All May, here in A Rooted Home, we are exploring the stunning and transformative power of grace in the series, An Invitation to Grace. Jennifer Thompson is our first essay in the series. Jen is a freelance writer, blogger, stay-at-home mom of four, and wife to her very best friend. Her family recently relocated to a suburb of Nashville and she is holding onto hope that she will some day develop a southern accent. Her work can be found on a variety of websites and a number of parenting publications. Life is full of ups and downs and she hopes her words will point people to Jesus and His unending love, and be a source of encouragement wherever her readers may find themselves in life.

It is my honor for you to get to know this beautiful sister in Christ. Pull up a chair and a cup of coffee or tea and join me in warmly welcoming Jen to our kitchen table today…

Guest post by Jennifer Thompson

When I first gave my life to Christ I would hear the word grace roll off tongues in sermons and Bible studies. An undeserved gift given freely. A gift with no strings attached. A broken body on a cross. The perfect picture of grace. I knew early on that grace was an important part of my faith. I knew it was wrapped in a love bigger than I could comprehend and given to me daily by my perfect Father above. I knew it was something I was to give to others as freely as it has been given to me. I knew it all in my head. But sometimes the heart takes a little longer to catch up. 

There were road blocks and obstacles from my past that made me feel those words that made sense for so many others, I wasn’t so sure made sense for me. I had said things and done things people in my weekly Bible study didn’t know about. Some of my closest friends had not heard me utter words that would reveal choices I had made. Choices that were sure to cause judgment. Choices that would most definitely change their opinions of me. Choices that made me unlovable. 

Right?

Wrong.

As I grew in my faith, God gently and lovingly and patiently and tenderly put people in my path that would share His love and His grace and His mercy with me. I learned He could use my mess to help minister to others and that there was nothing I could have done, or could ever do, to remove His love. I began to embrace the gift that had always been there for me to acceptthe beautiful gift of grace. 

And when I became a mother and my first daughter was placed in my arms, that understanding of grace took on an entirely new meaning. As I looked down at her small little hands, and her body wrapped in a blanket, and her sweet face, I felt something I had never felt before. A need to protect. A ferocious love. And I knew there was nothing she could ever do that would change the love I felt for her. She was my daughter. And I was her mother. 

That bond held more weight than I really ever knew. The love was so deep. So unconditional. 

A picture of grace. 

And if this is the love I felt in that instant, how much more is my perfect heavenly Father’s love for me? For all of us?

Since becoming a parent, God has used my children to teach me so much. And one of those things that has been reiterated time and time and time again is our need for grace. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. We sin. We fall short. We fall down. We mess up. 

Daily. 

But that doesn’t change His love for us. Just like it doesn’t change our love for our own children. 

I know there will be times when I lose my patience. I know there will be times when I raise my voice. I know I won’t always respond the way I should. I know there will be moments when I wish I would have said something different. There will be times I will wonder if I should have played more or if was available enough for my children. There will be moments when I will think back to a conversation and wish I would have said something different, or maybe nothing at all. There will be times when I see my children do something and get frustrated with how they chose to act. And there will be ways they respond that I don’t like. They will sometimes make choices I wish they wouldn’t make. 

Because we all do. 

My attitude. Their attitudes. The way we choose to spend our time. The things we say. The things we do. They will never be perfect. 

I will never be a perfect mother. 

My husband will never be a perfect father. 

Our children will never be perfect children. 

Because we were never made to be perfect. But we were made to worship the One who is. 

So, when I mess up, I will turn it over to God and I will tell my husband and my children I am sorry. I will ask for their forgiveness.

I want my children to learn early on to embrace their imperfection and to know how much they are loved, always, regardless of what they do or don’t do, and what they say, or don’t say. 

By their father. By me. And most of all, by their perfect Father above. 

I want our home to be a picture of grace. One where mistakes are made, acknowledged and learned from. One where grudges aren’t held, and past offenses aren’t brought up, or used as leverage over a person. I want our home to be a reflection of the grace we are so freely given. 

Will we do this perfectly? No. But that’s the point isn’t it? We will not do anything perfectly. But we will love and we will forgive and we will give thanks to our God above. 

When we moved into our new home a few years back, I had a wooden sign made that hangs over the entry to our door. It simply says grace upon grace upon graceIt serves as a daily reminder to me of the grace we need to give others. And of the grace we receive. It is never-ending. 

It is the most beautiful gift of all. Grace upon grace upon grace.

Thank you lovely Jen for sharing your beautiful words and heart with us today. I encourage you to find more of Jen’s work on Facebook and on Instagram, and her blog Truly Yours, Jen. Join us next Friday for the next guest post in our Invitation to Grace Series.