The Cutting Edge

I've been struck very much lately by the power of words. Written, spoken, heard, passed on- words have such weight in our lives. Parenting foster children has shown me a whole new level of the cutting action of our words. Many of my 'kids' over the years have come from homes where they heard a lot of words- many angry, many condemning, arguing and full of complaining. Many many without love or wisdom. Often even years later, these children will have moments of reflection, terror at times, sadness at others, remembering words that were spoken to them. Some haunt them in their sleep and waking hours, other are a balm to their little souls.

But all have weight.

All cut deeply.

Whether by cutting apart frail self-images or skillfully cutting away unneeded lies from a soul- the ability to separate things within a person is a powerful thing.

Words matter.

My kids are no different than anyone else though. All of us can remember harsh words spoken to us, or high praise from a loved one. Each make their own mark do they not?

Our tongues have the power to uplift and encourage, to correct and refine, to promote and enhance ourselves and others. Our words can shed light, give freedom, and even give life (Proverbs 18:21).

Alas, they also have the power to do just the opposite. Words on a sharp tongue can cut down, discourage, hurt, abuse, condemn, belittle, and destroy. Words can lie, hide, ridicule, and inflict life-long wounds.

What power we wield when we open our mouths!

And yet, I would guess that many of us don't particularly have any major issues with evil tongues. I'm not sure many of us (myself included) give enough forethought each time we utilize our voice boxes. I myself am not known to cuss, or to verbally abuse people. I work hard on not being a gossip or slander anyone. I imagine many of you are similar. We've worked hard to keep clean mouths. And yet, there is so much scripture given to minding our mouths that I am continually amazed at the instruction for using these voices of ours.

Look at just a few of the things the Word would say for when we open our mouths (or in other cases, keep them closed.)

1 Peter 3:10 (NIV) For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be ALWAYS full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Philippians 2:14-16 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. (Anyone else get hit right between the eyeballs on this one?)

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.

Proverbs 15:4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Matthew 15:11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes OUT of their mouth, that is what defiles them.

Proverbs 21:23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.

Psalm 34:13 ...keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.

Proverbs 12:13-14 Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk, and so the innocent escape trouble. From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward.

Proverbs 12:18-19 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

Proverbs 15:1-2 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

Proverbs 18:1-8 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes reproach. The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream. It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice. The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.

Oh dear friends, so much of this is convicting to me. I may not be erring on the side of 'bad' but am I intentionally pushing towards the honeyed wisdom, discernment, and knowledge that is spoken of? We can do more! May we of gentle tongues and wise words! This is so much more than not cussing or using the Lord's name in vain. It is not simply not being mean to people, gossiping about them, or spreading rumors. It is the chance to be totally set apart from all the noise that the world hears day in and day out. It is the opportunity to be radically different in our communication. It is the ability to speak LIFE into others! It is the chance to change someone's moment, hour, day, season, job, stress-level, outlook...for good. Better, yet, for GOD! Our mouths are swords, and yielding in the right way, with the the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can be a force for change in people. We can use His words to cut out sin, to help separate lies, to excise bad thinking and the speech of others that may have taken root in someone's soul. We have a cutting edge! But we must use it with One who can wield such a mighty thing- our Great Physician. As the Psalmist (141:3) writes, "Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips." May it be to us too!

Proverbs 31:26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent (part 5)- Takeaways from Helicopter Mom by Bethany L. Douglas

For those still with me, we have officially reached the finale of this series! Wahoo! I’m super excited to have taken this journey with you.

Okay, so there’s been (hopefully) some really good GodStuff for you to pray through and contemplate over this last month. If you haven’t read the first 4 blogs, I highly encourage you too check them out first. Here’s a link to the first one to get you going.

As this is only a 5 part series, I had a heckuva time whittling down the entire book. Not to brag, but there’s just so much good stuff in there- not because I’m a brilliant writer, but because God has tons of stuff to say about how to overcome fear and raise our children with Him at the helm. The Bible is just chalk-full of wisdom for this area! So as much as I’d love to write it all out (oh wait… I did… seriously check out the full book!) I’ll leave you with one more nugget of advice for helping to overcome this helicopter parenting thing.

Prayer!!!!

Prayer is a thing people… and not only a thing… but an extremely powerful thing- a thing that brings peace, calm, and comfort. It’s a thing that nurtures your relationship with Christ, will bring His supernatural aid, and produces results. Simply put, prayer is the lynch-pin to this fearless lifestyle we’re all trying to attain.

We should be circling anything and everything in our lives in prayer- not the least of which is our children!

