17 Jan 2014

Why your words matter

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. John 1:1-3

Words matter to me because they are the very breath of God.

He is all my beautiful beginnings.

He spoke and worlds, waters, deserts, jacaranda trees, figs, watermelons, kangaroos, meerkats, and turtles came into being.

God spoke and painted the sky. God spoke and mapped the milky way. God spoke and roots drank deep from the soil.

God spoke.

The Word.

And on a dark night in Bethlehem God slipped into the wet and newborn skin of His own creation.




I write, because how can I not? Created as I am in His image. How can I not pick up the tools He gave me and speak a testimony into being.

Whether it’s a hard truth like temper or how much I love watching the ordinary glory of a day in the life of a mother.

So, on Fridays we practice with our words – and in it I hear echoes of the making and remaking of truth and beauty and sacrifice. I hear stretched lives and a prodigal mother’s  sleepless nights.

I hear your hearts and I want to cup them here on the other side of the screen.

Your words are sacred. I don’t take them lightly. I see you sculpt your story into being with the abc’s of your life. Your value transcends how many read, comment or like what you write. Your words live beyond the reader. Your words live because you spoke them into being.

Your words live.

They breathe and teach and whisper back to you the truths you need to learn.

“The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

He still does. On Fridays, on Tuesdays on ordinary every days. The word lives with us and within us and we are the living story He came to write.


Won’t you join me?

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::




Encouragement is a choice. And it’s rarely the easy choice. Because there are voices in your head that will tell you that she got what you deserved. You will feel misunderstood and there’s a river of hurt words that can land in social media. There are places and spaces that spill out an internal monologue and ache into the open and it’s easy to shut down and shut off and say, “I’m out.”

Deciding to cheer for the person who got the promotion you wanted? That burns. Like working out a soft muscle. It can take practice and practice to remember that the first instinct when you hear what’s happened in someone else’s life shouldn’t be to simply compare it to your own.

We are so good at clicking that like button while are hearts are deeply unhappy at her smiling good fortune. We must bear down to deliver ourselves free from this prison of constantly comparing what we’ve got to what we think we deserve.

We are none of us entitled.

We are none of us deserving.

We are all grace beggars and all we breathe and wake up to and love and live for is unasked for, unexpected, daily gift.

We unwrap and before the paper has even fallen to the floor we’re looking for the next thing, the next hit, the next justification that I’m great and here and who has noticed yet today.

Encouragement immunizes against entitlement.

Encouragement liberates from comparison.

Encouragement learns to love others and really mean it.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Beautifully said yet again, Lisa-Jo. Thank you so much for your endless pursuit of love for each other in this community. You are inspiring. ~Jenna

  2. 2

    I remember in grade 1 my teacher Miss Thorton told me my sun streaked hair was beautiful. 
    That was 42 years ago. It’s the only thing I remember of that class.
    In grade 3 my choir teacher asked me if I could just lip synch the words to the songs…. I was heartbroken and did not sing for years.
    In Grade 11 one of the girls in my drama class told me she thought I had beautiful eyes.
    All of those words obviously had a huge impact on me, as I remember them so clearly.
    Words matter, a comment that may be insignificant to the speaker, may stay with the other person for years. 
    Try to imagine the words that you speak show up physically on the person you are speaking to. Kind, encouraging words show up as flowers, harsh critical, hateful words show up like dark splotches… How would you like the people walking away from you to be decorated?!

  3. 5

    I just really, really, really appreciate your words tonight. A reminder that it does not come easy – and that it’s not all for easy times. I love “grace beggars” – ain’t that the truth? Just that, in need of a very grace-filled God. Thank you Lisa-Jo.

  4. 6

    Honored to be a Grace Beggar right beside you, my friend!

  5. 7

    Yes, we are all “grace beggars” and God is gracious and generous…blessings, Lisa-Jo :)

  6. 8

    This post is a double shot of espresso resonating ! I keep coming back to Jesus as the Word and why I just most love writing and the connection I feel to Him through it…and then your 5 minutes on Encouragement: just a glove like perfect fit for what I also am feeling. Thank you for your words!

