My Tongue Is Numb

The tip of my tongue is numb.

Well, technically it’s not numb. It feels more like I’ve burned it. Or like I’ve had novocaine at the dentist office and it’s in the regaining feeling stage.

For ten days now. 24/7. Numb.

My anesthesiologist said in his six years in Lynchburg, he’s only had one other patient with such a reaction. Go figure!

Recognizing this might be a kairos moment, yesterday I wondered if God might be trying to get my attention. Like Zechariah who was struck dumb because of unbelief. Or if you prefer, like Pinnochio, except instead of telling lies and donning an increasingly longer schnoz, what if my tongue was numb because I’ve been far too critical or harsh or demanding or __________________ (fill in the blank).

I pondered this thought throughout the morning yesterday but finally convinced myself that God doesn’t work that way anymore. I mean…right? And this certainly isn’t Disney World. So I put the thought aside as I noodled this half dead thing against my teeth and gums. (You try ignoring such a thing if it ever happens to you.)

And then Mary DeMuth had to get all step-on-my-toes with her suggestion to write a six word memoir. You know what first came to my mind?

“She encouraged everyone except her family.”


Just maybe there was some truth I needed to explore. The night before, I had completely lost my temper with a certain unnamed teen, for an unnamed reason. And while I didn’t “yell,” I reacted in anger and doled out a punish consequence punishment that felt good to me at the moment, not so much to Teen.

Later, Teen tried to talk to me about the incident–even had the nerve to ask for grace. Yes, Teen used the g-word.

Don’t ask me how, but immediately and simultaneously, my heart softened and I became angry. I often ask the kids to have grace with one another.

“Give grace to your sister.”
“Give grace to your brother.”

But this? How dare Teen use my own words against me? Hard hearts can be pretty good at making excuses that defy logic.

This morning as I journaled, skimming my numb tongue against the roof of my mouth, I asked God if maybe I should be showing grace to our kids. (Duh! I know. Don’t even.)

“How do I live in the Kingdom reality with our family? What rhema/kairos am I missing about Identity? How can I move beyond repentance into true belief?

I read Luke 6:43-45. A good* man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good; … for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

This word, *good, took me to Philipians 1:6 and is Strongs #18 – agathos. It means good, in a physical and moral sense, and which produces benefit.

Somewhere along the way, “Partakers of ‘grace'” took me to 2 Corinthians 12:9 – grace/charis. Strongs #5485, from the same root as “chara” (joy) and “chairo” (to rejoice). Charis causes rejoicing. It is the word for God’s grace extended to sinful man. It signifies unmerited favor, underserved blessing, a free gift.

The very thing our children need. From me.

But that’s not all.

VesselA few hours later, I finally opened up the Christmas present my friend Laura gave me and decided to check it out. She had prayed about twelve passages for me for the year, tied them into tiny scrolls and put them in this beautiful little vessel.

This month’s scroll? Colossians 4:2-6.

Colossians 4_2_6Thanksgiving. Redeeming the time (kairos). And then this, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

I might be slow, and sometimes hard hearted, but I think God is trying to get my attention. I’m sure his idea for my six word memoir would be something like this,

“She encouraged everyone, especially her family.”

May it be so.

Read more about:
Kingdom, Identity & Kairos in “Covenant & Kingdom” by Mike Breen
Thanksgiving and Grace in “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp

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11 Responses to My Tongue Is Numb

  1. Pingback: I Need an Awakening | oikos living

  2. Anonymous says:

    Isnt’ that awful when our kids use our words against us!  Kind of like the Holy Spirit is in them too!……Love your new blog here sistah!

  3. My little girls also use my own words against me. Irritating, isn’t it?  :)

    I’m really, really loving this new place, Cheryl. I like what you’re doing here. I like how you’re seeing God at work, and then sharing it in such beautiful ways with us. Thank you for opening up your heart and your life like this. You mentor us with your words. 

  4. Oh man, Cheryl. I wrote about my tongue on Monday. And the grace that was extended to me.  This is like ouch. And wow. That you would pull out that scripture. (And what a beautiful gift!)

    • cherylsmith says:

      So thankful that God confirms His heart in so many different ways, through various people. He’s so good like that. Glad these vereses were helpful for you.

      I sometimes think everyone else has already learned how to tame their tongues, and I’m the only one left. I guess we  don’t often hear people say, “I completely blew it today with my husband,” or “I lost it today with my kids.”

  5. Linda Chontos says:

    I can learn a lesson from that numb tongue of yours Cheryl. My children are grown and gone with children of their own, but I remember (with deep regret) the sharpness of my tongue. Sometimes grace goes more toward bringing about the desired behavior than anything else we could possibly say or do.

  6. Kelly Sauer says:

    You know what stands out to me about this post? It’s what you quoted from Proverbs about the things coming out of your heart. Sometimes when we try to be good and do the right thing, we don’t receive the grace we need to be vulnerable ourselves. I’m wondering if perhaps there is something more here for you than a lesson about encouraging your family and speaking grace.

    I wonder if maybe God is reaching for your heart, letting you know that you can let down and be broken with Him, that it is okay to be vulnerable, that your own vulnerability is what keeps you tender toward others…

    Thanks for visiting my blog today. It is good not to be alone, isn’t it?

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