There was never any question.
The moment I said I do up in front of that church, I not only became the wife of my husband,
I became the daughter of his father.
To my bruised and fragile heart, it came as a healing balm.
For eight years, I was honored to carry that title.
The years since I was his daughter have now equaled the number of years without hearing his voice and it has been eight years, at this very moment that I type this, that I heard the broken voice of my husband tell me that Dad had been found. That suicide got the upper hand, and the father who took me in had truly left us.
This morning, I woke up quiet – not sure how to move through the remembering.
I had listened to a podcast as we moved through the morning yesterday about the power of words, the power of remembering…for those that love Jesus, our remembering shouldn’t be filled with death, but with life.
But what happens when so many memories are filled with death?
I love words. My love for them has grown over the years. Maybe it was to survive the early years of motherhood that I took up blogging, but as my babies grew, my love never diminished – not for them, not for forming thoughts either.
Words became a way to preserve and to work through, to fall in love with Jesus deeper.
Each year, since those last days before Tony’s dad took his life, a word has been given that’s whispered throughout the final months of the one that is fading. That first word was Abide and this past year has been the Year to Be Still.
Which meant a being still in all aspects, it felt like.
And when I finally gave in, and let go of all the doing I thought I was supposed to be doing, Jesus moved and He began to give me words again.
Standing before a group of women in November, I shared the words that had brought me life over these past 3 years – spoke the first 18 verses from memory. Spoke them from my heart. And as I got to verse 13, in the middle of weighty responsibility I had been given, I knew:
Jesus gave me my word for 2018.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can it’s saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. Matthew 5:13
The Greek word for salt in this verse is halas. It denotes preservation and protection and lasting concord.
It also gives a picture of wisdom and grace in our speech.
I can look back over the years behind me and see where the salt of my speech has lost it’s saltiness, where it seems that restoration is impossible, except for Jesus.
And I can become discouraged by this.
But in the middle of truly looking at this verse and praying over the word salt, I came across a little shop on Instagram and a necklace that was being sold there, and I knew once again.
The tongue holds the power of life and death, James and Solomon said, but I believe our Savior can raise the dead things back to life.
Oh be careful little tongue what you say… were words I have sung since I was little, but have found so hard to obey, and yet there is deep, abiding hope when we cling to the One Who gave us our ability to speak.
When this necklace was delivered and opened on Christmas morning, a small card came with it bearing these words:
Let your speech always be seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. Colossians 4:6
I don’t know how Jesus will use this word in this coming year, but I know that I can trust the One Who in the beginning was the Word and Who was with God and Who is God to form my own small words for His glory and honor when I press in close to Him.
There was another package, under our tree, that was wrapped and came with a card that I wasn’t expecting to receive at all; but when I opened it, the word on the card blazed bright.
It said, Daughter.
And underneath it were these words:
Let us then with confidence draw near to the Throne of Grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrew 4:16
Tim was a picture to me of my Heavenly Father in so many ways, and maybe that’s why his calling me daughter was such an anchor to my heart, why the loss of him still aches after all this time.
But if I choose instead to speak words of life over a memory filled with such death, I can remind my heart that this earthly father is now standing before the throne of my Heavenly Father that he reflected so well, and that I too can approach this holy place with confidence for grace and help in these days of need.
January 1st is only hours away, filled with all the unknowns and fears that can press in and make us crazy if we let them.
The world is already feeling a little off, as though the New Year looming magnifies our desperation.
But what if those of us who follow Jesus view our speech and words as something powerful to preserve and protect? To foster concord with one another. To add grace and wisdom to a situation, rather than add in more chaos…
I just know that more than anything in this coming year, I want my life to point others to Jesus. To walk boldly as His daughter, to love and grieve well in ways that bring honor to Him.That the path I walk on won’t be littered with useless salt, but will be gracious in pointing to Jesus.
So lets walk well in 2018, draw near to our Savior with confidence, and let our speech be seasoned with the salt of grace.