The most memorable moment of 2010 for me was this: the Sunday before I left for Kenya, I was prayed for in front of my church. My father was doing the announcements after, and as soon as I sat down he said, “Yes, that is my daughter. Heather, I’m proud of you.”
That was the first time my father verbally told me he was proud of me. He always said he loved me, but there’s a difference between being told that you are loved and knowing that someone is proud of you. At least there is for me. For the longest time I desperately wanted to believe that my father was proud of me, but due to his silence, I was never sure.
I’ll never forget the tears that fell from my face, or the way my heart was overflowing with love. I’ll never forget the way his words sounded, they still ring in my ears. I long to hear him say it again, even though I now know that he often thinks it. His words made my heart and soul come alive.
Reflecting on this moment I am convicted of two things: one being my silence, the other being the actual words I speak.
I have the opportunity to speak life into everyone that I meet and have relationships with. I often wonder just how much life I am speaking. If I want to, I can have a horribly quick wit and sharp tongue, due to years of building up defenses. If I’m not careful about harnessing it, I won’t be doing anyone any good. Are my conversations God honoring? Do they build up others?
Silence speaks louder than words, or so they say. I believe this to be true to some extent. I often think positive things of people, but never tell them. Of a friend will cross my mind, and I think to give them a call, but then never do. Sometimes I’m even selfish enough to think that thinking of them is good enough, or saying a quick prayer for them is all they need. What would happen if I acted on those promptings? What would happen if I took that step and encouraged someone I may barely know?
I’ve come to believe that although silence may be speak loudly, the right words speak louder.
My heart is burdened at my lack of edifying the people around me, even when I so vividly remember how four edifying words have changed the last 6 months of my life.