Grace For When Our Speech is Less Than Gracious

nature image with grace quote

I’ve said things I’ve quickly regretted many times. The less time I spend in God’s presence, resting in His grace, the higher the likelihood ungracious words will come out of my mouth. But living daily, deeply, in God’s grace, as my guest today reveals, changes everything.

Grace For When Our Speech is Less Than Gracious by Darlene Franklin

I have a serious problem with my tongue, and this frequently run into challenges at the nursing home where I live. Apart from God’s presence with me,  I would give up the battle.

Only a few hours have passed since I tore into my aides for not getting me dressed until lunch time. With all the time prior, why wait until I might miss lunch? They replied that it had all worked out. I was out of the shower exactly when they passed trays so I was making a fuss about nothing. I just kept complaining, because I felt like no one was listening. I shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. According to my care plan, I’m to be showered and dressed by seven in the morning.

I understand the principles of speaking with kindness and compassion,  that is, speech that is directed by God’s Spirit living within me so that I know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6). But sometimes my words sting and offer minimal honey (Proverbs 16:24).

Some days I do really well, Other times, like today. I falter.

Thank God for His grace. As I child I learned a simplistic definition:

G od’s

R edemption

A t

C hrist’s

E xpense

That redemption freed me from the bondage to and penalty of sin. The power of Christ’s sacrifice became mine the moment I admitted my sin and received His gift of salvation.

But “redemption” has present and future implications as well. One day, in God’s eternal kingdom, wrong doing won’t tarnish my life or my world.

In the here-and-now, God empowers me to live as He desires—and picks me up and helps me start again when I fail. He is Darlene's quote with a sunrise background imagealways ready to forgive me when I come to Him, after I made a mess yet again.

God doesn’t hold what I said yesterday against me, nor expect it to dictate what I say today. Instead, He gives me discernment, guidance, love, and forgiveness when I need it.

Experiencing God’s grace on a deep level allows me to move past my feelings of condemnation when I’ve spoken harshly and helps me speak and behave graciously in the future. If I’m healed of past hurts, caused by my sins or someone else’s, I’m less likely to lash out against someone else.

Whatever I encounter, God’s grace helps me to consider, is this problem important to complain about? And if I do, is this the person who can help? The standard is God’s grace and how He views the person who has hurt me or I’m in conflict with.

Living in grace means I accept what Christ has freely given me and and then pass it on to others.

Sometimes my soft answers turns aside another’s anger and conflict is avoided. But not always. Regardless, returning anger for anger doesn’t benefit anyone, and it’s certainly not how Christ treated His enemies.

The more I live in the grace Christ extends to me, the more likely I am to speak in grace.

***

Let’s talk about this! When do you most struggle showing others grace, whether with your words or your behavior? How does taking time to rest in Jesus and remind yourself of His grace help you in those moments? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another. And before you go, make sure to sign up for me free quarterly newsletter, releasing at the end of this month. You can do so HERE.

Get to know Darlene!

Darlene Franklin's author photoBest-selling Amazon and ECPA author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she continues to write from a nursing home. She keeps going because God keeps giving her more assignments. She’s written more than fifty-five fiction and nonfiction books, including Pray Through the Bible in a Year and Of Cash and Cats in Love Comes on Kitten Paws   

Keep up with her online HERE and visit her author page on Amazon HERE.

Check out her latest release, Cinderella’s Boot:

Two romantic novellas where fairy tales do come true.

Cynthia Ellen Cooper—known affectionately as “Cinderella”—left her wedding boot in the dust when she ran away from her wedding to work on a sheep station in Australia.

Four years later, she’s back home—and so is her ex-fiancé, now a DVM from Oklahoma State University. They reach a truce and work side by side in his father’s animal clinic.

Cyn soon discovers she wants more—but she has to battle bad history and a demanding pet owner for Keith’s attention.

How can Cinderella find a second chance at love? 

HILLBILLY CINDERELLA

When Cindy Lou Hopkins turns twenty-five life will get better. She knows it. She’ll no longer be under the thumb of her stepmother Geneva or tormented by her stepsisters. She just has to stay alive that long.

The only kink in her plan for independence is the handsome, Lance Moore, she jokingly calls the town prince. A man who wants to get to know her better. A man Cindy isn’t worthy to be in the same room as.

When Lance throws a barn dance, Cindy is determined to have one night with him that will carry her through the rest of her life. Can she set aside prejudices from a bygone time and embrace her happily ever after?

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A Nostalgic Christmas

Photo by VinnyCiro taken from Pixabay.com

Photo by VinnyCiro taken from Pixabay.com

First, to all my lovely and faithful readers: Merry Christmas! Some of you have been with me since way back in 2009, long before I signed my first book contract. Thanks for standing beside and behind me! I’m soaking up every drop of your support. 🙂 And I’m so very thankful for you!

