A series of words

Words are a big part of our lives.  Words shape us.  Words influence us.  Words can wound us.  And words can heal us.

The words we speak to others can impact them in big ways.  When I have a close relationship with someone, the words they speak to me can influence me greatly.  They can change the way I see the world, and they can often change the way I see myself.  If you have ever had someone close to you speak loving words into your life, you know how lasting those words can be.  And by the same token, negative words spoken in anger or out of criticism can ring in our ears and minds for years to come. 

Words matter.

Do you remember as a child, hearing “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”?  I do.  I think that little rhyme was probably invented by a well-meaning parent that wanted to encourage their child, who was probably hurting from unkind words spoken to or about them.  They were intended to help. 

If only it were true. 

But words do hurt.  We often recall the hurtful words spoken to us much longer than we can kind words.  In an article by Lindsey Horton regarding the science behind the effects of negative words, she said this: “…negative words, whether spoken, heard, or thought, not only cause situational stress, but also contribute to long-term anxiety”. 

Sometimes those negative words come from the world.  They are spoken to us through social media and more subtlety through tv ads and so on. 

Sometimes those words repeat in our mind from the voices in our childhood, or sometimes they come back to us from a painful adult relationship. 

And sometimes…they come from our own negative self-talk.

Stop right here and think of three words that you might use to describe yourself. (I’ll wait).  I’m willing to bet that at least one or two of those words are negative in some way. 

Photo credit: Krissy Basham (AKA my daughter)

Here are some words that I know we often say about ourselves (as women), even if we don’t say them out loud, or to others. We say:

I’m lazy

I’m not smart enough

I’m overweight

I’m ugly

I’m unlovable

I’m useless

I’m a failure

I’m sure there are others that you say about yourself, words I didn’t list here.  Typically, we have no trouble finding grace and kind words to speak to others, but when it comes to ourselves, we aren’t usually as kind. 

In a world full of criticism and negativity, it is important to be kind to one another.  But I also believe that this kindness needs to start with how we speak to ourselves.  Proverbs 4:23 says it this way: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”.  Guard your heart.  Words matter.  The words we speak to ourselves matter.

Since we are considering the impact of words, I think we should start with considering God’s word, the Bible. 

Last week on the blog, I mentioned a few of the words that God says about us in scripture.  I want to dive into this a little bit further, so I have decided to do a series here on the blog (something I haven’t done so far).  I want to spend the next several weeks together, looking into the words that God says about us.  Words that will help us reframe the negative words that we hear from the world or even in our own thoughts.

God says I am loved!

As human beings, this is the number one thing that we all desire to hear.  “I love you’”

The enemy of our souls works diligently to fill our mind and heart with lies and thoughts that keep us far from God.  And he chips away first, at the foundation of everything, love. 

By far, the greatest human desire is for love.  Oxford Dictionary defines love as “An intense feeling of deep affection”.  We see this desire for love displayed everywhere in our culture.  We seek to receive love from people.  We start (and end) relationships searching for love, romantic relationships as well as relationships with friends.  We even have children out of a desire for love. 

As humans we desire to give love as well as to receive love.  The idea of love is a driving force for all of humanity regardless of their geographical location, heritage, upbringing, race or gender.  We all desire to be told that we are loved. 

Photo credit: Krissy Basham (AKA my daughter)

I desire to believe that I am who God says I am.  And God says that I am loved by Him!

Look what Jeremiah 13:3 tells us.  “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love;  I have drawn you with unfailing kindness”.”

This love of the Lord is everlasting, lasting forever, never changing, solid and sure.  

1 John 4:19 says “We love, because He first loved us.”  You and I possess the ability to love because He (God) loved us first!  How did He love us?

Jesus, God’s own Son, is speaking in John 3:16 and He says it this way.  “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  The way to heaven is through Jesus Christ.  And because the sin of man broke the world, the way that God designed it, He sent His own Son to make a way for us to know this love and to be with Him forever.  John 15:13 tells us this truth “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  

This fierce love was displayed in the ultimate act of love.  God gave His Son, and He then,  willingly laid down His life, so that your life and mine could be redeemed.  There is no greater love than the sacrificial love that God showed to us.

So when the enemy starts to whisper in your ear that you are not loved or that you are not worthy of love (human love or God’s love), rest assured of the truth that you ARE indeed, loved greatly by the Lover Of Our Souls! He went to great lengths to show that love to us.  Our part is to believe it.  To let it settle down into our souls and fill us. 

Photo credit: Krissy Basham (AKA my daughter)

The greatest human need is to be loved.  What an amazing thing to recognize that our greatest human need has been met in the powerful and mighty work of God!

If you are struggling with this truth today, then I believe it is no accident that you are reading these words.  I believe that God sent you here today because He is speaking to you.  He directed you here so that He could tell you what He knows you need to hear.  

You are loved.

I hope that you’ll join me over the next few weeks, as we learn the words that God speaks about us in scripture.  My desire is that you will allow these words to influence and define who you truly are, and how you see yourself. And that you will begin to replace the negative voice inside, that works to defeat you with the words of God.  

Challenge:  Use Google or your Bible app to search for  scriptures that speak of God’s love for you.  Write some of them down in a notebook.  (The pretty kind that you will want to look at again and again!)  And then choose one to commit to memory.  This will help replace those negative things you hear.  Words matter.  What God says about you matters the most!

The world does not get the final say on your worth,  value or loveable-ness.   Only Jesus does!



Photo credit: Krissy Basham (AKA my daughter)


Darkness is a powerful thing. 

