Darlene Franklin is both a resident of a nursing home in Moore, and a full-time writer.

By Darlene Franklin

I’ve been about about life in a nursing home for over two and a half years now, and what unexpected twists it’s taken. Sometimes I’ve soared with national fervor, or the music in my heart.
And sometimes it’s quite dark. The day I returned from the hospital was gray and empty. A blood clot on my lung and acute respiratory distress had sent me to the emergency room.
I returned home, alive, but devoid of spirit. Empty. Alone. Uncertain.
If I had acted on my feelings on that day, I would have quit everything. Instead I sent up flyers of faith. Don’t let me make any rash decisions.
Things got worse. I forced myself to go to Bible study on Sunday night in spite my fatigue. A fellow resident responded to one of my comments by leaving abruptly. My joy in the study was tempered by his rejection.
Things got even worse when I almost didn’t my Monday shower.
After I did get my shower (after some not-so-faith-filled griping), something shook loose from my heart, and I realized why I felt so dark.
I wasn’t suddenly too ill to be of any use or too sinful to be a blessing.
The truth was far deeper and far simpler.
God’s up to something good—something glow-in-the-dark bright, and darkness wants to stamp it out.
With that, I realized that the my heart was dark only if I let it be. The darkness that pounded on my walls had more to do with its persistent rejection of God’s light, in the same way it has ever since He entered the world as a helpless baby.
God’s light flooded my soul, and I laughed out loud.
I still have a blood clot, COPD and Congestive Heart Failure. I won’t be ready to run a marathon anytime soon.
But I’m still feasting on the memory of laughing in the face of trials.
Half a century ago, I learned that God’s love was unconditional. Nothing I do can ever separate me from Him.
In my latter years, God is pounding another transformation truth into me. He will use me, as imperfect and undependable as I am, because He is the shining light. It’s never been about what I can do for God; it’s always been about what God can do through me.
God will accomplish His purposes for me. Period. His light guides my way—no risk at all to count on God. I don’t have to be perfect to have God’s favor rest on me. (If you doubt that, look at the stories of the heroes of faith from Hebrews 11. Flaws aplenty!)
Do I always see things that way? Of course not. But I am learning to believe it is so. Here’s a few pointers that help me keep those truths front and center,
1. Spend time with God, in His word, and with His people.
2. Choose what I fill my mind with, like music, and coloring Scripture verses.
3. Refuse to accept things as they appear. Know that God is still in charge given all evidence to the contrary.
4. Don’t give up prematurely nor move ahead without God’s green light.
5. Who I am is more important to God than what I do. He doesn’t need me, but He invites me to work by His side.
6. Testify often of who God is and what He has done.
7. Accept the testimony of others about myself, People tell me they see light in me. The same light that came to Bethlehem somehow shines in me. All I can say is to God be the glory.
The Light of the World called His listeners the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). He has placed us on a hill, where we cannot be hidden.
My wish this Christmas season is that God’s people will become a string of lights stretching from home to home across the nation and the world, the glory of God to our generation.

You are the light of the world

Heaven’s electric company
Life-bringing, life-changing light
Exploding the darkness of my heart
Your brightness leads my way
You are the light of the world
Placed strategically upon a hill
Illuminating the way for others
Together you grow strong
Beautiful as a Christmas tree
You are the light of the world
Drawing all people unto Me
I won’t let you burn out
You may think your light’s feeble
I know differently—I made it so
You are the light of the world
Check out Darlene’s brand new website: www.darlenefranklinauthor.com.