Grace and Truth

I have held many incorrect assumptions about grace and truth. For instance, I believed at one point that telling the truth was wrong in many cirumstances because it hurt people’s feelings. On the other hand, I thought it was a percentage then between grace and truth, like if you have 80% truth, then you have 20% grace.

So, I have been studying the relationship between the two because I suspect that what I’ve thought is incorrect, but I haven’t know how. Here’s what I’ve found so far. I think we can figure out our boundaries using a combination of grace and truth. I believe we don’t have grace without truth or truth without grace. I believe it is loving to speak the truth with grace.

I’m working on this for myself and for the next novel I’m going to write, Queen of the Third Grade. I think the prep work will take a while, but I’m excited. My guide is Jesus, full of grace and truth.

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Joy in the Back Seat

The title may seem to allude to teenagers and steamed up windows, but nope.

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This one is about taking the back seat. The older I grow, the more I notice I’m taking a back seat to my children and grandchildren. It’s become their day. At first, that kind of bothered me. I like to be in the middle of the action, you see.

However, if the last shall be first … back seat, see? But more to the point, in the back seat I can serve in a million ways. A. I have more time, what with not paying attention to the road so much; B. I’ve been down this road, so I can point out the potholes as well as the scenic vistas; C. I can refuse to backseat drive; D. I can snitch snacks from the sack on the floor (say what?); E. I can play with the kids who are also relegated to the backseat, and throw in a little tutorial storytelling; F. I can climb up on the rear window ledge with the dog, sing about the moon, and watch the rising and falling electrical lines like I used to when I was a kid; (Some would say my singing isn’t serving, I’m okay with that.) G. I can make cool stuff back here, like mysteries and mittens; H. I can fix stuff that broke, like headless dolls or zippers that don’t zip. I could go on, but I think the joy is already showing. There’s plenty of action in the back seat. (Get your head out of the gutter.)

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Rogue Wave

RogueWavecov (1).jpgFriday is launch day for my new novel, Rogue Wave! You can preorder the Kindle version on Amazon now. See if this sounds interesting:

Bonnie O’Sullivan turns to put apples in her shopping cart to find her daughter, Fallon, smiling toothlessly–but her best friend’s daughter vanished. Disappeared into nothing, and never found.

Bonnie rescues sea otters as a biologist at Monterey Bay Aquarium, but her love of adventure doesn’t extend to her daughter as Fallon matures. Haunted by the kidnapping, Bonnie confines Fallon to Seascape, their ranch stronghold.  Red-headed Fallon responds by perfecting rebellion. Now a shadowed gunman has fired at Bonnie from a ridge on the ranch. Who is he? Why is he shooting at her?

Quinn, Bonnie’s ocean-hopping Irish husband, is no help. He easily dismisses Bonnie’s fears and believes it’s time to give their daughter more freedom. After the shooting, he and Fallon find a gold coin where the gunman stood on the ridge. What does it mean?

  • Does Graciela Castaneda, Fallon’s beloved nanny, have any part in the mysteries?
  • Will Fallon barrel race herself to freedom?
  • What will a courageous, but overprotective, mother risk to provide her daughter a safe harbor?

Rogue Wave, the first novel in the Seascape Saga, answers the question, “How do we find the courage to face fear?

 

Prayer

As a new year begins, a thought to essentials seems appropriate. Prayer is essential for a zillion reasons.

Getting direction from God is the most obvious reason to pray, but probably also the most overlooked. By that I mean that many of us tell Him what we’re thinking, engaged in, worried about. Then we walk away without slowing to hear His responses.

But it can be worse. Throughout my life I have so often galloped into a good thing. When it came to me that I should have talked it over with God, I looked over my shoulder and said, “What do you think, God?” I have only recently realized that makes me guilty of the same thing as Satan. Wanting to be God. Darn it! And yet, because of His love for me and His grace, He longsuffered my ignorant self-interest. I wouldn’t say I’m real good at going to Him first yet, but at least I know I should and do sometimes. That’s the definition of success — heading in the right direction.

Another thing about prayer is that when we pray together, the sharing of each other’s concerns glues us together like nothing else. If the church wants unity, prayer is the answer.

God loves us beyond our understanding. He wants us to turn to Him, always. Any time of the day or night, anyplace. He wants to accept us as we are and give us a secure, purposeful, valuable relationship with Him. A relationship is hard to maintain if you don’t talk.

And finally, Jesus prayed and He taught us to pray, encouraged us. His life bought us freedom — doesn’t seem like much to ask in return. Have a great 2019.

silhouette image of person praying

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Life

How’s that for a broad subject? Perhaps a little narrowing is in order.

The older I get the more I think I don’t know anything about anything.  Now there’s the topic.

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This is not me, but it could be.

I’m a writer, at least most days. Sometimes I get published, and sometimes I don’t. Am I still a writer when I don’t? Should I just smile and wash the dishes instead?  And since the Bible says what pleases God is when we love each other, care for widows, orphans, immigrants, and so on; are slow to anger, etc., does writing – or any other occupation – even matter? Maybe I should just smile and feed an orphan. I don’t know. My mentor, Ethel Herr, who now looks at Jesus face-to-face, said our books can reach love, acceptance, etc. to a whole lot more people than our small circles of influence. So if I glue my face to my computer and knuckle down, what happens to the hubs, the kids, the friends? Ecclesiastes even says the writing of books is endless.

Maybe it’s about balance. Except, my days can blow up in a phone call. Sometimes the writing bite is huge, and sometimes the relationship bite is huge. Wait, am I starting to see something here?

Or how about truth and grace? I used to think telling the truth could hurt the people I love or cause them to get real angry. So I didn’t bother with telling it, thinking I was giving them grace. I guess I have learned one thing. Grace isn’t grace without truth, and truth isn’t truth without grace. Only, now I have to figure out how to tell the truth in grace, and I don’t even think I’m capable of figuring that out. Wretched woman that I am.

Maybe what’s really going on is that my plans aren’t God’s plans, and my understanding of life, or any part thereof, is way smaller than God’s understanding. What to do? What if I consider interruptions, not interruptions, but redirecting from on high? But wait, am I just making excuses? What if when I don’t have a clue what to do, I ask God? What if He doesn’t answer? Reminds me of when the grownups used to say, “We’ll see.”

Okay, here I go again. I used to come up with great ideas and go into implementation phase before checking in with Him. I’d look over my shoulder, having left Him in the dust, and say something like, “What do you think, God?” He put up with that for a lot of years. Over time, I found myself confused and exhausted a lot. What’s the verse, “Come to Me, you who are weary,” etc.?  I finally noticed the “Come to Me” part of the verse. Take it from an old broad, it’s much better to check in first, get your marching orders, and then strike out.  If there are no marching orders, stay put. That’s easy. Writing this conclusion at Christmastime seems supremely appropriate, now that I think about it. Merry Christmas, every one!