Burford Cathedral, Burford, England
I’ve been thinking about words lately. Probably because our Women’s Bible Study started up at church and we’re studying the book of John this year. John starts out in chapter 1 with all this talk about words and “the Word” and the Word being with God and the Word being God Himself. It’s all kind of mystical and confusing if you don’t recognize that the Word is Jesus.
Do you ever wonder why the Bible does that? Speaks in mysteries, I mean. Why doesn’t it just come out and say, “Jesus is God. He was there when God created the world. He spoke words and made everything”?
But I also think about words because that’s just how I’m created. I love a beautiful phrase. I love interesting words. I love taking them apart and thinking about the origins of words.
A couple of my kids are like me in this way, so you can just imagine the fun conversations we have.
I’m also thinking about words lately because I need to come up with some. A lot, actually. I’m speaking at a women’s retreat in November, and they would like me to speak twice for an hour each time.
That’s a lot of words, folks!
Personally, I’d like to speak for about 10 minutes each time, and then run off the stage and bury my head in the sand, but that’s not exactly the type of speaker they’re looking for.
Some of the words are written, but not all. I’m having a hard time coming up with just the right things to say. I want to encourage. I want to challenge. And I want to do it all within the context of the Bible.
It’s a heavy responsibility, taking words and making them do all that. And it’s not one I take lightly.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to joke around and have fun when I speak. I love to make my audience laugh, and laugh we do. But when it comes down to the serious stuff, I want to get it right.
Because, really, God’s words are on the line, not mine. And they are powerful enough to change lives, I’m so aware of that.
Words can change lives. I just think that’s amazing.
The words I speak to my children can make the difference between a good day or a bad day.
The words I speak to my husband can lift him up or bring him down.
The words I speak to my friends can be either encouraging or discouraging.
The words I tell even myself can build up or tear down.
My words have an incredible power to do good or to destroy. What an amazing responsibility.
As I was looking through some pictures from our England trip this summer, I came across this one that is, I think, one of my favorites. It’s a grave marker or a plaque or something like that from a cathedral in a little town in the Cotswolds. The same cathedral where we found a bookshelf with books written by a couple of our friends.
Anyway, here’s the stone.
Just in case you can’t read it it says this:
In memory of
Elizabeth Popham Lobb
Who lived at the Quarries.
She gave strength to the weak,
And courage to the fainthearted.
I’ve thought about her a lot. She must have been someone very special to be given her very own marker in this cathedral filled with art and statues and beautiful architecture.
I imagine that she was a church lady, but not just some mamby pamby lady who quietly served coffee (well, tea) to the men. I imagine that she spoke some powerful words into the lives of the people around her. I imagine that she was not afraid to tell the truth. I imagine that she said what needed to be said, but in a way that built up the people she loved.
I imagine that she was an encouragement to everyone she met.
I want to be that kind of woman. A woman who uses her words to give strength to the weak and to bring courage to the fainthearted.
Will you pray with me that I will find just the right words to speak at the retreat in November? Your words will then bring strength and courage to me as I prepare to bring strength and courage to others. Thanks.