Tag Archives: words

Does he know?

Today marks 17 years married to this guy.

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I’ll be darned if he doesn’t get better looking each year, while I just get older.

 

It’s been nearly 21 years since our fist date…officially together for more of my life than not. It’s crazy to think about. Last week I was thinking about what I wanted to say about 17 years of marriage with the only man I’ve ever loved. I had this nice story I was going to tell about the antique rocking chair he gave me when our first child was born, how it’s been broken and repaired, much like our marriage over the years. A sweet analogy, but I’ll have to save it for another time.

 

Because everything changed for me on Monday when I got the call from my husband that he was on his way to the ER. And then three hours later the text that they were admitting him.

He’d had a stroke.

I was in the middle of teaching a class when I read those words on my phone. To be completely truthful I hadn’t expected it to be anything serious. He’d started experiencing numbness on his left side two days earlier, but since he had absolutely no other symptoms we thought it might be related to a recent surgery on his elbow and didn’t worry too much. Then Monday, when the numbness hadn’t gone, he went to the clinic at his work and his blood pressure was through the roof.

That’s when they sent him to the ER.

Even at that point, while I was starting to get more concerned, I really didn’t think it could be anything too serious. Because until it happens to you, you don’t believe it will.

A stroke.

He’s only 43 and he’d had a stroke. The only person I ever remembered having a stroke was my grandpa but he was sick from before I was born. Strokes only happen to elderly and very sick people, didn’t they?

As I made arrangements with my boss to end my class early and jumped in the car to start the painfully long drive from Centreville to Winchester there was one thought that kept going through my mind: Does he know?

Does he know how much I appreciate everything he did for me the last two weeks?

Does he know how his presence comforts me?

Does he know how much I respect him and admire him for all that he’s overcome?

Does he know how much I need him in my life?

Does he know how much I love him?

Because the thought that plagued me and left a knot in my stomach was that I couldn’t remember if I’d said these things lately.

We’re pretty generous with the “I love you’s”, the hugs and kisses, and even the occasional cheeky text message. But they are scattered among lots of “did you remember to buy the milk?”, “have you seen the scissors?”, and the ever-popular, “what do you want to do for dinner?” So sometimes the other things seem to get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes you say and do those things every day and you wonder if the intent behind them is truly felt. Had I sat him down, looked in his eyes, and said how I really felt about him lately?

I thought about the night before and how we’d had a tense conversation about finances. It wasn’t an argument, but let’s suffice to say that there was frustration felt on both sides. While we hadn’t gone to bed angry, I couldn’t fathom the idea that that would be our last real conversation.

Oh God, please, don’t let that be the last thing we ever talked about.

I’m not going to sit here and tell all of you how important it is to tell the people you love how you feel. To never go to bed or part angry. To set-aside differences, forgive old wounds, and restore relationships before it’s too late. It’s been said a million times by every other person who has faced a medical scare, walked away from a near-death accident, survived cancer, or lost a loved one too soon. So I won’t say it again.

Because the truth I learned this week is that until you are driving like a bat-out-of-hell on the interstate to get to a hospital room; until you are there in that hospital room waiting for test results; until you hear the word stroke, or heart attack, or paralysis, or cancer, or worst of all, “I’m sorry we did everything we could,” the reality that last night’s conversation may have been the last one doesn’t fully settle into your heart, branding itself there forever.

Until that moment we may know intellectually all that is possible, but we don’t truly feel it. We don’t believe it could be us.

I’ve cried a lot of tears this week, taken a lot of deep breaths, and said a lot of words to God. I even laid in a hospital bed next to my sweet husband and told him that if he died and left me to raise our three kids on my own I would kick his a$$ when I got to heaven. Because humor is a coping mechanism for me.

But the heart’s intent behind all of those tears, and deep breaths, and prayers, and joking was simply this: I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I don’t want to do life without you in it.

I’m so very grateful that we get more time. That we are here today, celebrating 17 years of marriage. That today I can make sure he knows. And tomorrow, and the next day.

Because I don’t know which conversation will truly be our last, but God help me, whenever or wherever it is, I will not have to wonder again if my husband knows he is the love of my life.

 

Guest Post: If looks words could kill

This month’s guest post comes from Christy Pearce, who runs the blog Faith Like Dirty Diapers. Christy and I met a few months ago through the Compel writers group run by Proverbs 31 Ministries. Right away I was struck by how open and honest Christy is in her writing, using her own life experiences so that she may encourage others. She has a real passion for ministering to women, particularly through their marriage and parenting struggles.

Today she shares with us the power of words…

Proverbs 18:21

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a dirty look is worth a thousand sucker punches. I had the art of nasty facial contortions NAILED, and Momma always used to reply to my facial expressions—“If looks could kill, we’d all be dead.”

That was before I found the power of my mouth.

I was always a very timid and shy girl. I had LOTS of opinions, but lacked the boldness to voice them. Until, I got a little older. Then my mouth opened a little wider.

Older Not Necessarily Wiser…

In my late teens and early twenties I began shedding the inhibitions that once left me holding my tongue. I began to explore the power of stating my mind. I realized it felt good to get the truth off my chest. And standing up for myself or my opinions felt even better.

That is…until I was saved by grace.

You can’t shoot your mouth off in anger or be brutally blunt without your conscience gnawing away at you once you understand the grace of God.

But it didn’t stop me completely. I felt a lot like Meg Ryan’s character in “You’ve Got Mail.” Suddenly saying everything I ever wanted to say didn’t feel as good as I thought it should. It felt bad, and usually didn’t even result in winning the other person over to my side.

