The Power of Words to Give Life

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Life giving words hold far more power than we realize. They are authentic, meaningful and sincere, and seek to bless another, rather than seeking a personal ‘feel good’.  Life giving words are affirming words that acknowledge purpose and value, where life has declared death and an end.

Like autumn sunshine on coloured leaves–a season when life sheds from nature–words that offer hope, draw indescribable beauty from a wounded heart. And while autumn and winter stand in between, they are the seeds that awaken hope and hold the promise of spring, when new life will burst from the soul.

Hope is the light that shines it’s warmth on that promise…  the light that guides the wounded heart. Speak words of life; it may be what gives one heart a reason to live.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

The Golden Chalice (Guest Column, Steve Stutzman)

My friend, Steve Stutzman, shared the following story with me some time ago, via facebook, and asked me what I think. I began to weep as I read it, and that’s precisely what I told him in my response.

“I’m sitting here weeping… and can’t seem to stop. Does that answer your question?” I wrote back.

“That bad, huh?” he asked, with typical Steve-kind-of humour.

“If it was that bad, my heart wouldn’t have been yanked around like that. It’s very touching! God has given you a gift for expressing yourself, and touching hearts, that’s for sure!”

Steve has graciously allowed me to post the story here on my blog. My prayer is that you will be blessed, as I was, by this beautifully written story.

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The  Craftsman looked down at the masterpiece in His hands. “Perfect”, He muttered under His breath. “Just Perfect.” His helpers gathered around in awe to admire this latest of all creations by the Master. Made of fine beaten gold, and overlaid with crystal-like glass, every element and curve of the vessel gleamed. Without it gave the appearance of having been carefully carved, and within it had a polished surface. “I’ll put My Life in it one day”, the Craftsman said, as if to Himself.

The helpers quietly discussed this elegant piece of exquisite  design. “So beautiful”, breathed one. “Yes, but so fragile”, said another. “Surely something so delicate and precious must be protected, not bumped or jarred”, commented yet another. “Probably no one but the Master will ever be allowed to hold or use it.”

Then the helpers fell silent. A  far away look of musing appeared on the Master’s face, and a tear slid down His cheek, and fell onto the vessel in His hand. “Oh yes” , He crooned. “Yes, others will hold it. I fact, I shall make many of them, each one very like the first, yet each one very distinct. And I will give them to my servants, to have, to hold, to cherish. Some will be filled with the finest of wines, and be treasured, polished and prized. But some…” the Master choked a little, then went on. ” some will be dropped, shattered, or broken. It is up to the servant, how he chooses to treat my Masterpiece. But ALL of them will be close to my heart, for I am the Master Designer.”

As the helpers watched, they realized that each element of the chalice had been so eloquently designed, so perfectly fitted, so excellently  conceived, that regardless of how broken the vessel may become, the Master could rebuild it. And not only so, but each element, when rebuilt, reflected the colors of light and wine more succinctly. Truly, the Master has created the ultimate vessel.

One day, the Master smiled at me and handed me  a Golden Chalice. It was a good thing, He said, and I had obtained His favor. I cried that day. I wanted the Golden Chalice, my heart longed for her…. But I had no idea how to care for a Golden Chalice. I wanted to drink of the wine, but had no idea how to refill the Vessel. And somehow, intuitively, I realized the Master cared intently how I treated this masterpiece of such great value.

He never really told me why He made it of such finely beaten gold, or why the beautiful crystal cover.The Chalice doesn’t come with a printed owners manual. The Master told me He wrote the owners manual deep inside me, and I could find it written there if I looked hard enough. It took years for me to grasp the delicateness of the Chalice, and I fear I have dropped and broken it more than once, to my shame. Today, not a day goes by that I do not realize the delicate, fragile, yet priceless nature of the Chalice given into my hands.

I feel anger rising in me when I see a Golden Chalice used to play in the mud or the sandbox.  When servants believe they can use their Chalice to scoop the muck of daily work, then expect fine wine in the evening from the Chalice, the Master is not pleased. When  servants drop the vessels, and grind on them with their heels,  what exactly do we expect the Master to feel? The Golden Chalice was made to be treasured, protected and loved…. not only used.  I can only conclude that either servants do not realize the value of the Chalice, or else they are intentionally trying to anger the Master, and either scenario is not good.

I suppose you realize I am writing about women. My heart is grieved with the way I see men today in so many places treating the precious vessel given to them. I weep for the shatteredness of the little girls that no one protected, no one treasured, no one loved. All they wanted was to feel like a princess, to be convinced they were a Golden Chalice, to be filled with the very best wine  of confidence and beauty. When somehow a man feels it is his divine right to trample all this into the ground, and drive the women in his life like a rented mule, and use the Bible to justify it, I will freely admit to being more than a little annoyed. Do we not somehow see the disrespect this is to the Master Designer?

Yes, women can be a little difficult to understand. And no, God never intended for them to be in charge. But somewhere deep inside the man lies a roadmap to the woman’s heart. Somewhere down there  lies a realization that this beautiful creature, the crowning of all of God’s creation, The Golden Chalice, represents the Bride of Christ. She is most precious and delicate to Him, and God’s intention was that the way we treat her be a picture of Christ and the Church.

