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No Returns

This is a guest post by Heather Teis. 

Right now, I’m taking a break from the midst of scrubbing spots out of outgrown children’s clothes, shining old dress shoes, polishing old toys, steaming and ironing outfits, and pricing and tagging aforementioned items.  What am I doing???  Why am I aspiring to be  Proverbs 31.  Whew!  Virtuous Girlfriend gives a lot to live up to!

I participate in a consignment sale in our area about every other year.  It’s a weekend sale, and it’s so exciting to check online every night to see how much money I’ve made on what my man would have just discarded. I often shop this sale, too.  Now, I have to put out this disclaimer, unlike many of my frugal friends, I am a terrible thrift shopper.   Even in the grocery stores, I buy a lot of generics, but there is no real substitute for Hershey’s, is there?  But this consignment sale is different.  It is clean, organized, and there are some great deals.  Each item is priced by other moms – some of who, apparently, just want to clear out their closets, because their stuff is way under-priced!

But the one drawback is that there is a stiff no return policy.  Now this creates a problem for me, because I am the Queen of Returns.  I delight in taking things back and trading them in for other things…this is my bliss.  But I shop at this sale very differently than I shop at department stores.  I cannot tell you the time I spend once I have treaded through the merchandise, the other moms, and yes, even some dads, with my treasures.  I always do the same thing, I find a quieter spot.  I sit and I go over every item with a meticulous eye.  Are there stains?  Will this fit my child? Is the size true?  Will they have an occasion to wear this?  Are the buttons all here?  Does the zipper work?  Is it worth what it will cost me?  I want to be sure, you see, because there are no go-backs.

Sometimes, we spend our words like we’re at Walmart.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll just take it back.  If only that were the case.

“There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the  wise is health.”  Prov. 12:18

Just a few weeks ago, a sister in Christ, who is strong in her walk with God, shared with tears in her eyes, the critical things that her mother has said to her throughout her life.  Cruel remarks delivered with a smile, as if it were an act of motherly concern.  The wounds have healed by this believer’s running to her Heavenly Father for the love her mother should have given.  However, the scars remain.

Last year, when my husband preached on words, he invited those on Facebook to comment or message their thoughts.  Oh my.  More responses were given on this subject than any other we’ve seen.  Remarks that were made years before, but still hung hauntingly in their memory. A solemn warning is given to the foolish woman in Proverbs.  “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”  Proverbs 14:1 Isn’t that convicting?  It is the idea of just every day taking a little pinch here and a little pinch there until the relationship crumbles.  Easy to do with words that are laced with disappointment or criticism.

So, what is the solution?  Well, the flip side of that verse is the wise woman who builds up her house.  There are so many verses about positive words and the wise use of them bringing life and uplifting the heart, that this blog could quickly turn into a book!  So instead, let’s take a quick look at how we can change our words.

1.     Don’t follow your heart (emotions) 

Jeremiah 17:9  tells us that our hearts are tricky – they will lead us astray and away from the truth.  Be careful about what you say when your emotional.  We can say things that will live on with someone we love and can do real damage.  Do your best to keep quiet and listen.  Listen more than you speak.  Separate yourself from the feelings.

I only take a certain amount of cash to this consignment sale…because I know that in the thrill of the moment, adrenaline is high as I’m trying to race to find that brand new Gymboree outfit at a crazy low price, before that other mom, or I can spend more than I ought.  I’m learning that with my words, too.

Years ago, my mother taught me that in times of nervousness, I tend to talk non-stop.  Her kind instruction has made me conscious in times of insecurity, to just be quiet and listen.  Even in moments of fun and excitement, I can be “too much” with my words.  It’s almost always better, especially in high emotion – fun or frustrating, to keep some of my remarks, laughingly witty or emotionally revealing, in my pocket.

“He that hath knowledge spareth his words; and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Prov. 17:27-28

2.     Realize that your words reveal your heart.

One of the reasons that words hurt is because we know that there is a “thread of truth” to them.  Now, it may not be actual truth.  I may not be the “worst pastors wife that you have ever met” and I may have never “been there for you,” but the thread of truth lies deep down, if you said it, you believed it, so the hurt comes with knowing that, to some perhaps lesser degree, your words were true to your heart and belief.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”  Luke 6:45

You see, our words are not just words.  They are truths…at least truths to us.  Some of us are not as vocal with our words as others.  We hold back.  But instead of slinging our words like fiery arrows, we let them sear themselves in our minds.  I’m Southern to the core.  Part of that Southern Charm is smiling and sweet talking, even when I’m thinking nasty.  Even though we may be quiet by nature, if we are holding onto harmful words that we wish we could say, but don’t want to deal with the aftermath of a situation, we still have a word problem.  Because you see, it stems from what we are believing in our hearts.

3.     Yield the change to the one who can make it.

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”  James 3:8

Wow, harsh words.  But no man (or woman) can control her (or his)  tongue on their own.  But there is one Who can.  “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?”  (v.11) 

No, a fountain will not have both bitter and sweet water.  There was a water source that was bitter, but was miraculously transformed to sweet.  (Ex. 15:22-25)  The children of Israel were at the bitter waters of Marah, and God transformed their water to sweet water.  Here, we see in verse 26 of that passage, that Yahweh is our God that heals us.  He can heal a broken bitter tongue into one that pours out the sweetest thing of all, praise.  Because the more we know and yield to Him, the more He changes our innermost perspectives of people, ministries, ourselves, and of course, our Creator.  We see other believers, who are different, as a completion of His work instead of an irritant.  When a sister or brother in Christ falls or is wrong in an area, we don’t spread the bitter waters, instead our words speak heartfelt prayers for them because we know we are but a footfall away from being there ourselves.  When we feel disappointment with our spouse, we learn to get our expectation from God instead, and then our words change with our hearts.  He is the healer.