The obsessive nature of our fearing needs to be turned to obsessive praying! The goal is to pray-walk

through every aspect of your life and the lives of your children.First thing in the morning, pray. Before

meals, pray, Walking to the park, pray. Have a fear pop up- pray. Worrying about your kids- pray. Sitting at

the computer at work- pray. Driving in the car- pray. Let it infuse the beginning of every single new moment

of your day. We do a walk- around every time those skids leave the ground, which for some calls, is

multiple times on one flight. Make it a habit. Make it a very necessary practice in your head.

We’ve learned about taking all your fears and thoughts captive, now let’s bind them up,

down, and around and around. Let’s start praying circle upon circle around those fears. Hedge

them in with prayer! Make so many prayer circles around them that they are literally strangled

out. Death by prayer-asphyxiation! Suck all the life out of them by enrcircling them with prayer.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you, I Peter 5:7.Those fears that paralyze you,

that freak you out, that make day to day normalcy impossible- pray around them, pray and pray

and pray about them, pray through them, underneath them and over them.

I am absolutely all about envisioning things. Putting a minds-eye visual assignment to

stuff. Use this tool if it helps you to ‘see’ what prayers can do. Personally I have all kinds of

prayer visuals- I imagine chains of bondage going around my fears when I pray against them. I

shoot ‘arrows’ up towards heaven with improper thoughts I find myself having. I imagine my

guardian angels flying through the air to assist me when I know I’m going in to a spiritual

warfare situation and I’m praying for strength. Much of this came from my counseling

experiences and I’ve found the imagination to be a very helpful place to put spiritual eyes on

soul-problems.

Conversely, I pray rings of protection around my children all the time. Whenever fears or

concerns of any kind rear up (whether logical or not) I pray circles around them. I think of them

as layers of spiritual bubble wrap followed by feather pillows surrounded by thick jello and all

suspended by angelic parachutes. Seriously, my kids are protected! They are earlobe deep in

prayer protection all the time. And I take that to the bank, I stand firm on that hill, and I rest

peacefully in their protection- because I’ve been intentional and proactive in my prayers for

them. I willfully and faithfully choose to believe that God’s got them because I’ve give them

back to Him, prayerfully, all the time. It takes some practice but, for me, it helps.

When it comes to fear, circle it, pray and pray and pray. Everytime you pray-walk around

that fear you strength the bonds that hold it, you create more safety from it, and you diminish it’s

ability to rear up and kick you in the shin. Instead of it chaining you to the ground, you are

imprisoning it. You are making it captive (very literally a prisoner) to Christ! Bind it spiritually with repetition

and persistence until it is strangled out by Christ bonds… and, poof! that fear is

no longer able to move, blink, paralyze, or handicap you anymore. (excerpt from Helicopter Mom ch. 13)

Prayer is such a powerful thing and yet we all too often use it as a last resort. Someone gets ill, we Google it, we ask friends, we try oils, etc etc and THEN when all else fails… we pray. Friends, this should literally be the FIRST thing we do. Our fears, our worries, our anxious thoughts… why are we not taking those early and often to the Throne? Why?? Doesn’t ‘work’ the first time, still battling those demons? Take them to the Father again… and again. And AGAIN. BE that needy widow beseeching the king. BE that irritating ask-er to the Lord. Spend so much time on your knees that you don’t have the time to actually worry. I promise you… THAT is very much a ‘thing’.

Do THAT kind of thing… you got this! Be that parent that kids grow up seeing on your knees. Let their memories of you be ones of prayer, thanksgiving, and supplication to a very big, very kind, very worthy God.

Whew! You made it! That’s the end of the this part of the trail. If you’re interested more about this prayer stuff, check out a few other blogs (The Power of Generic Prayer, and When All Else Fails Pray First among many others.) I also posted an entire series about praying through God’s names which is spectacular and written by the very talented Karen Guthrie. You can also check out the entire section within this blog that is just poetry and prayers or (again!) grab a copy of Helicopter Mom, chapter 13 not only goes into more depth regarding prayer but has several practical specifics that will give you a jump-start into a new prayer-life.

For those who’ve made it this far and have read the entire series- I’ve got a surprise for you! I’m giving away a FREE, autographed copy of Helicopter Mom to those who had traveled this far with me. I want to keep up your momentum by giving you the entire ‘fearless mom user-manual’!

So here’s the deal- Go back through the series and (if you haven’t already) comment on each blog post. What stuck you? What are you working with God through? How did that post affect your parenting or fear? Anything that’s on your heart will do! Next, be sure that you’ve signed up (if you haven’t already) for my email list. Next, wait with bated-breath to see if the computer chooses you! I’ll do the drawing on July 13th, 2019 so that should give you plenty of time to get the blogs read.

I also have some super-exciting new! A version of this series will also be available on YouVersion this summer. It’s in the works so stay tuned!