Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

Words ~ the power to hurt or heal…

One of the little rhymes I heard as a child that I never understood {and actually, I really hated it!} was the one that goes, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Have you heard that one?

What a pile of rubbish!!!!

Words hurt sometimes!!! A lot!!! They cut deeper than we can imagine. Whether those words are spoken to our face, behind our back, or through the glorious glowing screens of social media platforms.

Words are powerful ~ not only do we need to be careful about what we say to others but {almost} more importantly, what we say to ourselves!

From the First5 devotional app, that I was reading today (Day 6 of Return to Refuge plan, by Kellye Schiffner Carver), she writes Habakkuk recalls God’s character and resolves to trust in Him.” This referred to Habakkuk 3:18-19, “Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the LORD; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord GOD is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].”

Look at all of those positive things that Habakkuk speaks back to the Lord…characteristics that He has given us as His children…strength, courage, salvation, steady, sure, confident…not one thing uttered here is of discouragement.

How many times this month (or goodness sakes…just today!) have you said something negative over yourself? Maybe you don’t even realize you’re doing it because it’s become second nature?

Let me share a story…

For the many years of my adolescence & early adulthood, I truly believed I was ugly.  Not just slightly  unattractive or not really pretty…but really and truly ugly. I mean, I must be because people made fun of me for how I wore my hair, what clothes I wore to school, the gap in my front teeth, oh, and the fact that growing up our family didn’t eat sugar.  Like we were “that family” before eating healthy was cool.  We made our own peanut butter, my mom made cashew milk for our whole grain hot cereal, we made our own grain free granola.  Oh and the sugar free peanut butter was mostly enjoyed between TWO huge rice cakes! {Hello 1970’s when Whole Foods was only known at a few stores called Mrs. Gooch’s}!!

{all the glory that was me in the 8th grade!}

At any rate ~ the teasing was endless…the whispers were terrifyingly loud…my weirdness factor was off the charts.

It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that I was able to break free of the “I’m ugly” curse that I had spoken over my life. There were times in-between those years that I felt pretty, but not many…Senior Prom, Senior Pictures, my wedding day and honeymoon, and the days my three daughters were born. That’s about it.

Thanks to some super deep talks in the dark with my husband and some difficult conversations with a dear friend, they helped me walk out into the light of who God saw me as, who God called me to be, and who they saw me as. The hardest thing that my friend asked {okay…she TOLD} me to do was to say, “I’m fearfully and wonderfully made by God and I am beautiful.” But that wasn’t all of the mandate…I had to say to myself…IN THE MIRROR!

Ugh!

I had to look at myself and say it out loud…every…day! Until I could say it confidently without looking away and without disbelieving what I was saying. It took at least a month but maybe more. It was painful and I hated it. But I did it.

At first I did it because we were raising three little girls. I could see that it pained them whenever I said something demeaning about myself. My husband could see the far-reaching potential of those hateful things I said out loud about myself, and the affects they would have in our daughters’ lives. Only I had the power to change that. So I said the words. I said them until I began to see myself the way God did. The way my husband and children did. The way my true friends did.

I haven’t felt ugly since then.

Ephesians 4:29 {AMP} warns, “Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].”

People!  This is not just talking about what we say to other people, whether to their face or in gossip. This verse is about how we speak to our self!

STOP SPEAKING LIES OVER YOUR LIFE!

Some of the things we say about ourselves don’t even register as a lie because we’ve said it so many times, we believe it’s true.

“I’m so overwhelmed.”

“I’m such a bad mom.”

“I’m a horrible wife.”

“I’m never gonna be like her.”

“I’m never going to amount to much.”

“I’ll never find a husband.”

Oh my friends….let me give you a great encouragement here…none of those phrases were ever said about you by our amazing Heavenly Father! NONE of them!

The first blessing God spoke over us was this from Genesis 1:26-28, 31 “Then God said, “Let us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth. ” So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He validated it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.”

Did you catch that last part? Does it talk about us being good enough to be made? Perfect enough to be given authority? Unflawed enough to deserve to be created in the image & spiritual likeness of the Trinity? Nope…not once!! Did we have to work hard & prove our worth? Nope, not even that! Yet He validated us COMPLETELY!!!!

