Speak Love

Something I struggle with easily on a daily basis is speaking. I am not the most conversational or extroverted person by any means. Talking to a complete stranger is not on my list of favorite things to do. But that isn't the kind of speaking that I am referring to here. I'm talking about speaking love.

speak love Maybe you have been in the same situation? I often find myself getting caught up in speaking sin. This can be shown in a number of different ways, which is why it's probably so difficult to stay on top of. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Gossip. Slander. Ridicule. Judgement.

Do you ever get caught up in the moment? Your friend or your relative is telling you about something someone did to them, and you have to chime in about what happened to you as well? Have you ever over-shared some information to someone else without helpful construction in mind? Have you ever said anything blatantly mean or even a lie about someone? I have. More than once. (More times than I can count!)

What about your husband? Have you ever gotten caught up in the group of moms at the park talking about what their husband didn't get right this time? Have you nagged, whined, or complained about something seemingly terrible that he did?

What about in your own head? Have you listened to the voice in your head telling yourself that you are a terrible mother, wife, daughter, or friend? Have you listened to it tell you that everyone else is doing a better job, is prettier, is more fit, or has it all together while you don't?

James 3:5-8 "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."

That's a pretty powerful message from James. While reading this, I have the urge to kind of brush it off.  It's easy to think about all the other worse things you could be doing, but the more I think about it the more I overwhelmingly agree. In my own personal life, I find the worse my thoughts and words are, how much worse everything is. I get caught up in what the words (true or not) are saying and believe them more and more. Your mind can warp your thoughts so easily. My husband didn't take out the trash today? Well, he clearly is the worst husband ever. I can't believe he didn't take out the trash. Let's think about all the other terrible things he didn't do.  WHAT! It's outright turning into a huge lie, and quickly!

So I'm here to propose a challenge to you...

Speak love.

1 Thessalonians 5: 8, "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet."

 

Ephesians 4:29, "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."

First, decide what your issue is, and tackle it with love. If you have a problem bashing your husband, compliment him. Thank him for all the nice things he does for you. Speak well of him to other people. Remind yourself of all his positive traits. If your head is constantly telling you off, write down a few personal achievements and post them as reminders around the house. Flick the tiny devil off your shoulder and ignore your mean thoughts.

Second, get in your Bible. Being in the Word often helps keep your perspective positive.

Third, pray about it! Ask for forgiveness. Ask for guidance and direction.

I think that you will find that the more positive your thoughts and words are, the more positive your experiences and attitudes with these people (or yourself) will be.

Let's speak love.

Heavenly Father, Forgive me, please. Forgive me for my unkind thoughts, for my selfish motivations, for my hurtful words. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for salvation through Him that I so dearly need because of my sin. Help me to be positive and to be respectful. Help me to speak love about others and about myself. Amen.

 

BeckySig2

 

 

A Chat With Naomi

MMHeader
AmandaBubble

Today I am featuring a woman who is a spiritual mentor to us at HHH in many ways. We have read through Naomi's bible study on Proverbs 31, she serves on the Synod's WELS Women's Ministry Committee, speaks at women's retreats, sings, several of us have played music with her in worship, she is a Pastor's   wife, and she is a mother to one of our own writers can you guess who? (pssst - it's Jes!)

Naomi, how would you describe your unique calling as a woman?

MMNaomi
MMNaomi

Fulfilling! 

Although, you may be asking about what my calling is, I find that my whole life is God's unique calling for me to serve Him: my family, friends, gifts, strengths, and weaknesses; every opportunity is from His hand and uniquely mine!  The whole package is part of His plan and I love living it for His glory!  That attitude also makes it easier to accept my shortcomings and weaknesses because I can be comfortable with who God made me (even as I strive to address the areas where I want to grow!).  It also motivates me to be confident and assertive with the Gospel message and "make the most of every opportunity."

NaomiFamily
NaomiFamily

Many years ago I read the Ephesians passage about the devil's schemes ("Take your stand against the devil's schemes") and realized that in my life his greatest (most successful) "scheme" was convincing me that other people limited what I could do. It was clear to me that I needed to see and be convinced of what God wanted me to do - and then just do it.  It freed me in a new way to see the callings before me as a woman, rather than seeing the limitations. Identifying Satan's persistant schemes in my life made it easier to see when the attacks came - and easier to follow God's calling.

AmandaBubble
AmandaBubble

Wow - what a great reminder! We should be alert and remember the power we have over Satan through Christ.What bible passage is your personal favorite?

MMNaomi
MMNaomi

Each stage of life has brought different favorites and for several years I was faithful about picking a new verse (or mission statement) on New Year's Eve for the upcoming year. However, there is a verse tucked away in Colossians that has spoken to me quite powerfully because it reminds me of what my purpose is and more importantly, whose energy I labor with...

"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy which so powerfully works in me."  Colossians 1:28-29.

AmandaBubble
AmandaBubble

What a unique passage! I haven't heard that one quoted often but it definitely should be. 

Who is your strongest Christian mentor?

MMNaomi
MMNaomi

Pastor Don Patterson.  He loved me enough to help me see how I could grow and what areas God might want to address in my life.  It takes a LOT of love (and guts) to share that with someone in a way that encourages them to grow rather than make them feel criticized. Many of my other friends will lovingly encourage me, but they aren't very specific about what I can change.  I can count on Don to call it honestly and I trust his Christian love as a brother.

