Wednesday, January 13, 2016


"We live and breathe words..." ~Cassandra Clare

How true is this statement.  Words are very much the life and breath of our days.  They portray our feelings, share our concerns, teach our children, effect our hearts, overwhelm our motherhood, cheer our teams, bring tears at times and smiles at others...I could go on and on.  They, no matter what walk of life, fill our minds to overflowing daily.  Whether those words are read, spoken, thought, signed or even dreamed, our lives are teeming with words to hear, see, and process.

I have a love/hate relationship with words.

Fortunately, love is usually first.  Words are quite often my favorite thing.  I am, in fact, so fond of them that I spend a fair amount of time the end of a year and the beginning of the next searching and praying for a single word to inspire the new year's focus.  One word to rule them all you might say. 

I relish receiving and giving words whether it be quick texts of encouragement, exasperations or random thoughts only the person they are directed to would understand, the sharing of a funny, often embarrassing, story or a long, drawn out, lazy conversation with a friend.
I also have a special fondness for reading words in books.  Words that take me to places I've never been, remind me of places I love, and capture my thoughts and expand my heart with sentences I would never quite be able to construct on my own.

If you were to weigh both sides, love would most likely win out but the negative feelings words can bring would be peering over my shoulder waiting for the chance to butt in. Lined up right next to all the things I love about the beauty of words are all the things I hate about the power they can wield.  Because for every phrase of encouragement is a comment spoken in rash frustration.  For every soul lifting chat with a friend is a criticism taken the wrong way or sadly taken with the hurt that it was meant to carry.  

I live constantly on both sides of the coin, as one who lifts up and lets down, as one who gets lifted and is both unintentionally and intentionally pushed.  I'll bet everyone else does as well.

Already today I have had multiple experiences with the flip side of the love/hate and here we are not yet in the mid afternoon.  This morning brought need to remind one son  that the tone of his words carry more weight than the words themselves when speaking to his brother.  Another scenario required a mini lesson on how to use words to ask for something specific instead of complaining about something else.  I apologized to my oldest for not truly listening to his words before responding with some of my own and in the same respect was brought to tears (which I admit doesn't take much) by a woman who didn't understand my situation before giving what could have been a heartbreakingly definitive statement.

What amazing peace it would bring to have the second half of that relationship disappear.  What amazing peace would come from love being the only feeling, even in those not so positive moments, and the slash with hate right behind it would never enter a scenario.  Before assuming that is a pipe dream wish, I believe it's much more possible than is realized.  Glancing back at these few examples and the thousands upon thousands of others stacked up in my long term memory files, I see something missing in almost every one, letting the most important Words rule my heart and mind first.  First and foremost in my life, in my listening and in my speaking should be the Words God has spoken for us and to us.  As His child I am asked to Rejoice in Him alone, Hope in Him alone, Trust in Him alone and Be satisfied in Him alone.  If I'm abiding with Him than the words I speak will be ones that lift and not harm.  If I'm abiding with Him than the words others speak will, no matter their intention, be used for good because the Holy Spirit protecting my heart will help me see the Truth among them.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits (Proverbs 18:21)  I want the seeds that I sow, the fruit that I eat, the fruit that I serve to others to be sweet, healthy and nourishing but I know all to well that unless my tongue, my words, in whatever form they come out, aren't spoken from a heart fully centered in Christ then 'clanging symbols and noisy gongs' won't have nothing on the rotten fruit I'm trying to pass over as a generous offering.  Years ago  while I was in high school a missionary close to my heart had cards of various quotes he liked to hand out.  From that day until the day I left college to begin my 'real life' on my bulletin board on a card of neon yellow were bold black letters that prayed "LORD LET MY WORDS BE SWEET AND TENDER, FOR TOMORROW I MAY HAVE TO EAT THEM."

I don't think this thought journey is complete quite yet.  Instead of clarity that has now wrapped everything up in a pretty bow,  the clear picture has now caused my brain to begin to reel with the lessons I need to learn and the ways my heart needs to change.  Since words are still a vital part of my every day, as they are yours, pondering will need to be done, prayers will desperately be extended, and Hope will be clung to as I journey to fill and be filled with words that bring True Life and True Breath.

Pray for me.  I'll be praying for you.

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