Today she decides it's time to give ALL.

A life surrendered is a life of truth. Mistakes of the past are opportunities for Christ to do mighty works that bring light to the eyes of others.

Friends, give it all to to Jesus today. Don't fear being real. It's real that this world needs. It's in the real that we find true grace and the beauty of ALL Christ has done, is doing and will do in our lives. Give Him room and watch the beauty that comes!

"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death." Romans 8:1-2

"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins." Romans 3:23-24

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20


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