When you lower the mask, there is beauty

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Dear momma friend, what would happen if we dared to lower our masks? If we stepped out in courage and dared to strip away the fake, the lies, the shame, the disguises. What would happen if we put away the fears and dared to be honest? To be transparent? To be real? The answer? Something beautiful. I have the privilege of co-leading a MOPS group with a dear friend. I cannot tell you how much I look forward to our meetings because they refresh my soul. I walk away encouraged and ready to face my next momma battle. You see, at every meeting something beautiful happens . . . a group of women lower their masks. And there is beauty.

A cardinal in the middle of winter . . . a bouquet of roses . . . a newborn baby . . .  a sunrise . . . a lily . . . a rainbow . . . Beauty is powerful. It leaves us in awe, it refreshes, encourages, strengthens, and gives us hope to carry on. In our fallen world however, beauty is often the result of pain, trials, scars, and darkness. Much must die and be buried for the cardinal to stand out on a white winter day. The seed must be buried for the rose and the lily. A sunrise comes out of the darkness. A baby enters this world through pain and scars. A rainbow comes after the storm. And friend, beauty comes from our real, from our pain, from our scars, from our darkness, from our storms.

As women and moms, we've grown so accustomed to wearing a mask. To covering up, hiding, and saying the right words at the right time. It comes so naturally, we often forget we are even wearing it . . . until one woman dares to lower hers. And then we all breathe a sigh of relief as the beauty of honesty refreshes us and we begin to lower our own mask.

Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. -Brené Brown

Honesty requires courage. It isn't always easy and it isn't always pretty. Sometimes honesty brings laughter, other times it causes your mascara to smear from the tears . . . but more importantly, it brings beauty and freedom. Honesty is also dangerous because it requires vulnerability, but I've found the beauty that comes from it is worth the risk.

Now let me be very clear here, there are people with whom we do need to remain guarded around because they will take the beauty of our honesty and turn it into a weapon to wound and destroy us. We do need to ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance lest we freely give our hearts to those who have proven untrustworthy. Many of us have been wounded in the past by such people; in fact, they may even be the reason we wear masks and close ourselves off to others. They taught us to fear people, honesty, and vulnerability . . . however, fear is no place for us to live.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. -2 Timothy 1:7 (Amplified Bible)

We are called to boldly be who we were created to be. Our lives--the good, the bad, and the ugly--reveal the redeeming grace of our Lord and Savior. He has given us a story that is only ours to tell and it cannot bless another if we keep silent. Our triumphs, our fears, our scars . . . out of these has come a beauty that has the power to bless, encourage, and point someone to our Savior. In addition, honesty opens us up to allow someone else to minister to our own hearts. I've seen it happen and experienced it time after time . . . and it is so beautiful.

All it takes is just one momma to step out in courage and lower her mask. You see, when just one momma begins to admitthat this motherhood thing is hard, that there are times she loves it and times she cries, that some days she yells at her kids, that sometimes she finds her toddler pee-ing into a sippy cup, that sometimes she wants to quit, when she begins to share her struggles, it allows the other mommas in the room to breathe a sigh of relief and know that they are not alone. It allows the other mommas to lower their masks, to laugh, cry, and enjoy the beauty of honesty together. And then . . . everyone walks away refreshed and encouraged. It is a beautiful thing.

Will you be the one who dares to lower her mask? The one who shows another momma the beauty of honesty? I dare you to lower your mask. To be you . . . the real you. The one who is full of triumphs and pain; beauty and scars; courage and fear. To be the one who ministers through honesty. It's terrifying, but it is beautiful. I know, because I've experienced it.

{Post linked at A Mama's Story, A Little R & R,Mom's Morning Coffee, The Deliberate Mom}