Authenticity Always

Attribution: MOPS

Attribution: MOPS

Several years ago I signed on to volunteer with Mothers of Preschoolers aka MOPS. I first signed on as a childcare worker and lover, and then moved up the ranks to mentor mom, one who has “been there, done that.”

In our training, a word I knew but never connected with the who that I am jumped to the forefront of my awareness. That word is “authenticity.” As authenticity relates to the world around me, it means real, honest, truthful, the real thing, nothing hidden. And you probably can think of others.

But I learned a new authenticity in my MOPS training. Although it involved all the above, it specifically meant I had to be the one showing and sharing all those qualities, not some product advertised on TV or sitting on store shelves or hanging on a rack.

As the verse above from Isaiah mentions, God was doing a new thing in me. He was making me accountable for who I am, not only to the persons I was interacting with but with family, friends, and myself.

Talking to a young mother I learned to speak openly about the difficulties of parenting a new infant, sharing the trials I experienced with colic, sleepless nights, a husband who didn’t help, the laundry, trying to balance housecleaning chores, cooking, and baby. I could not sugarcoat the realities of what I had experienced.

This young mother needed to know I knew what it was like to be in her shoes, in her skin, in her days. In order to do that I needed to share who I was when I was a young mom.

What was even harder was sharing about when my first marriage faltered, and the father of my child and I separated. This was something I didn’t willingly share with everyone. However, God placed a young mother struggling with separation and a young child in her arms for whom she had become solely responsible. It was my big test!

I thought long and hard about telling her the truth of my story, but God nudged and I knew she needed to know I truly understood because yes, I had been there. “Be real, authentic” God kept nudging. And I did.

We all need to bravely be ourselves, be authentic always with those around us.

We need to give up conforming to this world, attempting to fit in, or speaking so others believe we agree when we don’t. It means we need to be real, really who we are, really His.

What God wants from us is authenticity — the act of being who He created us to be.

Can you be that for Him, for yourself, for others? Think about your life and if you have a story to share about your authenticity, won’t you share it with us below?


Linking up on Monday with:

Kelli Woodford at Unforced Rhythms

and on Wednesday with:

Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart
Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory

Labor Day, A Tribute to the Hard Working

Rather than forget my history lessons and make a gross error in explaining how Labor Day came to be, I’ll share a link here to an interesting page provided at The History Channel’s site which has a plethora of information in the form of videos, speeches, historical information, and more.

The one thing I can tell you without fear of error is that the holiday was originally established to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers.

Life has changed in our country and much of our industrial and manufacturing processes have moved to other countries, so we have fewer such workers. Our corporate workers likely number a good deal more than our “blue-collar” workers today.

And unfortunately, our unemployed number far too many. Being out of work may prevent one’s celebration of Labor Day. Wonder how that feels?

Also the reason for celebrations have evolved into a last fling of summer, the last weekend at the lake or on the boat, the last outing with the kids before school starts, the last weekend of good weather in some areas, and the last of the summer harvests. A time of nostalgia for the memories made during the summer months.

But let’s go back to that unemployed worker who is likely not celebrating Labor Day. Out of work, living on less than it takes to keep a roof over his family’s head and clothing on their backs, this worker is not out on the lake, at a picnic, enjoying the comforts of being able to afford new clothing and school supplies for his children, and likely there is no health insurance for this family either.

I remember a time when my family had reached a similar point. My father was in poor health an entire summer. My mother was his primary caregiver. I was married to my first husband, and my younger brother was still in high school. Clever always, my mom figured out a way to pay the bills while dad was out of work by cutting off the newspaper subscription, finding a way to dispose of garbage and eliminating garbage pickup, stretching meals with a variety of ways, and keeping their bills current by calling to say she would “pay what I can this month but I’ll pay something every month.”

Labor Day wasn’t celebrated that year. And for good reason. It would have humiliated father to have a celebration going on for a “tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers.” He wasn’t contributing or achieving that year.

I also remember a verse of Scripture that came to me during that time as I pondered my family’s future:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

~ James 1:2-4 (ESV)

It is my hope that our brothers and sisters who were not in the spirit of Labor Day for one reason or another have heard about this testing of faith. And I hope they received encouragement to believe no matter what their circumstances. That belief and faith is all that got my parents through on several occasions.

I also hope that you and yours have had a safe, healthy, and joyous Labor Day weekend!


Linking up on Monday with:

Kelli Woodford at Unforced Rhythms

and on Wednesday with:

Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart
Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory