20130130-073129.jpgI try not to bring work home. I think most of us try not to, especially as parents. I avoid checking email, answering texts or phone calls, and many times I just turn my phone off altogether.

Last night, however, I got one of those calls that demanded I run upstairs and try and find a quiet room.

Eva’s room was the only one open, until I noticed she was coloring in the corner. I gave her the elaborate, frantic hand-signals that allowed her the option of leaving as I commandeered her space, but she was content to stay put.

Eventually she did have to leave to go check on a screaming brother. But in her wake she left a note:

Nice job Dad, doing your job!

Positively or negatively, when those closest to us declare something as to our virtue, it makes the crowd’s voice irrelevant. Despite whatever came from that phone call, I had just won the jackpot in my daughter’s eyes. And I took it to the bank.

If God used words to create the world and everything in it, and we are made in his image, be wise with your words today: create something meaningful in someone else.



Margie Fernandez · 30 Jan ’13 at 8:17 am

Out of the mouth of babes! Isn’t it amazing how acknowledgement from our children can make us feel? I know, for me personally, I could conquer the world for them! But yes, I agree, we must use our words wisely with All we encounter and edify as Christ would want us to do! Loved and enjoyed reading this! My first one πŸ˜‰ I’m hooked!

    Christopher Hopper · 30 Jan ’13 at 10:55 am

    I know, for me personally, I could conquer the world for them!

    And I think that’s precisely how Jesus and the Father felt when they wanted to buy off the ransom of the world.

    Thanks for reading, Margie!

Wayne Thomas Batson · 30 Jan ’13 at 10:46 am

My friend, you are so right. The right words from the right people in our lives mean SO much. I’m convinced that many marriages falter because A) spouses don’t encourage each other -or- B) people build up such a filter of Negative self-talk that they instantly neuter any encouragement that does come their way. The contrast is the words spoken that hurt. Whoever wrote “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me,” should be strung up by his chest hair and beaten like a pinata.

    Christopher Hopper · 30 Jan ’13 at 10:56 am

    … they instantly neuter any encouragement that does come their way.

    Wow, what a powerful concept. I imagine we do this to the Holy Spirit far too often as well.

    Thanks for the valuable addition, Broski.

Shane Deal · 30 Jan ’13 at 10:48 am

It is interesting you should post this, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the power of words. In particular these past few days on how words may bless or curse, and from there, making the assumption that what we say does hold weight, if you will, I’ve been trying to figure out ways I can seek blessing over cursing, even in how I speak of people when I’m alone. If nothing else, I do notice that how I speak of people does have an impact on how I think of them. Actually, come to think of it, how I speak, even privately, does often seem to influence how I think, about anything, not just people. I might not have the ability to control life, but I can choose how I respond to it. Am I going to curse or bless? Will I respond with complaining or thanksgiving? My hope, for myself, is to seek to bless, and to hold a thankful heart, even if things seem to be bleak indeed at times.

It is also interesting you should mention about being in the image of God. I’ve been thinking about that a lot too, and what it might mean. What I keep coming back to, if nothing else, is that people are precious, because even if they have nothing else, they are still created in the image of God. In my journals, and such, I tend to use the word symbol in place of the word image. That said, it becomes really hard to feel anything but compassion and love for people when you start seeing them as being a symbol of God, imperfect? Yes, but a symbol or an image is never to be confused with the one it portrays, it is the difference between an actual person and the person in the mirror. The mirror image reflects the reality, but it never is fully a person. So it is that we can’t be confused with the one we reflect, even if he has made us to resemble himself, he will always be the greater. He is God, while we are men. If that makes sense. πŸ™‚

Also, I like how Eva responded to your frantic hand-signals by staying put. It seems to me to show an extraordinary insight into the situation, given the note. πŸ™‚

Great post! I really enjoyed reading and thinking about it!


    Christopher Hopper · 30 Jan ’13 at 10:58 am

    …people are precious, because even if they have nothing else, they are still created in the image of God…it becomes really hard to feel anything but compassion and love for people when you start seeing them as being a symbol of God.

    That, my friend, is a powerful, noteworthy statement. Thank you for adding this to the post.

