The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God …

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,

but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,

that it may benefit those who listen. 

Ephesians 4:29-30

Have you ever had to “eat your words”?  Trust me, I have, and let me tell you, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Oh, yeah, I joked about eating words in A Passion Denied through the humor of one of my favorite O’Connors—Charity—in the following clip:

      Katie began tapping on the piece of paper, intent on beating Collin at a new game of Connect-The-Dots. “I say forget him, Lizzie. Boys are saps.”

      “Hey, who you calling ‘saps’?” Collin shot her a narrow look. “I don’t see any females playing word games with you. Besides, you’re only ten. What do you know?”

      “Eleven in a few weeks. And enough to know I’ll never let some sap boy steal my heart like Lizzie has, even if it is Brady.”

      “You’ll eat those words someday, Katie Rose,” Collin said, tweaking the long, blond pigtail trailing her shoulder.

      Katie scrunched a freckled nose. “Everybody knows you can’t eat words.”

      “Oh, yes you can,” Charity quipped. “Just ask Mitch.”

Sigh. Poor Mitch—Charity definitely gives him a run for his money in the O’Connor saga, doesn’t she? And I’m pretttttty sure those words he had to eat didn’t taste very good, either, just like some of the words I’ve had to eat in my life. Because the truth is—as our Scripture quote so wisely pointed out last week—“gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” But the bad ones that grieve the Holy Spirit? Uh, not so much … 

Those of you who know me or have read any of my interviews know that I’m a pretty honest, out-there kind of person, what you read is what you get. And I write reallllly long books, which should give you another clue as to how much I can talk. But shooting one’s mouth off can be pretty dangerous, because as Proverbs 21:23 says, “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”


So, where am I going with this? Well, as some of you know, I have been reading Joyce Meyer’s EXCELLENT book (I highly recommend it!!), Change Your Words, Change Your Life, and a few days ago I read something that was an absolute one-two punch. She said, “Satan wants to steal our joy so he can steal our strength,” which is in direct reference to one of our Scriptures above, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Then she follows that up with the 2nd Scripture above about “grieving the Holy Spirit with unwholesome talk,” which steals our joy just like a child can “steal the joy” of a parent by saying something sassy or rebellious or hurtful. Did you catch that? Steal joy = steal strength.

Wait a minute—let me pick myself up off the floor. The very words I speak affect my joy? Which then affects my strength?? So when trials come and I need God’s strength MORE than ever, if Satan can get me to grieve the Holy Spirit with negative speech such as “this situation is a nightmare,” or “I’m an idiot,” or “I hate this job,” etc., then he weakens me? Which, in turn, weakens my faith and steers the already negative situation into more negativity?


A master plan by the devil if ever there was!

Which means that from now on, I’m cracking down on my words as much as possible. Yep, you heard me—cracking down on complaining, murmuring, gossiping, bragging, questionable remarks, white lies, exaggerations, seemingly innocent expressions like “this day is a nightmare” or “I am such an idiot”—NOTHING that would grieve the Holy Spirit. Because frankly, I need ALL the strength I can get and I don’t want my words foolin’ around with my joy either.

That said … let me just say that this was a “challenging” week, not an awful one. That huge mistake that made me cry is an “opportunity” for God’s power to be revealed, not a disaster. And those extra deep lines under my eyes are “character” lines, not old age.

Mmm … challenge, opportunity, character. All in all, a pretty darn good week!!



This is it!! Mark your calendars for next weekend, MARCH 15, 16 & 17, which is your chance to download Marcy and Patrick O’Connor’s prequel love story A Light in the Window for the lowest price yet—only $ .99!!

This book is near and dear to my heart, not only because I feel so personally connected to Marcy and Patrick (whose marriage is based on my own), but because my artist hubby designed the cover and my daughter was the model. So I would really like to share this beautiful story with those of you who have not read it, and this will be your chance for the lowest price ever, so mark your calendars!



MARCH 6-13, 2013:  Join me at Tamera Kraft’s “Word Sharpeners” blog for my article entitled “The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly: Memories of a Published Writer” and giveaway of choice of my books. Here’s the link and hope to see you there:

MARCH 10-17, 2013:  Join me at Relz Reviews for a character spotlight on Marcy and Patrick O’Connor from A Light in the Window and giveaway of choice of my books. Here’s the link and hope to see you there:

MARCH 13, 2013:  Join me at Seekerville where you’ll have an opportunity to win your choice of my books including my upcoming release, Love at Any Cost. Here’s the link and hope to see you there:

Here’s to a JOYFUL and STRONG weekend!!