First Friday: Authenticity



I remember the first time I heard this word elevated to a catch phrase amongst the mama set. I remember it being something deep and raw and real. I remember seeking out the parts of me that still fell captive to the masks I wore.

And then I pretty much fell asleep.

For two blessed years.

But when I woke up?

Everything had changed.

Somehow, authenticity had become about my burden, my cross to bear, my indignity. I didn’t have to be discerning or reticent or thinking. I just had to label it authentic.

And I fell for it.

Sure, I still held back on Facebook and in e-mail and in “public.”

And yes, perhaps it was not the suck-the-soul-from-your-nose kind of fall.

But I found it seeping into the weight of my “burden.”  Things that had been easy to release became serious points of contention with Jesus…a "wah, wah, wahhhhhh whine" if you will.  And I did not like the heart change it was creating.

So today, in pure and holy rebellion, I am going back in time and redefining the catchphrase.

I am going to stand up and say, “Enough!!! His yoke IS easy and His burden IS light. And yes, I am RIDICULOUSLY imperfect.”

But in that vein, let me also strive to be authentic.

Truly authentic.

Let me make you laugh and think and discern, if only for a moment.

Let me tell you who I am.

I am the woman who runs out of clean underwear an hour before going to the doctor. Who makes a mad dash to Target only to be further mortified when she reaches the underwear section and her eldest says loudly, “Mom, this is disturbing.” Who surprisingly does not realize she has purchased drawers 10 inches larger than she needs even when they FALL OFF during her hip injections made wholly precious with the doctor’s “Oops, that wasn’t supposed to happen!” Who blessedly and finally finds the package of underwear (on the kitchen counter?!?) at 9 o’clock at night, reads the size chart and just answers it all with, “For the love of Pete…”

I am that woman.

I am the woman who can tell by looking in her rearview mirror what kind of day it has been.  If the same eldest is shaking her head with her face in her hands, I know I have forgotten at least 10 things (not including the underwear), left the van door open multiple times and probably called everyone by the wrong name. (Sooooooo sorry, my son.)

Holy hot mess, I am that woman.

I am the woman who leaves children behind.

(Okay, to be completely “authentic”, it was one child, my washing machine was broken and after six trips to load, unload, etc. at my sister’s house, it is a miracle I did not forget all of them.)

But I am the woman who gets home and wanders around the house saying, “GRACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is NOT funny!!!!”  Who continues to yell even though the two-year-old is clearly answering back, “Mommy, Gwace is not here!” Who calls the mom in whose house she left the child with a, “I promise I have never done this before…” And whose husband says upon hearing the tale, “Honestly, I am surprised it hasn’t happened sooner.  I’m just glad it wasn’t at Target.”

Praise Jesus, I am that woman.

I am the woman who yells when she’s exhausted.  Who can even prove from a rogue cell phone recording that my “losing it” actually sounds more like an irritated Muppet than a raving witch (thank you, my son.) But who knows that even so, her heart is in an ugly place that she can see and hear when her babies snap at each other. Who most recently listened to her eldest’s praise of her younger sister devolve from “Oh, wow, you flushed the toilet paper!!!! Great job!!!!” to “That is enough flushing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get your butt off the toilet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (Let us all bow our heads in prayer, because yes, I said “Butt.”)

Every sweet preschool euphemism for backside, I am that woman!

And I am the woman who not 15 minutes ago melted into a mountain of mess.  Who felt a sippy cup hit her recently injected shoulders.  Who struggled to coax her two-year-old up the stairs for the much needed respite of nap time. Who tried to keep from lifting or bending or using those same shoulders any which way and miserably, painfully failed. Who melted into tears, fell to the floor, hugged her little girl (also crying, by the way) and cried out “Help me, Jesus.”

Wholly undone, I am that woman.

And I know you are too.

You may have different foibles and failures and slip-ups and tough times.

But it is your very foibles that make room for His strength.  It is your failures that ground you.  It is your slip-ups that say, “Hey, I’m human.” And it is your tough times that bring your mama’s heart cry to the feet of Jesus.

Authenticity takes the “Super” out of Superwoman and trades it instead, for an imperfection that Jesus needs to bring all of us back into His grasp.

It is there in that sweet vulnerability that you can feel the burden lift and lighten, finally giving you the margin to reach out to another and say,

Little mama, let me ease your mind a bit. Let me take you to a place where you can breathe and fall and stumble.  Let me give you the secret to a life lived in abundant, Jesus-filled freedom.  Let me be absolutely authentic and tell you about my blessed imperfection.

You see, the rumors just happen to be true.

Let me sing it. Let me shout it. Let me preach it.

Yes, I am that woman too.

 Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.