Do My Words Matter?

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By Nicole T. Walters | Twitter: @NicoleTWalters

Q_Nicole

It wasn’t a revelatory moment when the heavens opened up. It was pieces of moments, scattered throughout my life like breadcrumbs leading me down the right path.

Pieces of moments—that book I wrote in third grade and a journal entry saying I wanted to be a writer, all those poems that were the language of the heartbreak of my teenage years. There are stacks of journals piled high over the years, most I would be afraid to venture back into with the things I now know.

Then, I put away the pen to live my life.

In my thirties, there came an aching in my soul, an emptiness I couldn’t explain. I had flashes in my memory—the pain in the eyes of a beggar, the slums and the forgotten ones, those without power. There were stories on my heart that God had let me bear witness to and I felt an obligation to share them with those who hadn’t seen.

In the last few years there were those tell-tale breadcrumbs. Janice Elsheimer’s “Creative Call” convicted me that God had created in me a gift that I wasn’t using. Other writers encouraged me to share my art with the world. Then, there was a journaling retreat at a monastery that inspired me to start filling up the pages of my leather notebook with all the words that flowed in my heart.

I just didn’t feel I had anything worthy to give. What could my words create that didn’t already exist? What could I say that would matter?

The sunlight filtered in through stained glass in colored hues as I sat in that same monastery, months after the retreat. In that sacred space, the words of the prayer of St. Francis turned around in the corners of my mind, becoming a question that has haunted me in the last year of my life.

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love …” the prayer begins.

Everything that the world corrupts, that the darkness creates, St. Francis prayed that he might be the anecdote. Instead of injury, pardon; union instead of discord; faith and not doubt; hope in the place of despair; light and not darkness; joy to replace sadness; giving instead of receiving.

Jesus did all of those revolutionary things. He turned the world on its hinges with His upside-down Kingdom. He came to sow love in a world of hatred, to create a new Way.

In those moments I felt a whisper in my soul, “Are you creating what God desires in the world?” With your words, your life, your callings and your work, your family and your leisure? In all you do, are you creating what God desires in the world? Are you?

God wasn’t asking me to create beautiful essays that didn’t exist. There are writers far more equipped than me, with words more beautiful than mine. It was about creating a space for peace, for light and love and hope in the darkness.

I wrote the words of my own prayer that day and I find myself whispering them, still, before I put pen to paper:

Spirit, empty me of myself, of all that is not of and for you.
I am your servant and want to glorify you and make famous your name.
Use me as a vessel to create what you desire in the world.
Fill me, flow through me, Creator and Sustainer of all things.

I don’t want to just create more words; I want to create hope. I don’t want to just create more works; I want to create love. I don’t want to just build a life; I want to die so that others may see Him.

In those moments I saw all of the pieces come together from the past to create a beautiful tapestry woven together.

I began to hit “send” and put my work out there in the world, hoping to create space with my words that allowed for God’s voice to break through the noise.

It’s not just the “artistic” ones among us that create in this world. We are all creating the world we want to live in every day by the words we say and those we leave unsaid, by the people we choose to love and by the myriad other choices we make.

I started asking myself this question when I looked at my children and the man I have created a family with for the last ten years. Am I creating a love that endures? Does our home teach them to live love?

None of this creation is natural. Instead, it is dying to one’s self and building the Kingdom that puts last first.

I am only beginning to let this question touch the corners of my life. It will be a question I ask until I finally die.

“For it is in dying that we are born to eternal life …”

St. Francis

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About Nicole:

Nicole WaltersI am a wife, working mom, and writer that lives south of Atlanta, Georgia. I am passionate about Jesus and His heart for the nations, and I love to experience the messy, noisy, beautiful world and cultures not my own. I write about faith and being on mission with God wherever He has placed you at A Voice in the Noise.

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