Sticks, Stones and Arrows by Grace Gardiner
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
There's a phrase I'd dare to say we all heard, maybe even said, as kids. Let's see if you can help me out on this one...
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but...
Yep, you know it.
...but words will never hurt me.
I think the idea is for us to dismiss their words, to not let them get to us.
But, dismissing words after they've been spoken is like spilled milk. As the listener, we can't un-hear them, and as the speaker, we can't take them back. The damage is done.
We can all look back (maybe even to yesterday or just a few minutes ago) and remember a time when someone's words brought pain. We can also all look back (again maybe even to yesterday or a just a few minutes ago) and remember a time when our own words brought someone else pain.
Our words are powerful.
Today, you get to meet my friend, Grace Gardiner, a woman of faith who found her voice and confidence after losing over 150 pounds. She is an ordained minister, pastoring a church planted during a pandemic with her husband and biggest fan, Greg. She is an empty-nester mom of three amazing adults who live from one end of Canada to the other.
Grace is a speaker, author, and medical clinical secretary. God is leading her through a rich adventure of marriage, motherhood, ministry, and medicine.
She's walking us through Psalm 64 and sharing how she overcame the piercing words of others' with the power of scripture.
We'll see though our words are powerful, God's Word is more powerful.
Choosing to listen to who He says we are is where we find healing. Seeing ourselves as He sees us helps us then see others this way. After all, we are all the object of His affection. Shouldn't we use our words to help others see this in themselves?
During the years when I was 150 pounds overweight, I endured many disgusted looks, not so under-the-breath comments and outright judgement. So many times I felt my ideas and opinions were dismissed because of my body size. Was it any wonder I struggled to not just hide away when it felt like I was being pierced with arrows that poisoned my very soul?
In Psalm 64, I find David understood. Over David’s lifetime, many, including his son Absalom plotted to destroy him, but in this Psalm he describes the words that caused injury. David aptly describes the scenario,
Their words cut like swords, and their cruel remarks sting like sharp arrows. - Psalm 64:3
To look at me, you would have seen no scars or bruises, and out in public I kept a smile on my face, but my heart was tattered and scarred, my pillow tear-stained. Like David, I cried out to God to protect me from the damage these attacks caused.
Verse 7 holds one of my favorite Bible phrases, “But God.” Whenever you read that phrase in scripture, hold onto your seat, the plot is going to reverse.
The “but God” in my life came one day when He whispered, “This is your time.” God began to show me in His word and through godly people what He said and thought about me. As I began to believe it, my heart and body got stronger and healthier.
I lost the weight and have kept it off for four years. I am fit, energetic and carrying out the purpose God has for me in this chapter of my life. Many of those who dismissed and judged me are in shocked silence and a few have even approached me for guidance and advice.
No matter what arrows start to fly towards us, we can hold up the shield of all that God says about us and let Him fight the battle. We are His precious and much-loved daughters and sons and He will do what needs to be done to protect our hearts and minds. We might be tempted to harden our hearts as our own form of protection, but He needs us tender-hearted to love as He loves.
When the arrow hits, cry out like David –
I’m in trouble God – listen to my prayer! - Psalm 64:1
My friend, let the truth of who God says you are heal the scars and restore you. People may have told you all that you’re not, but God knows all He created you to be and do and that’s what you need to build your worth and confidence on.
If you look around, really look, you’ll see people all around you wounded by words. Speaking God’s truth about them is life-bringing to them and sows seeds of more healing in your own heart.
Psalm 64 ends with David pronouncing a blessing that can be ours as we live by the words God speaks over us,
May the Lord bless His people with peace and happiness and let them celebrate. - Psalm 64
Now, It's Your Turn!
Before opening God's Word, take a moment to pray and ask God to meet you there. Then...
Read Psalm 64 a couple times. Highlight what stands out to you.
Circle verbs or specific wording you notice.
Then, write down a bullet point takeaway based on this. "I-statements" help make this personal. Think of this as a challenge statement.
I will use scripture to understand how God sees me.
Here are a few scriptures to get you started:
Song of Solomon 4:7
1 Corinthians 15:57
1 Thessalonians 1:4
2 Corinthians 12:10
1 Peter 2:9
1 Corinthians 1:30
Then, jot down a question or two to think about today. You don't have to have the answer to this question now. And yield to the Holy Spirit - prayerfully ask God to search your heart and lead you to more truth and grow your faith through the Holy Spirit.
Who can I speak encouraging truth-filled words to today, speaking the healing of who God says they are?
Again, we don't have to be Bible scholars and talk only in the thou's and art's of King James version to read this book ...because when we pray before we read, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with us, guiding and teaching us.
Praise God for this!
And praise God for refreshment as we are intentional to spend a summer in the Psalms together, for if we want His truth to ever be on our lips, it must first be planted in our hearts.
Our strength grows as we rely on strength from above. Our joy grows as we see God transforming us from the inside out. Our peace grows as we spend time in God's presence, and we find rest when we intentionally seek the Lord first in our lives, for the Lord is ever our portion.
Also, we're so thankful for Grace taking the time to share and be vulnerable with us today. She is passionate about encouraging and empowering women over 40 to cultivate new thought patterns and implement effective strategies to develop confidence that will help them achieve their weight loss, ministry, and relationship goals. You can connect more with Grace on her blog, Seasons with Grace, or on Facebook or Instagram.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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