Today I am pleased to introduce as guest blogger my good friend Lisa Jennings, fellow member of Radiant Church in Gresham, Oregon. Lisa, gifted intercessor and writer, has a passion for releasing Holy Spirit grace, mercy, and unconditional love to those she reaches with her gentle spirit and words.
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For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)
When I joined Facebook in 2009, I plunged headlong into uncharted and thrilling waters. Butterflies danced wild and free within the walls of my stomach, and unexplored territory loomed on the horizon. Face aglow with excitement, I embarked on this adventure to enhance my delightful run as a longtime stay-at-home mom.
Here was a way to have my cake and eat it, too. Fork in one hand, cake in the other, I savored reconnecting with friends, family, and classmates. I rejoiced with the readiness and freedom Facebook offered. No longer did I have to wait for family or class reunions to get caught up. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of connecting with people I’d never met.
So it was with a group of high school ladies from the Reynolds Lancers. Birthed from casual Facebook interactions, we cleverly dubbed ourselves “The La La’s,” short for Ladies and Lancers. We met over dinners and gatherings, abuzz with trips down Memory Lane. You’d never know we were turning fifty. Memories of our teen years flooded our chats and spilled over into our conversations.
One day, one of the La La’s started a thread of conversation about life, kids, and of course high school. When the name of one of our high school teachers came up, I mentioned the nickname we’d had for him thirty years ago. Sure I was being witty, I expounded on this thought. Wrapping up in what I thought was comic stride, I stepped away from the computer and got on to my treadmill.
But instantly a strong conviction came over me. What was I thinking? I asked myself. I’m not sixteen anymore. What I did was wrong. I quickly turned off the exercise machine and sat down at my computer. I was eager to type out a full apology for my immature behavior. This is when the hunt-and-peck method of typing puts me at a sore and painful disadvantage.
I suddenly realized that very teacher I had just poked fun at had been on the thread the whole time. I was mortified. Red-faced, I poured out my repentance for all to see, asking him to forgive me. I was truly sorry for hurting him and ashamed of my willingness to get a cheap laugh at his expense.
But after I finished offering my deepest regrets, something beautiful happened: forgiveness poured in, spilling unconditional love over my shame.
Not only was I forgiven. I was given a new nickname: Bunny.
I saw myself as a foolish child who’d been stung by an adder. But my friend Lisa saw me a soft cuddly and sweet bunny. No way on earth did I feel deserving of that name. But that’s not what unconditional love is all about.
Throughout the brief time our group was together, being called Bunny touched my heart with profound gratitude. Grace. Forgiveness. A clean slate. Even though I’d made a major lulu of a boo-boo, I was still loved unconditionally. That made this Bunny extremely hoppy!
“Dear Lord, what a comfort to know nothing takes You by surprise, not even the words that roll off our tongues. Thank You for unconditional love and grace displayed so beautifully through You and all those who follow Your precious example.
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:1-24, ESV)
About the Guest Blogger
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