And everything He saw that He’d made ~ which includes you and me ~ He thought it was good!!!

We are sealed by His words of creation, and sealed forever by the salvation through Christ, the Living Word!!

All through the New Testament, the Lord calls us His beloved, His children. He calls us precious, restored, renewed & reconciled. He provides the free gift of salvation. He calls us by name and declares us wonderful!

When you don’t have words of your own, speak Psalm 139:14 (amp) over yourself, “I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it well.”

Here’s another one to speak over yourself from Psalm 141:3 (amp), “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips [to keep me from speaking thoughtlessly.]”

When we speak lies over ourselves, we begin to allow the spirit of that attribute to cover us. When we speak the truth of God’s Word over our life, we allow His character to cover us.

Either way, how we live is affected by what we speak. Our heart is affected by what we speak over ourself. And our mind listens to it all.

I still have body issues that I’m dealing with, my I know that I’m not ugly. What I do know is that I’m beautiful because God made me. I’m joyful because I live for Him. I’m happy because I know how miserable I used to be. I’m grateful that the Lord (and my fantastic husband and sweet friends) wouldn’t let me stay in a miry pit of sadness and depression. I can smile and laugh because I know my life has a plan and purpose that only God has orchestrated for me to fulfill!

The power of words is important for us to understand. It is vital to speak truth over ourself, our spouse, our children, our families, those in our circle of influence, and really, to speak God’s truth over & into the lives of anyone the Lord puts in our path!!

So if you feel like you can’t say something nice…pray a Psalm out loud instead!!

Blessings,

René

{Living out a special day with family in the beauty that is Waimea, HI ~ Big Island ~ and I actually ASKED my daughters to take some photos of me!}

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

The Power of Words

As soon as I chose the title for today’s blog, I can’t get the Huey Lewis & the News song “That’s the Power of Love” song out of my head.  It doesn’t relate to the topic, well, not really…but it’s catchy and you just can’t get those 80’s songs out of your brain!!  Now that I’ve talked about the song, I can move on…you are now welcome that the song is now stuck in your brain!  You’re welcome. 🙂

The Power of Words ~ more than we realize sometimes.  With our words we can: heal, hurt, comfort, proclaim, defend, defy, build-up, gossip, love, hate, encourage, deny, etc.  So much power that we have and so many times so little consideration of what comes out of our mouth.  When I was a teenager, my mom would sometimes say to me, “Honey, just because you think of something, that doesn’t mean it needs to come out of your mouth.”  And yes, I’ve used that on my own daughters’….good times!  It’s true though isn’t it?  When my girls were little and learning how to talk, oh how frustrating it could be for them.   I could see the determination in their little faces trying desperately to explain something to me or ask me for something.  When it was clear that I wasn’t getting it, I would say to them, “Can you show Mommy?”  Or better yet, when they were having a fit about something, I would try to get their attention and tell them, “Use your words.” As an adult how many times have you said something and as the words are pouring out of your mouth (usually at a very rapid pace) you suddenly have an out of body experience and wish we could gather those words and take them back!  I know I have…but you can’t take them back.

And I really can’t stand that silly adage of “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.”  What?  Whoever thought of that…ugh!  Really?!?  There are opportunities that we have every day to either build-up or tear down someone with the words we speak to them.

WORDS CAN ABSOLUTELY HURT!

I love how James 1:17 reminds us that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  EVERY gift ~ not just some of them, but every single gift that comes from God, is GOOD!  And what does satan want to do with everything that is good…he wants to turn into something vile and disgusting that brings death and defiance.  So of course, because God’s Word is so good, the enemy uses words to ignite issues between churches, family members, and friends alike.  The more satan can use words to harm, the more he thinks he has won.  But he hasn’t.  We allow him to creep in to our attitudes and develop pride about something, say things we can’t take back and then we are left with the mess to clean up…and satan is standing by laughing.  The great news is that we don’t have to clean up the mess alone!  God is there and His Word is there to guide us every step of the way back to unity in the Body of Christ, with our family and with our friends.  The words, “I forgive you.” are some of the most powerful words in our vocabulary!  Use them!!

