I am so excited to be sharing this post in the Warrior Heart Series: Learning to Wear a Garment of Grace, because I am finally sharing a conversation that I got to have with my sweet friend Sarah Ann from Faith Along the Way. I would LOVE it if you took some time to visit her at her little space of grace, she has been a huge source of encouragement to me. Today’s post will be a portion of our conversation on learning to wear grace in authentic relationships.
The power of rejoicing as we wear grace strengthens our relationships in ways that storms and winds can’t destroy them.
As we embrace the differences in each other we begin a power-filled exchange of blessing. The more I build up those around me with the beauty I see shining out of them, the better I feel. My entire personality brightens as I build them up and encourage them, looking past our diversity straight into the place that we have unity… Jesus.
So then, encourage one another and build each other up.- 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Have you ever considered the freedom this rejoicing brings as we wear grace in our friendships in the form of authenticity?
Sarah Ann and I made time to invest in this topic together, writing letters and having a conversation. We agreed that spending time with women who are real, who want more of God in their every day ordinary moments, was a deep desire of our hearts.
Authenticity in our relationships turns ordinary moments of friendship into beautiful memories forged by prayer.
We’d like to invite you into our conversation today, to put on another garment of grace in our living, by meeting through some letters we wrote to one another. We pray that you’ll be blessed by the hope we have found comes as we learn to rejoice and build authentic relationships.
Dear Sarah Ann,
Often, as women and even as Christians, we can wear a mask of opaque blindness causing us to see through limited perception. When we choose to rejoice in the beauty we see in others, our world expands, opening up mercy into our moments.
Authentic relationships allow us to be a kaleidoscope of grace and tenderness to others.
This topic makes me think of Ruth, a woman who didn’t fit in, yet experienced a relationship of deep faith and love. Though the Jews did not accept her at first, Naomi’s love taught her to seek the one true God, ultimately teaching Ruth the power of rejoicing no matter what the circumstances. Ruth’s faith became the testimony that brought Naomi out of the pit of despair she found herself wallowing within.
It was the gift of friendship, authenticity in diversity, that bound their lives to destiny.
The reality of this garment of grace reminds us that we are not meant to walk this journey alone.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9
Rejoicing in our differences allows us to embrace the unique gifts in others. In Thessalonians 5:16-24 we are given a glimpse of how it is possible to wear this garment of grace in our lives, especially in our relationships. We are told to rejoice, to give thanks, and to pray without ceasing, because God is faithful, and what he calls us to, He also equips us to complete.
This is exactly why we can rejoice when we don’t all make it to the finish line at the same time.
This is why we can sing Hallelujah when the rain falls on the just and the unjust together.
Because we can trust that God is working all things out for our good and His glory.
Yet, practically, how do we don these garments?
- When we sew up a cloak of beauty to place on one another, we effectively adorn ourselves while clothing others..
- When we quilt blankets of hope to cover and to protect, we ensure comfort by generosity and are warmed by the presence of the Holy One.
- When we knit scarves of kindness , we buffer the winds from getting in by hedging ourselves deep into the wing span of the Almighty..
- When we offer gloves of compassion, we guard our hands from the cuts and bruises living life often produces, securing entrance though grace to the throne.
So let’s stock our closet with garments of grace, friend.
Ephesians tells us to put on the Armor of God in order to stand strong; Moses needed Aaron to raise his arms during the battle against the Amalekites; and I think we need warrior hearts to help us cloak ourselves in grace.
It takes being intentional with each other; to see the real heart behind the false real we wear.
It takes reaching out, to touch hands and unite hearts in prayer.
It takes transparency, to allow others to see our imperfections so they are comfortable in their own skin.
It takes loving like Jesus to live like every chance is the most influential with that individual.
We need to spend love, to spill hope, and to expend mercy in all we do.
Friend, you are lovely. You have a joy deep within. You are beloved by God and adored by those who have a blessing to know you. You shine bright.
You wear grace well!
Authentic friendships are my favorite. I enjoy sitting over a steaming cup of coffee, and sharing my heart and soul with a fellow sister in Christ. It’s a blessing and a comfort to know that God uses His people to minister to our hearts on His behalf.
In my opinion, a godly friendship can act as a safe place where we can be free to bare our souls without fear of judgment or condemnation, knowing that a word of our innermost thoughts won’t be blabbed to another.
Inside this friendship is complete freedom to be ourselves and on those occasions when mistakes are made, grace abounds and forgiveness is lavished.
When God unifies two friends in His name, we should be set free from the standards the world sets before “friends”.
Yet often, these friendships among Christian women are hard to find,
Instead of openness, we have to hide our true selves for fear of judgment.
When one struggles, we have to mask our feelings for fear of rejection.
We have to use smoke and mirrors to offer the illusion of perfection and hide the realities of our lives..
But ladies, it’s time to take off our masks and learn to love each other with lavish grace.
This grace would accept friends regardless of circumstances in life,
This grace would openly pour mercy and encouragement into the friend’s life who’s hurting, because she felt safe to be transparent.
This grace would look past the petty competition of women, loving and accepting because she is a child of God.
This grace would change lives and create community among Christian women as we all long to be like Jesus,
This grace would translate into the way we view our families and our homes, knowing that we are supported by our sisters in Christ.
When women lay aside their differences, and learn to truly love other, non-believers will see the differences in our friendships, and want to know more about what drives us to live and act differently.
So as we examine our friendships and relationships, may we turn to the ultimate giver of grace and be so overwhelmed with what He did for us, that we can’t help but put grace into action!
Many blessings my friends,
Thanks for letting me share these conversations with you here. I hope they will encourage you to learn to wear grace in your relationships. I am rejoicing over you today and praying for each of you to be able to stock your closet with garments of grace in all of your relationships.
A huge thank you to my Sarah Ann for her encouraging words and willingness to meet with us here today.
Now it is your turn to participate in the conversation!
Step Four: Purpose to rejoice in the differences you see in one another, embrace the power that grace equips us to instill in others.
>>>The questions to ponder:
- What is the definition of grace to you?
- How has the Lord taught you to wear grace as you rejoice in the differences and the unique beauty you see in others?
- What is the biggest obstacle of grace-dwelling you have found in your own walk?
- Tell me about a time when you chose to wear the garment of rejoicing instead of comparison?
- Who stands out to you in scripture, friends, as someone who made a choice to rejoice and see the extraordinary that exists right before them?
- Do you have one of those people right in front of you, in real life?
I’d love to hear your answers to these questions. Please share them in the comment section below or on the Journeys In Grace FB page.
Linking up with friends for the journey:
SDG Gathering, Make A Difference Mondays, Playdates with God,Unite, #RaRaLink Up, #TellHisStory, Testimony Tuesday, Coffee for Your Heart, Wednesday Prayer Girls, Three Word Wednesday,Mom’s Morning Coffee, Thought Provoking Thursdays, Front Porch Inspired: Conversations, Thoughtful Thursdays, Live Free Thursday, My Lens and Pen, Shine Blog Hop,Fellowship Fridays, Missional Women, Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop, Counting My Blessings, Grace and Truth,Grace and Truth Link Up, Saturday Soiree, Still Saturday,My Freshly Brewed Life, Give Me Grace , Faith N Friends Blog Hop