By Melissa Ohden
Editor’s note. This appears on Melissa’s blog. In 1977 Melissa survived a saline abortion. She has spoken all over the world, including many times at National Right to Life conventions.
Have you ever read or used a quote, perceiving it to have one meaning, but over time, experienced its meaning has changed for you?
I realized this recently when I looked at this picture:
I’ve used the term frequently over the years. And I’ve meant what I’ve said when talking about Speaking Life to and into people. Understanding that our words have far more impact than we may anticipate, we need to choose our words wisely and take advantage of every opportunity we are given.
What do we mean by “Speaking life”? To me, it means that we encourage others to achieve their dreams and goals, to help them love themselves and others, to forgive themselves and other people.
I’ve come to realize lately, though, that speaking life means so much more.
Speaking life means building people up with our words and supporting them with our actions, not tearing them down with a careless word.
Speaking life means informing others about their choices in any given situation and the consequences for those decisions. Nowhere is that choice more fateful than whether we choose life or choose abortion.
Speaking life gives voice to hope over fear.
Speaking life means being vulnerable. Genuine about who you are and what you’ve experienced. That kind of transparency encourages others to do likewise.
Similarly, Speaking Life means being honest about not only the past, but your present. Life is messy and painful.
It doesn’t mean that you’re a mess.
It doesn’t mean you’re failing or are a failure.
Life happens on a daily basis. Some days are full of strife and difficulty, no matter how far you’ve come or how faithful you are in your life.
Speaking Life acknowledges that we all have these days, but we aren’t defined by them. Speaking Life reflects to people that we can relate. That they aren’t alone.
Speaking Life is about being real. Real you. Real life.
If we’re honest, we recognize that we live in a world that so seldom Speaks Life. Truth is often inconvenient for people, it bumps up against their experiences and choices, their value system, particularly when it comes to abortion.
Our Instagram-Snapchat world filters out the messy and painful, giving others the highlight reel of our lives. We keep our real lives tucked away, for good reason. It’s certainly not always safe or a good idea to put our lives on blast on the Internet.
I think it’s important that we create a space in our lives and the lives of others where we feel safe to interact–to show our real lives, our real selves. This is the space in which we have the opportunity to Speak Life into others. And perhaps surprisingly, as we’re transparent, vulnerable, and real, not only do we speak life into others, but we also Speak Life into ourselves.
Speaking life breathes life into us as individuals.
It allows us the opportunity to embrace ourselves as much as it allows us to embrace others.
And this, I believe, is how we change the world.
And so the cycle continues. Life after life is transformed. And as lives are transformed, families are, too. Families grow into communities. Communities grow into towns and cities. Cities grown into nations. Nations into the world.
Speaking Life truly is an important and powerful thing to do for ourselves, for others, and our greater world.
Go out today and seize the opportunities you’re given to Speak Life! When we do, we can change the world, little by little.