I hope you will be spending time with people you care about, and I hope you’ll have lots of lazy, coffee-saturated mornings. I plan to!

Last week, I talked about the hard that, for many, can come with Christmas. Today I want to talk about the nostalgic. About the beautiful and heartwarming. I love snow. I love carols. I love the smells and sounds of Christmas, and the chance to celebrate what God did for us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Today’s guest, a sweet woman who diligently serves Christ from within her nursing home bedroom, manages to capture the wonderful and nostalgic of this holy time in every one of her Christmas novellas.

A Nostalgic Christmas by Darlene Franklin

When I wrote my first Christmas novella in 2008, I wondered how people could come up with new ideas for the hundreds that flood the stores. That story, Dressed in Scarlet from the collection Snowbound Colorado Christmas, took place during the worst-ever blizzard in Denver’s history, and I used a verse from the Bible that included snow: “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed in scarlet.” I had a vision of a lady making hats and mittens from red long johns, and the story was born. I couldn’t imagine another snow story.

Seven Christmas novellas later, I can’t wait to write another one. I already know the theme for my 2016 entry and I even have a crazy idea to write a Christian fantasy where Santa Claus is real. Not sure how I’d make it work.

Multiply that excitement by the hundreds of other books and movies, and we get a sense of the season inspires us.

The Bible says God has created everything I can see or imagine.

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Photo by Prawny taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Even here at the nursing home, Christmas comes calling. A group of carolers stood outside our room, singing in four-part harmony. Christmas greens cover the nursing home. Lights twinkle up and down the halls. Christmas cards sit on my desk, and I’m reading a novella collection with eight Christmas stories. My son has already given me my first gift. My granddaughter showed off her lovely colored picture of Santa’s face, which was chosen as prettiest in the class.

Even my on-going study of Isaiah shouts of Christmas, with his many references to the coming Savior.

What do I feel? Love, joy, peace—even hope, my middle name.

Those are some of the things I can hear, see, touch, smell, and taste.

But God is also the creator of what I can imagine—a rich heiress and a poor Italian mechanic; a single mom and a vet; a retired Marine and a post office employee; a preacher’s daughter and a miner’s store owner; an apple orchard farmer and a scientist. The stories I write are also God’s creation—stemming from the imagination He gave me. I pray that people who read my stories also discover love, joy, peace, and hope.

Even our gift-giving, our imagination of what our loved ones want, comes from God—who of course gave us the greatest gift of all.

Thank God for all you can see and imagine at this Christmas season

***

Let’s talk about this! What are some of your favorite Christmasy things or events? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and get entered into the drawing to win a free book! Darlene is doing a giveaway of Christmas Mail Order Brides, which includes her novella Jacob’s Christmas Dream. *Give-away open to those in the continental US and is contingent upon a minimum of five comments left on today’s post. 

FINAL MOA vol 1Christmas Mail Order Brides: A dying town populated by miners eager to settle down. . .but not a single marriageable woman lives in Angel Vale, Wyoming. The women of Merville, Maine, have lost too many men to the Civil War and to the sea. When the Ladies Aid Society receives the request for mail order brides, eleven matches are made. Enjoy the first six novellas in the collection by Darlene Franklin, Susan Page Davis, Cynthia Hickey, Brandi Boddie, Jennifer AlLee, and Teresa Ives Lilly.

Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to jan 21 15fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.

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Amazon author page

The Little White Lie

Speaker Cynthia Spell; author, speaker and acquisitions editor Eva Marie Everson, and me.

Speaker Cynthia Spell; author, speaker and acquisitions editor Eva Marie Everson, and me.

Is there such a thing as a little white lie? What kind of weight do our words carry? And what’s at stake? Today prolific author and fellow ACFW member Darlene Franklin shares a challenging devotion on integrity. As you read her thoughts on Psalm 15:1-2, ask God to show you the areas in your heart in need of cleaning.

GIVE-AWAY ALERT! As a special bonus, Darlene is giving away free copies of her latest release, Christmas Mail Order Angels, one to every ten readers who leave a comment on today’s post.

But first, I wanted to encourage all of you who live in the Omaha area to make sure to scroll to the end of this post, because I’ve got some special announcements. 🙂 (Which may turn into their own post tomorrow, time permitting.)

The Little White Lie by author Darlene Franklin

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?. . . The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;

(Psalm 15:1-2)

The Bible says “out of the heart come evil thoughts” (Matthew 15:9), and don’t I know it. Ask me how I’m doing, and I’m prone to list all of my complaints for the day. I didn’t sleep well, woke up stiff and sore, the nurse was late with my medicine, the kitchen sent the wrong breakfast. . .and those are only my top complaints.

There are other times I’m tempted to tell a white lie. Sometimes new writers send me a sample of their writing. “Is it good? Do you like it?”

I avoid a direct answer. “No.” Instead, I pick out good aspects of the story, be it grammar, creative story line, interesting character. If they push me, I might say, “This isn’t really my genre. Someone else might like it better.” A lie? Or a kind redirection?

