Thursday, January 13, 2011

Not Just Words

I love words. Give me a good book, even better - a series, and some chocolate and I'd happily sit on the couch all weekend just reading, dozing, reading, eating chocolate, reading, dozing... More than books, I love a good quote. I love the idea of being remembered for that one important sound bite. That one thing said in such a concise soundbite that it sticks in your mind and changes how you think. Oh to be remembered for having such wisdom. Or humor. Or insight. Or love.

Like these gems from Mother Teresa:
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."
"The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved."
"Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you."

"Fatigue makes cowards of us all." ~Vince Lombardi

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." ~Philo of Alexandria

Grace wants to be remembered for her words. She's our bathtub poet.

"Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words."  ~Harlan Miller
(I moon-lighted at Target this Christmas season and can confirm the crazy haywired-ness of people!)

"Sometimes the dragon wins."  ~Mr. Donald Wallace Nielsen

And this is what Micah does when we aren't home:

"What lies behind up and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

And words stick with us, recalled at the strangest time. The other day someone complimented me on my teeth and I immediately flashed beck to the orthodontist who gave me an ortho consult when I was 10-12ish. His assessment was that he could give me braces but there was really nothing wrong with my bite and, "You're never going to be a model anyway, right?" Wow, do words stick with you, and hurt long past when they should!

I am reading 'The Bondage Breaker' by Neil T Anderson and he discusses this passage:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ~2 Corinthians 10.3-5
Anderson defines 'strongholds' (sometimes called fortresses) as "fleshly thought patters that were programmed into your mind when you learned to live your life independently of God. Your worldview was shaped by the environment you were raised in. But when you became a Christian, nobody pressed the 'CLEAR' button. Your old fleshly habit patterns of thought weren't erased." Huh, no one hit the clear button - that's a huge piece of the puzzle!

"One often is most vulnerable to the trap when one is not alert..." ~unknown

Looking back, most of the strongholds in my life have come from negative words, and these are the fortresses I want God to tear down. I can't help but think that if life-stealing words built fortresses in my life/heart/mind, what amazing God fortresses will be built with the life-giving words of Jesus? What will the stronghold of God, the Great Architect, look like? Imagine the love living in those rooms! I want a new fortress, I want God to be my stronghold! How do I get there? And how can you get there?

Words impact lives, change your words. A. Voskamp at A Holy Experience is writing a series with a friend on Tuesdays about blogging for the Kingdom. A few weeks ago she said,"Only speak words that make souls stronger." What an idea! That is speaking life into people. Jesus only spoke words that made souls stronger. I think He still does today.

"If I am in harmony with my family, that's success." ~Ute proverb

What if I never articulated to Grace how, "I am so tired, Grace. You need to go to sleep because I am just done." What message does that send? What if Micah got more of my attention, even when he's talking about something I don't really care about and the words I said back to him really showed how I listened, how what he says and thinks is important? What if I stopped crabbing at Micheal about socks on the floor? What if I I could look past the socks and thank him for working, for making Grace's lunch, for planning supper, for warming up the bed, for all the things he does do? 

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou

I guess the long and short of it is:
* Words matter
* Words matter to me
* Words probably matter to you, too
* Words are either life-giving or life-stealing
* Even if my exact words are never remembered, the intent and feeling behind them will have an impact
* Saying hard words can be life-giving, check your motivation
* Choose the words you use wisely, and I'm going to try that, too

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~Jesus, John 13.34-35

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. ~Apostle Paul, Romans 12.10

"Only speak words that make souls stronger." ~A. Voskamp

I paid about $10 for 6 bathtub crayons and a rubber duckie sponge that's already fallen apart. Next time I'm going to make home made ones with Grace. This seems to be a pretty standard recipe for them here.


  1. loved, Loved,LOVED these writings- thanks for the inspiration!