I turned 70 this week (that word, in itself sounds old!” It sounds very old to many, but for those of us close to this age–not so much! My wonderful children set about to throw me a surprise gathering–with friends and family. Somehow along the way, I found out about it. I am one of those kinds of people who love celebrating others–myself, not so much. So I was glad to be able to prepare in my heart for it!
Our Youth Pastor preached a wonderful message on Sunday–about forgiveness and touched on the behavior patterns of middle- schoolers. That reminder was helpful to me as I watched four of my grandchildren this weekend–two which are middle schoolers! So I went up and thanked him for his words. His wife was out of town, so I thought maybe he would like to come to my birthday gathering that evening (as I invited him I remembered Sunday evenings are youth group nights). He said, no, he couldn’t–but then he goes “right, your birthday. You are going to have FUN!” I thought–what does he know that I don’t know? This was a very simple phrase–but it stopped me. I had not thought about it being “fun”, just that it would be “nice” or “good”, but “fun” isn’t something I usually think about for myself! That single word changed my expectation!
That little phrase set up an expectation in my soul that surprised me! I heard it, trusted it and believed it. I went, “OK!” As the day progressed I found myself getting excited with a new expectation. Due to my son in law’s open art studio week end, their four children were with me since Friday. We had a wonderful time, but I was a bit tired. I just prayed, “Father, let Your Will be Done”. I did not know who was coming–only those who had told me they couldn’t. So I did not know what to expect. The decorations began to go up. People stopped by early–which was great. And as a bonus gift, one of my friends who has been on dialysis for about three years got the call they had a kidney for her while she was here! We were able to pray, find a place for her dog, a ride to the hospital while we were in prep mode!
My dear friends of 42 years arrived the night before, so they were helping any way they could as well. I want to encourage us to use our faith filled words to help frame others lives. I did have fun. There was amazing food. Great words of encouragement from everyone who came and Words from the Lord which filled me up to begin this new decade. I felt loved and so cared for. I chose to listen carefully and faithfully to the encouraging words that people shared about how my life has intersected and impacted their life. It was a bit overwhelming, but I chose to receive them to motivate me on to touch even more lives.
Interestingly enough, they weren’t necessarily big things–but they were important to the individual. Friends, let us love both in word and deed. It makes a difference. Words are important. They are precious. Let us spend them to help encourage others. Speak words of life, God’s words. Last night our Life Group watched the movie Breakthrough–if you get a chance, watch it. You will see the power of words–first the mom’s words in desperate prayer, and then in words of life over her son and how they changed the situation. It’s something we each can do!
Father, we ask you to help us speak words of life. Convict us of any words which contradict your Word, which tear down and bring discouragement. If needed, help us with one conversation at a time. In Jesus Name, amen.