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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What's in a word?

This past Saturday I received my first real taste of what it means to be a writer. And it came in a most unexpected way. I'm a writer. Not a speaker. But God put two pretty amazing opportunities in my path that I couldn't find a way to veer around. So I walked straight ahead and right smack into them.

With much fear and trembling I might add.

I’ve never given a talk without a little inward war happening in my belly. Even when I teach Sunday school—which I do almost every week—I get nervous. Most times I can pray through it and settle down without another thought.

But going to speak when I’m up in front of a crowd as an “author” is another story. My knees literally start knocking and my voice gets quivery. And I vow I’ll never do it again.

This past Saturday was a whole different experience.

First off, until right at the starting time, it didn’t look like anyone would arrive. I’ve heard of fashionably late, but this was something else. By the time people arrived, I'd already decided to enjoy a nice brunch with the lady who invited me to speak and then head home. No knocking knees. No quivery voice.

Then when people did start to trickle in, I got involved in some conversation and forgot I was there to speak. We enjoyed a nice brunch and then when I was introduced, I just started talking. Shared a little about my family and jumped into the body of my talk.

About Heart Chocolate.

Between the subject matter and the smiling faces of some precious ladies, I felt at home. By the end of our time together, I felt refreshed and recharged. These ladies had given me a gift.

Through their nodding heads and bright smiles, along with a few “Amen’s” when I’d say something about enjoying chocolate, I received encouragement and learned a valuable lesson.

There’s power in our words.

It’s not like I didn’t realize that before. But this time the lesson was different. I was speaking as an author to people I had never met before. I went to encourage and to teach and came away the recipient and student.

These wonderful ladies listened to what I had to say and took the time afterwards to share with me what an encouragement I’d been to them. One precious lady even wrote to me later to say God had confirmed a direction for her through my talk.

Talk about the power of words.

As I pondered all that God was doing in my heart, I started to feel a familiar fear creep in. What if my stories and books don’t help, but hurt people? What if I handle a difficult situation in such a way that offends or worse, wounds? What if what I say doesn’t matter to anyone?

Worse yet, what if the same can be said of both my spoken and written words to those closest to me?

What if my fiction characters’ faults are thought to portray my family’s and people think poorly of those I love? What if my words don’t help, but instead wound my husband and children, my friends?

Scripture at times doesn’t comfort me in this fear. Verses about every word being brought into account terrify me at times. I know for a fact I’ve said and written things that I’m not proud of. Ashamed of actually.

Then I remember how John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” And I realize that’s the greatest power of them all. The Word became flesh.

And He dwells with me.

He forgives me.

He gives me the power to seek forgiveness when I’ve hurt someone.

He even has in His plan the power to bring good out of each and every situation, out of each and every word. And He’s not finished with me yet.

So no matter what happens with my written and spoken words, I know Jesus is there. Guiding me. Disciplining me when I don’t listen. Cheering for me when I follow His footsteps. Picking me up when I fall.

Which makes me desire even more to consider the power of words…

The power to wound or to heal.

The power to shame or encourage.

The power of hate or of love.

The power to make a difference in another person’s life. To encourage change. To help people grow.

My deepest passion in life is to know God and show people, though healing hearts, how to glorify God by enjoying Him.

That happens through the power of words.

Prayers. Emails. Letters. Novels. Sunday school lessons. Speaking engagements. Hopefully even blogs.

And my daily prayer from Psalm 17:3 continues to be, “Lord, I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. The only way I can do that is through You working in me, guarding my mouth, guarding my heart. Help me speak Your words of life today. Help me write them too.”

I’d sure appreciate your prayers for me to do just that. I fail at this most if not every day. But each morning I’m learning to get up, confess my sins, and start the day fresh with His new mercies. To love a little more with my words. To listen a little more to His words. To rely a little more on Him to live through me.

After all, He’s the Word made flesh dwelling among us.

There’s nothing more powerful than that.


Vicki said...

My hat's off to you for getting up to speak. Makes me SO nervous, I've been avoiding it:-) Would have loved to hear you speak, Amy.

And so true--the power in our words. I've blown it sometimes. Many times! Your post encourages me to keep trying, to keep trusting Him to flow through me as I trust Him for my life.

Thanks for sharing Psalm 17:3. I'm making that my prayer this week.

God bless you! Your writing is reaching hearts for Him.


Amy Wallace said...


Thank you! I'd love to have you come the next time I speak. It so helps to have friends in the audience. On the events page of my website I have some speaking engagements listed and will hopefully be adding more as the Lord leads.

God has used your words to encourage me so much! THANK YOU!

God's best to you!

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