Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reading Lips


I've spent a lot of time in waiting rooms this week. Many a television was on - some with sound; some without. One in particular stood out to me. It was turned on to a "reality" t.v. show. Have you ever watched a reality t.v. show without sound? With sound it can be bad enough; without sound and reading the closed captioning...wow. Try it sometime. There is something about words being written down rather than carelessly spoken that amplifies the negativity and harshness.

It got me thinking about the words that I speak to my family. All throughout the day as I spoke I would "see" the words (in my mind) that I had just spoken as if they were in closed captioning...powerful stuff. It was as if God were revealing to me the messages that I was writing on the hearts of those that I love. Some were powerful in a good way; while others were messages that I would never intentionally write on their hearts.

There are so very many Scriptures on the power of the tongue. (All listed are NIV)

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Proverbs 18:21

"The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment." Proverbs 10:21

"For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech." I Peter 3:10

Of those verses that I listed (and there are so very many more!) the first one jumped off the page to me. I am so careful about the foods I prepare for my children. I wash their fruits and vegetables; we eat hormone and additive free as much as we can. But what about the fruit of my words that my children are digesting?

This has been a humbling week for me in many ways. God is at work refining me - it is a continual process - as it is for all of us. His love and grace are ever present and offered freely. I need not strive in my own strength; but rest in His. I am thankful for the process. The words my children are reading on their hearts from my lips are important.

"He must become greater; I must become less. " John 3:30

"My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long." Psalm 35:28

Many Blessings!

Shanda

(Rachel & Keystone~God has brought you both to mind several times in this thought process of mine!)

21 comments:

Rachel said...

Oh my... God has been speaking this on my heart lately too.

Nothing like having a child to make you evaluate how you live your OWN life.

And I've gotten careless and impatient with my tone lately... and said things harsher than I intended.

Many worldly excuses with mountains of stress right now - but none hold up to "teach a child in the way he should go". And if I truly do not want him to "depart from it" - I must not depart from it myself.

And you are so right about reading those captions!

Keystone said...

Hello Shanda,

I was surprised to see my name in this post, and confess I do not know Rachel... cept the Bible one.

I posted somewhere about reading lips, listening, and hearing, and the differences involved. It was well explained to me by a woman I have never met.

We attended school in the same approximate period and she read my writings online (I comment; there are plenty of bloggers and few comments to amplify what is written everywhere, so the gold is lost).

The email came out of the blue and she spoke to me of her humanitarian work in Africa (her son raises funds in the USA and they provide clean water sources for the locals in Uganda).

She wrote on hearing:
"I don't know you, and you don't know me yet, but from what I read on the -------, I'd like to know you. My time had been occupied by my job, my children and their children, a Godly man who recently became my Tabto (two are better than one, Ecc 4: 9) friend, and preparing for a short 2 week mission trip to Northern Uganda in December. Today, as I was clearing out my several hundred messages, for some unknown reason, I read through one of the digests and came across several of your letters to the alums, and was brought to tears by your obvious love for our Lord, and your tender heart for others, your courage as you are losing your hearing, and your strength to encourage others in their distress. It just spoke volumes to my soul.

I remember in a college social science class, we had to chose whether we would rather lose our sight or our hearing. I chose hearing, thinking that living in the dark would be the worst. Those that chose to lose their sight put paper bags over their heads, and those of us who chose hearing were not allowed to speak. Then we were given 10 or 15 minutes to communicate with each other standing in a room together. You can get the picture of how it went. Those of us who could see but not speak or hear, just stood dumbly, unable to communicate much of anything except basic things, where the "blind" people were chatting away, quite connected to each other. It completely opened my eyes to the reality of the importance of hearing. It also translates into the area of language, as I travel to and live in other countries where they speak a different language, I am dreadfully hampered in my ability to know and connect those people if I can't "hear" them and they can't "hear" me. So learning their language is one of the most important parts of considering someone valuable, and listening is equally important."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We live in a spiritual world, and need to employ spiritual speech to understand God deeply. There is no ASL to God. He does not speak in earthquakes, thunder, or storms, but in a gentle whisper.
We must be still and anticipate Him when he speaks to us.

Reading lips is complicated. When a person is by a window, I see silhouette and can not see lips. Beards and mustache are horrible blocks to communication.
I have trouble with names like Penny, Peggy, and Patty all "reading alike to me. Carrie and Karen are not easy either.

(this comment continues.....)

Keystone said...

the rest of the comment......

But the hearing has steadily declined for decades to zip, despite prayer, anointing, and every spiritual gambit known to man. My guess is He is ok with me not hearing, but is rather insistant that I "listen". There is a world of difference.

I do not hear, but I listen impeccably. People throw away the handicapped like a McDonald's empty cup. Treasures are lost that way.

I can not detect the emotion behind a cry for help via sound, but I have learned lips tell me a story that "hearing people" can not see. Most folks today are tuned to their own needs.

When I read lips, the other person perceives, "this guy is really 'listening' to me, and they often reveal....what they would otherwise conceal, for a trust is born.

