When I wear a mask it’s because I’m still believing the lie of my old shame, that says there is something uniquely and unusually wrong with me. So, I wear a mask to cover that reality from you, in hopes you’ll love me more. It doesn’t ever work, but if I’m not trusting who Jesus says I am on my worst day, I’ll still default to it.

So, for instance, I might want to convince you that I am this incredibly amazing person who can do all that he does, have time for every friendship, and still, almost effortlessly create an artful, insightful, profound, smart and moving blog piece every few days.

In truth, my last 24 hours have been a blur, most of which I wouldn’t want you to see.

-Yesterday I wrote up and delivered a eulogy for a precious 19-year-old-girl who took her life in her ongoing battle with severe bi-polarity. I saw her the hour she was born. I baptized her. Ever since we got the call several days ago, I’ve been undone, staggered, weak and cold inside. Yesterday I remained fragile and undone. And that fragility was heaped upon the fragility I’ve been carrying the last few months. I just survived the service and hoped to have given God’s comfort.

-I got home and took off my suit-which is too big on me and ridiculously out of style. It makes me look like a missionary out trying to raise support.

-Then Stacey and I, overwhelmed from the emotion and tragedy of the service proceeded to get into an argument.

-Then we shared some wine and had a beautiful talk.

-Then I made a fire and we prepared dinner for a wonderful Facebook friend in town from Virginia. She and her family are incredible carriers of the Cure. She came over with a lifelong friend and we all talked as though we’d known each other all our lives. But every moment up until she arrived I was roughing myself up with this thought: “She’s gonna be so disappointed at the very normal and average person I am in real life. And why didn’t we make appetizers, anyway?”

-I burned the potatoes on the grill.

-Nobody seemed to care.

-We ended the evening realizing they had been a gift send to us in the center of our sadness.

-I slid into bed feeling like a very weary 90-year-old man.

-I was awakened in the middle of the night by my cat, who wanted out. I spent the next hour and a half trying to get back to sleep by imagining playing a round at a local golf course.

-I awoke feeling like a man who had wrestled a bear and an angry raccoon during the night.

-I ate fat-free cottage cheese to make up for the coconut cream pie the evening before.

-I had a hard, real, good, honest, hard, real, honest, good, hard meeting with Bill and Bruce, about our relationships.

-Our staff went through one of our study guide chapters. It was wonderful, but it left me with much more editing work, when I thought we were just about done.

-I texted back to my son telling him that I wouldn’t be able to meet him at Windsor’s restaurant because I wouldn’t be able to break away in time.

-I drove home aware that I have not yet started on my message for Sunday morning.

-My adrenalin continues to keep me tied up in a ball of tension.

-I forgot to get more firewood, to replace what we used up the night before, for the couple we’ll have over tonight.

…But God.

I come home to find two gifts from a friend at my door. They’re just simple gifts but ones that tell me I am known. As I sit down to compose this my daughter Carly calls me from college, just because she’s got a free moment going across campus and wants to tell me about her classes. I read a deeply encouraging text from a friend, telling me how grateful she was that I was the one God picked to do the memorial service yesterday. And then my funny and totally cool wife bursts in the door, and yells out, “Hey, its me. I’m home!” She says it in such a tone that tells me everything is going to be ok and that I am loved by her more than she loves chocolate.

24 hours. Not clean, not neat, not easy…but orchestrated by a God who says, “Kid, just stay in the arena. I’ve got you. All you need to do is show up. I’ll use whatever you can give me. Just don’t cover up and hide away. I can do a whole lot with even your sighs.”