Last night my heart broke for a friend. I felt so ill-equipped to provide the words that she needed to hear. I know so many others that would be much more capable than I to tend to the battered pieces of her heart. I fought back feelings of doubt and instead turned my own heart towards prayer.
Holy Spirit, I need you now. Be my words, speak Your truth. Lend me Your strength so that I may touch her life in ways that only You can. Go before me and prepare us both. Amen.
These words were chosen, not by my own careful selection, but from a power much greater than I. I felt that I would be amiss not to share what He laid on my heart, in case you need to hear these words as well.
I was in a very manipulative relationship with a man that used my weaknesses and my faith against me. He even used the word of God to control me and make me feel as though I had no worth. Though I’ve suffered with anxiety and bouts of depression for the greater part of my life, during this relationship, this was the lowest I have ever felt; so completely alone.
My escape from that relationship was only through the grace that I received from others and the grace of God. I should have been fired from my job because I had sexual contact with this man (who was my co-worker at the time) on the premises. I had to come out and admit to my boss, who is also an elder of my church, all of the details of mine and this man’s relationship. It was humiliating.
But it was also in that meeting with my boss that I saw the face of Christ in another human being. He extended his hand across the desk to me and said that he was sorry and that he would protect me.
Shouldn’t I have been the one apologizing? Shouldn’t I have been the one that took the blame and be sent on my way?
And that’s the beauty of it all. It’s not what I’ve done wrong or done well enough, it’s all about what Jesus accomplished on the cross. He effectively took all of my sins, past, present and future and put them on like a badge of honor. He willingly died a humiliating and excruciating death that I so deserve, in order to give me life!
But this life is hard. Jesus even tells us in John 16:33,
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Change in my heart didn’t happen overnight. Healing took months and I still have a long way to go. Growth back into my faith didn’t happen immediately either. And as frustrating as it is, God does not always reveal His plan and the answers we’re seeking in the timing we expect. But it is with keeping our eyes on the hope that we find in His love and compassion that we can hold on one minute at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time, and so on until we can begin believing without a doubt that He has never left us or forsaken us.
Power in Words
“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”
– Yehuda Berg
Encouragement. It doesn’t cost a cent. It often doesn’t even require much more effort than working approximately 20 muscles into a smile. It can even shape someone’s future by changing the way that they perceive a situation.
Why would we ever not give this away to others?
Words have such power. My boss, co-workers, family, small group, church family and a dear friend on the opposite side of the country spoke life back into me last fall. It was their attention to my well being, their abundance in prayer, love and encouragement that brought me through. Their words were my life preserver in the ocean of tumultuous waves of grief, anxiety, and guilt that I waded through.
In hindsight, I have learned many valuable lessons from that time in my life. I learned that I never want to find myself in that type of relationship again, but I also learned that I need to praise God more for the people He surrounded me by throughout it all.
Vulnerability is a new thing to me. One that I feel like I’m slowly fine tuning into a lifestyle. And through that I have been able to share my story with others, including YOU, so that you may be encouraged by the depths of God’s everlasting love.
As for my friend, well it’s too early to tell whether or not the seed that the Spirit planted last night will grow into full bloom or whither away. But I know with full confidence, that He is capable of more than I can ever hope to imagine!
What Words Do You Need to Hear?
Your story may not sound anything like mine. It’d be silly for me to think that you are out there living the perfect life that I can only dream about. We all go through times that we need to be thrown a rope to help us climb out of those ditches that life knocks us into.
Today, what words do you need to hear so you can begin to cultivate and care for the seeds of peace and hope that God has planted in your heart? How can I encourage you to look ahead, to face a better tomorrow?
A little music for the journey…
Speak life to the deadest, darkest night of someone’s life today. Send a text message, email, a card in the mail to provide a word of encouragement. Be that light that guides the way through their rough patches.