“Once upon a time there was a little girl in New Zealand who had a Mummy, a Daddy, two sisters, a brother, and a cat named Ginger…she loved them all dearly. She loved them so much that sometimes – as she was sitting in the backseat of the car on Sunday afternoon drives with her family, watching each of them – she felt that her heart might burst with love. But she never expressed that to them. She didn’t really know how to. She was kind of scared to. But she felt it, nonetheless. So she just quietly carried her love for them within her heart.
One day she went on a family holiday but her Daddy couldn’t come, and she was sad. She couldn’t stop feeling sad that her Dad couldn’t come away to rest. He and Mummy worked so hard to make ends meet for their four children and Ginger the cat.
She was heartbroken for her Daddy. She could hardly bear it. She had to say something, to let him know how much she hurt for him. How much she wanted him to be happy and rest.
So on the holiday she wrote him a letter telling him that one day he would go on ‘the most marvellous fantastic holiday you’ve ever had!’ Then she grew up, got complicated, got a degree, a ‘good’ job, a monstrous wardrobe and a killer shoe collection, and the letter was long-forgotten as the years rolled into decades…
But importantly, she fell in love with Jesus and He didn’t forget her heartfelt little girl prayers for her Daddy.
30 years after writing those words, the now grown-up girl sent her belovedest Daddy and Mama on the most marvellous fantastic holiday they’ve ever had!”
I didn’t remember the promise I made until I saw this letter. My mother showed this to me when she and my father stopped over in 2010 to stay with me when I was living in Singapore on their way to “the most marvelous fantastic holiday they’ve ever had!” My gift to them, for their 40th wedding anniversary, was their first ever trip to Europe. I’d totally forgotten about this letter, about my girlish vow. But God didn’t forget. He remembered my heart’s desire for my father, for my parents. And He is faithful. How awesome is it that He listens to the heart cries of a little girl and makes her dreams come true so many years later? 🙂
And, upon reflection…this is quite a striking example of the power of our words.
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences” – Proverbs 18v21 (New Living Translation)
What we speak into our lives, and what we let others speak over us – for better or for worse, becomes our reality. As I write this, I am struck with the uncomfortable realisation that I have not spoken the best into my life or the lives of others at times over the last year. I am, as I consider this, convicted. In a very squirmy kind of way.
And, in the 10 months since returning from Singapore to New Zealand, my country of birth – I have let the harmful words of others intimidate me into being ashamed of who God made me, how God made me, and for my love of girly prettiness and penchant for high heels (true story!).
But no more. I do not believe that any of us were made to cower under the condemnation, insecurities, and ill-informed words of others. And I am quite sure that would not be God’s best for me.
So as we prepare to farewell 2012, such as it was, whether good or bad or somewhere in between…here’s to a 2013 where we remember to speak more encouragement, more understanding, more forgiveness, more love and more blessing.
And – just quietly – it seems that I could learn a thing or two from 9 year-old me 🙂