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Our church is starting a new idea for women.
It is challenging us to think about as women, how do we present ourselves to others.
The thought around this ‘concept is this’, when we visit with others do we hide our ‘real selves’ and present to them our ‘best selves’, or are we able to be real with them right from the start.
We hide for many reasons.
We feel shame because of what was done to us in our early years?
We feel inadequate or not worthy?
We feel less than authentic and loved because of what was told to us as we were growing up.
The challenge sounds wonderful and hard, for to be real is actually to be very transparent
and for some of us that means our ‘hurt and pain’ must be shared.
It is easy for us to give grace to some but very difficult to give to ourselves.
To be authentic is very important when it comes to relationships. says authentic means nothing false or copied, as in original, genuine or real, it says it is trustworthy and reliable.
Then I looked up grace to see what the dictionary would say about that, it said it is elegance, pleasing or attractive, beauty or favor, mercy or pardon.
It said it is also an allowance of time between when something is due, as in a thirty day grace period.
That time is not counted until it is late, I understand this concept because of bill paying experience.
Authentic grace.
Most of those who know me would tell you I am authentic.
My feelings are real and to the point, as much as possible without hurting someone.
If you are a friend of mine and you have done me no wrong, I will be faithful to you to the end of our friendship or lives which ever comes first for us.
There are some people who have been in my life since we were in junior high, we are close friends because we care for each other in a mutual way, we pray for and hope for the best for each other.
There is no agenda of ‘me or I’ it is about us, as friends in a very special friendship.
I value that greatly.
We all need at least one or two people who we can call our genuine authentic friend.
There is a risk to being real. There is also strength in being honest.
Sometimes being real and honest can also be hurtful.
That is where discernment comes into the story.
Relationships that are filled with authentic grace are the most ‘healthy’ kind.
In my home growing up the lessons we learned were not relational.
In fact it was not even safe to share what was really going on inside your heart.
The best thing to do was be quiet and follow the rules.
For me now, as I am sixty and finally at a mature ‘space’.
Authentic grace means I can be real with you and you with me
and if we don’t agree, we can learn to give grace to each other and agree to disagree.
It is kind of like that allowance of time we call a grace period.
Where nothing is required of you, other than to be yourself.
Relationships are like that in many ways.
They must be authentic and real and trustworthy and reliable.
Very much like the love we receive from our Lord when he tells us,
“I have loved you with an ever lasting love.”
Authentic and real, full of  life giving hope.
Authentic grace… I pray it is something you have found.