The limitations drive me nuts, and spoil a date here and there. But all in all, I am looking at it as a blessing....or the God who loves me so much would not have given me this gift.

I laugh as I read people trying to center on silence for prayer. My whole life is silent; prayer is easy. But the laughter of a baby is gone. The chirp of a cardinal, or buzz of a bee is in my memory only. Job discrimination is rampant. I always make the 6 to 10 cuts and it comes to me and one other. Guess who wins? The guy who can say "Hello" on a telephone.
I do not hear it ring.

Imagine a life in sales and marketing, making thousands of friends nationwide, all end as hearing stopped.

In the Garden at arrest, Peter cut off the ear of the servant named Malchus. Christ yelled at Peter and said: "Put that knife away; we are not doing things that way Pete".
He reached down, grabbed the ear, and restored it to Malchus.

All we know of this guy is that story and he worked second shift.
He probably went home to his wife, who had a late dinner spread for him.
"How'd it go Malchus?", she asks.

"Well, we had an arrest of that rabble rouser. They will kill him tomorrow. But his buddy lunged at me with his sword and sliced my ear off. God it hurt. So this guy I am arresting, finds my ear in the grass (how did he do that in the dark?) and put it back on my head".

Mrs Malchus: "Have you been drinking again Malchus?"

And then, she sees blood all over his shirt and collar. Her face goes white. His stomach can't eat.
The last miracle in Ministry just took place.
I look forward to meeting Malchus and gabbing about that night.

Keystone

Warren Baldwin said...

Sobering reminder about the power of words and their lasting impact on others. Thanks for your sensitivity and the great verses you shared in this post.

RCUBEs said...

It seems that at my workplace, it's a great thing to be talking with profanities. But I don't have to be like them. I always ask God to remind me to guard my mouth before I speak. God wants us to not go with the flow. Hard sometimes or even a lot of times to do, but when we accomplish, it's a great feeling to know that we pleased Him and no one else. I'm so thankful for the renewal of our minds and hearts that come from knowing God. To Him be the glory! Blessings to you sister. Praying that all is well with you and your family.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Great post Shanda. True about how powerful words are. I picture you with such a soft gentle spirit. It's hard for me to imagine you ever using harsh words with your family, but of course I've never met you in person.

You do raise a good point though. Being refined is a heated process. Amazing how He puts things in our path to bring attention to certain areas. Good thing you are sensitive and have open eyes and ears:)

Oh by the way... I love that "While I'm waiting" song too. It's so good. Thanks for your comments this week.

Shanda said...

Rachel ~ your words captured it exactly:

"...I've gotten careless and impatient with my tone lately... and said things harsher than I intended....And if I truly do not want him to "depart from it" - I must not depart from it myself."

Amen girl!

Shanda said...

Keystone~
God impressed on my heart to be praying for music to fill your soul today. (Actually for you & for my beautiful blogging friend, Rachel, who is also deaf and whose comment is above your own.)

Most of us take both our hearing and sight for granted in so many ways. My great grandparents were both deaf. They had both lost their hearing through illness during their childhood. My grandmother was the most patient and loving woman that I have ever known. She knew how to listen with her eyes and her heart. I believe a direct result from having two deaf parents. She was such a blessing to so many.

Yes, this impatient world (as a whole) doesn't place much value on slowing down enough to listen or assist those who are handicapped in any way, but they are missing so much for not having taken the time. I am often encouraged deeply to find beautiful souls who "get it" and intentionally make the time. They may be the minority; but praise God that they still exist!

I loved the thought of what Malchus may have experienced after those moments in the Garden. No doubt that will be an interesting conversation to have one day!

Peace to you today!

Shanda said...

Warren~
I always appreciate your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's work in your life as well.

Blessings to you-

casiphia said...

Being a child of God my words are more clean, wholesome and my husband who is not a child of God are not clean and wholesome and I just pray God would change that. My children grew up with both and they for the most part use clean, wholesome words but their attitude with them can reflect differently. They don't realize how they come across sometimes which I try to explain patiently. It's a hard world to live in. But there is an instant that I'm so proud of. My daughter went shopping with one of her friends and their mom. He (her friend) spoke some bad words, he turned to her and looked at her, and she said I don't talk like that, and he said I know. So in her walk her words reflect who she is but now she just needs to tweek her attitude with them when she gets mad. Good Post,

Shanda said...

RCUBE~
Amen to praying for God to set a guard about our mouths! I can imagine the volume of curse words that you hear on a daily basis.

I worked at a camp one summer for juvenile delinquents. The kids were court ordered to attend. We took them out of their comfort zones and exposed them to their own strengths (and to see the strengths in others around them) through ropes/towers/and wilderness survival. It was an amazing and difficult summer - one I will never forget.

Our family is doing well - it's been a busy week with many unexpected turns; but we are navigating them together! Thank you for your prayers!

Gretchen said...

