Gold Brush Stroke

Smiling faces light up the stadium. Genuine I’m-having-the-time-of-my-life smiles not fake I’ll-smile-because-I-should kind. Nearly every participant displays such a grin. Laughter and squeals of delight intermix with “Good job!” “Nice try!” and “You can do it!”

I am welcomed into the world of Special Olympics and real people!

And the weight of a difficult week begins to lift.

My daughter, Rachel, kicks the ball. Even before it stops, she raises her hands in victory, eyes sparkling, laughter ringing through the air! The ball falls way short of the goal. Rachel celebrates!

rach so soccer happy1 e1427855864140

Moving to the next event, she is too busy waving to those around her to listen to the instructions. Still, the ball’s there. The kick … short. Victory!

My daughter moves from one ball to the next. Cheering every kick, even when the ball dribbles a mere foot. Never letting go of her smile. Inviting the audience to experience her joy.Rachel-Special Olympics

And I do! My soul begins to sing!

I look around the stadium and I see the Lord. I see Him in the face of each one of His precious children. I see Him in their unconditional love, unfettered joy, and uncommon grace. I see it in the way they fulfill their purpose on this earth: Reflecting His glory, Softening hearts, Bringing joy, Pointing the way to Him—Being living examples of grace.

Then, too soon, it’s over! It’s time to return to the see-if-you-can-find-the-real-me world, a place ripe with fear, insecurity, cruelty, and selfishness.

Anxiety washes over me! I long to remain in this stadium among these participants. To keep the doors firmly closed to the outside world. To block out the evil, the ugly, the pain. To hide!

But that would mean hiding from myself as well. For my sin runs deep. I am selfish and cruel. No amount of hiding can change that!

I glance at the athletes one more time and marvel at their serenity and openness. Their joy at just being!

With renewed resolve, I step out of that venue. My mask has fallen away. I purpose to keep it off; to just be me. Yes, my sin is now exposed. But, only by being unveiled can I truly begin to reflect the glory of the Lord.

There is no pretense at Special Olympic events or in the lives of those with intellectual disabilities. There is no hiding behind masks. There is just love and realness. Who you see is who they are. Authentic. Genuine. The face of Christ.

My prayer is that one day, through my willingness to embrace who I was created to be and the Lord’s transformation, someone will see Jesus Christ reflected in me as well.

By embracing the me I was created to be, may I reflect Jesus Christ to another. Share on X

“We all, with unveiled faces, are reflecting the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Reflections: Are you hiding behind a mask? If so, what are your fears? If not, what has helped you unveil the real you?

By His Grace,



  1. FaithBarista | Bonnie Gray on September 26, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing such inspiration on fears and faith- to open and express both. Blessings, Julie!

    • juliesunne on September 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      I appreciate your comment, Bonnie! This is my year for consciously making the transition of letting go of my fears so I can serve God fully in His calling. So many of us struggle with this! I believe it really holds us back in our Christian walk. It has me!

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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