Lipstick Grace: Glimpses of Life, Love, and the Quest for the Perfect Lip Gloss [NOOK Book]


The Just-Right Shade of Grace

Hmmm….Kissable Kiwi or Fire Engine Red? To hold your child tight like you desperately want to, or let him go like he needs? Every woman grapples with such life issues and intangibles as faith, mercy, grace, and hope…but few have the ability to dress theology in blue jeans and flip-flops like Nancy Kennedy.
A compilation of witty weekly columns written by Nancy for the Citrus ...
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Lipstick Grace: Glimpses of Life, Love, and the Quest for the Perfect Lip Gloss

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The Just-Right Shade of Grace

Hmmm….Kissable Kiwi or Fire Engine Red? To hold your child tight like you desperately want to, or let him go like he needs? Every woman grapples with such life issues and intangibles as faith, mercy, grace, and hope…but few have the ability to dress theology in blue jeans and flip-flops like Nancy Kennedy.
A compilation of witty weekly columns written by Nancy for the Citrus County Chronicle in Florida, Lipstick Grace contains many musings–not all of which wrap up in nice, neat packages (because the important things in life rarely do!). In this reflective collection, you’ll find the sufficiency of God holding you steady. It’s big enough for all of you: your greatest fears, your deepest doubts, and your bathroom drawer full of all the wrong shades of lipstick.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Lipstick Grace is so beautifully written that I experienced a great understanding of god’s matchless, endless, all-encompassing love and grace for each of us — in spite of who we are and what we do. Definitely a must-read and share-it-with-your-friends book.”
Thelma Wells
Women of Faith conference speaker
Author of God is Not Through With Me Yet

“Nancy Kennedy nailed me on the first page! In reading this collection of Nancy’s perceptive, amusing, and extremely honest newspaper columns, I felt like I was captured and taken on an enthralling journey — a journey where the ordinary happenings of our lives become filled by the wisest, most unexpected insights. I know I’m never going to look at lipstick the same way again.”
Shaunti Feldhahn
Bestselling author of For Women Only

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307562005
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/19/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,283,310
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Nancy Kennedy has been awarded first place in Excellence in Religion Writing several times from the Florida Press Club over the past fifteen years on staff at her local daily newspaper, the Citrus County Chronicle. A member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Nancy is a sought-after speaker for women’s conferences and retreats, and has appeared on radio programs including Family Life Today and Renewing the Heart. She lives in Inverness, Florida, with her husband, Barry.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt


IN MY DREAMS, I am a dancer, gliding across a polished wooden dance floor in three-quarter time. I’m agile and smooth, my every movement flowing and fluid. I’m lithe and nimble, graceful as a gazelle.

In my dreams, that is.

In real life, I trip over my feet more often than not, even while standing still. The truth is, I can’t dance. I got no rhythm. Can’t waltz, can’t tango. Can’t fox-trot, can’t jitterbug, can’t watusi, can’t do-si-do, can’t do the electric slide.

I tried line dancing once and kicked some lady in the knee.

I’m woefully lacking in grace. Grace deficient. Grace doesn’t come naturally to me.

But I want grace! I want to be graceful. To be full of grace. I want to receive it, give it, live in it, wash in it. I want to immerse myself in grace–amazing, glorious grace.

It’s what we all want, whether we know it or not. The problem is that grace is a nebulous word, like faith and love. You can define it (“unmerited favor”) but still not understand what it means. Some words are best glimpsed. Don’t tell me about grace–show me what it looks like in everyday life.

That’s what I’ve attempted to do in Lipstick Grace: Glimpses of Life, Love, and the Quest for the Perfect Lip Gloss. I’ve attempted to show you what grace looks like: saving grace, sufficient grace. Common grace, sanctifying and redeeming grace. Grace that comes through faith in Christ. Grace that draws sinners to the Cross again and again and again.

We can never get enough grace.

If there’s such a thing as a favorite theologian, Martin Luther tops my list. A sixteenth-century German monk, Luther stumbled upon the concept of grace while reading the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17, KJV).

Up until that time, Luther had spent his life trying to atone for his own sins, beating himself and spending hours on his knees confessing his sins, and then agonizing in case he forgot one.

But once the lightbulb went on and he realized that it truly is by grace alone that we are saved and by grace alone that we live, he became one of the greatest grace teachers of all time. The just shall live by faith, which comes solely by grace.