You're making me squirm today, friend. In a good way. For all refining and discipline isn't pleasant till after it does its job. But still.

Blessings to you, and thank you for your sweet encouragement in your comments as I go thru whatever it is I'm going thru.

christy rose said...

Shanda,
That is really cool about God showing you the words that you were saying in your mind. Sometimes we speak without even listening to our own words or tone for that matter. But seeing those words in our mind as we speak? That could very well make us stop and pay attention.
I love what you said here: "The words my children are reading on their hearts from my lips are important." Our children are reading our words on their hearts, more than we realize. Help us Lord to stop and be intentional about the words and the tone that we use toward them so that what they read is what you would have them to read.
Thanks for the wonderful lesson and reminder from the Lord,
Christy

Keystone said...

My favorite Bible phrase is Philippians 4:8 saying
"whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things."

And today, Shanda writes this:
(Rachel & Keystone~God has brought you both to mind several times in this thought process of mine!)

Paul Harvey used to tell the Rest of the Story. I miss that.

This has been a week of doctor's, plans, coordinating, finances (without any insurance).

I understood that doctor is $2,500 for his part, and this guy is $3,500 more, and the others add up to about $17,000 unless you want to be unconscious and add an anethesiologist. I must.

Reconsultation is in September; surgery in October. I have told no one in my family.

So my God goes to Shanda and says, "I want you to write on a guy (and a gal too)."

[Hello Rachel---I cannot tell my tone or volume and always have to ask, if I am too loud].

Last year, I came to Pennsylvania to take care of mom; she could no longer go from child to child and fly. It was time for children to come to her. My siblings sold her home years ago when I lived out of state.
We looked at assisted living the Autumn before, and she rejected it all. So I told her I would buy a place for us and siblings could visit her, instead of her travelling. The housing took a while to finalize, as our economy no longer exists. Mom died.
Now, I have an empty house, in a town that used to call "home".

I watch the Perseids meteor shower each year with my kids on a golf course in the country catching falling stars and putting them in our pockets.
I watched alone this year.
I have never seen such a show (August every year; the 12th this year). Tiny pebbles did not go by; baseballs and cabbage size flames of light zoomed at warp speed. I thought a boat on Lake Erie would be sunk, they came so low. Memories washed me.

Scientists have long tried to create life. In all history, certain ingredients required to create life, have been discovered together in only one spot.

It takes water, salt, temperature, and protein....albumin if I recall correctly. The only spot all these can be found at one location, is in a teardrop from a human eye.

Teardrops are the language of the heart speaking. They appear when the heart speaks extreme joy, or extreme grief.

When I bought a spot for mom and I, to spend her final days, but she could not hang around Earth anymore, they apparently made a mistake in all those papers I signed.

I received a check in my mailbox today, refunding the error made, and found in audit. I overpaid an item a full year ago, and it appeared in my mailbox precisely when I am in great need of it.

"Life" was created as my heart let loose a solitary teardrop from my eye to my Reading Lips. It was a teardrop of joy, for it was this day that I read Shanda had God talking to her,..... of me.

The check will only put a dent in the medical bill, but a canyon of love in my heart, where I can store "Thank You's" to Shanda for listening to God, when I can't hear.

I thought you should know how August 28, 2009 went around here.
That's the Rest of the Story.

Kathryn said...

Such a wonderful analogy, Shanda. Oh, Lord, let the fruit of our lips be pleasing to You and nourishing to others!

Shelley said...

Oh me. Again. I see a theme for myself in these messages.

Shanda said...

Keystone,
That was "the rest of the story for August 28th;" but truly "the rest of the story is known only by God but has not been fully written out here on earth just yet...

As I read through your comment my heart called out, "tell your family!" I know that you must have reasons for having not told anyone yet; but I would encourage you to review those reasons carefully. If they involve not wanting to "worry or inconvenience" others...would you agree to prayerfully reconsidering? They are simply not reason enough not to allow those you love the knowledge and to allow you the support of your family. I believe you would be there (at the very least in prayer) for any of them as family has clearly meant a lot to you over the years.

I love this quote by Renee Swain:

"Prayer isn't about putting burdens on others. It's about inviting them into our conversations with God. It's about letting those we love walk down a path with us that we were never intended to walk alone."

I am praising God with you for providing an "unexpected" financial blessing! I am also praying that He would continue to provide finances, health and peace in the coming days.

Peace to you!

rhemashope said...

Powerful and convicting, Shanda. Thanks for the reminder, and as Rachel said, impatience really comes through in my tone. My daughter has trouble understanding words, but she totally gets tone.

Daveda said...

This is so wonderful and so true. It is something the Spirit has/is working in me as well, probably always will be... As a matter of fact I said something to my son Shane today that I wish I could take back. I did apologize, but once words are spoken you can't erase them...Love you!

Daveda said...

Hello again...I have an award for you if you would like to stop over and pick it up.
Blessings, Daveda

kanishk said...

I've gotten careless and impatient with my tone lately... and said things harsher than I intended.

Work from home India