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Photo by Marin taken from freedigitalphotos.net

What is the truth in my heart? I can go to my selfish, carnal self. The half empty glass quickly drains of anything good. I can dwell on my worries, my fears, my health, until I make myself sick.

Or. . .I can speak God’s truth, that the Holy Spirit whispers in my heart. God is good. He is faithful. He will provide for my needs.

Instead of complaining about other people, I can compliment them: a smile, a new blouse, a job well done. The more I appreciate them, the fewer reasons they give me to complain.

Instead of my list of complaints, I can focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable. (Phil. 4:8-9) In a word, think about anything that is excellent or praiseworthy.

The truth in my heart will depend on what I put into it.

FINAL MOA vol 1Darlene’s novel, Christmas Mail Order Angels:

A dying town populated by miners eager to settle down. . .but not a single marriageable woman lives in Angel Vale, Wyoming. The women of Merville, Maine, have lost too many men to the Civil War and to the sea. When the Ladies Aid Society receives the request for mail order brides, eleven matches are made. Enjoy the first six novellas in the collection by Darlene Franklin, Susan Page Davis, Cynthia Hickey, Brandi Boddie, Jennifer AlLee, and Teresa Ives Lilly.

Buy it HERE.

Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a jan 21 15nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.

Visit her online at her Website and blog, stay up to date at her Amazon Author Page, and connect with her on Facebook.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! How would you describe integrity? How do our words fit in with that? What are your views on those “little white lies”, and how might our credibility affect the gospel, or our attempts to share it?

Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

Before you go, I’ve got some fun news. First, today is the official release day of Intertwined. Yay! To celebrate, I’m doing a signing at the Oak View Mall Barnes and Nobles. If you’re in the Omaha area, pop in and say hi!

  • AND… Reality Church is hosting a hilariously fun, bejeweled event just for ladies next weekend. I hope you’ll come! We’ll start with dinner, a slightly-self-mortifying talk (embarrassing for me, not my listeners!) glittery shoes, cowboys, and piles of manure, followed by live worship led by the amazingly talented Shelly Conn and Angie Wayman. And on Saturday, speaker Lelia Chealy will fill our hearts with encouragement as she encourages us to shine like the cherished treasures we are.

Here’s the speaking topics:

Friday night:

Speaker: Me, with special guests Susan Aken and Trisha Baker

Embracing Our Identities in Christ
  1. We are cherished, redeemed women of grace, treasures to Christ and meant to shine with His brilliance. But so often, we allow past wounds, regrets, shame, and negative thinking to hold us back, hinder our relationships and our joy, and distort the radiant glow from within. In this 30 minute presentation, Jennifer uses humor and personal stories to remind women of who they are in Christ and to embrace their God-given identity.
Saturday brunch and lunch:
Speaker: Lelia Chealy
Making of a Treasure
So often as women we don’t see ourselves the same way God sees us…as a treasure. In this session Lelia shares a story from the Bible where God sees someone as valuable, unique and usable. (1Samuel 9, 10)
Making Beautiful Shine

Just as a brides’ sparkly diamond ring, God wants us to shine. Lelia shares from her own life as

Photo by digitalart taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by digitalart taken from freedigitalphotos.net

well as a story from the Bible of a woman who felt unnoticed in every area of her life, until she crossed paths with Jesus. (Mark 5)

Find out more and register online HERE. And bring a friend, because we can all use more meaningful connections in our lives and the reminder that we’re radiant and cherished and more than enough.

(If you’d like to book me, Lelia, and Shelly for your next women’s event, you can email me at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail(dot)com.)

Now, as promised last week, where I’ve been.

Tuesday, my husband joined me for two radio interviews. In the morning, we visited with Dave and Kristen from the morning show at KGBI the FISH. You can listen to our interview HERE.

Later that morning, we visited with Dave again, this time on the Heartland Viewpoint, and Kathy Andersen, the mother of the teenager who went into kidney failure, and whom my husband donated a kidney on his behalf, joined us.  You can listen to the whole miraculous story HERE.

Yesterday I visited Genesis 5:20 to share where I get my story ideas, among other things. You can read that interview HERE.

On the 6th, Margaret Daley interviewed Tammy Kuhn, the main female character in Intertwined. You can read that interview HERE.

Also on the 6th, I visited friend and author Delia Latham’s blog to share some fun tips on how to have a successful book launch.  You can read that HERE.

65eef-whendawnbreaks_n154102_300dpirgbOh! And I almost forgot! Amazon has When Dawn Breaks listed for a crazy discount! You can get the print or kindle version for under $3! Buy it HERE.

On October 3rd I visited Salt and Light to tell about an older woman who opened her home to a bunch of barefoot, dirty-faced, squirmy kids, and how doing so changed my life for eternity. You can read that HERE.