As the story goes, someone once said to Luther, “Grace, grace, grace, all you ever talk about is grace.”

To which Luther replied, “That’s because grace is all there is.” I don’t know if that’s a true story about Luther–I heard it in a sermon once. If it’s not true about Luther’s conversation, it’s still
a true statement about grace.

Grace is all there is.

Grace is God’s invitation to dance with Him.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). That all the whosoevers who would believe in Him would not perish, but dance with Him forever.

Apart from grace we are helpless and hopeless. Onlookers and outcasts, in despair and eternally doomed. That’s why we who have tasted grace, given to us by the God of grace through faith in His Son, can’t stop talking about it. Grace makes blind men see, lame men walk, and dead men get up and dance.

This book is a collection of my glimpses of grace, taken from the past five or so years worth of my weekly column, “Grace Notes,” which I write for a Florida daily newspaper, the Citrus County Chronicle, where I am on staff as a feature writer. My column also appears in about a dozen newspapers elsewhere.

In my column, and therefore in this book, I have wrestled with my relationships with people and with God and with my own self.

I’ve confessed my sins, questioned my motives and actions and thoughts. I’ve voiced my doubts as well as my certainty about matters of faith and trust.

I’ve blathered about petty things like finding the perfect lipstick and have confessed that same pettiness, all the while marveling at the incredible forgiveness, mercy, and grace of our great God.

Grace. It always comes back to grace. It’s all that matters. Every moment, every hour, every day.

Grace, grace, grace.

It’s all there is–so put on your lipstick and your dancing shoes, and let’s dance!


EVERY WEEK I sit down to write all about how much I love Jesus so you will want to be like me, but then I get a pang of conscience and I end up writing the truth. For example, my all-consuming passion these days isn’t loving Jesus, but trying to find the perfect lipstick.

Although I want the passion of my life to be Jesus, right now it’s not; it’s lipstick. Not too red, not too pink, not too brown–and it has to be shiny.

The problem is, I can’t find just one satisfactory lip product, so I’ve had to resort to using a combination of six products: a flesh-colored base, a lip-plumping moisturizing product, a pink liquid lipstick, and–since that’s too pink–on top of that, I use a brownish liquid.

Over all of that goes clear, shiny stuff, and then over that goes a setting solution that acts like a lipstick glue. It burns when applied and smells like turpentine, and users are cautioned not to swallow any of it. But it’s worth the 140-mile round-trip drive to Orlando and the fifteen dollars I pay for it because it’s guaranteed to keep lipstick perfect for hours–as long as you don’t eat or drink or smile too broadly.

Of course, my lips will probably fall off by the time I’m sixty, but at least they’ll look pink and shiny lying on the ground.

I was telling all of this to a group of Lutheran women recently at their women’s retreat. They had invited me to speak to them about the grand passion of my life.

I began by asking them, “What holds you? What captivates your attention and captures your heart? What’s the first thing you think about in the morning–and the last thing at night?”

Because we’re all proper church ladies, we knew the correct answer was, of course, “Jesus.”

I had come to talk to them about Jesus. But something awesome happened after I asked that question. We–the Lutheran women and me, too–put aside the correct answer and started talking about the honest answer, which too often is “not Jesus.”

Instead, we talked about lipstick and chocolate and hidden stashes of food. We talked about worrying about our kids, fretting about husbands who don’t put away their laundry, and being overly concerned with what people think of us.

Eventually we talked about Jesus, but we had to deal with the “not Jesus” stuff first. The honest stuff. The real stuff that captures our hearts and holds us captive. The stuff from which Jesus wants to set us free.

When we did that, when we risked being honest instead of being correct, when we stopped pretending and got real, something happened.

Grace happened.

I didn’t plan it. I don’t think any of us can plan grace. Grace
just is. God gives it when and where He sees fit.

He saw fit that day.

It was by His grace I was able to confess that my whole life currently revolves around the color of my lips and not Jesus. Grace enabled me to admit that I don’t have it all together, that I’m basically a mess, but a mess for whom Jesus died and dearly loves.

When grace happens, messy people are free to admit their struggles to each other and know that they will be accepted. Maybe not always by each other, but definitely by God.

The truth is, I’ll never love Jesus the way I should, or even the way others think I do. Something always interferes. If it’s not lipstick, then it’s watching Gilmore Girls or eating waffles and maple syrup or searching for the perfect relationship.

