A Glorious Re-Write
I’m sure she meant well. But her words didn’t exactly warm me. In fact they did the opposite. They left behind a nasty sting. My (perhaps well meaning) ‘friend’ told me in no uncertain terms what she thought about me. Any illusions I had of my skills and capabilities were deflated – a balloon flying high which had been pricked – leaving a small messy piece of broken rubber on the ground.
Much of what she’d shared had been reasonable. But unfortunately, words do have great power. All I remembered afterwards was her bleak opinion of me. Ouch! It hurt. I carried those words with me into my tomorrows. They burst open a scab of an earlier wound. I wondered then how many others thought the way she did. I felt weak and small. I was covered in shame. Words can bless. But sadly words can also hurt. A poem by Herb Warren expresses the truth of this clearly.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words could never hurt me”.
And this I knew was surely true, and truth could not desert me.
But now I know it is not so. I've changed the latter part,
For sticks and stones may break the bones, but words can break the heart.”
Five weeks later, it happened. An amazing morning at my church. I danced as we praised our God that day – my heart turning a few gleeful summersaults. I sensed God’s Presence very strongly in His house. My morning was filled with God moments, which spilt freely into the rest of the week; a river overflowing its banks.
I visited to the Ladies’ after church. A lovely lady smiled at me. I smiled back. She spoke. Her words surprised me. She spoke words of affirmation over my life. She didn’t know me very well. How could she say what she did? She added (as if she was reading my mind) ‘I don’t know you well, but I can tell’. It HAD to be the Lord who had prompted her. She made my heart sing.
A short later while enjoying a cuppa and chatting with friends, I received a second hug from God. Another lady grabbed me; (no, not literally). She also spoke warm words of loving kindness over my life. She told me that she’d been watching me; and she’d liked what she saw. She affirmed my actions. Wow! What did I do to deserve all of this? Nothing. Nothing at all. It had to be my God at work. Again. (Thank you Father)
My blessings continued the next day. I had a surprise card in the mail from a dear friend. She’d gone to the shops to buy a belated birthday card for me – but the Holy Spirit pointed her not to a birthday card but to one of encouragement instead. She sent it with her own loving words of affirmation. I cried when I read her letter and enjoyed her card. It was yet another gift from my amazing God.
I knew then that God had heard my cry for help. I’d asked Him for healing. He’d answered. Not by my erasing the negative words my ‘friend’ had spoken over me 5 weeks before. Instead it was through three others who over-wrote those negative words by gracious powerful words about who I was and all they saw in me. God answered me just as He promised me in Psalm 50:15:
“Call upon me in your day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you will honour me.”
So today – I honour 3 godly women who took the time to speak words of blessing over my life. They have no idea what impact their words had – they came at a time I needed them. I honour our awesome God – who placed precious seeds of encouragement in their hearts. Through their words, my garment of shame turned into a garment of praise. These three godly women helped re-write my future because with their encouragement I will rise. I shall aspire through God’s help to become the person I am called to be.
It’s a good reminder for you and me to be aware of what we speak of isn’t it? Three questions I need to ask myself often. Are my words true? Are they kind? Are they necessary? And here’s a thought. You and I too can bring healing to someone whose spirit has been crushed by negative words. Re-writing as an Author is fun. I love it. But working with the Holy Spirit in His task of re-writing another’s life – why - that’s even better. Much much better.
Let’s do it!
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11