Calling Forth Life

A favorite fairy tale of my childhood was Toads and Diamonds. I probably missed the point of the story because I was so absorbed in the gorgeous illustrations. Of particular interest to me was the picture of the kind sister spilling jewels and flowers from her tongue (while I hurried past the page with frogs and snakes coming from the mean sister’s mouth). Apart from the practical difficulties of having a BeDazzler built into one’s anatomy, I was fascinated by what a trail of beauty goodness can leave in its wake.

Think about three women you know who speak pearls—encouragement, truth, grace-saturated gems meant just for your heart.* How do they inhabit strength as they sing kindness over you? What role does intentionality play in how/when/what they say? Why specifically do they come to mind as pearl speakers? How might security in their Daddy empower them to do what orphans couldn’t dream of? To what extent is good listening essential in their ministry of words to you?

All of God’s people are meant to leave trails of beauty in conversation, whether in person or online, but I think women are called to do so in a unique way. This belief comes from flipping the coin to its dark side and comparing the sexes. (Ever heard of the movie, Mean Guys? Me either.) Most females carry around deep wounds inflicted by the tongues of other females. Ever since the garden, ladies have wrestled with the power of language.

Because women are the natural bearers of life, when we are re-created in Christ, our longing to bring about growth is restored and redeemed. There are ways we can cultivate this power and ways we can numb it. Renewing the mind by immersing it in Scripture? Helpful. Stuffing the mind with scary images, rude quips, and the world’s logic? Not so helpful. Surrounding your heart with gentle truth tellers? Great. Allowing social media to shape your heartbeat? Not so great. Let’s learn from our big sister Eve and use the wisdom that comes from spending time with our good Creator.

So you’re at the coffee shop (or on Facebook) and are given a glimpse of the human heart across from you—a place of need, a question, a remark that bulges with something fragile and precious underneath. (It might be pain or joy or fear, but whatever it is, it’s real.) How can you choose life in that moment? Where can you celebrate God at work, point out the masterpiece He’s forming in this person? Jean Vanier says that “to reveal someone’s beauty is to reveal their value by giving them time, attention, and tenderness… to reveal to them their own uniqueness, to tell them that they are special and worthy of attention.” Doesn’t Jesus do this for us? What a beautiful current we’re being welcomed into!

This cooperation with the Spirit as He calls forth life is an aspect of spiritual midwifery. Since there is always give and take, we shouldn’t be surprised when we both walk away with a new creation in our arms. I sing pearls to you, you sing pearls to me, and we each go home loaded with the riches of the gospel. Just another day seeing the kingdom come.

We’re all singers—what lyrics are we sharing? Are they in line with the melody of grace, or do they sound like striving? We must tune our souls to match the pitch of the cross, and this is done by rehearsing truth to ourselves. (I’m talking about literally preaching to the choir here.) God is inviting strength in those around us, dropping jewels wherever He can. Will we join Him or try to thwart His activity? Will we choose pearls or snakes? Come on, sisters. We’ve got some BeDazzling to do.

*Don’t let disappointment overwhelm you if you can’t come up with three, or two, or even one woman like this; what an exciting opportunity to behold something entirely new start in your sphere of influence! God has placed you among certain souls on purpose. Calling forth life is especially crucial when nothing but death exists as far as the eye can see. The Spirit in you is the best change agent there is, and because He’s the Hero of this story, the pressure is off you to bring about anything on your own. Just say yes and watch what happens.

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