As long as I’m a sinner, I’ll continue to chase after all those somethings that lure my affections away from the only One whose love can fill the empty parts inside.

That’s why I need grace. And if I ever start to forget, I have a bathroom drawer full of discarded lipsticks to remind me.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Table of Contents

Putting on My Lipstick and My Dancing Shoes     11
Lipstick Grace     13
Birdbrained Evangelism     15
Failures Wanted     18
My Year of Living Frivolously     20
The Grace of a Middle School Geek     22
When God Shows Up     25
This Old House     27
Intruding Lizards and Escaping Btus     29
Baptisms and Holy Tattoos     31
Oh, How I Love Me, Me, Me     34
The Stats Don't Compute     36
Rudeness and Grace     38
A Love That's Real     40
Fruity for Jesus     43
Beloved, Holy Bread     45
Prayer for Lost Things     47
Change My Face, O Lord     49
First, You Cry     51
Grace Hath Brought Me Safe Thus Far     54
Tales of the Bizarro World     56
Random God-Musings     58
I Wonder, I Worship     61
Facing the Fear Factor     63
Holy Wind, Holy Fire     65
Only Sinners Allowed     67
Beloved Bearcat     69
Saint (Insert Your Name Here)     71
Grace in the Ordinary     73
The Lobsters That Diedfor My Sins     76
Seeing Grace Clearly     78
Going Crazy     80
Oh, My Rotting Bones!     82
God, the Holy Plumber     85
Spurring Each Other On     87
Known By Love     89
The Good News About Bad News     92
Grace to See Me Through     94
"Good" Contrition Isn't an Act     96
Into Every Life a Little PDI Must Fall     99
Abba, Give Me a Word     101
Waiting for the Wind to Blow     103
Walking By Grace     105
You Don't Know God     108
Goodness Like Apples     110
Hand-Raising Grace     112
Driving with Mercy, Grace, and Hope     114
What Moms Want     117
Parable of the Feather Pillow     119
Girls Gone Wild     121
The Gravitron of Life     123
I Think I Like Jesus, Too     125
The New Beatitudes     128
Motherhood Ain't for Sissies     130
God Loves Slugs Like Me     132
Confessions of a Cynic     134
Family Secrets     136
To Love-or Leave?     139
For Storm-Weary Elaines and Rogers      141
Toddler-Shaped Grace     143
Sometimes We Don't Know Squat     146
Motley Crew and Salad with Crunch     148
What, Me Worry?     150
Testimonies in Process     153
Secrets of the Soil     155
From Limo to Lightning     157
Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too-Kinda     160
Stiff-Necked Grace     162
Audience of One     164
Welcome to Pomoville     167
Sometimes Little Girls Cry     169
Storms and Showers     171
Jumbled Thoughts Lead to Grace     174
The Joy of Socks     176
Grace...Like a Bear     178
The Best Bible     180
Just Get Jesus Right     182
What Wondrous Love!     185
Stories Written by Grace     187
Come to the Quiet     189
Learning God's Word, One Verse at a Time     192
Angels on Assignment     194
Care Casting     196
My Welcome Home     198
One Little Enormous Word     201
Questions Wanted: Answers Provided     203
Who Loves Ya, Baby?     205
I Need God      207
Sunday's Comin'     209
Loving God Best     211
Maundy Grace     213
The Gospel of Charlie     215
A Six-Pound Grace Gain     217
Welcoming Little Birds Home     220
Just Asking...     222
Feeding God's Sheep     224
The Law According to Grace     227
The Power of Women in Love     229
Radical, Delightful Thinking     231
Love for the One Who Needs It Most     234
The Grace We Hate     236
Well, Bless My Heart     238
What Children Believe     240
The Jerk Within     243
Loving Berniece     245
The Cleansing Power of Blood     247
Marriage Like Diamonds     250
As I Wave Good-Bye     252
God Never Leaves Us Stranded     254
Who Can Fix This Broken World?     257
Grace in the Darkness     259
Gladness and Glue and Grace     262
Whose God Is Too Small?     264
I'm (Not) the Greatest!     266
Pants of Grace     268
Bringing My Anger to Church     270
Folly Is As Folly Does     273
Everybody's Watching Everybody     275
Psalm of Foot-Stompin' Thanksgiving     277
God Makes All Things Best     280
Hope Whispers Its Sure Promise     282
Home for Christmas     284
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