Thursday, June 2, 2011

Honeycomb Words

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up (Proverbs 12:25, NIV1984).

Earlier this spring, I was feeling hungry:  hungry for approval. This is not so unusual for me, and the temptation actively to seek validation from others is one of the concerns I had about blogging. It's tantalizing but ultimately empty to chase page view numbers, comments, and the like.

On this particular day, however, that was not the focus. I was hungry for positive feedback from Important People, authority figures. Ebony and I are alike that way: highly motivated by yummy treats praise. Not being a student who would receive that from teachers or a professional who would (ideally) receive it from a manager or boss, I wanted it from doctors, who these days are the most numerous and frequently encountered authority figures in my life.

(Some might protest that doctors are service providers and I am the customer, but for a recovering people pleaser like me, that is not how it feels.)

In my journal and prayer time, God and I had a chat about this, or rather I talked and He listened. "I am working so hard at taking and keeping track of my medicines, adding and subtracting activities, making more appointments with more specialists when they say to, maintaining precise records of symptoms, medicines, and activities to provide them the data they need to help me... I'm worn out trying to get well. But it seems like the harder I try, the more new issues keep popping up.  The medicines aren't making as big or as fast a difference as the doctors expect, and when that happens it feels like I'm the one who's the failure and not the medicines or the treatment approach. I just want one of them to notice how hard I'm working at getting better and to tell me I'm doing a good job at being a patient. That's all.  I just want to hear from them that I'm doing this right."

Silence. I thought I heard a cricket chirp nearby.

So I did what any God-fearing, Bible-believing Christian in her third decade of walking with Christ would do. I went to my husband and repeated the whole pathetic litany to him.

Smile, nod, "Sweetie, God is in control of the results." Granted, he was on his way to the garage for something from his toolbox, and he was right, but that was still not the reaction I was hoping for.

Two weeks passed, and the urgency of the craving for Approval from Important People faded somewhat in the wee distractions of a bigger health crisis for a family member and an upcoming dental surgery.

A few days before the procedure, I met with my asthma doctor for a routine (as much as anything is with me) check. This wise doctor treats me with kindness, gentleness, respect, and personal attention as though I'm the only patient he will see that day. Although he is retirement age or fast approaching it, he continues to practice medicine and study the journals to improve his craft. He is a gifted physician skilled in the art as well as the science of medicine.

At this visit, he talked with me about any changes in my overall health picture and offered some suggestions for adapting my breathing and activities to decrease costochondritis pain. After supplying me with prescriptions and samples, he turned to leave and then turned back toward me.

"You know," he said, "I think this every time you come in here, but I'm not sure if I've ever actually said it to you. You are the kind of patient that reminds me why I keep doing this. You're caring, you're smart, and you...not everything is something we can make better, want to be better. Patients like you are the reason we--doctors, nurses--do what we do."

He paused a moment, nodded for emphasis, turned again, and left the room.

Gathering my belongings and composure, I swallowed hard, blinked back tears, and followed suit, both happy and deeply moved. After a stop at the front desk to pay and schedule the next appointment, I went to the car and sat in stunned silence a moment before turning toward home. A girl can live a long time on words like that.

God had seen. He had heard. He answered through this good physician in His due time. Through the words of my doctor, He let me know, "I have called you by your name; you are Mine."

Since then, when a positive observation or insight into someone around me has crossed my mind or path, I am seeking to follow my doctor's example by not only thinking it but saying or writing it to the person before life rushes on. We can never know this side of heaven whom around us might be starving for just such a sweet, healing word, but that is one case in which I believe from experience it is better to speak than to remain silent.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24, NIV1984).

Just wondering: What about you? Has anyone given you "honeycomb words" recently that you'd like to share? If not, is that something I could pray for you?

Joining Bonnie's Faith Jam today...


  1. Tears of Joy for you, dear. What a precious, precious gift, made even sweeter by the waiting. What a loving Father we serve. Thank you for your testimony of His Faithfulness and the reminder to speak blessings as often as possible. That is one of the two words He has me focused on this year: Being and Blessing. I need to remember how important the words of a spoken blessing can be.

    Sharing this precious encouragement from a comment you left on a post for me: "May the Lord bring forth much eternal fruit from your service to and through your family."

    Thank you, dear!!!

  2. @AnneThank you for your insights and kind words and for calling me "dear." :)

    Being and Blessing: those are both worthy objectives.

    I'm glad you appreciated the comment. You're very welcome!

  3. Thanks for sharing your words of encouragement! Your gift from God is precious!

  4. Thank you, Katie! God bless you.

  5. I cried myself reading what that nice doctor said to you! Sometimes we don’t have to have praise from everybody, but at least from somebody. Yes, God does hear. I love stories like these!

  6. This is such a tender account. I love how God provided those honeycomb words through that doctor. What encouragement on so many levels!
    (p.s. I can relate--even in grade school I remember crying when I was sick at school with a fever and had to go to the nurse. I felt I was disappointing my teacher and the nurse.)

  7. @Amy Yes, a deep encouragement.

    Sometimes illness itself is enough to make one cry, but that's only compounded by embarrassment and shame at being ill at school. I do hope your teacher and nurse treated you kindly.

    Thank you for your friendship here!

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  9. Your words, both here and those you've said to me personally, are always that to me :)

    This post reminds me that I need to have honeycomb words for those around me. Thank you! I'm putting this verse on my fridge now!

  10. are now one of my dear-hearts...not to fill that approval-needing part (because oh can I so relate)...but just because I want you to know.
    All this make me long for Heaven.
    When the struggle, the pain, the fear...all that will be over.
    This is not our home friend.
    Doesn't make it all easy.
    Doesn't fix anything now.
    But--fixes our eyes on Him.
    On our forever.

  11. @Kelly Thank you for your encouragement, Kelly. I'm grateful to know that and to be part of His work in your life.

    There are lots of verses on my fridge, too. And mirror, and cabinets... :)

    Love to you and yours!

  12. @Kara Thank you, friend, for the reminder and the gift of your affection. Joni Eareckson Tada has written (and I agree) that one of the best things in suffering is the gift of longing for Heaven.

    Grace and peace to you in Jesus!

  13. Sometimes, at just the right moment, you get exactly what you need! I'm glad that you did.

  14. @Mama Zen Thank you! May God grant you what you need today, too.

  15. Like many here, I choked up reading what that doctor said to you -- because of what it meant -- that God did hear the cry of your heart. Tinuviel, thanks for sharing such a tender and joyful encouraging moment! .. from a recovering people pleaser, too. :) *HUGS*

  16. @Bonnie Gray Thank you, Bonnie, for coming by and sharing your thoughts. Hugs back. :)

  17. Amen, like a honeycomb, I'm not here from any link – I just wanted to come by to read your words. I have never left your site without smiling or learning, or otherwise being blessed. I heart your words.

    Now the question is, what do you do when you hear those words – but they go right through you as if they were never said – that would be my question – when you can't hear the positive what do you do? thank you for this – and God bless and keep you and yours.

  18. a beautiful post. i love the way that, when you were blessed by your doctor's gratitude, your response was not just to feel grateful, but also to follow the doctor's example, and encourage us to do the same. that way your blessing is shared and multiplied. i'm thankful to be a part of that...


  19. @Craig Craig, I'm glad God led you here and is answering my prayers regarding this place.

    As to your question, I'm thinking and praying about how best to respond. Please know it is taken seriously.

    May the Lord's truth take root, abide, and bear fruit in you.

  20. @chrisThank you, chris. I truly appreciate your feedback. Grace and peace to you in Christ!


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.