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the real cinnamon toast crunch

Happy Wednesday, friends! Pull up a chair and have a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch with me? It's one of my favorite cereals and I think I really have to buy the real thing, ya know, the name brand? I've tried the other stuff, those big bags for a great value. I almost always buy the store brand, as long as it's cheaper than the name brand, but for some reason I need the REAL cinnamon toast crunch for it to be good! The fake stuff just doesn't do. I need the real thing. I need authenticity.

So everyone wears their masks, I mean, really, check out facebook! Ever heard of facebook depression? As a counselor, I was curious about this, and it's actually a "thing." People put up the best of their lives for everyone to see. They have the perfect life, the perfect school, the perfect body, the perfect children, the perfect life situation, so when people read everyone's "perfection," they begin to question their own lives and why it doesn't feel so good. I am not immune either! Comparisons are not cool.

Ever get lonely? Hey, I sure do! I'm taking off my mask. I am a seminary graduate and married to a man who works in church. Am I perfect and happy all the time? Nope, definitely not! My kids throw tantrums with the best of them and sometimes I just don't feel like being friendly! LOL Sometimes it's difficult because peoples' expectations of our family are beyond human reach, but here I am taking off my mask! One Sunday, I sat in the back of the sanctuary by myself to be available for nursery duty, which they did call me out to help, however, people questioned why I sat in the back and assumed me and my husband were fighting. Ummm, no...just nursery duty, folks. I can't fight with him on Sunday mornings anyway because I don't see him until noon. I have to laugh, but must admit it made me angry that someone would suggest something that had no truth to it! Where is our focus and authenticity? Let our hearts break for those who are broken and need Jesus!

Recently I'm having a hard time with no family around anywhere close by. My husband's parents are 12 hours away and mine are 14 hours away! I sometimes am jealous when I see other people get to hang out with their families on holidays or do ordinary fun stuff like going shopping. When my husband works long hours, it's just me at home with the girls and I can't go visit family. It's usually fine, but sometimes I'm sad! At the end of the day, it's me, my husband, and girls. It definitely forces us to depend of the Lord and we depend on each other and really operate as a family unit. Don't get me wrong, I'm a really independent person and have been since I was born. I don't like help and don't like to need people. I wanted to go far away to college and assert my independence as an 18 year old. God created us for relationships, though, and that's where I struggle lately. There, mask off.

On a broader scale, I am like many other girls and love fashion, hair, and makeup, so yes, I watch makeup tutorials on youtube. It's kind a stress reliever for me! I was watching one the other night and the girl was answering some questions from her subscribers beyond makeup and about her life. My husband asked me why I think people watch her and she has two million subscribers. First, the aesthetics are pretty, which catches viewers' eyes. After that, though, she seems real with them. She's not pretending she has had a perfect life and is honest about trials and hardships. We then understand that there aren't two million subscribers to our church website. There aren't two million people showing up for church on Sunday. Why is that? Maybe our focus is not on autheticity and being open and real with the world who needs a Savior.

Why do we fight so hard to keep masks on? Fake doesn't do anyone any good. I think we are all searching for that autheticity. I want to know I'm not alone in my struggles. I'm not alone in my frustrations. I'm just not alone... Can we take off our masks, be real, and show the world the real Jesus? The Jesus Who knows and understands us? The Jesus Who forgives our imperfections? The Jesus Who will carry us through it all?

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17



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