As I shared last week in my post, "Notes from the Porch: Wasted Time", these past couple of weeks have been some of the most difficult in my health journey emotionally. I shared several things and reasons why this has been the case but in addition to everything I shared there are some private, behind the scenes and personal things that have been going on. I have found myself having tears throughout the day on more than one occasion because I have just felt so discouraged. I have often just felt like shutting everything out and curling up with a soft blanket and crying my eyes out.
Ian Maclaren who was a Scottish author and minister is widely believed to have said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." This quote has come to my mind in a thousand different situations that I have been encountering and I have noticed with startling accuracy the impact of this quote. Words have incredible power - to either destroy or to give life. This past week after I announced that I would be starting a "go fund me page" for my upcoming medical treatment to California I received many emails from people who were incredibly critical and harsh. In addition to this I have had to deal with criticism and skepticism as I have been going through my necessary doctors appointments here in the south, where Lyme Disease is not believed to be a real thing. Third, this season of the fight for my health is extremely intense and difficult and finally, as I mentioned there have been some behind the scenes, difficult personal battles that I have been dealing with. But it really doesn't matter what is all going on, because as Ian Maclaren said, everyone is fighting a hard battle.
In the midst of all of this I received an unexpected gift and surprise from a sweet lady who I have interacted with only a handful of times. Betsy, from "Heavens to Betsy" blew me away not as much with her generosity financially during this difficult time, but her kindness through her words. She spoke God's precious love and hope to my little heart through her words. And Betsy's actions and words have gotten me thinking about my own words and the impact that my words have.
Betsy's email was full of love and kindness and her words were "life-affirming" and had "redeeming" qualities. She spoke of hope and physically lived it out with her words. It was amazing how much of an impact her words have had and how many times I have re-read them in the last several days. Without knowing anything that was going on (except for my last post) she stepped into my brokenness and with her words she changed things around.
Y'all the power of "life-affirming" and "redeeming" words has the opportunity to shift an entire situation and an entire life. We may not know or understand the depth to which someone is dealing with a situation and we may never know all of the story behind something that someone is going through, but we have the power to change the story with our words.
There are so many people in my life who live this well and I want to model their examples. Last week when I was speaking with Carina her sweet words and her love were so encouraging. The time that she took to pray for me over the phone was a gift that had me in tears. My beautiful friend Jen is always quick to be sending love and kindness through their words and text messages. Katie's love and words of encouragement are such a gift and Kaara's beautiful encouragement through her cards always seem to come "at just the right time". Caroline always leaves the sweetest encouraging comments on posts that brings a smile to my face and Zoey's messages are a beautiful gift from the Lord. And where to begin with Katharine's beautiful understanding about not being able to attend her wedding is beyond me.
I have been so challenged in this to examine my own words every time I speak recently. I have realized that a lot of the times I am not even realizing when my words could be potentially hurtful. Maybe instead of rejoicing with someone who is rejoicing I am more quick to be like, "that is so nice" instead of truly rejoicing with them. Sometimes I have found myself being unintentional critical without really meaning to be. I have been thinking through things that I say in greater degrees and trying to examine each thing I say and write to make sure that they are redeeming words that I am living. And I have realized that my own potential to speak life-affirming and redeeming words is something that I want to do. Every single day.
I choose to believe that there are people out there that are just trying their best. That each person is genuinely just trying to be the best that they can and we have the opportunity to speak words of life to them. I choose to believe that each of us can change things with our words and that with our positive words we can truly make a difference. When we see with love we see the heart. We can see that people are human with flaws and brokenness but we can still see in love that people are trying their best. In that, we can rest in the positive and understand the impact that we can have on others. People all around us are broken and hurting and need the love of Christ spoken through our words. Let us spread the power of life-affirming and redeeming words today friends!