I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but I love words. Not just stories or articles or devotions, but words in and of themselves. And everything–everything–has a backstory… Including the backstory. 😉 But sometimes, I’m so wordy, things spill out of my mouth before I’ve allowed them to swirl through my brain long enough to come out with coherence and effectiveness.
This is unfortunate for the words we speak truly do matter. They have the power to tear down or heal, to bless, to encourage. Today, Hope Spring Books author Sydney Avey shares her thoughts on sowing with words.
Thanksgiving is a time to acknowledge the bounty we receive daily from God in the words He whispers to us. The seeds we receive to sow in His service vary according to the talent He has given us. Seeds that yield a harvest can be time or money, but they can also be words. Knowing my words have been used to challenge someone to think differently or feel blessed brings me joy. Words are my store of seed.
What do you see when you look into your seed bag? Have you stored up treasures that need to be scattered so they can root and grow in the hearts of others? Seeds are tiny things—words you write, notes you sing, pennies from your pocket or minutes of your time contributed to someone else’s success in life.
A blog subscriber emailed me and said, “I used your ideas in a devotional I shared with my church choir. The idea struck a chord across the generations.”
My pastor used these lines from my poem A Desert Meditation to illustrate a point in his sermon about priorities:
Like the Saguaro Cactus
Know that your roots in this world are shallow
let your reservoirs tap Living Water
Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Seeds, small bits of wisdom that sow thoughts and ideas in others; how are they come by?
In addition to spiritual insights, the Gospels offer wisdom that has practical applications. Consider this verse:
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Luke 6:38 (NIV)
The context for this verse is judgment. It tells us that as we show mercy, mercy will be shown to us. I also see in this verse a process for gathering words into thoughts that will bless others.
Writing poetry is a way to measure our experience by compressing thought, shaking together disparate ideas and watching words expand into new meaning. When we suspend judgment-conclusions we jump to about others or words we understand in limited context, we open our hearts to see and share the world in a new way, God’s way.
In the same way, singing old songs to new rhythms may feel awkward at first, but as you yield to the Holy Spirit’s teaching you may renew the vigor of an ancient word. Watch that word float on an unexpected note, like a parachute seed, to bless the listening ear of a hungry heart.
You may think you don’t have enough talent to write a poem, or join the choir, or mentor a child, but God promises to increase your talent and your influence as you take this step of faith and sow your seeds.
Here is a lovely verse for the season:
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
2 Cor 9:10 (NIV)
Sydney Avey lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a lifetime of experience writing news for non profits and corporations. Her workhas appeared in Epiphany, Foliate Oak, Forge, American Athenaeum, and Unstrung (published by Blue Guitar Magazine). She has studied at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Sydney blogs at sydneyavey.com on topics related to relationships, legacy, faith, and the writing life. Her novel, “The Sheep Walker’s Daughter,” ISBN 978-1-938708-20-6 will be released from HopeSprings Books on December, 2013.
Her novel is called The Sheep Walker’s Daughter (available Dec. 3rd!):
A Korean War widow’s difficult mother dies before revealing the identity of Dee’s father. As Dee sorts through what little her mother left, she unearths puzzling clues that raise more questions: Why did Leora send money every month to the Basque Relief Agency?Why is Dee’s own daughter so secretive about her soon-to-be published book? And what does an Anglican priest know that heisn’t telling? The Sheep Walker’s Daughter pairs a colorful immigrant history of loss, survival, and tough choices with onewoman’s search for spiritual identity and personal fulfillment.
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Pause to consider some things that have been said to you, in person, through a text message, perhaps in a card or letter. Were any missives so special, you saved them? Tell us about it! How long might it have taken for the sender to craft the message? If a text, a few minutes. A card, maybe five. Five minutes that can mean the world to someone.
When we moved to Louisiana, I had a friend who often sent me unexpected cards. They were simple in content: “I enjoyed spending time with you today.” “I’ve enjoyed getting to know you.” “Hoping you’re having a great week.” And yet, they touched me deeply, because they showed me she’d been thinking of me, and she valued me enough to take the time to send me a note. (A big wave and shout out to my sweet KC friend, Sandy, who’s sent me cards, texts, and emails on numerous occasions as well. 🙂 )
Now consider, how can you be more intentional with your words? Might you send an occasional card to a friend far away or someone enduring difficult circumstances? What about your spouse or your child? Could you slip a note in their lunch or under their pillow letting them know you’re thinking of them and that you love them? Try it.
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Resources you might find helpful:
Woman to Woman by Edna Ellison and Tricia Scribner