If you haven't yet read it...I don't know what to say. Amazon! Go! I'll wait for you.
In re-reading it, years after my first reading, I can clearly see that this one book was THE catalyst to much of what has happened in my life since then, creatively speaking.
Re-reading (and listening on Audible) has felt like visiting an old, very trusted friend. The kind of friend who says yet again the very thing you most need to hear.
I realized how, once more, I have quietly, in my secret heart, thought that my gift was not "enough". You see, my gift...I mean, my gift...is words. I love words, I write words, I put words in my art, I embed them in my heart, I value them like I value my breath...like I value bifocal readers. And you better know I value my bifocal readers. Because, words.
The Holy Spirit speaks to me in words. I know that might sound like a firm grasp of the obvious. But for many, He speaks in "impressions", in a strong "sense" that they may receive, and in circumstances. He even speaks to some believers through numbers, colors, the list is endless, because the Holy Spirit is endlessly creative. He speaks to me in those ways too...but mostly, He just uses words with me. Words get my attention.
There have been seasons when I haven't heard the Lord well or clearly, but thankfully those seasons are the exception, not the rule. There have been times I have heard the Lord as clearly and concisely as though He'd spoken audibly. I've heard Him speak to me for me, and to me for the benefit of others.
And in the last year or so I've unconsciously, and yet again, devalued that. Because we live in a day and time when "activism" is the socially accepted and cool agenda, I have unfortunately heard and deeply received a message that said, "YOUR WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH."
I get that. Sometimes it's true. I understand the whole "be warmed and filled" thing, and how a lifestyle of platitudes isn't the way of the Savior.
But "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." And "A word in season, how good it is!" My ministry to people, my image-bearing gift, is to bring a word. Since that is my gift and my call, in many situations, if that is "all I do", it is enough
I've been thinking of that today. I've been thinking of times when I heard the Lord speak to me in ways no one would believe...
...like that time He said to me to go to a certain restaurant, to sit alone, without eating, (I got a coffee) and open my Bible and read. Wouldn't you know it, when I went in, there was a table full of people I knew, and they invited me to join them. I actually had to blush pink and say, "Um. The Lord said to come here and sit alone."
Yeah, no. They didn't understand.
I sat down, ordered my coffee, pulled my Bible out of my purse (it was big - both the purse and the Bible, because this was all the way back in the 1980's) and opened it right up to:
Now that was supernatural. And heavy. Heavy, in every way. So heavy, I am still unpacking what God actually said to me that day. Wrapped up in it was the call to repent - to change my mind and leave legalism and speak only worthy words of Good News. First to myself, then to the world. That didn't happen until many years - many hard, difficult years - later.
Not till I'd had my fill of my own performance. Not till I felt empty of all self righteousness and filled with indignation at how it seemed God had failed me. In other ways, I still carry a burden that feels like a "pain unending". Now, that wasn't at all the context for Jeremiah. But the whole passage fit me then, and still fits like a glove to this day.
That was what I call a "life word".
Then, there's little things like candles.
I went out shopping for a friend today. A friend who has experienced a recent loss. Rolling around in my mind was Emily's words, and the fact that I've been devaluing my own words, and this friend of mine, I want to be Jesus to her, and what does He want to say to her? I stood in the checkout line, and my eyes were drawn to the candles.
I knew this candle had to be all-natural, no chemicals. It needed to be soy, and not too too smelly. Well, there sat five shelves of nothing but "Yankee Candles".
But then...near the very bottom...there it was!
One candle. Named "Fearless".
And the word of the Lord came to me. So I bought the candle, along with slippers and a blanket, rushed home and plopped it all in a basket, with a card filled with words.
You know what?
The words really would have been enough. If all I did was write them in a card and give them to her, it would be enough and the Lord would be pleased. But in this case, I'm so, so happy to deliver them alongside tokens of Father's comfort.
What I am hoping you can see is that God speaks in big ways and small ways, and very supernatural ways and very seemingly ordinary ways. He uses Scripture and candles and people to speak words of comfort and joy to a weary world.
"Use your words."