Words of life: a family staple
You know those rare people you meet or come in contact with that have an incredible story and are so filled with grace and unshakable peace that you just cling to the words that come out of their mouth? Almost always, those very people leave an impression on you for a lifetime.
Right out of High School I had an invigorating sense of independence and felt (as most 18 year olds do) that I had the world at my fingertips and time was just a number on the clock. I hopped back and forth to and from friends houses, and spent a good majority of my time in Branson. My summer was spent with late nights under the stars and sunny hot days at the lake. Sounds about right for an 18 year old right? ;) That summer I met a friend who had long dread locks and the characteristic that stood out most was his big, warm and friendly smile so from the outside he appeared as a happy go lucky kind of guy. When he spoke he conveyed a deep sense of peace and purpose. He was intentional with his words and his conversations and it always caught me off guard because although I was a christian, my focus was still very much on myself.
One day a group of us were all walking down to the lake and something careless slipped out of my mouth. Now, before your imagination gets away with you, I should clear that up by saying that these careless words were not curse words, but only lighthearted words. I probably said something like, "Oh if I had to run a marathon I would die!" In that moment, I got a look from this friend. He kindly smiled and then said, "You know, life and death are in the power of the tongue bro." Gulp. Being the rule follower that I am, even though I did not intentionally offend anyone or mean to be careless, I felt convicted. He then kindly told me how by the age of 25 he had gone through cancer and a series of other life threatening events and the words he chose to speak over his life proved to be life giving and not words of death.
That was over 10 years ago and I have clung to his words and this verse in Proverbs 18:21, "The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat it's fruit."
Just as a living tree or living bush produces fruit, the words that come from our mouth have a lasting effect to our mind, body and soul.
If you have been around me for any length of time you may have taken note of my passion for the power of words. So it should be no surprise that as my children, who have grown into these little humans that bicker and argue, have heard me harp on the words they let come out of their mouth either toward each other or about themselves. We need to make it our goal as parents and educators to ensure that these kids are hearing God's truth about them every single day.
I once heard Lisa Bevere on a video series mention that if our kids are not hearing God's promises, they are hearing our fears. Or worse, they are hearing lies, fears and words of defeat from the world around them.
Jude is in this stage where he likes to blame every mishap on his sister Lila. Now, being that she is the middle child, she is very onery and knows exactly which buttons to push. Jude will get frustrated and say things like, "Lila is the worstest sister ever! I wish she didn't even exist! She is a STARTER!!" (Also known as an instigator) I completely understand his frustration and will encourage him to go outside to blow off his steam, but then we talk about the words that he says. How lucky he is to have sisters, and how they will be his best friends for life. Even though those words are hard to understand now, I know that in those conversations we have again and again, the fruit will come in due season. Then I may or may not make them hug it out and give each other a compliment. ;)
Another struggle we have is when Jude gets frustrated with his school work, or music and says how much he hates a subject, how it is too hard, and how he wishes he never had to do it. Again, reinforcing the importance of hard work and overcoming a hurdle is great, but simply pulling him aside, saying a prayer with him and telling him that he is smart, capable and that he is going to understand the work and that it will get easier with practice are all things that I want to speak over him so that we can see God work through him.
I also try to keep in mind that when Jude gets mad at Lila and puts her down with with harsh words that it is important to take her aside. I have to love on her and tell her that she is smart, caring, kind, helpful. I fully believe the words we speak are the words we believe and in turn they become the words that define our integrity and confidence. It can also be noted that if we do not take care of the matters of the heart, it is an overflow of what comes out of our mouth. Mind, body and soul. Think of life giving words, believe them with all your heart and speak them out loud!
"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks...on the day of judgement people will give an account for every careless word they speak."
If you are a parent of young kids, I don't have to tell you that your words will come back and bite you. Just because I am passionate about this subject, does not mean that I do not fall short over and over again. So far this school year I have heard Jude and Lila walk away from me saying, "Come on, let's go hide away in a hole." or "Lila, pack your bags we are going to run away now". (Those words were spoken out of homeschooling and motherly exhaustion and times of weakness) Thank you Lord for grace and forgiveness.
"Words which do not give the light of Christ, increase the darkness." — Mother Theresa
Be mindful of the words you speak, because we all could use a little more light in our homes and in the world these days. Give someone a compliment, text a friend and let them know they have been on your mind lately, tell your children how they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that God has an incredible plan and purpose for their life. Words are powerful, so be careful how you use them friends.
Have a great week everyone!