So you’ve heard of foodies, right? Folks with an ardent or refined interest in food and beverages. Well, I’m what I call a wordie. I have an ardent interest in words. Always have. My mother will tell you that at three years old I was running around saying “H20 is water!” Defining things even then! There are so many bizarre things I could tell you about the child version of myself, but I won’t because you’ll think I’m…well, bizarre. But I digress…
That innate curiosity about words sits neatly alongside a marrow-deep belief in their power. I’m a voracious reader. Some passages I read over and over because of the emotion they evoke in me. Isn’t it astounding that a group of letters strung together into a train of thought carries the power to make us weep? To laugh aloud all alone? To grit our teeth with indignation? Sometimes over people and situations that are only real in some novelist’s brilliant imagination? As a reader, I admire writers who wield that power to move us, to challenge us, to change us. As a writer, I often pray for a measure of it myself.
Words are powerful when we as humans use them, but the words of God? Of Almighty God? Paramount power. Pinnacle power. No greater power than the words of God. Of course, I mean the inerrant Word of God. The canonized scripture that holds the power to cut through flesh, bone, gristle – straight to the heart of what bothers us. What hinders us. What hurts us. Yes, those Words. But I also mean the power of God’s personal words to me. That inaudible whisper that falls like a hammer on my heart when I tune in to listen. Operative words – when I tune in to listen.
I think about the years where scripture tells us God remained silent. That yawning void between the Old Testament and New. Did those years make His people appreciate all He had said before? Did that silent space elicit a longing to hear from Him again? I’ve experienced those deserts, those wastelands where I wondered if I’d feel the breath of His whisper across my heart again. That dark, vacant spot where I struggled to commune. To listen. To hear from Him. It’s times like those that make me appreciate His words to me.
I’m not much into resolutions. The word resolve punches me in the gut, though. To decide firmly on a course of action. Culturally, we’ve defanged the noun form of the word – resolution – with our New Year good intentions so easily broken, that the word flows right past me, barely registering anymore. So I don’t usually make a lot of resolutions. I do, however, unfailingly set the first month of each new year apart. I know FAST is a four-letter word with many people (hahaha), but I always start the year off fasting. I don’t think the act carries any mystical powers, but I do think it brings into focus some things that I lose sight of sometimes throughout the year. It kind of peels back those crusty layers that often collect over my heart as the months trudge on. And when the heart is soft and malleable and open… I hear Him again more clearly. And it waters me. It floods me. This tsunami of His grace, His love, His approval, His intentions, His thoughts toward me, which are GOOD! It makes me wonder why I don’t live in this state perennially.
Each January, I ask God for a word that will hover over my life that year. My husband did this, too, last year. His word was awe. I can honestly say 2013 lived up to that word. Our lives look completely different at the dawn of 2014 than before. God awed us. I don’t have my word yet. Again, I’m a wordie, so there are myriad words at my disposal that I could choose for my life this year. But I’ve seen and felt and know the power of God’s words. Whispered to my heart, directing my path, making my way straight, and that’s what I want. I resolve to settle for nothing less. I pray that over these next few weeks, in this span of time that each year I declare devout, I’ll hear it. As these layers over my heart fall away, He’ll speak. I’ll hear. And imbedded in that word, will be His power.
Tina Dula spent the last decade or so creating irresistible environments for the unchurched through service programming at North Point Community Church. She recently transitioned out of an incredibly fulfilling career in church world to focus on her son Myles and to run the foundation she established to serve families living with Autism, Myles-A-Part. In addition to volunteering with the core team of Perimeter Pointe Church, she’s returned to one of her greatest passions, writing. Her first book in a fictional trilogy through Hachette Books/Grand Central releases in June 2014 under the pen name Kennedy Ryan.