Ungrace is impatient and unkind; ungrace envies and boasts; it is arrogant and rude. Ungrace insists on its own way; it is irritable and resentful; ungrace rejoices at wrongdoing, but not in the truth. Ungrace cannot bear all things, disbelieves, loses hope, and will not endure all things. Ungrace often reaches the end of its rope.
I’m not sure who this is for, but I felt compelled to write it this morning. Maybe you’ve been given an opportunity to speak, and it intimidates you. Perhaps you, like Moses, are questioning your ability to communicate the truth you feel responsible to relay. It could be that fear has just overtaken your heart when you know you need to speak up about a certain matter. Perhaps you are wondering if you are making the best use of the influence God has given you. If any of these things sound like you, read on.
I remember years ago, my brother Dave shared with me that he believes everyone has their own “congregation”. That is not to say everyone is a pastor. What he meant is that we all have our own peculiar circle of friends and acquaintances. And that is not to say your folks are peculiar. 😉 What I mean is, you have a group of people that is unique to you, and among whom you have a voice.
Sometimes people in that “congregation” are not interested in what you have to say. Sometimes they will debate with you. That’s not always bad. We should always consider the smallest snippet of criticism with care, to see if there is any truth in it. Sometimes perspective is lent to us by very unlikely sources.
On occasion, you may be passionate about what you want to share, and it falls upon deaf (or at the very least, disinterested) ears. I’m here to say that if you have felt compelled to speak, then there is at least one person who needs to hear. It may be you!
First, you need to listen to yourself with your Bible and your heart wide open…as your soul has a chat with the Holy Spirit about what is pressing on you. I’ve found sometimes what is weighing so heavily on me is a divinely-tailored message meant only for me. At least for that time.
After you have had your “vertical appointment”, it’s time to consider your message, your method, and your motive.
Is it biblically-based? Doctrinally solid? Not contrived by isolating verses out of context? Does the Bible speak to your ideas in various places? Have you studied and prayed about how to communicate it? Excellent. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel respected, or that your words don’t have authority or weight. You don’t have to be “somebody” to be used of the Lord. The authority of God’s truth is enough. When Moses hesitated, God told him He would help him say the words. Have courage.
Sometimes, regardless of how loving your words may be, your method might require some thought. There are times a word is meant to be shared personally and nothing else will do. There are other times you can convey things clearly in writing. Is what you are mulling over good material for a blog post, or a book? Is your message appropriate for an intimate conversation, or a roomful of people? Don’t gasp. God may one day call you to that. The days are very near when there will be very little truth being spoken, and you will be drawn out “for such a time as this”. Pray about how to deliver your words. Make sure, whatever method you use, that they are wise, fitly spoken, seasoned with salt, and full of grace.
Some may find offense in the truth; but your delivery (body language, tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions) should never be the cause.
Ephesians 4:15 has been my go-to passage when considering the “why” of what I want to say. Speak the truth. Only the truth. No spin. No twisting. Subtract the selfish motives, the desire to make your point, to prove yourself right (or to put someone in their place). Simply put, get out of the way and let the truth of God’s word speak for itself. If it’s His message, it will soon become clear that you are an instrument, a vessel for His use. Whatever your opportunity is, whether it is a visit on a front porch, speaking at a ladies conference, pouring yourself into a book, or sending a letter (if anyone does that anymore!)…make sure the words are His that you wish to speak. You can be mistaken. Your reasoning can be wrong. God’s truth needs to prevail.
Be mindful to speak those words in love…with an unselfish desire for the best in the lives of others. This means you will be willing to say hard things, but gently. If you need to, run your outline through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Are those words:
- without boasting and pride
- not motivated by envy
- not dishonoring
- not driven by anger
- not assuming the worst of others or gossipy
- given with a forgiving spirit, without holding onto past wrongs
- evidently filled with truth
- protecting the heart of the hearers…not injurious
- filled with future hope of what God will do as He works
After you have checked these things, you’ll know how to proceed.
Even after this careful examination has taken place, your words may still not be received. There may be many who reject them. Look through the New Testament and you will see that this happened over and over again not only with the disciples, but with Jesus Himself. Most may turn away from your message; but bear in mind that it may never be clearly evident to you, who may be listening.
Speak the truth as He would have you do it.
Some call it a “sixth sense”. Spiderman would say his “spider sense” was tingling. Miss Clavel would turn on her light in the middle of the night and declare, “Something is not right!”
You can have this awareness in reality. I call it Spirit Sense. That inner prompting which tells you that something about a person, a situation, the words you hear, a path you are offered…is not in line with truth.
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
When we hide God’s word in our hearts, it gives us an essential, added perspective on life. It helps us to view things through His eyes, and with His truth as the standard against which everything ought to be measured.
When things seem obscured, dark, uncertain…the truth of His word will light the way. Not as a beacon necessarily (because we would not be able to bear seeing too much of the future laid open in front of us), but as a lantern, allowing us to see the next right step, helping us to avoid treacherous paths.
Having scripture memorized means the Spirit has an array of tools at the ready, to help us in any given situation. It also helps us to discern not only between good and evil, but between better and best, which is often harder.
Read this brief but excellent article on the topic for more encouragement.
