Kevin and I spent the weekend with our church’s core team — sharing personal stories, encouraging each other, and praying together for Renewal Church, which exists for the glory of God and the good of the neighborhood. 

It was an awesome weekend and we already love the people God has brought together. We keep saying we are already a church, but we’re preparing to launch a service. It’s going to be an adventure over the next several months and I’m excited to keep you posted.

One of our core team members is the incredible, cute, and sassy Joanna Bloss. Joanna is a master’s level therapist, a single mom of four, a faithful follower of Jesus, a crafter, an author, and a friend. Over the next couple weeks, Joanna will be guest posting for me about God’s kindness in the midst of our shame. I know you’ll love her as much as I do! You can also check out her blog, Shine Bright, here.
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The rule was clear. 
The one exception was holiday parties. We could chew it just during the party then we had to spit it out.

Stupid rule.

Stupid or not, I am ordinarily a devout rule-follower.

However, this was our 5th grade Valentine’s party so I must have been feeling carefree, plus the gum hadn’t yet lost its flavor so I reasoned…

she’ll never know.

Apparently I underestimated the eagle eyes of Mrs. Benson because she did know and called me to her desk.

I was so busted. 

“Joanna…are you chewing gum?”

I couldn’t speak. Because at that point, what do you do? Swallow it? Show it to her in your mouth? Take it out with your hand?

For the love. You have NO idea how much I hated getting into trouble. (Still do.)

So I’m sure my face turned crimson as I stood there mutely, praying that my momentary indiscretion wouldn’t get me kicked out of the 5th grade. (And incidentally, I am wearing, as in all of my grade school memories, a red-white-and-blue granny square crochet vest.)




I braced myself for punishment which I desperately hoped would be sure and swift.

But then Mrs. Benson dropped the grace bomb.

“You know what?” she said. “I’m not going to punish you. You’ve already punished yourself enough. Now spit the gum out and get back to your desk.”

Holy crap. Was I that obvious?

What I felt in that moment was pure and utter shame. Mrs. Benson picked up on it and gave me a gift.

Grace.

My response?

Repentance. Because at that moment I wanted nothing more in the world than to please Mrs. Benson for the rest of the school year because she had been so kind. A kindness I most certainly did not deserve in all my 5th grade depravity.

I cannot tell you the relief I felt in having been rescued that day from my own sinful behavior.
  

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“[do you not realize] that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

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