Wayne Thomas Batson · 30 Jan ’13 at 11:05 am

Shane, really insightful stuff. AND WHOA, resonating with something I read in scripture the other day. You know the whole 2nd Corinthians passage where we read the often-quoted, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone; the new has come.” So, I think that passage gets misinterpreted ALL THE TIME. In the context, Paul isn’t really focused on “if you become a Christian, God will utterly change you.” What Paul is focused on is how we look at other people, Christians in particular. Paul seems to be saying, basically, even if a fellow believer is acting somewhat worldly, we aren’t to look at the person in a worldly way. ie: we should recognize the Christ in that person. Paul says he won’t look at people according to the world because “he is a new creation.”

    Christopher Hopper · 30 Jan ’13 at 11:31 am

    Double woah – right in line with 2 Corinthians 5:16, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.”

    How awesome!

    Shane Deal · 30 Jan ’13 at 11:44 am

    Wayne, never really thought about it in that light before, but now that I re-read the passage again, it makes sense! Thanks for pointing that out!

AnneMarie · 30 Jan ’13 at 11:29 am

Interesting timing for this for me as well. I LOVE Toby Mac’s new CD Eye On It and the song Speak Life has convicted me each time I hear it. This chorus is powerful but so is the whole song:
Well it crazy to imagine
Words from our lips as the arms of compassion
Mountains crumble with every syllable
Hope can live or die.

here is the whole song. Worth the read. I need this reminder daily. Thanks, CH for confirming what God has been teaching me…

    Christopher Hopper · 30 Jan ’13 at 11:32 am

    Honored to be an added voice. Thanks for sharing for the readership here. Good stuff, AM.

Kimberlee · 30 Jan ’13 at 12:04 pm

It is amazing how words affect our kids even at a very young age! My oldest daughter is only two, but in-between (or maybe just behind) those tantrums and boundary-pushing, she really comprehends so much. I was glad to see that what I say to and around her must not be all that bad when the other day, she comforted my father after his fish died.
She wakes up in the middle of the night crying for her daddy (who will be coming home from Afghanistan soon), and I always felt that I was of such little help to her during these times. I simply share my bed and pet her face as I tell her, “I’m sorry.” I also tell her all about how Daddy misses her and will be home soon and that Jesus is protecting him, but I did not want to belittle her feelings by not acknowledging them, so I always whispered, “I’m sorry” so she understood I know how she feels.
Well, my dad got this beta fish for Christmas, and every day (we have been staying at his house for a while) he and my daughter would look together at the fish (she named it Bloop Bloop). For one reason or another, it died while she was down for a nap. He threw it away before she could see it, but of course when she went to look at the tank again, she discovered Bloop Bloop to be missing.
At her great distress, we had to explain that Pa Pa’s fish had gone away and she was not going to find him by going through her toy box or trying to stick her little arms into the tank. She nodded resignedly and then walked up to my dad.
“Pa Pa,” she said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry Bloop Bloop had to go away.. It’s going to be okay. Bloop Bloop loves you very much, and he will come home soon, okay? I’m sorry.”
It touched my heart that her first instinct after the loss of the fish was to comfort someone else, not just seek comfort for herself and that she had used the words I have spoken to her so often. It fills me with pride as well as relief that this is the lesson she has learned from me, and it provokes me to seek higher standards for myself to be as thoughtful with my words as my daughter needs me to be.

Following up the fish story, my Dad bought a goldfish, and my daughter gleefully discovered him after a nap and announced that Bloop Bloop had gotten really fat and turned orange while he was away. She literally was so joyful at Bloop Bloop’s return that tears brimmed her eyes, so rather than invite her to name the “new” fish, we just rejoiced with her and told her that Daddy would be home soon as well -but he probably would not be orange and fat.

    Christopher Hopper · 30 Jan ’13 at 4:53 pm

    Great stories! Thanks for adding them to the conversation, Kimberlee.

The Princess Writer · 30 Jan ’13 at 3:12 pm

Aww, this is so sweet! And very true.
For words that build one another upβ€”these are so important! I know it through experience.
–Her Highness–

Nathan R. · 30 Jan ’13 at 9:27 pm

Love this.

    Christopher Hopper · 30 Jan ’13 at 10:26 pm

    Thanks bro. As a Dad, I’m sure you have your own stories.

    Nathan R. · 31 Jan ’13 at 8:56 am

    You bet. I’ve written about a few, and it’s neat to now make some more with our youngest.

Gabe · 1 Feb ’13 at 6:20 pm


Jojo · 6 Feb ’13 at 9:23 am

You made my day by reading your post today. Feb62013

    Christopher Hopper · 6 Feb ’13 at 1:54 pm

    You’re so sweet to me, Mom-in-love. Thank you…

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