I delight in words. Written, spoken and sung-out-loud words enchant me. The thought-only words are a little harder. Hannah told me that when she was a teen-ager, I would often say, "I can't read your mind. Please say the words!" I love the power and effect of a well placed word for good and for solidifying relationship. I am careful to stay away from harsh or manipulative words, feeling quite vulnerable at the sting of being made fun of after misusing a word! I am open and need openness to be secure and on solid ground with someone. Honesty comes with this peace-maker personality so I do my best to be careful with the words that come out. You can imagine when I get a bit too honest and hurt someone...it bugs me forever!! That is, until I can make it right. A few years ago I found a way to bless my family by giving them a word that could guide and bless them. On Christmas eve, I gave each of our adult kids some little blocks and they had to, like a puzzle, discover their word. I told them why I picked that word and throughout the year, I faithfully prayed for them using that word. Courage, freedom, wisdom, float and quest fit each of their personalities perfectly. I loved offering that kind of blessing but the next year I asked them each to pick their own word, thinking that would enable them to find a word that resonated personally with them. That was good also. They picked: courage, trust, forward, fully alive and marvel; words rich and full of promise. But this year several of them asked me to pick for them again.
So I did. It is no small thing to pick a word for someone you love so much. I want it to be inspiring but also deep; one that pushes a little and makes them ponder without any kind of condemnation or expectation on my part. It is a gentle offering, pure and joy-filled. I take this task very seriously (maybe too earnestly) but my kids are so nice to me and smile as I present the words.
To my 5 adult-kids, Thank you so much! I'm always kind of nervous in the moments I distribute these treasures and your encouragement helps. I did sense some anxiety when one of you thought your word was dent...well, I gave a clue (it didn't start with a d) which produced a much healthier word. I could see the body relax and tension go out of the jaw.
- a list of synonyms (enough= sufficient, adequate, plenty, an ample supply, just right)
- a Bible verse (abide= John 15:5, I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.)
- a list of ways I see them already living out that word (breathe= how you breathe life into others= you come home from work happy.)
- how that word has been done to them (treasure= you are treasured, fearfully and wonderfully made.)
- ways I will pray using this word (Father God, nourish this one with your rich, flavorful, delightful love.)
- a song or hymn (Breathe on me breath of God...How deep the Father's love for us...All of You is more than enough for all of me.)
I am thankful to be able to gift our family with an individual word. A year ago my family gathered for a party to express words for and about me. Last November they presented Brian with deep and meaningful offerings in the form of words.Extraordinary memories came from those planned, intentional times together.
But this really isn't a new idea. We didn't think it up. John 1:1 says "In the beginning was the Word..." and He became flesh to speak, die and live again on our behalf. His Word gives life to every other word: spoken, sung, written and even those totally kept-in-the-head.