You may also find that scripture writing helps you to meditate more deeply in the Word. Currently, I am reading through Colossians each day (sometimes the whole book, sometimes just a chapter) for the month of August. I am reading Wiersbe’s Be Complete along with this, as well as using this month’s scripture writing assignments from Heidi St. John. You can sign up to get it via email here. We are currently writing through Colossians. They have helped me to really focus and see things I hadn’t seen before. Highly recommend!
I came across this photo the other day, from my college days. Yes, believe it or not, I was a cheerleader for most of my undergrad career! It cracks my kids up. To be honest, it sort of cracks me up too!
I got to thinking…I’m still a cheerleader. My “team” now is my family. I started thinking of all the ways we moms can cheer our team on. These are some things I want to be more faithful in doing:
- The first and best thing I can do for my kids is to be in the Word daily. Meditating, reading, memorizing, internalizing it so that it changes me and helps me think more like God does and less like I am prone to be. When I was a cheerleader, we had lots of practices. When knew the words, the steps, the drills, so that in the middle of the game we could function as a unit, and choose the correct cheer for the appropriate time. It became rote. Oh, how I want my ability to apply God’s Word practically to our family life to become rote!
- Hugs-I’m big on hugs…and they are good medicine! (it’s been scientifically proven-lol)
- Smiles and laughing together (ask my kids…periodically, my reply to their eye-rolls is, “One day you’ll look back and be thankful you had a mom who was a nut.”)
- Grabbing that special little something on a tough day. Whatever it is. A cool shirt on clearance at Wally World, Cake Pops from Starbucks, or a “sweet nothing” that catches your eye at Dollar Tree (even if you know it won’t last a day once you bring it home). Just something that says “I was thinking of you”.
- Cutting some slack. We can be drill sergeants sometimes. We forget what it was like to be a kid, and how BIG those now-comparatively-small problems could be. So when that kiddo is a “little black rain cloud”, how about looking inward. Our stormy days still come around too. Are we demonstrating how to navigate them biblically?
- Showing grace. I remember one particular time when all the kids were immensely crabby, picking at each other and complaining in the car on the way to shop. I pulled off in the TCBY parking lot and told everyone we were going in. With enthusiasm, the kids all ordered their favorites, and when we found our way back to the car, I asked, “So…do you think you deserve this treat?” They all agreed they didn’t. We had a good discussion on grace that day, and how our loving Father gives us good gifts because He is good, not because we are in any way meriting them.
- Encouraging the impossible. Instead of being Rebecca Realist whenever the kids bring their pie-in-the-sky ideas to me, I try (not always successfully) to be open minded and convey that I believe in them.
- Acknowledging achievement. This is another one where I need to think back on my childhood and the times when I wish someone had said, “Great job!” or “Proud of you!” That’s not to say that we celebrate every accomplishment with fanfare…otherwise it starts to be meaningless. But the times when they applied themselves, really tried their best with every ounce of sweat-equity they could muster, when they really doubted their ability but they pulled through (even if it wasn’t stellar)…those occasions need a big Mom Nod.
- Little pokes. When Facebook had that “poke” feature and “Pieces of Flair”, I used to send them to our two oldest…just because. Now, even if I am not surfing the web very much, I still make sure to drop by and see what they are posting on social media. “Liking” and plugging in cute emojis and stickers here and there.
- Reminders that God is big, and Christianity is more than on Sunday mornings. This is just looking for those teachable moments throughout the day when you sense that the scope of their thought processes is getting too narrow, and consequently stunting their viewpoint of God. It’s showing them that when stuff “goes down”, and hearts are breaking, we pray because it’s the first and right course of action to take. Applying scripture to every day issues to show them it really is alive and powerful. Showing them by what we do, say, read, listen to, and how we react…that Mom isn’t great, but God is…that’s important.
- Making home a haven. Being a kid is tough. I remember the things I experienced growing up. Hard things. Hurtful things. That kid stuff that is unfortunately all too common. Home needs to be not only a physically safe place, but a place of welcome and understanding. A place of comfort and stability. Even today, our oldest told me of her rough day yesterday and how she had told a friend, “After a day like this, I need home.”
So, you may be thinking, “Well, what about your husband? Aren’t you his cheerleader too? What does that look like?”
I am my husband’s teammate. More than a cheerleader. That’s material for a future post. 😉
I’m beyond excited about this opportunity to help launch Heidi St. John’s new book, “Becoming Mom Strong”! This is a timely, biblically-based perspective on today’s parenting…because what we are facing ain’t your mama’s motherhood experience. I love what Heidi has said in our launch group (don’t worry…I won’t be sharing anything of a personal nature from this private group):
I truly believe that you are part of a very special generation of mothers—tasked with raising kids in a culture that is rapidly moving toward moral relativism and away from the things that God says bring life. We’re going to be talking about the very real struggles we are facing right now—but we’re also going to laugh (a lot) pray for each other and learn to see ourselves the way God sees us… as women who have been set apart “for such a time as this,” capable, loved, chosen. In other words, “MomStrong!”
Do you have days (sometimes weeks?) when you feel like you’re just not doing this thing right? It’s time for some empowerment, ladies. Lasting, rock-solid, uplifting words from our Almighty Creator God!
Pre-order the book here!