Speaking Life Into Others
(A slightly different version of this post first appeared on Shannon Taylor Vannatter's Inkslinger Blog.)
Everyone needs someone who will speak life and light into their heart, who will see and then call out the good in them, and walk beside them for every stumbling step. For nearly twenty-five years, my husband has played that role for me. I wouldn’t be published if not for him. Stuck in insecurities and negative thinking, I doubt I would’ve pursued writing at all. But one day, he added fuel to a tiny spark in my heart when he said, “I’ll watch Ashley. You go upstairs and write.”
She was maybe two at the time, still in diapers, and at the age where mobility and curiosity required a constant eye. My days were filled with cleaning up spills, making meals, and dreaming of when I might enter a bathroom completely by myself. Taking the time to brainstorm a story let alone put it to paper? That hadn’t occupied a single thought. At least, not for me.
Apparently, however, the idea had activated numerous of my husband’s neurons. “I always knew you’d be a writer,” he said to me one afternoon, about a year after my first book released. I looked at him, thinking back to the dribble I’d once thought clever and profound, back before I started working with critique partners, attending conferences, and taking classes. I have no record of anything I crafted, back in those early days. Of the dark poetry, implausible storylines, and odd snippets of who knows what else. Every word died with our old, massive yellow IBM, thank goodness.
And yet, though my skills were severely underdeveloped and my writing so sporadic one would’ve thought my muse had multiple personalities, my husband saw something in me and he called that out.
Could his voice, spoken so gently yet consistently, for all those years, have echoed the voice of God? I like to think so. I like to think that’s what God meant when He breathed Genesis 2:18 into existence, saying, “IThe Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (NIV). The Hebrew word originally used for helper in this verse has such rich meaning. It means to lend support for a particular purpose, is often used to refer to someone providing military aid or who "runs to the aid of one crying out in distress" (Precent Austin).
In other words, we need one another. We cannot do and be all God created us to be alone.
Through marriage, God unites two individuals, making them one, heart and soul, so that we can serve God fully and be all that He created him or her to be.
My husband has been that person for me, and I long to be the same for him. I want to be someone who sees good in him, who assumes the best, even when he’s at his worst. I want to call out hope and life when he feels as if he’s failed and to give him the support and encouragement to begin again. I want to be that steady whisper says, “You’ve got this,” when he gets up to try again.
Really, this is God's call for all of us, married or not. We are to speak life and hope to areas that feel dark and hopeless. We are to see sparks of God, hidden or perhaps emerging passions, and call those out. To build one another up, point each other to Jesus, and do all we can to encourage our friends and loved ones to live out who they were created to be.
Our words matter. Ephesians 4:29 puts it this way: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (NIV).
Words that "build up" or "edify," oikodomé in the original Greek. In short, words that intentionally build, brick by brick, help our brothers and sisters to become, or grow into, a holy and strong dwelling place for their Savior.
In short, I want to do my part to create the type of romance I write about.
Our spouses likely have plenty of critics and complainers. They need more light bearers. We can fill that role, and what a glorious hope-giving role it is!
If you enjoyed today's message, I encourage you to grab a copy of Wholly Loved's devotional, Drawing Near, and make sure to check out our free Bible reading plan on YouVersion. You can find that HERE. And don't forget to sign up for Jennifer's free quarterly emailing, filled with great content designed to entertain, equip, and encourage. You can sign up HERE. As an added bonus, all subscribers receive a free 36-lesson Bible study (in ebook form, link to download sent separately) on 1 Timothy.