No matter how emphatically I stated my case, I could NEVER control people with my words. All I could expect in return was anger and hurt. I certainly didn’t want to go around spewing death in my conversations with those around me.

I still don’t want that. Yet, I still struggle with how I sound when I speak. I still struggle with what to say. But if I have learned anything, I have learned this:

Oh, can you ever influence people when words are “fitly” spoken.

Proverbs 18:21

Beautiful Words, Wonderful Words of LIFE!

I am a blogger and I participate in a few weekly linkups with a fabulous community of writers. One of them is #LiveFreeThursday with Suzanne Eller of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Suzie gives a prompt. Then on Thursday we share what God has laid on our hearts by linking up our blog entries on her website.

One week I didn’t get my post linked up until late on Thursday. It had been a busy week. I had bitten off more than I could chew, but I really love this community of women and didn’t want to miss out sharing together with them—not even for one week.

I eventually got the post done. It was later than normal, but I finally made it.

Once I posted my link, Suzie replied with five simple, but beautifully encouraging words: “I was waiting for you.”

It was almost like she knew I was thinking to myself, “No one will notice if I don’t link up this week. It isn’t “required” anyway, I could just skip this week.”

But instead of giving into that thought, I pushed on and got ‘er done.

Those simple words had such power. To know that I would have been missed if I didn’t link up made me feel valued. Those words made me think my writing may matter after all.

But more than that, her words made me want to share life giving words with others. I wanted others to know the feeling of encouragement that I felt.

Word Matters

Our words matter. All of them. The “power of life and death” resides in our words. Sometimes, we don’t realize how very badly our words hurt, and other times we miss how wonderfully amazing they can be to the hearer.

Just like Suzie probably had no idea the impact her simple statement had on me. (Well, now she does!)

Let’s set our mouths to speak life! We reflect Christ when our words are an offering of love and kindness to those around us.

And above all—

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ…

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:2-3, 6 (ESV)

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Christy PearceChristy Pearce is a wife, stay at home Mommy of 3, writer and speaker. Her passion is to proclaim God’s truth and make Jesus known! While Christy admits that she is far from perfect, she desires that Christ would be preeminent in all she says (writes) and does. Her blog, “Faith Like Dirty Diapers,” was born out of God using every day events—even a diaper change—to strengthen her with words of life.

You can connect with Christy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/christylouhoo  or on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/christylouhoo

photo credit: Confunsed via photopin (license)

Sometimes 470,000 words just aren’t enough

I love words. As an avid reader, I love when just the right words are put together to perfectly describe an emotion, place, or situation — putting you right in the midst. I love stretching myself as a writer to try new or unusual words to really paint a unique picture for my reader.  But more than that, I respect the power of words. Words can inspire, they can heal, they can uplift and they can make us laugh. They can also wound, harm, and break-down.

When Noah Webster compiled his first edition of the American Dictionary he listed and defined 70,000 words. Today Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Unabridged Version) has roughly 470,000 words. Wow! With that many words to choose from you’d think we would never be at a loss for what to say. However, there are moments in life that knock the wind — and words — right out of me, leaving me stunned into silence.  And it’s this loss of words, or my inability to find the right words, that causes me to lie awake at night.

Last week I witnessed two dear friends experience hurt, pain, loss and struggles that no person should ever have to face. I lost many hours of sleep worrying, praying, and crying for these friends. In my heart of hearts I wanted to find some nugget of hope or advice, some bit of comfort or healing I could offer. I prayed for God to deliver the right words to me that would give them a tiny bit of peace. But in the end their situations were just too big for my words. I felt anything I might say would be, at best, empty noise and, at worst, trite and cliche.

Not knowing what to say left me unsatisfied, so I turned to scripture for some insight. I was struck by the story of Lazarus’s death. There are a couple of very key moments in this story that helped me to see my role as friend of the grieving in a different way.

First, scripture says that Jesus loved Lazarus. He was not just an acquaintance or the brother of Mary and Martha, he was a very dear friend to Jesus (John 11: 3, 5). Second, Jesus knew that Lazarus was going to die and be raised again. In John chapter 11, verse 4 Jesus says, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Later Jesus specifically tells His disciples that Lazarus has died. Yet, despite Jesus knowing how it was going to turn out, we are told that when He saw Mary and her friends weeping for Lazarus, Jesus was so moved that He, too, wept (John 11:35).

Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew the happy ending to this story. But that did not lessen the grief He felt when He saw his dear friends hurting. He did not come up to Mary and offer her words of comfort. He did not say, “time will heal your wounds” or “God has a plan, it will all be OK in the end.” No, He wept. Because sometimes the hurt is just too much and all you can do is weep.

Of course, in the end Lazarus was raised from the dead. Unfortunately, I don’t have the power to overturn my friends’ grief. But that’s not really the point. This is not about me or what I can do. It’s about God and what He will do.

Like Jesus knew about Lazarus, I know that this is not the end of the story for my friends. I believe in my heart that God will bring healing and restore happiness to their lives one day. Because “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” (Pslam 34:18). I don’t know exactly when or how it will happen, but it will happen.

Until then, I will offer my love, my arms to embrace them, my shoulders to cry on, my ears to listen. I will not worry about words or saying the “right thing” to bring comfort. Because sometimes even 470,000 words just aren’t enough. Sometimes, the most we can do is stand beside our friends and weep along side of them.