Sticks and Stones

Wounded deep to the pit of my soul, that’s how I spent most of my life. The tongue is a deadly weapon dear sister.  It pierces deeply, leaving gaping wounds that sometimes never heal. In one swipe, it can bring a woman to her knees.  In one stinging attack, a woman may melt away…broken.

I remember the rhyme from my childhood, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Oh how wrong that was.  Broken bones will heal. Broken hearts…that’s a whole different story.  As a woman who spent more than 40 years dodging the fiery bullets fired by my stepfather’s assault tongue, I was broken deeply. Burned…often feeling like a pile of smoldering ash. I was certain my soul would never heal, and I was convinced I really didn’t deserve for it to anyway.  Then a decade ago Jesus came storming into my life pouring out His Living Water on the fire that burned in my heart.  He put out the flames of pain, hurt, and guilt. Mighty Jesus provided this parched woman a drink that would forever change my life.  A drink of Living Water.

Finally, the painful fire was extinguished and I began to live again.  No longer was my soul a cracked desert land, for Jesus had forever quenched my thirst. Yes, I think about the life I lived in abuse…more so right now as I navigate this time of life. Dad is in his final days of life in hospice care…lost.  Somehow I look at him and feet pity for him. Somehow the fire in my soul has lost its flame. There he lays bed-ridden day after day, barely clinging to life. A life that was filled with lostness, anger, bitterness and countless hurts.  A life spent hurting the ones he loves by wielding his mighty weapon of choice…the tongue. My heart is confused. Joy comes from the end of a horrible storm in my life, and yet horrible pain…pity comes from knowing where he will spend eternity.

My soft heart comes only from a place of forgiveness that God poured upon my soul. The reality is bleak. Unless Dad cries out to Jesus in his final days, his eternity will be spent in hell…thirsty. Eternally thirsty. What a horrible thought.

Much of my quiet time is now spent in prayer seeking God to comfort Mom and me. Sometimes begging God to stop the suffering for us all. Yes, I even question God about His purpose for this storm in life. I know it is not for me to know or understand, and yet my humanity still questions. God still answers.

Today I opened my Bible to Psalm 39. God called me there for an intimate time of study with Him. I didn’t know it when we began, but my how He opened my eyes today.  Stop complaining jumped into my mind as God tells me to “guard my ways.”(v.1) “I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle”(v.1) illustrates how strong the lock on the weapon…the tongue, must be placed.  Yet David, the writer of this Psalm, points out that while he was silent, his heart was in turmoil, “…hot within me.”(v.2) How many times has my heart done the same? I ducked as the tongue fired round after round of its assault, but I did not escape injury. My heart was full of fire, I was ready to wage my own attack.

David realizes that his time on earth is brief, “Lord make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days.”(v.4) He says what I now say everyday…”God, help me to pick my battles. For life is too short to be consumed by anger.” I never owned that reality for myself…my own soul, until Jesus poured His Living Water upon my soul. When He quenched the flame, I saw the reality…life on earth truly is a vapor. I assuredly am simply a traveler passing through this earthly life.

The joy abounds when David says in verse 7 ,” …My hope is in You. Deliver me from all my transgressions; Do not make the reproach of the foolish.” My only hope is in Christ Jesus. He is the one who can rescue me from all of my sins, saving me from the mocking of foolish people. The mocking of lost people…even my Dad. No, that rescuing me from mocking may not be on this earth, but that’s ok because this life passes in a blink. Rather, Jesus has rescued me from the hurt of sinful man for my eternity. He has forgiven me for my sins, and has shown me how to forgive others who have hurt me because no longer can I have that fire in my soul. No longer can I allow a my soul to burn with fire.

My life on this earth isn’t perfect. No, I still live in flesh and sin. I may even continue to use my tongue as a weapon at times, even though I know far better than to do so. But my Lord will forgive me when I call to Him. He will quench the fire of my soul.

I have forgiven Dad for the attacks on my heart with that fiery tongue for so many long years. Jesus provided the path for forgiveness. Today my heart hurts for Dad as he faces eternity consumed by fire, forever separated from his family. Most importantly forever separated from God. I pray he mighty finally cry out to God. Thankfully, my wounded soul has cooled, and God has pieced together my broken soul, I pray that Dad’s heart will change. I pray that his suffering will end. Most of all, I pray that he can experience the amazing quenching the Living Water provides to a dry and weary soul.

Thank you Lord for saving me. Help me Lord to put away the deadliest of weapons…my tongue.

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