Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The word "Authentic" has been resonating with me lately. I have heard it in conversation and spoken it many times concerning friendship and fellowship. Webster's defines authentic as "not false or imitation: Real, Actual." We can all value a friendship or fellowship that is truly authentic....not false, real, actual. Yet, I feel like we live in a culture that does not embrace authenticity but settles for something less in friendship and fellowship. As human beings, we yearn for human interaction but should we settle for anything less than REAL relationships with people? Should we compromise who we are in order to "fit" into some pre-determined mold? I have been so blessed recently by REAL, AUTHENTIC relationships that I felt compelled to write about it. I cannot express the gratitude that swells in my heart knowing that I am surrounded by people with whom I can be completely transparent with, people who will be transparent with me, thus spurring each another on in true fellowship.

I recently visited one of my very dearest friends (for like 16 years now) in Chicago. She is preggers with her very first baby (you have no idea how long I have waited for this), and I flew out for her baby shower. Oh, to be with another woman who knows me inside and out and speaks my language. I cannot tell you what a blessing it was to be a part of her community and see the love that surrounds her. I had such an intense, authentic encounter while visiting her that I came home feeling renewed and ready to approach relationships with a new perspective. It happened like this:

Saturday of Dana's baby shower, we pull up to her friend's house feeling very excited to share the afternoon together. Another friend of hers arrives at the same time. I walk up to the door, and this friend of hers (whom I have never met) says (with intense enthusiasm), "Charity, it is so good to see you!" And gives me a FULL embrace, just as if we had always known each other.

I can honestly say I have never had an encounter like this, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to experience this kind of authentic love. It was like seeing a neon sign:


And now I have the opportunity to bring this my relationship with my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, my community, and complete strangers. It had become far too easy for me to settle into the routine and forget that the people I interact with are REAL, and they (like me) need someone to be authentic with them! Someone to:

-Really listen
-Really pray
-Give REAL hugs
-Cheer them on
-Have REAL conversations (even the hard ones)
-Grow with
-Grieve with
-Laugh with
-Accept the core of who they are
-Speak the truth
-Be transparent
-Show them honor

I went to visit a friend, and I gained a whole new way of looking at people. I have to say...that is a great vacation! I cheer for Drew and Dana in their new adventure in the mommy and daddy world. I feel so blessed to watch my childhood friend bringing new life into this world (now if only we could convince them to move to Maine)!

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