This is the quote that has alternately inspired and frustrated me this summer:
You have met, or know, a woman like this: She brightens a room, can literally alter the energy before she opens her mouth. Her presence alone is uplifting, her warmth is genuine radiance, and her eye contact feels like a gift. Her compassion and confidence are unshakable. She knows herself well enough to be able to get to know you. She has no pretense about herself, has no need to hide because she lives in truth. She has no need to exalt or deprecate others or herself, and this allows others the freedom to be authentic in her company. She is the kind of woman who makes you check your posture, inside and out. She makes you want to think before you speak, not because you feel judged or compelled to impress her, but simply because she makes you want to be better. Her integrity draws others into the light. Her laughter is contagious. Her hugs feel so good you wonder how you can get another one without appearing needy. When she is happy, you want to celebrate with her. When she is struggling, you want to stand by her side. — Kristin Armstrong
Beautiful isn’t it? As I read it, the faces of graceful women flash before me– Carolyn, Lori, Cynthia, Marjorie, Liz, Melissa, Sharlee… These are women of grace and POWER. Becoming a woman of grace isn’t dependent upon lineage or accomplishments, but simply by developing true charity, Christlike love.
It’s easy to see the kind of influence women like this wield– a few words from Carolyn turns the tide of a school board meeting, our community has embraced Somalian refugees due to Cynthia’s example and leadership, Melissa has becoming a touchstone for families suffering from testimony shattering grief.
Forgive me for my vanity and naivete, but if I’d read this quote last summer, I might have felt that I was traveling on the road towards grace. Now, I am bitter and broken, fearful that the sticky agony in my heart will obstruct the woman that I was meant to be.
And yet, I can still be graceful in small doses– maybe just for this evening, or during the three hours at church. Can those slender tendrils of grace take root in the stony carcass of my heart?
Tell me- how does this quote strike you? Does it encourage or discourage you?
Do you know a woman of grace? Tell us about her.
How does grace equal power in our society? Where have you witnessed this?
How can I conquer heartbreak and betrayal to become the women I yearn to be?