Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I love you!!

 “I love you, Gramps” were the words that melted my heart.  Coen, our grandson, was staying at our house while his mother ran a few errands.  It was time for him to take a nap, so to help him get to sleep, I laid down beside him on the couch.  He looked me in the eye and spoke those magical words.

This whole escapade reminds me of a song, Unspoken Love, whose lyrics we have included with this letter.   The sad lyrics speak of the life-giving words that go unspoken day after day.

You know, it really doesn’t take a lot to make a person’s day.  Our daughter, Christa, who is expecting our second grandchild in July, shared the other day how thrilling it is when people tell her how good she’s looking, encouraging her in her pregnancy.  “Why don’t we say those things at other times as well?” she texted us.  “I need to remember that daily, to say those words that encourage others.”

In one of our seminars, Better Communication = Greater Intimacy, we talk about encouraging words and discouraging words.  They are both so easy to speak.  We simply have a choice each day (actually, many times each day!)--will we speak words of love, encouragement, nurture?  Or will we speak words that intimidate, inflict pain, or discourage.

I believe this is true in the marriage relationship more than any other.  We grow so used to each other, and if we let our minds drift into selfishness, we begin to focus on all that is wrong with our spouse.  When this happens it is so easy to forget all about encouraging words and instead let slip words that hurt.

Sometimes we get under the mistaken opinion that our deeds are all that are needed to express our love.  Like the poor wife who, after forty years of marriage, was desperate to hear her husband verbally express his love.  She confronted him by asking, “Do you love me?” “Why do you ask?” he said. “Because you never say so,” was her reply.  His reply?  “I told you ‘I love you’ on our wedding day and nothing has changed.  If anything changes, you will be the first to know!”  L  We need to hear those reassuring words—I love you!

I’m not saying to forget the tangible demonstrations of our love.  As we approach Easter, we find the most demonstrative act of love ever displayed.  But God not only shows His love for us, it is expressed throughout the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  In fact, the Bible is often called His love letter to His children!

So, make somebody’s day today by showing and expressing love!

This is gonna hurt!

Fallen down lately? I did!  After skirting black ice throughout our entire two-mile walk on one of those cold, icy mornings I let my guard down for a second and went head first at the end of our driveway.  As if in slow motion, my mind whirred as first my knees, then my wrists, and finally my chin hit the sidewalk with one thought:  This is going to hurt!

We don’t heal as fast as we used to!  The skinned chin is all healed, the scraped knees will scar and still hurt to the touch and, the worst, the sprained wrist has to be babied.  Accidents happen so quickly, without warning, and can cause injury that can hurt for days, months, and, yes, years in the future.

The same can be said about the words that come out of our mouths.  One word or a few words spoken without thought of how it will effect the other person can cause injuries that will take days, months, and, often, years to heal; some cause such injury they never fully heal.

Our all-knowing Father knew we would have a problem with this.  He has quite a description of the tongue and the words we say in the book of James.  He describes the tongue as a small part of the body, but like a spark of fire, can result in devastation.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness…this should not be.  James 3:9-10

In working with couples and families one of our main areas of focus is on communication.  That entails going through a process of forgiveness (asking and giving) for past poor communication and teaching on how to communicate effectively (being understood without hurting others with your words in the process.)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs…  Ephesians 4:29

Sounds simple, right?  Actually, it’s quite a job!  So many past hurts and little understanding on how to change.  But thankfully we have an awesome God who can help!  We have seen Him change a seemingly hopeless home into a thriving relationship, which can light the way for others.

Which brings us to our prayer requests.  Our desire is that in all we do, we do in His name (Colossians 3:23) and will make the most of every opportunity (Colossians 4:5-6).  Please pray that God will open doors for our message and that we would proclaim it clearly.