I had the opportunity once, to be deep down in some caverns, and it was beyond dark.  So dark that I could feel it.  Deep underground, there was nowhere for even the tiniest fraction of light to get in, and I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.  I held on tight to the handrail, waiting for the lights to come up, and when the light from a single flashlight came on, it shone brightly!  I couldn’t help but to look straight at it and be drawn toward it.

Have you ever been in total darkness like that?  Have you ever been in a time of life that felt like that?  No light from anywhere to help you see your way?  Holding tightly, desperate for the smallest glimmer to guide you out of the dark hole you were stuck in?

Heavy and silent darkness.

Matthew 5:14-16 says “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Let your light shine before others. 

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When we know God, and we know His son Jesus, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and we have a light inside of us.  That light is from God, and is meant to be used to draw others out of darkness and into the true light.  To be a beacon when they  feel lost, scared, and overwhelmed.  To bring hope to their heart in a time of discouragement.

I have been in this kind a situation.  I was scared and overwhelmed, and in need of hope.    

In January of 2015, my third grandson was born, and what a glorious day that was!  We rejoiced with his parents after a difficult labor and delivery.  His daddy was so proud that he took the first selfie of his life, so he could show off his first-born son!  We stayed FAR into the night to be able to visit with his mommy after recovering, and the exhaustion on her face was only masked by the joy she felt over her first born baby!

But 3 days later, things drastically changed. We all had to come to grips with a diagnosis for the baby.  A congenital (or from birth) heart defect, one that required he be immediately airlifted to a children’s hospital 100 miles away.  He would be facing almost immediate open-heart surgery.  Mommy was overwhelmed and grieving. Daddy was scared and doing everything in his power to support his wife. And as grandparents, we were all in shock, literally groping in the darkness for a way to be a help and support.  All the while, each of us was suffering anguish over what our new grandbaby, as well as his poor parents (our own children!) would be facing.  It all seemed to much.  Our hearts were heavy.  We moved as robots.  We prayed, and just kept putting one foot in front of the other, with no other options.

Darkness.  Thick and silent.

John 12:35 says that “whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going”  Simple truth.  When you are in darkness, all you see is darkness.  You can’t see where you are going, because there is no light. 

In that time of darkness, there were those around us, who chose to be a light.  They brought their flashlight of love into our dark day, and shone it brightly toward us, so that we could follow the light, and would not be alone in the dark. 

They stepped out of the comfort of their own lives, and plunged into our despair, and they shone the light of love brightly!  That light was a beacon of hope and focus that we needed so desperately to see our way through that time. 

They texted encouraging words, they sent cards, they called (remember when people used to do that?).  They brought meals, they gave financially, they did laundry, they brought groceries, and they brought gifts.  But mostly, they loved richly. 

They shone their light on us. 

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People in a dark situation feel trapped.  Their normal is completely disrupted.  Their days are uncertain and unstructured.  They don’t always know what to do with their own feelings.  They try to pray but they don’t know how.  The want to believe that God is good, but they hurt.  They want so badly for the darkness to go away, and they worry it will overtake them.  Often times, the words don’t come.  They are replaced with tears of frustration by the people closest to them who are struggling and suffering with the same feelings. Perspective becomes difficult.  It’s like the blind leading the blind. 

Matthew reminds us to “let your light shine before others”.  

Lights in a dark place give:

  • Focus
  • Hope
  • Direction

In our humanity, we can sometimes think that reaching out is intrusive.  We feel like others can encourage better than we can.  We assume that someone else is already helping.  We are “afraid to say the wrong thing” or “bring it up” if they are doing ok right then.   We hold back, sometimes out of misguided pride or fear.  But I am here to tell you that these are lies from the enemy!  If God tells us to “be a light” then that’s what we need to be doing. 

As someone who experienced people shining light into my darkness, I can promise you that I appreciated every single person.  I didn’t wish they had “left me alone” or felt that what they said to love and encourage us was “the wrong thing”.  It all felt like love.  Every bit of it.  And, collectively, it was THE most loved I have ever felt in my life.  Each text, message, card and phone call came out of love and was received with love.  The bright light of loved reached into the deepest recesses of my darkness, and chased it away.

And I learned something.

I realized that I had been that other person in the past. Not wanting to intrude, not knowing what to say (so I said nothing), thinking someone else was going to help them, feeling like what I had to say probably didn’t matter that much anyway. Or that others had something “more” to give than I did.  So I didn’t shine my light.  I held back.  I let pride tell me that those people might be better loved on by someone else.  And I missed out.  I missed out on an opportunity to bear light.  A light that brings peace.  A light that chases darkness away.  A light of love.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to “encourage each other and build each other up…”  The lord knows that we need a boost of love and encouragement from each other.  He understands our human frailty.  Jesus, being fully God and fully man, understood our hurts and our need for courage giving words.  So don’t be afraid to give them. 

Reach out.

Say the words on your heart.

Love with meaning and timely purpose.


And shine brightly into someone’s darkness.

When you or I follow our heart toward the need of another, we are always blessed, often as much as they are.  Face it, it just plain feels good to make a difference in someone’s hurt!  To bring hope and love.  When we do, we are functioning as the church, the body of believers, the family of God.  We are fulfilling our purpose.  We are doing something here on earth to ease the pain of another.  That is something that is not necessary in heaven, but is SO necessary here.

So my question to you is, whose darkness are you choosing to shine your light into?

Isaiah 58:10   “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.”

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