  7. 9

    This is just the encouragement this grace beggar needed to hear today. Bless you for using your words to encourage day in and day out.

  8. 10

    Oh so true, how hard it is to really truly be happy for people some days. To feel like you are not seen, not appreciated, that it should be you getting that award or the word or praise. I struggle with this more often than not, not only for myself but for my son and husband. I want to truly be happy for others, to truly encourage others without any ulterio motive. How hard it is some days, to not just say something “de los dientes para fuera” (saying in spanish that translates to from the teeth out). Thanks for your words.

  9. 11

    “Encouragement means to love others and really mean it” That’ll preach, friend!

  10. 12

    “Encouragement immunizes against entitlement.” I love this! The whole post was really full of perspective. I found you through my friend Jenn @ A Simple Haven. Looking forward to reading more of what you post ! :)

  11. 13



    encouragement to give another or oneself the courage to do what they had planned to do but maybe were too scared or unknowing how to do it, giving someone or oneself the yes to do the things that are deep in their hearts to do. Loving, looking at lovingly, smiling, touching, patting, interested in what words come out of their mouths, no no’s only yes, yeah :) Encouragement, to take the first step because the encourager knows that then the other steps follow easier. I needed encouragement and that is how it was given to me, by love, a loving soul, a loving face looked at me and loved me and I could do what I needed to do, what I had been afraid to do, what I wasn’t certain was mine to do. But it was and the encourager gave me courage!


    Thanks again Lisa Jo
    Mary Ann xxoo

  12. 15

    Thank you for your post Lisa-Jo! It struck a deep chord in my heart!

  13. 16

    What you said about encouragement… so so true. But the things you said before that? Seriously… you have my mind spinning and turning things around because of this:

    “Your words are sacred. I don’t take them lightly. I see you sculpt your story into being with the abc’s of your life. Your value transcends how many read, comment or like what you write. Your words live beyond the reader. Your words live because you spoke them into being. Your words live. They breathe and teach and whisper back to you the truths you need to learn.”

    I am wishing I was your neighbor right now because I’d walk right out my door and over to your house and knock and say “say that to me again, please.” Because I have been struggling so much to figure out whether what I say actually does matter, so much that I’ve just been quiet. It’s been more than two months since I’ve published a blog post, and so much longer since I’ve written regularly and I desperately want to write but I also desperately want my art and my words to be seen for what they are… a piece of a soul and not something to be critiqued, or labeled, not even as “good”. I don’t know why I write anymore, I don’t know who I am talking to, and it makes me cry.

    All of that to say… since I’m not your neighbor and you can’t literally say it to me again, I’ll just read it again… and maybe one more time… because you’ve hit on something that I needed to hear but I am still not sure I’m HEARing it.

    (signing out now before I chicken out of THESE words, too!)

    • 17

      Carissa, this was just so beautifully shared. I concur. I thought Lisa-Jo’s introduction was so well written. The part that especially resonated with me: “I hear your hearts and I want to cup them here on the other side of the screen.”

      If that’s not encouraging, I don’t know what else is!

  14. 19

    This was my first time to join Five Minute Friday! Thank you, Lisa Jo, for encouraging us all to be brave in who we are in Him! Being brave in this way is kind of like finally taking that rope swing and the rush of flying out over the water and dropping in over your head… kind of scary but at the same time really, really fun! :)

  15. 20
    Elizabeth Maxwell says:

