Monday, December 27, 2010

Words

I have been hurt more by words not spoken than actually said to me.

Because I am a lover of words, I expect more words. And when they are not given, my soul is hungry for the words.
When you ignore me, don't respond to me, and do not give me your words, I am empty. Perhaps I have too great an expectation? When you know the words, and do not say them to me, I am crushed.

There are all kinds of needs.

And all kinds of ways to meet them.

Sometimes that means actual food and a trip to another country.

Other times it means daily bread of words offered from wherever we are.

Ann, I’ve come to believe this…

When we use words to encourage, bless, fill—we are feeding the poor in spirit.

When we give hope, present truth, cover with love—we are clothing the naked.

When we offer grace, tear down walls, replace lies with truth—we are setting the oppressed free.

Can words really change the world?

Never underestimate the power of words in a person's life.


Words are inadequate, we say. So they often are. But they are nonetheless precious. "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." In a time of crisis we learn how intensely we need both flesh and word. We cannot do well without either one. The bodily presence of people we love is greatly comforting, and their silent companionship blesses us. "I know I can't say anything that will help, but I wanted to come,'' someone says, and the word they would like to speak is spoken by their coming. Those who can't come send, instead of their presence, word. A letter comes, often beginning, ''I don't know what to say,'' but it is an expression, however inadequate, of the person himself and what he feels toward us.
~Elisabeth Elliot

And Jesus? Well, He's the Word made Flesh. We can learn from His words.


If I had a choice, I would not want to do without either the word or the flesh. I want letters from my friends, but I want to see their faces. I see them, but then I want them to say something. I have a guest book in which I always ask people to write their names, explaining that they need not write anything more unless they want to, but I open it after they are gone in hopes that they will have written some word as well. "Say it with flowers," says the advertisement, but when the flowers come how eagerly we look to see what the card says.
~Elisabeth Elliot

Related:
Choose the words that matter
The gift of strong words

21 comments:

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

Andrea?
Is it enough to offer these two words: Thank you.

Your words have changed the way I see things today -- and that is an inexpressible gift -- words that make the blind see.

Yes, friend -- *thank you*...

Humbly,
Ann

Anonymous said...

Yes thank you, I could not agree more with you. a sister in Christ
Sharyn

Anonymous said...

Thank you for expressing what I so often feel. May God Bless You.

Linda said...

Thank you for this Andrea. I am a word person too. I find it is the way I best feel loved - that special word spoken.
I think we cannot overestimate the power of the spoken or written word.
So beautifully written dear heart.
You are give good gifts with you words.

tonia said...

I love you, Andrea. I'm grateful for your friendship and your tender, caring heart and yes, your words.

And I promise...more words from me are coming in the letter I hope to get out soon. :)

love to you,

tonia

corli said...

I was touched... and moved to unlurk! And say thank you for your wonderful blog full of humanity, wisdom, sweetness. I love spending time in your corner.

The Wild Optimist said...

Dear Andrea,
Every logophile that glances at your page will be so very HAPPY that you have strung all these words together to write this!

I had just said to a friend last week that the sound of her words (regardless of what their content) was so very helpful in washing away all the OTHER words that swirled in my head.

YOUR WORDS are a gift to us today!

Sheila @ Dodging Raindrops said...

I'm very thankful for your words and I have been reading your blog for years.

Ann Kroeker said...

In confession, there are those lines that we have left undone those things that we ought to have done; and we have done those things that we ought not to have done.

Your post has me filling it in with my word-sins: I continually ask the Lord to forgive me for those things I have said that I ought not to have said; but I have also left unsaid those things I ought to have said.

For that, as with so many things, I need forgiveness.

pebblekeeper said...

Thank you for the validation I feel from your words today. I speak boldly - share openly - cry in public - spread encouragement - share triumphs and tragedies - I blog about our life to strangers - and I share open book to my friends.
I can't help but feel judged from those I see face to face who guard their words, a side ways glace, a pause, silence. I tire of half informed status updates on social networks. Am I to dig out the rest of the story? Am I to ignore it? If I dont know the whole story does it prove I am really not a friend? When we gather and you stay silent, what is my responsibility for pulling it out? These are things I am putting before the Father in this new age of Christmas Card Texts and Status Updates.

Anonymous said...

came here from Ann's link. Words are big to me, and the ache from not receiving them still being processed. You said this so well, and I so agree! Bless you for posting it.

Crystal Derstine

Lisa notes... said...

You have blessed me with your words too. I've often wondered why we're so stingy with our words. We become too scared to say the wrong thing and instead say nothing, which helps no one at all.

nancy horrocks said...

Spoken words of love and grace are the greatest gift we can offer another person. I often wonder why people do not share them more easily and I think it can have something often to do with a kind of jealousy..perhaps thinking it could detract something from ourselves if we give this to another. What do you think?

Andrea said...

I've so enjoyed everyone's comments here. It's comforting to know I am not alone in the yearning for other's words spoken to me--and the pain when I don't receive them.

You all have shared many thoughtful things related to this. It's made me think more about why people do not use their words more freely?

Nancy--you raise a good point. Deep down, I think people don't share words because 1. they were never taught to and 2. there is a fear of sharing deep parts of ourselves as a type of protection.

I'm sure there is more--and this subject is so very complicated: *why* do people act this way?

Cherry said...

Coming from Ann's link ... thank you for sharing these thoughts about words. They are so true, and I identify with what you wrote. Words are so important to me, and I pray that I will remember and speak words of encouragement to others even more freely during this coming new year.

Sarah Webb said...

So very true...never thought about it before. I allow my "introvert" personality sometimes to overcome me and give to others my presence rather than my words. This is something I now view completely differently. Our words to each other can be such a beautiful gift. Grace-filled, hope-giving, love-wrapped words.... I would want that...I will not withhold from others.

Dea said...

I have this need for words. The older I get I am learning that I have more words from others than I used to think I had. I am learning to listen. I quit thinking about my words after their words. We get more words when we listen. No condemnation--only a life lesson.

db said...

What a wonderful post. As a pastor's wife-I have felt the lack of words from others so many time and of course, I have failed in the giving of life giving words. Thanks for reminding us all of the power to words spoken and unspoken.
Blessings to you and your family during this year.
Donna

Natalie said...

A wonderful post, Andrea. I confess that I am one who does not speak sometimes for fear of saying the wrong thing. May God give us boldness and His Words and the wisdom to know when to use them!

Christina Parker Brown said...

beautiful. and true.

Mrs. Pivec said...

This is interesting to me, Andrea, and I believe ties in with hospitality too. It's true that I think many have not been taught or, yes, don't want to say the "wrong thing." But how wrong could that wrong thing be if it comes from a heart that is reaching out? And words can be corrected if misunderstood.

At my uncle's funeral recently, I was re-introduced to cousins that I had not seen in over 20 years, when they were small children and I was an older teen. We all did have a good time reuniting, but I confess, I came home a little... well, hurt, is probably too strong a word.

While I visited with them and asked about their lives, their children, work, and interests, none of this was returned to me. I just left feeling like MY life was rather invisible to them.

I know things are not about me, and certainly we were there to support my grieving family members as well as celebrate a life well-lived by a good man. But this was not the only place I have had this happen to me. Sometimes I wonder if we are forgetting how to converse. In the age of status-updates, the words are only about ourselves. How uplifting and energizing good conversations are! And words of encouragement are treasured often more than we realize.

Thank you for touching on a subject that has been on my mind of late.