Seize that inheritance. Kill the Goliath of anger . Fight through the issues of your own life and past, and begin to set free, with your words, the beauty in the woman (and daughters) in your life. Treasure and protect the Chalice, carry it very carefully. Wash it with your words, gently. Being invited to drink of the wine from a Golden Chalice is one of the most intimate and priceless things a man can ever experience. It must not be desecrated and cheapened. The Master is watching.

~  Stephen Stutzman ~

© Trudy Metzger

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Nobody’s Doormat

I have been pondering ‘authority’ in relationships and the need to set healthy boundaries. Specifically when the person with whom we need to establish those boundaries is someone who has authority over us, or is in a co-leadership position with us. It is a sensitive thing at the best of times, and more so when someone in authority over us violates us and boundaries need defining.

We all have the ‘right’ to be respected. It is not just a human rights issue—it is a right that God has given us. He made us in His image, to reflect His heart and His likeness. Each of us, in our individuality, is made to uniquely represent Him, here on earth. This is true whether we are Christians or not.  The effectiveness and impact of that, whether we allow that God-likeness to flow through us or not, is to an extent dependent on our faith in Him, but regardless of our beliefs, God’s likeness is in us.

When we function under leadership and authority, whether that person is a boss, a father or mother, a husband or any other leader, we should expect to be treated with dignity and respect. When that doesn’t happen, we have a choice; we choose silence and allow victimization—usually ending up feeling sorry for ourselves, or we confront (hopefully gently so that we are heard), or sometimes we may need to first reach out for help. We may not initially have the strength to confront, or, alternatively, we may come off too strong because of personal defences.

Years ago, as a young woman working as a secretary, someone in leadership asked me to do something illegal—I was to ‘fudge the books’ to make things look differently than they really are.  I was the person that signed off on documents for the government reports and to do so would have not only risked the company being slapped with a huge fine, but I would have been responsible.  In submitting documentation I always signed the typical ‘I confirm that the information contained in the report is true…’ and to sign that, knowing I was intentionally doctoring reports, was not something I could do.

However, because it was a leader who asked me to do this, I was in a conundrum. Should I defy my leader and not say anything? Should I do what I was asked? Should I confront?

Me, being me, I opted for confrontation. It’s not that I like confrontation, but silence, either way, would have made me feel victimized and I don’t tend towards accepting that role.

I walked into my boss’s office, defences high, and asked him to explain exactly what it is he wants me to do. Again, he outlined the exact steps I was to take in reporting.

“But that’s illegal,” I said.

He mumbled something that didn’t support me doing the right thing and, without a further thought, I leaned over his desk, handed him the reports and told him, quite boldly, “It’s illegal, and if you want it done that way, you will have to go do it yourself!”

Stunned, he looked at me without a word. After the pause, he told me to go do the right thing.

Back at my desk, my heart was still beating like a drum in my chest. Had I really just done that? My head was spinning. I was proud of myself for taking a stand but felt bad… almost sick, over how I had done it. And yet, it had been the truth.

Maximizing Impact

My boss’s son, having heard the exchange, walked over to my desk. A quiet gentleman, only a few years older than me, he spoke with great wisdom a lesson I have taken with me for life, “Trudy, what you have to say is often bang on. If you would learn to say it differently, it would be easier to receive and would have more impact.”

I don’t remember if those were his exact words, but they were pretty close. That advice has changed the way I address leadership. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren..”

In my pursuit of healthy boundaries I made some pretty big mistakes. And that’s okay. I was learning a new and better way. It is better to make mistakes on the journey, than to choose apathetic disinterest in growth. It is in making mistakes that we learn to do it right.

The next time my boss asked me to do something sketchy, I calmly rose from my chair at my desk, looked him in the eye, ushered him to sit down and calmly said, “If you want that done, you will need to do it yourself. I find it offensive.”

Again my boss looked surprised, but this time was different. With a new respect he said not to worry about doing it. He never again put me in that kind of a position.

When it comes to family, especially a father, mother or spouse, the familiarity can cause us instinctively to do one of two things. It can make us defensive, angry and disrespectful, or cause us to completely withdraw in fear or anxiety.  Like their wives, this can be a very real part of a husband’s journey. If we overcome these tendencies and learn to calmly speak the truth—that we have value and are not willing to be a doormat—we will have much more impact.

Recently, watching a video series on working through various issues, the one example jumped out at me, illustrating how to do this well. The speaker guided her audience on a gentle approach to establishing a strong boundary. In her example she was addressing a father, and the words were something to this effect: “Dad, I have worth. God sees value in me. I am His daughter and He treats me with respect. You need to treat me with respect and talk to me with respect. Until you can do that, I am not willing to subject myself to abuse.”

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger.” More is said in the tone of voice than in the words we speak. The truth, when spoken with calmness, has authority. The same truth, when spoken in loud or angry tone, loses impact.

The key to ending the doormat lifestyle is to first see that we have worth and value, and then to live a life that commands respect, in word and in deed.

© Trudy Metzger 2012