Oh My {many} Word{s}.

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Goodness, my mind is all over the place.

Lately, when I talk about my faith here – you know sharing my innermost thoughts about Jesus on the world-wide web – I start rambling, sweating and even hesitate to share my words….I don’t know why this is happening.  I question what I’ve written, I get nervous.  Each time though I’m reminded that we are called to share our testimonies.  To share our personal stories of love and redemption so that others too, may discover the love of Jesus…

I still don’t have all of my thoughts sorted out enough to share – which yes I know, hasn’t stopped me from sharing here in the past – but anytime I try to sort out my feelings on these subjects in-person I’m left with blank stares – clearly I have more sorting to do.  {What subjects you ask? Oh you know; secular vs. biblical, am I truly living out my Christian claims and faith or simply submitting to our cultural norms…you know, the light and fluffy stuff.  It’s one big laid-back party in my brain…}  So…I’ll do my best to kick my brain into a higher gear and report back quickly.

In the meantime, I want to post something I shared at our Spirit Led Life bible study last Tuesday.  It’s long, so make yourself comfy.

Signing off with sweaty palms….

______________________________________________________________

I came home last week to a message from Kathy {our bible study leader} asking if I would be willing to lead the listening prayer today.  My initial reaction was laughter.  Of all of the times.  Why couldn’t this be a time when I’m more on?  When my relationship with the Lord is smooth sailing and life is light and easy?  Right now I’m all mixed-up and confused.  Perhaps, said Kathy, this is why your name kept coming to mind….

And so today I stand before you humbly, sharing a bit of my story, my faith and walk with the Lord, which for me involves lots of praying and worrying.  I’m worried about sharing His truth properly, especially when I’m barely scratching the surface myself.  Yet I’m reminded that we are called to share our testimonies with one another.  If we don’t all take this leap of faith – sharing our faith out loud – we would miss out on the great opportunity to witness the Lord at work, all the time, in all of our lives.

In the last year I’d grown discouraged with my faith.  I had no doubts about Jesus mind you, but rather how I was actually living out my faith.  See, I think it’s easy to get too comfortable in our walk with Jesus – it’s easy for me to claim that I’m a Christian.  Yet ironically, more often than not I find myself living out a more secular life – one that more closely follows the social norms of this word rather than living out a biblical life, one that no doubt would call me to stand out and do things I might be uncomfortable with.

It seemed like all of the “real Christians” were all doing something amazing.

Adopting orphans with special needs.

Serving as missionaries.

Feeding the poor and hungry.

And here I was a wife and mother of three whom on some days could barely pull it together enough to get to the grocery store.  My greatest parenting achievement of the week?  Weaning my four year-old off of his pacifier.

Some Christian I am.

You can imagine my relief when I read the scriptures in our study this week.

When Jesus saw Nathanael sitting under the fig tree, he might as well have been looking at me.  It was balm to my soul to read that Jesus met him right where he was and spoke the words Nathanael needed to hear in order to fully believe and follow the Lamb of God.  I was reminded once again of how Jesus will always meet us right where we need him, and he will speak the words that we need to hear to believe.  He does not use smoke and mirrors.  He makes no demands or guilt trips.

His words to the disciples were kind, simple and straight to the point. His truth always speaks right to our hearts.

Come, follow me.  He came alongside them, as a guide and teacher.  He asked them to let go of their preconceived notions and cultural beliefs and follow him.  He does this for us too.

As I dug deeper into the study I started to notice a pattern.  Perhaps this was just something funny that caught my attention, for I have a love of words.  It doesn’t matter if I’m writing or using them carelessly as I speak throughout my day.  But this I know:  There is power in words.

And there was defiantly a play on words unfolding right before me:

In the beginning the Word created.

He spoke the world into being with words.

His words had power as he spoke to His disciples.

Today, He still speaks to us and through us.

His Word is all-powerful.

We learned in our study this week that as temples of the Holy Spirit – as believers of Jesus Christ – our words too have power.  James 3:3 – 12 details the power of our own tongues.  How we have the power to create, to share our testimonies in the name of the Lord.  And yet with that very same tongue we have the power to do damage that cannot be undone.

As believers, follower of Jesus, our words are powerful.

I spent quite a bit of time pondering what sort of fire I’m setting with my tongue.  Am I setting fires for Jesus, or are my fires more of the destructive kind?

Which brings me back to the beginning of my story.

Sometimes I may not even realize it, but the Lord always meets me where I am.  He knows my life, and more importantly my heart for Him.

Like Nathanael, he will meet me right where I am.  And he has equipped me with a great gift for this journey.  A journey where I am always asking questions, discovering more about Him, and most importantly following Him.

His gift?  He knows me and decided to start with something simple.  It was literally right under my nose.  My tongue.  My words.  This is a gift that I can use while at home with my children, when I speak with friends or when I write.  It doesn’t require me to travel across the country or world to serve my Lord.

This gift is a blessing but no doubt has also been a curse.

I’m learning that there are all kinds of needs in this world and all kinds of ways for us as Christians to meet them and show the world His love.

Sometimes that means adoption and serving on a mission trip to another country.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

I’ve come to believe that he has offered up this gift of words – this opportunity to serve Him – to all who believe in the Lamb.

When we use words to encourage, bless, and fill-up we are feeding the poor in spirit.

When we give hope, speak truth, blanket with love, we are clothing the naked.

When we offer grace, break down walls, speak truth instead of lies, we are setting the oppressed free.

He has given us the perfect blessing; all we need to share His love, truth and grace with others.

Knowing this I want to choose only words that strengthen others.

To carefully choose each and every word I speak to my children, my husband, my family, friends – anyone I interact with.

In Prayer:

Lord, we come to you this morning with open hearts, saying yes to your invitation to come and follow you.  Lord, we also repent. We ask that you would change our way of thinking as all too often our words and our actions don’t always line up with yours.

Lord, please reveal to me any beliefs I cling to that keep me from fully saying “yes” and following you.

Lord, as the bread of life, the living Word, may we be reminded to come to you all day, everyday. Let us be reminded that we don’t have to come up with all the words all the time. We only have to come to you and ask for them and be willing to share.

Lord what bread do you have for me today?

Lord, all too often with our tongues we speak words of praise to you, and then turn around and use words to curse others who have been made in your likeness.

In Ephesians 4:29 (NCV) you tell us:  When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger.”

There is power in what we say to others.

Lord, would you please bring to mind someone in my life who could use a word of encouragement, who needs to be shown the love of Christ be it through conversation, action or in prayer?

Lord I pray that you would be with each and every woman here this morning as she goes out into this world.

Lord help us to all choose words that only make souls stronger.

Even if our words are just the ones we speak to our family and friends.

Even if our encouragement is just for the tired mom at preschool pick-up.

Even if we feel like we stumble along the way.

Amen.

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It should be noted that I wrote this knowing I have a long way to go.  I can just hear my family saying “Libby, wrote that?  Huh.”  Yeah, go figure, I’m a total work in progress who will be forever be thankful for His grace. 

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2 thoughts on “Oh My {many} Word{s}.

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It was very helpful to me as I have been convicted this week that my words toward my boys have not been as patient and gentle and merciful as they ought to be. I ought to be showing them the same grace that was shown to me.

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