    ◽️ Hoarding a wonderful treasure all to yourself would be miserable! Think about it, you go with Indiana Jones on his latest expedition, find a lost treasure, decide to send Indy packing and you keep the treasure all to yourself! And I mean all to yourself! You hide away at your house surrounded by your discovery, only to discover you are all alone and indeed miserable! But, it was your decision not to share with anyone this treasure, not your family, friends anyone!
    ▫️ God’s word is a treasure, from beginning to the end it is a beautiful love letter for each of us! When we discover for ourselves the truth it holds, it’s not meant to be kept to ourselves! “We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 MSG
    ▫️ Digging into God’s word is meant to be shared. “Encourage” someone as it’s “meant” to be! Even if it’s just one word or one tiny verse encouraging us, He wants us to pass it on and not hoard this wonderful treasure! “Say only what helps, each word a gift.” Ephesians 4:29 MSG. “When we trust in him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go.” Ephesians 3:12 MSG
    ▫️ When our Papa God encourages us, we can’t help but encourage others! His love frees us to share this wonderful treasure and not hoard it all to ourselves!
    “Encourage” ~ from God’s word, it’s “ment” to be shared! http://emaxgal.wordpress.com/

  16. 21

    Lisa-Jo! Do you know how hard it was to spell this with an “e” and without parentheses?! I am laughing and so thankful at the same time. Love me some (in)courage. Such a blessing in my life. :)

  17. 22
    Elizabeth http://emaxgal.wordpress.com/ says:

    Elise! Please forgive me for forgetting to encourage you! And like you this is my first 5-minute-Friday! Well said about the rope swing. Brave and exciting at the same time!

  18. 23

    Dear Lisa-Jo,

    Your heart-felt words, “Why Your Words Matter,” encouraged me to be an encouragement today. Thanks, friend, for inspiring me!

    Healed By His Wounds


  19. 24

    I love that, “Encouragement learns to love others and really mean it.” So true, thank you for sharing Lisa-Jo!

  20. 25

    Hi Lisa Jo! I love how encouragement diffuses the inner turmoil of “me”. When we beg for grace right alongside each other…well then, you’re right -We’re Free. Have an amazing weekend.

  21. 26

    I have arrived here via Becky Keife (Moments…) via Ann Voskamp (A Holy Experience) and I am so excited to grow my words through this community! I have been doing Five Minute Fridays on my own for a few weeks, but to have a prompt from a “grace beggar”… how wonderful! And your post was so encouraging. Very excited to see what’s next!

  22. 27

    “They breathe and teach and whisper back to you the truths you need to learn.” Whisper back to ME. And in that alone they complete their purpose. What an awesome, freeing revelation! Thank you, Lisa-Jo.

  23. 28

    Wow, Lisa-Jo. So beautifully stated. You summed up the words that were on the tip of my tongue but unable to come out onto the page. Exactly. Thanks for the reminder that none of us are deserving. And how wonderful it is to reach out.

  24. 29

    I really only stopped to read this current post because of the POTENT verse you started with – John 1:1-3 is one of my very favorite verses – and you eloquently started with that and then moved into such a well -written post.

    However – if I may…. I think a part 2 to the notes you made on encouragement may need to address something more. Because from reading it – it almost sounded like you were saying the act of encouraging is what liberates and immunizes – but this is missing something big here – because it is only the Lord who does this. And we can go through the motions of encouraging but it will not necessarily make it genuine – no matter how much repeated.

    and sure, we are all undeserving, but our needs are also very real and dear to the Lord as well, and that was missed here. He says he will give us the desires of our heart – when we delight in Him, and he cares very much about what we perceive as inequitable.

    And we only can encourage others when HE fills our cup and when we fix our eyes on him – that is how we stop comparing and that is how we are able to genuinely encourage – and yes, sometimes the habit of doing it can exercise that soft muscle – and feelings DO follow behavior – but the act of encouraging doesn’t take away the very real burn of someone having unmet needs – because sometimes comparisons do NOT reflect selfish, worldly things – sometimes there are legit unmet needs and deep longings that need to be assuaged – and feeling content in the Lord and HIS encouragement allows us to THEN – and only then – to genuinely encourage others because we are whole in him. I just had to add that – but now my five minutes is up and so I need to STOP.

    May the Lord bless you and your ministry.

  25. 30

    Hi – I just wanted to follow up and say that I hope what i shared did not come out wrong – and I know the whole point of the 5 minute wiring is to just let it flow -and what you wrote was awesome – :)

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