making our words matter

 

I was old enough to know three little words would burn the heart of a mother. I don’t remember why I spewed out “I hate you”, maybe because I wasn’t allowed to date at ten or wear red lipstick to Sunday school.

But I said it loud enough to hear and she walked away and closed a door.

Later that night I heard footsteps walking down the hall. I followed them and found my mother in our living room, sitting in front of a bay window crying.

And they were just words, words that couldn’t have been further from the truth, but they throbbed inside my throat and I wished I could take them back.

Words come quick and sifting through them takes time.

Are they encouraging? Are they necessary? What purpose do they serve?

Proverbs 13:3 – He who guards his lips guards his life …

Let’s make our words matter.

 

(this week I’m reposting from my 2011 blog — so I can turn in another chapter and spend some time with my sweet family — hope your week is great one!)

 

the way He looks

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. ~ Isaiah 23:2-3

“There was nothing physically attractive about Jesus. He wasn’t rich or notorious, well-dressed or handsome. At first glimpse Jesus was forgettable, neither standing out for beauty or charisma. Maybe this is why the widow and marginalized and sick and outcast flocked to Him. He was apprachable in every way.”                        ~ 7 An experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker

 

how do we excel in the grace of giving?

 

In Toxic Charity, author Robert Lupton writes about an exchange he had after a speaking engagement in a question and answer time.

An attractive woman in her 40’s stood up and asked,

“So how could you say that giving food to hungry people could possibly be hurtful?”

Those seated nearby nodded their heads in agreement.

It’s a question he hears often. He runs an urban ministry program and he and his wife live in a low-income, inner city community. His desire is teaching his neighborhood how to be productive, find jobs, manage their homes and raise respectful children.

The woman waits for Mr. Lupton’s response.

He explains that continually giving to the poor without any expectations in return fosters dependency and it becomes a way of life, chipping away at a person’s dignity until there is none left at all.

And the woman stares back at Mr. Lupton, seeming to understand what he’s saying, maybe for the first time.

And she speaks slowly as if she’s processing each word,

“Because it’s easier. It costs much less in time and money to run a food pantry, and that’s what the churches want. Churches want their members to feel good about serving the poor, but no one really wants to become involved in messy relationships.”

I close the book because it’s late and after a long day, slipping into bed feels like a luxury.

But it’s the messy relationships that keep me from falling asleep.

I’d rather smile and hand out food. Keep an arms length from messy.

I smile at her every Sunday. I don’t ask how she’s doing anymore because I’m afraid she’ll tell me. Or that she needs a ride. Or a babysitter. Or a new cel phone. Something is always wrong. And I don’t know what to say.

Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving.  ~2 Corinthians 8:2-4, 7

How do we “excel in this grace of giving”?

By opening our doors, our homes, our conversations, our wallets?

Are we called to give more than the food pantry just a few miles from our home: 2 chickens, 6 cans of vegetables, a cake too stale to sell in the bakery?

When others lives are chaotic and cluttered, we can offer more than what fits into flimsy bags.

It’s there our words may mean the most.

Where the hope message is clearest — someone cares – someone loves you.

It’s how we excel in the grace of giving.

a snapshot of today

 

It is busy! I glance at the clock and time has slipped away, it’s nearly 2 o’clock and we’re expecting company at 4.

I snap a picture of you, just before your nap.

A marker to remember where I am, in this place.

You’ve worn this smile since breakfast.

This moment — this day — is more than I deserve.

I’m blessed to be a mother.

To be your mother.

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