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An Affair to Remember

| written by Ayla

We’ve had a sporadic love affair for the last 28 years.

Words and I.

You see there was a time my soul was in constant anguish and the only expression of it was silent screams in the midst of my heart’s midnight pandemonium. Until I discovered words. I was six and a pink spiral notebook quickly became the only friend I had. I wrote down everything I could possibly think of. I often used words to create a secretly-longed-for reality.

A reality void of shame. A reality void of rejection. A reality void of purposelessness.

You know the kind of bunnies-and-roses life that any six-year-old should be able to experience. Sherbet rainbows and all.

I fell in love with words because they loved me first.

Words comforted me. They wooed me. They sheltered me. They were there for me when nobody else was.

My pink notebook eventually transformed into a sundry of diaries penning my life journey. And oh how I had guarded my journals purposefully and cautiously. They are safe-deposit boxes guarding fragments of my fragile experiences and certifying a transformed legacy.

I don’t view words as a mere sequence of letters strung together as a means to communicate. I view them as the language of my heart. Words have been able to compassionately illustrate my heart’s yearnings: to be free, to be realized, to be understood.

Words have raised me. They have counseled me. They have advised me. They gave me a voice when everybody else stifled it. Words have relayed sweet whispers from the God of the universe to me.

Words haven’t always played nice though. There have been times where they have wounded me too. They have betrayed my confidence. They have shaken my self-esteem and stole my worth from me. They have formed alliances with my enemies to bring doubt and confusion into my life.

Yet love was stronger and we have always been reunited.

I see and hear words in just about anything and everything you can imagine. When I hear a song, I don’t hum the tune, I hear the words. When I watch a movie, I don’t see the faces, I hear the words. When I have a conversation, I don’t pay attention to body language or tone, I hear the words. When I’m at a musical, I don’t pay attention to the dazzling lights or melodious orchestra, I hear the words.

So you may understand why I immediately became smitten by the concept of adopting one word to funnel growth and maturity in my walk with Christ throughout the year back in 2010 when it was first introduced to me. Each year I have anxiously anticipated how God will (re)arrange my life to display His glory through transforming words such as “bold” and “whole” and “no.”



None of these words has been less than complex as I have wrestled with God in the dark trenches of gut-wrenching change. Through my one words, God has purged and God has pruned and God has prepared me to take up crosses that I would have never chosen for myself. The cross of rejection. The cross of loneliness. The cross of self-deprivation. The cross of sacrifice.

The cross of absolute surrender.

Yet every year has also birthed a new sense of respect for words and over the one word years, our relationship has been solidified through the truth that they really can bring life if we determine that to be their sole purpose. The kind of life that quenches thirsty souls and embalms forgotten hearts.

So here I am. Another year. Another word. Ready for God to restore what He originally intended for me—who I am supposed to be, the life I am supposed to live, and the purpose I am supposed to fulfill.

One word at a time.

How have words impacted your life {positively or negatively}?
How has your one word impacted how you view God and yourself thus far this year?

Born into Islam, Ayla was broken in a myriad of ways when she encountered Jesus at the empty well of her life 9 years ago. In that moment, Jesus began weaving a beautifully intricate tapestry out of her brokenness & continues to do so, one fragile thread at a time. She is a grateful Mommy to two at times testy (!) but mostly joyful preschoolers, a preschool teacher, & a graduate student. In her free moments she enjoys soul writing, dancing for the Lord & serving as a leader in Celebrate Recovery, a ministry through which Jesus has been healing her from childhood sexual abuse & is using her to help others heal from similar trauma. You can connect with Ayla on Twitter  or Facebook.