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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

At war with words

I've been in a pensive state for a few days and a ton of thoughts are converging on one single theme. That's when I know it’s time to blog again.

So what's the theme?


The recent news reports of prominent people bringing such pain with their poorly chosen words have grieved my heart. Then I look in the mirror and listen to the words that come carelessly out of my mouth and I’m grieved even more.

A few Sundays back I was talking to my 12th grade girls about the Church. In sharing about leadership and their roles within the Body, I felt compelled to share a verse that cuts straight to my heart and sits heavily there.

"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1 NIV)

I take that verse very literally and pray with fear and trembling that the words I speak and the words write honor the Lord. Last night that verse weighed even heavier on my heart as I stepped into a new place in my writing career. I received an email from an editor requesting more information because my very first novel is now under “active consideration” with a major publishing company~ my brass ring for that manuscript.

I thought I was going to throw up.

Not the response I'd expected to have when I reached this place. I thought I’d be dancing around and leaping for joy. But I didn’t. I wanted to cry. Because it hit me with renewed vigor the importance of words and how vital it is that I choose mine wisely.

So much so when I write words that people who don’t know me will read.

See, with the senior girls I teach if I say or do something wrong I can face them and ask forgiveness.

Even more so with my daughters. They are quick to forgive when my words are less than godly. Because they know my heart and know I love them. It grieves me so much when I hurt their hearts. It’s an area I’ve committed to bring to the Lord daily. I have so far to go. But when I remember the pain in their eyes at my harsh comments and their speedy forgiveness when I confess my sin, I’m humbled. Humbled that I’m forgiven and that I have another chance to grow and learn and try again to love well.

Same goes for my best friend and writing partner. She calls me on my words nearly every day. Whether on the phone or over the computer, I can trust her to hold up the mirror to see if my words are honoring words of life… or not. And if not, she lets me know and helps me see how to change them. I love that!

She even gave me a plaque that reads, “Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.”

I so need to pray that prayer… often!

But with a novel, words that I’ve written receive no second chance at explanation. I have no option to ask forgiveness if I blow it and write something that offends, or worse, hurts.

Then I remember Martin Luther standing before his written words, being asked to recant what he’d penned. He steadied his resolve and said, “I cannot. I will not…recant. Here I stand.”

The prayer of my heart is that I will walk so closely with the Lord as I type and speak that I too can stand with passion and boldness and know my words are for His glory.

I’m acutely aware that doesn’t mean everyone will like my words. I already know from experience not all words are received with immediate joy. My daughters and my Bible study girls don’t often like the words of correction that come from my lips. But they know it’s because I love them. I don’t like those correcting words directed at me any more than they do. But I’ve learned to receive similar words from people that love me because I want to grow.

And so, I pray that those who read my words will hear my heart. Even more, that they will hear Jesus.

With that prayer on my tongue, instead of throwing up at this new avenue for my words to go out, I’ve decided to throw myself in my Daddy’s lap and ask Him to make my words His. He has called me and I’m trusting He will accomplish His good, His way, and in His time.

I don’t want to war with words, using them to bring death. Instead, I want to fight the good fight and speak words of life. Please pray that I’ll do just that in all I write and in all I speak.

I love the way The Message writes Ephesians 4:29. “Say only what helps, each word a gift.”

May that be true for each of us…


HeyJules said...

Okay I have just two things to say. Well, maybe three. : )

First, WHOOPIE!!! I'm so happy for you! Seriously! Seriously happy!

Second, Do you really think God would let you realize a dream like this if your book was a pile of hooey? Well, do ya? I don't think so...

And third, here's the best words I ever got from listening to Oprah.
"When I KNEW better I DID better." Once you get that first book out there, you'll be way more likely to get book deal # 2 and you can always say how full of it book # 1 was at that point. But...I don't think that will be the case. Now go throw up and get over it and you better email me the day they say it's a go!

Paula said...

Oh Amy! How wonderful. Let me know so I can celebrate with you when that book contract comes!

Thanks also for staying tender and accountable before the Lord for your words. I know He will guard you words as you ask Him to so you need not fear.

Amy Wallace said...


You make me smile! Thanks so much for your encouragement. I'll be sure to let you know when I know something about the books. ;-)Stay tuned...


Amy Wallace said...


Thank you for your friendship and encouragement.

Fear not... Why? Because God is good and He has good in store for us. I need that reminder often!


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