I have always been a words person. Words are important to me. They can be a comfort to me and make me completely change my perspective on any given situation. If my husband writes me a love note or letter, I’ll read it at least 10 times. If my kids say something sweet to me I’ll replay it over and over in my mind. Even at 38, if my parents tell me they’re proud of me for something, I’ll think about it for days.
Songs. Certain songs really captivate me because of the words. Sometimes I’ll hear a new song and the lyrics will touch me so deeply that I will hit the repeat button over and over and over just to keep hearing the words.
I read” The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. In his book, Chapman explains that we all have a “love tank.” Everyone’s love tank gets filled a certain way. For some people, they feel loved by gifts, for others it’s physical touch. If you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to do so- it will help you understand what makes you tick. I took the quiz included in the book to find out which love language I identify with; I’ll give you one guess on my love language. Yup- words, or as Chapman calls it, “words of affirmation.” Chapman quotes Mark Twain who said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Ha. I can definitely relate…me too.
So okay, I’m a words person. How and why does this really matter? Well for me, and my walk of faith, it has meant and mattered a lot.
Scripture- the true “words of life.” Scripture wasn’t always a part of my life. I didn’t grow up knowing it or memorizing it. Even though as a child I regularly went to church with my parents, (raised Catholic) I never really opened a bible. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I began to read the Word of God.
My best friend Megan whom I met in college, was a scripture girl. She could quote certain verses at the drop of a hat and referenced the bible often. We commuted to college each day together, we both lived off campus, and I can remember having many conversations along our way about these words. At the time, my parents were going through a divorce after thirty years of marriage, and this really rocked my world. The words she spoke of, gave me great comfort and hope at a time when I was feeling completely hopeless and confused about life.My best friend Megan and I.
Over time, I began to realize that scripture was a tremendous beacon of hope and light in my life. I began to realize how much these words affected me, how much they could change my perspective, how much they spoke to my soul. They were like no other words I had ever read.
I bought a bible. Now I had had bibles as a kid, but more like picture story-book bibles; I had never had a study bible. I began to read scripture. I first looked for the verses Megan spoke of. I really had no idea where anything was in the bible, unfamiliar with the order of the different books, and so I’d often have to use the table of continents to find what I was looking for.
As I found the verses I had heard from Megan, I would underline them and then often write them down on a piece of paper. As I read more and spent more time in the bible, other verses spoke to me and what I was going through at the time. I remember one of the first verses that really hit home- Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(NIV)
I identified with this verse, mainly because of one word- anxious. Anxiety had been and still is something I battle. The nervous stomach, the rapid heart rate, the increased breathing… feelings I knew all too well (and still do know). It was actually bad enough that I took medication to help me deal with it.
When I read this verse though, I remember thinking, “Wow, God is speaking about a very human emotion. How did He know to include that? How did He know that people are anxious?” This was the beginning of me learning and understanding that God knows everything about us. He sent His Son in human form, so of course He understood our emotions and feelings.
I’m sure Jesus felt anxious at times…like on his way to the cross. Furthermore, God created us. When you create something you understand it on a visceral level. I realized over time, God knows us on a level that no one else can.
I began to write down more and more scripture, often using sticky notes and putting them up in my house where I would see them first thing in the morning or throughout my day. Megan and I had more and more conversations and she shared her knowledge with me and helped me to understand what these verses really meant. Looking back, God used her in my life in a huge way. She was key in a journey I didn’t even know I was on….a journey of faith and spirit.
Today, almost twenty years after purchasing my first study bible, I can honestly say, the words that are written in this book are the very breath I breath. They are my life force. They are what comforts me in times of despair, they are what gives me hope in a world that is harsh, they are what brings me back to truth.
Philippians 2:16 says “hold firmly to the word of life” (NLT). Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (NIV)
Yes, I am a words person. I love kind words, interesting words, encouraging words, funny words, but the words I love the most are words that are tattooed on my soul. Words that I no doubt will reference for the rest of my life. Words that I no doubt will think of one day when I take my last breath. These are the words of life. These are the words of God.