Words can’t be exchanged or taken back, but they can be transformed.  Let’s shop wisely.

How about you?  Do you have a problem following your emotions instead of leading them?  Have you ever been the victim of harsh words?  Have you ever wished that you could “take back” something you’ve said?

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Jennifer Beeson
    April 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Growing up, my mom had a picture hanging on our wall that said, “May my words be sweet and tender today for I may have to eat them tomorrow. ” I have never forgotten that and all too often I feel I am having to eat my words… and thry aren’t always pleasant. This is an area the Lord is really convicting me in lately. Great blig with perfect timing! Its amazing how God works to get his point across.

  • Reply
    Joshua Teis
    April 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I’m thankful to share this post with my readers. You are now able to get a little taste of what I have had for 11 years with Heather. She is an incredible Christian and my favorite teacher.

  • Reply
    Mary Sherman
    April 8, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I find it easier to keep silent and watch my words than deal with hurtful things that have been said to or about me. Even when I feel like I have dealt with them, the devil reminds me that they are right there at surface level. They crop up and you have to deal with them again!

  • Reply
    Jen Eschner
    April 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Heather, I love you and I am thankful for this post. Conviction and blessing all at once. I truly truly needed this now. I sure am grateful for a woman, a pastors wife, who is so wise. Pastor sure is lucky to have such a strong woman by his side. I would love it if you guest blogged more frequently 😉 You and pastor are such a dynamic duo. Wisdom just pours from you both. Thankful for you guys.

  • Reply
    James Pfeiffer
    April 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    “He that hath knowledge spareth his words; and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Prov. 17:27-28

    This is SO true…I have the same tendancy to blabber on when I’m nervous, excited, emotional, trying to be “impressive” etc. Took me a long time to tame that and I still catch myself from time to time in a “Why on Earth did I say that” moment!

    It’s been particularly important for me in business settings….it’s hard to be successful in business if everyone you’re dealing with thinks you’re an idiot!

    • Reply
      Jen Eschner
      April 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      I am SO guilty of this same thing. My husband is constantly reminding me not to “over share” LOL! It feels comforting to know that you’re not alone 🙂

      • Reply
        James Pfeiffer
        April 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm

        KISS – Keep It Simply Stated (…or Stupid Simple) has been my mantra for some time now!

        • Reply
          Cayden
          March 11, 2017 at 1:42 pm

          Marcie Ricklefs – These pictures are gorgeous! Macy in the wagon takes the cake and that is something coesidnring how cute the guys are. John and I would like a copy of the family pic for our wall. Just tell us how much we owe you for it. Marcie

        • Reply
          definition of actual cash value
          May 20, 2017 at 4:46 pm

          Some genuinely fantastic content on this internet site, thank you for contribution. “A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused him in vain.” by Jessamyn West.

      • Reply
        Ice
        March 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm

        呵呵,還真是久違呀Benedictå…„。這可以分事實和倫理兩個層面講。事實上,房委會提出的加租理由與其儲備(包括向領匯出售資產的一筆過收入)多寡無干,它的理由有二:一,行政上須按「可加可減機制」辦事;二,公屋營運有赤字。由此可見房委會著眼的還是每年盈虧的flow,而不是累積總資產的stock。再者,歷史證明它賣給領匯的商業樓宇確實是除居屋外的最重要財源,除了2001與2002å…©å¹´,從1994至2006年內的收入都是以彌補帳面上的公屋赤字(if an9&€12290;另,手邊沒有1994年之前的數據,可再找)。即使我並未如你那位朋友所指的假設房委會年年賺錢(我只是說出售領匯前平均每年都有盈餘,平均和連續是有分別的。就算擺明車馬做生意的上市公司也不會假設自己年年賺錢吧),這個假設大概也距離事實不遠。倫理上,到底政府要提供怎樣的公共服務?若說以比市場低的價格買地,比市場低的價格賣/租樓就不算「福利」&#652y2;當中隱含的潛台詞,就是「按市場邏輯賺盡最後ä¸#分一毫才不算福利」。這種對福利的定義可否接受,我想是open to discussionçš„,不過這種定義就似乎無法對應輿論常見的「你住公屋食政府嘅住政府嘅嘥晒納稅人錢」流行觀點了。

  • Reply
    Linette Winsler
    April 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    I loved this blog. Heater you are such a good teacher. There have been times that I have had to eat my words. I’ve even had to go back and apoligize for even the way I’ve said something. The Lord has worked on me through the years on keeping my shut when it needs to stay shut. Love you Pastor Josh and the kids

  • Reply
    Debbie Raley
    April 12, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Heather,
    Thank you for your post. I’ve often found that it is so much easier to say nothing. That way there are no repercussions. The tongue can be so wicked. Bob and I love you and your family so much. Deb

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