Authentic Grace: The Heart of the Matter

I’ve come to love the word authentic. Authentic causes, authentic words, authentic people.
I am working to be authentic and to give authentic grace.
Earlier this summer I was asked to speak at a 100th Anniversary Women’s gathering, Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, Little Rock, Arkansas. My topic? Authentic Grace. AUTHENTIC. Grace.
I do not pretend to be an authority on authenticity or grace, what I am is a work in progress, I desire to be real and honest. My truth is my truth. Your truth is yours, and I’ll always plan that our honesty can meet somewhere in the middle, where the real truth lies!
Real Grace actually began for me as I waited with Bill Gaither to be interviewed on Nashville’s WSM — I remember the moment; where we were sitting and what I was thinking. I had — for the most part — cut ties with someone because she wasn’t living my script for her. I was comfortable with that — cherry picking the Bible sometimes makes us do crazy things. As we talked about a similar incident in the Gospel Music Industry, Bill said “It will all be fine for them until they stub their toe!” As he continued to talk about the situation and why this behavior was unacceptable, I was asking myself if I was a person who really lived authentic grace. I was certainly the first in line to try and receive it, but was I ever the first in line to give it? Isn’t that the beauty of grace? Authentic grace? The idea that we can receive grace from our Lord? But also honor Him by constantly giving grace as well?
I’m reminded of the verse Hebrews 4:16: Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, which we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.
So, while I believe being authentic should be the cornerstone to how we live our lives, how can we translate our authenticity into authentic grace? How do we give authentic grace?
The best example of how I began my journey into authentic grace, well… I’ll tell you how it started: it was when I saw first-hand how authenticity can make a difference when we give grace.
Friends came over recently, probably always thinking everything was pretty perfect in my life. We began talking about really silly things, laughing, and generally having fun about life in general.
One asked me if it had been hard to care for my Mother during these last two years. I almost said, very arrogantly, oh YES, it was hard, but GOD covered me. What a pious and shallow way for me to respond about God’s role in my life.
Of course God did cover me, but it was so much more than that. I shared with them how hard it was emotionally, giving them a few specifics of what happened during my Mother’s last years.
That I never dreamed I would be living with my Mother at this age, but it was just THE Greatest Gift from God, she became my best friend and literally changed my life. I am forever desperately in love with this woman, who was My Mother.
These three women sat in my living room, mouths opened. THEN something miraculous happened. They each told me really extremely personal details about tragedies in their lives, one handled hers brilliantly; one on the other side; the other was smack dab in the middle of a travesty and it was revealing, heart wrenching and in the same moment joyous because now we knew what she needed, how we could/can help her. Making myself/ourselves vulnerable was the greatest gift that day. This 25 year old girl was authentic because we were!
THIS. IS. AUTHENTIC. GRACE. Sharing God’s love for us even in the most difficult of times. Life is not always perfect, it can and does sometimes get messy, really messy. Thankfully we have God to rely on and He can take a mess and make something beautiful, REALLY beautiful.
There are ways we can all start our journey to Authentic Grace:
1. Be a Mother, Father, Sister, and Friend with no reservations. No conditions. No expectations. Nothing will change this loyalty. Relationships grow out of WHO WE ARE.
2. There are no greater words than I LOVE YOU. Say them and say them often. Make the world stand still; nothing is more powerful than I Love You.
3. Take time for the important things. Today, do something important rather than just responding to the urgent demands of life. Write that letter; make that phone call; ask the question, “How can I make your life easier today?”
4. Do not compromise your integrity. Do not compromise the people you love.
I hope we can take this journey together. In the next days/weeks I’ll be posting more about my life and Authentic Grace.
I LOVE YOU and nothing you do will change that. NOTHING.
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