DP
DP
AmandaBubble
AmandaBubble

How did you get started glorifying God through music? writing?

MMNaomi
MMNaomi

The music "experience" was profound.  I attended a women's retreat and a woman singer came in after the banquet and said, "Well, you've been good girls all day, let's turn the lights down and have some real fun."  I was so terribly offended!  As I listened to her sing, I thought, "I can sing as well as she can!"  I could not endure her sleazy attitude and comments and went upstairs to my room.  I threw myself on the bed and cried.  As I prayed, I basically accused God, "Why would you give me this voice and not let me sing? Why can she sing (and dishonor you) when I want to sing and honor you?"  His gentle response came as a whisper in my mind, "Who said you couldn't?"  I went home after that retreat and organized a music ministry that fit my gifts and family.  God has continued to open doors and put people in my (unique) path to sing for His glory!

The writing came out of speaking engagements because people wanted to review or share the material I spoke on.  That just happened rather naturally, I really hardly remember when.  I do remember that when I was in my early 20s I thought it would be so cool to be a speaker or author but I also remember learning that I had a few things to learn before I started teaching other women.  I do hope to publish my Proverbs 31 study.

AmandaBubble
AmandaBubble

Is there anything specific from Titus 2:3-5, our blog’s inspiration, that you can comment on to encourage women?

Titus 2:3-5, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

MMNaomi
MMNaomi

I guess it strikes me that it doesn't say, "encourage" them.  Our job is NOT just to "smile at y'all" and say general words of encouragement.  Our job description from the Word of God is that we teach and train younger women.  It is a little difficult at times to find opportunities to do that, but again, that's the scheme (as I see it).  Satan wants me to believe that if I don't have a formal mentoring program or young women's bible study to teach, then I can't do this.  Malarkey.  If I am in the Word of God then I will see the opportunities that are before me and embrace them (rather than whine because I don't have more).  That's why you all are an encouragement to ME because you are growing in the Word and it makes you approachable to teach.

AmandaBubble
AmandaBubble

Thank you Naomi! We are always learning. What do you feel is a threat to a woman’s faithfulness in her home? 

MMNaomi
MMNaomi

I think we struggle to find value in what we do at home and feel good about it.  We can easily flop between the two extremes of guilt and discontentment.  We rarely see the true spiritual impact we are having on our children because the day to day things seem to be so prevalent. Being alert (and finding fulfillment) only come from being in the Word of God.  We all need to arm ourselves against attacks on our callings as wives and mothers. When your children are grown it is so much easier to understand how important that time was and we no longer face that daily battle of juggling those responsibilities.  I see God's wisdom in having older women teach younger women about loving their children and husbands because we know how quickly the time really passes and we can see its importance/impact more clearly.

Naomi's four daughters
Naomi's four daughters
AmandaBubble
AmandaBubble

Is there a moment that you saw God's hand so clearly guiding or providing for you that you would like to share? 

MMNaomi
MMNaomi

I remember when my husband was in school I went through a time when I just wasn't making time for the Word.  It's not like I was backsliding or losing my faith, but I know where I'm at spiritually, and at that time I wasn't very strong - I was very distracted.  God chose to bless us overwhelmingly by providing us with a lake house to live in free of rent and utlilities.  It was so touching because He chose to bless me even when I wasn't actively seeking Him like I should (or want to!).  It affirmed His faithful commitment to me and assured me that He doesn't just bless me when I'm "good."  He blesses me because of His goodness.  That was really humbling.

NaomiWife
NaomiWife

With a spiritual perspective it is also easy to see the many little things God does to guide and bless us.  It also takes patience to wait on Him but I've found there are incredible blessings when you just wait on Him rather than try to force things or create your own agenda.  Help your children to see those little things and talk about God's hand in our lives.  If you talk and pray about (appropriate) life situations with your children it positions you to teach them.

AmandaBubble
AmandaBubble

What’s next for you in ministry?

MMNaomi
MMNaomi

I'm honestly not sure.  I've learned that when I plan a specific ministry agenda I can get too attached to it and be discouraged if it doesn't go the way I want it to (and I get hurt too easily).  I also lose my perspective and sensitivity to God's calling and opportunities.  So, I usually embrace shorter term goals with a broad vision of the future.  I've offered my fair share of "ideas" to God, convinced that I've calculated every detail and solved every problem.  Needless to say, He graciously laughs and does what is best.  But there is always work to do in the Kingdom.

I've certainly wondered at times if I should have pursued one goal in life and concentrate on it, like a music ministry or writing.  But I haven't, and I can't regret anything about my life.  I have an amazing family, incredible friends, opportunities that are humbling and compelling.  For me, it is best to continue to seek Him and wholeheartedly embrace what He gives me as I "struggle with all his energy which so powerfully works in me."

AmandaBubble
AmandaBubble

Thank you, Naomi, for your straight talk - we are challenged and inspired by it. Your advice to seek God's purpose for us in every day moments is wonderful. Your strengths and talents give glory to God and by faith your weaknesses do too. Thank you for your example and for pointing us to Jesus - our everything.