The first words to be spoken, we read about in Genesis 1:3 “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”  God, our Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe, could have used ANY means to create this world we live in.  He could have snapped His fingers, He could have just thought it into existence.  But He chose to express with His Words what He wanted to create.  He SPOKE creation into reality.  In Genesis chapters 1 & 2, this phrase is used 12 times during the creation story. There are over 100 times throughout the rest of scripture that God spoke to His people about their life, their blessings they would recieve, or the discipline they would recieve because of their sin.

Take a moment to read this beautiful portion of the passage in Psalm 119:97-108,

“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word. Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.”

These are exquisite words that paint such a lovely picture of what it means to love God’s Word.  King David of the Old Testament penned these words as they flowed from Holy Spirit inspiration, to teach all those going ahead of him of the magnitude importance it is to keep God’s laws (His Words) in our heart, in our mind, and on our tongues.  When we learn and obey what God has told us, we will have peace in knowing we are living rightly before Him.  There is no where in this passage (or any other part of the Bible for that matter) that promises us a perfect & easy life if just follow how God says to live.  Nope.  It ain’t in there.  But He does promise us that He will never leave us nor forsake us, (Deuteronomy 31:6,8).  His Words are true…His promises are true…His laws are true and they are good.

Another part I love from the Psalms passage is, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Did you catch that?  It’s not 10,000 candle power search light that illumines our path.  It is a lamp.  A simple lamp with a simple light whose wattage is perfectly suited for the path that we are on.  If we could see what was out 10 blocks in front of us, we wouldn’t need to depend too much on the light that was right in front of us.  This analogy of the lamp shows us how we must be dependent on the Lord for every single step we take.  This is not because God wants to be an overbearing, angry guide who doesn’t want us to be prepared for what is coming.  He wants to lead us down the path He has carved out for us that will be most beneficial for us.  Does that path always make sense?  No, it does not.  But it will all eventually be seen as a blessing and as an example of God’s faithfulness in our life.  Sometimes when we feel like we are in a dark place, it is frankly because we have walked away from the protection of the Lord due to the unconfessed sin in our life.  And sometimes that dark place is when God is covering us, to protect us from something far worse.  In any case, we have to rely on the light of God’s Word to show us where to go.

Psalm 57:1 “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”

These words I have shared with you are not meant to bring about frustration ~ they truly are meant to be an encrouagement to you.  Life isn’t easy and we don’t have all the answers.  You may be going through circumstances that are extremely painful and confusing and you are wondering where God is in all of it.  In those moments, and probably at a time when the last thing you really want to do is read your Bible or pray, that’s when you need Him the most.  When you don’t have the words to speak the Father in pray, you don’t have to say a word because our Comforter, the Holy Spirit can go before the throne of God and intercede on our behalf.  I have had several occasions in my life where there just weren’t any words that would come out of my mouth because the pain in my heart was just too great.  From my own life I can tell you, that through those unspoken sobs that come up from your toes, God hears them and He understands them.  If you are able to talk with someone about whatever it is that is going on in your life right now, please talk to them.  Use your words to express your emotions.  If you don’t have a confidante, pray and ask the Lord to help you find one and He will.

Psalm 33:4 “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”
Be watchful of the words you speak just as much as you are mindful of the words you think.  Even if the words have truth to them, they may not need to be spoken right when you think they need to be.  Use your words to inquire of the Lord as to the right timing and the gracious way you need to deliver them.  The intentions of our words need to rooted in God’s love so that they will produce growth in the one to whom we are speaking.  Quick harsh words can last a lifetime if we are not careful.  All of this…I say as an encouragement to you and to me as well.  Every day I have to remember to have gracious words and wise timing.  I don’t always succeed, but seeking forgiveness from those I’ve hurt and from the Lord are always in order.  Don’t let pride stand in your way if you have someone you need to apologize to.  You may not have meant to hurt them, but it happened.  Kick satan back where he belongs, and allow God to light a new path of reconciliation.

Words.

Spoken and silent.

Words carry Power.

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Blessings,

René