God really speaks to me, ministers to me, and challenges me through music. I can look back at our adoption journey and name very specific songs that God used during that time to call us, to affirm His calling, and to encourage us through the challenges. For the last few years, I have chosen a theme song each year that has been a huge part of my journey that year. My kids make fun of me for this. I think they think it's cheesy. I don't care.
As the new year approached, I didn't really feel like I had my song for 2013. The last few years, the songs have been about trusting God, the pain I have struggled through and God's work in my life through that pain. This year feels different to me. I feel like I have experienced a lot of closure and am ready to move forward in freedom from some of the chains that have bound me so long. Usually, I hear my song for the year, and I just know that's it. January came and went and I still didn't have a song for this year.
In February, a few days before I was supposed to leave for Hawaii, our neighbor's house caught on fire. It was devastating for them, and they will not be able to live in their home again for at least a year. From every indication I have, they do not have a relationship with the Lord. As we walked through that week with them, helped them gather items from their home, gave them some clothes to get them through, and listened to them as they processed, God showed me what it is to "grieve without hope." When everything you have is in this world, there is no hope when it is all gone. It broke my heart. As I was talking to her, I felt like God wanted me to encourage her. The phrase that went through my mind was "speak life to her." Later that day, I listened to this song on my ipod:
Every day with my kids, I have an opportunity to speak life or to speak death into them.
Every day with my husband, I have the opportunity to speak life or death to him.
Every day with my friends, I have the opportunity to speak life or death to them.
Every day at the stores I shop, I have the opportunity to speak life or death into the people I encounter.
I could go on and on.
To be completely honest I don't always speak life. In fact, I have the gift of sarcasm. I tend toward funny, witty, cutting statements that don't usually build people up. I have learned to tame my tongue a bit over the years, but I have a lot more work I need to do. I tend to err on the side of pessimism and as a perfectionist, I see the things that are wrong before I see all of the things that are right. I am asking God to bring this song to my mind in those moments. I am also using this phrase with my children along with the verses in James that deal with the tongue.
I have this reminder that I see on my windowsill as I do dishes:
- Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29