The Power of Women's Words
Words are mighty, words are strong,
Words can soothe, or words can wrong.
A reputation shred in two-
Words can say what isn't true.
Words can soothe the weary brow
Cause the pain to flee for now.
Or words can pierce the inmost heart
Like a misaimed, careless dart.
Words tell of heaven and God's great plan,
To save from sin, frail, fallen man.
Words can grant a courage bold
When troubles round about enfold.
Words upon the printed page
Our interests rouse and quite engage.
Around the world we steal a look,
Between the covers of a book.
The power of words or their weight
To sink a soul to black despair,
Or lift from sorrow's wracking care.
Words! How we all love to capture those first words that babies begin to utter. We jot those first sweet words down as a remembrance in their baby books. Then all too soon we suddenly realize that we need to give guidance to our little ones on what is appropriate to say and what is not!
From the day we begin to communicate with those around us till the last words uttered on our death bed, our words are letting others around us know what is going on inside of us. There are famous words recorded that people have said that go down in history attached to their name. There are hosts of other words that you and I have spoken, insignificant people though we are, that have had great impacts on our listeners, some for the good and some for the bad.
Power- Webster defines it as a possession of control, authority or influence over others, the ability to act or produce an effect.
The power of a woman's words.
Did you know your words have power?
When Diane called me and asked me to consider taking this assignment, I found out how powerful her words were. I was in the normal morning routine of cleaning up the kitchen after getting everyone off to their varied destinations of the day. She didn't talk long till I found myself hunting a chair. My legs were feeling a bit wobbly and for sure I couldn't concentrate on the simple job of washing dishes! As we talked she assured me that I would have prayer support from the committee in the 6 weeks or so while I prepared. That relaxed my weak knees a bit because "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. When I wavered in indecision she told me others had said no and she was hoping to find someone soon who would say yes. Her words made me feel obligated!
Do you remember a time you said something and you were amazed at the results they produced?
Maybe they brought tears to the eyes, or maybe they caused a great shout of joy to erupt! Your words produced an effect.
How many times have you witnessed your words causing someone to change the course of action they were about to take? We mothers have to have that authority with our little ones quite frequently. You possessed control of that situation. That is power!
How many times have you felt blue and upon hearing someone singing and the enthusiastic words of a song just lifted your spirits? Someone penned those words. Songs have a deep way of ministering to my spirit.
I vividly recall the power of a poem that was sent by fax to me one eve, and the powerful impact it had on my broken heart. I had just found out, a few hours before, during a prenatal check up that the baby I was carrying no longer had a heart beat. I had just gotten home and was gently breaking the news to our children and thinking ahead to the scary process of being induced, etc. The words of the poem were written as though our baby was telling me that he had gone to heaven and I was not to fret about him.
My mind had been going so many different directions but suddenly like a thunderbolt my broken heart said," Yes! How wonderful! He's not dead inside of me- He's with Jesus!" That precious thought had never occurred to me yet. A small seed of acceptance had already sprouted in my heart, just from that poem.
Words can do so many things: They can bring comfort or cause distress. They can stir up or calm down. They can make one feel loved or feel like an outsider. They can pardon or bring condemnation. They can encourage or discourage. They can cause someone to sing or bring a sigh. They can build up or tear down.
Why do we need to think about the power of a woman's words? Is it because we need to be made aware how much power our words have? Do our words have more power than a man's? One friend, who I shared these questions with, said this," They say the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." We mothers, grandmothers, school teachers and Sunday school teachers all impact young lives that will someday impact other lives that will in turn impact more lives. That is the power of influence! And words play a big part in that influence.
One eve, recently, when I was exclaiming over a project that had turned out right, after some earlier failings, my son said, "I'm glad you're happy mom, because when mom's not happy, no one's happy!" I read that saying before, but to have it said to me, that night, by one of the boys, stopped me in my tracks. I have noticed that my attitude and words can make or break our cozy home atmosphere. Our families can soon detect if mom is uptight about something. Before you know it, you hear growly words going on between others, and the home deteriorates into a negative faultfinding battlefield.
Not long after being given this assignment I began to wonder," Lord are you wanting me to study this subject in depth for a reason?" My fear of standing up here before you and giving this topic has been replaced by a much bigger mountain. As I have studied and read different books on the power of words I have come to realize that the biggest job is going to be living out what I have learned. I have much growing in this area to do. So even though I share with you tips and advice that I have learned, I need them all myself. Satan loves to see us speak negatively and hurt others rather than build them up.
Alright, we know now that words are powerful, and we have a powerful influence over others. How can we make sure we use them in a positive way?
Let's turn to Matthew 12:34-37. In the amplified the last part of verse 34 and vs. 35 say "For out of the fullness (the overflow, the superabundance) of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man from his inner good treasure flings forth good things, and the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse flings forth evil thing." What is your heart full of? It's the overflow that comes forth. We need to make sure that what is stored inside of us is right. What are we dwelling on? Who is in control of our heart? It's the feelings and the inner stuff going on in our heart that makes us fling forth either evil or good things.
What our mind thinks and dwells on also plays a big part in what comes out of our mouth. Turn to Phil. 4:4-8. The words that jump out at me there are rejoice, thanksgiving, and peace. When I am rejoicing in the Lord and thanking the Lord for all His blessings in my life I am much better able to handle the stresses that come up in a day. When my heart and mind are at peace that calmness and rest spill over to those around me. When we have our mind dwelling on lovely things and our hearts filled with praise to the One who has blessed us in so many wonderful ways it is harder for ugly things to come spewing out of our mouths.
We need a pure spirit behind our conversations. For unless the Spirit of God rules our tongues, we will almost certainly end up speaking words that bring death rather than life. Our words are a pretty accurate indicator of our spiritual condition. When I'm tired and frustrated, the fatigue and exasperation show in my speech. When I'm busy or pressed for time, my language becomes clipped or dismissive. If I've not had enough time alone with the Lord I will be less gracious and become more fault finding. Whatever I've set my mind and focused my heart on- is what will come out.
Soon after accepting this topic I called up a special writer friend of mine and ask her what resource material she may have that I could get practical ideas from. She sent me quite a few but one really spoke to me. If you can find it at a library I would highly recommend you reading it. The title is "Silver Boxes" by Florence Littauer. It's an older publication but will give you much food for thought on how far reaching our words really are, and how much impact they have on the lives we touch.
She suggests wrapping little boxes in silver paper and putting a bow on the top, then placing them in each room of your house as reminders of what our speech is like to those who hear us. Before you fling forth wrong words the sight of that little box may be all you need to remind you of what our words are to be like. It also can be a reminder to the rest of our family how we all need to speak to each other.
May our words be like presents to those who listen to us. Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Prov. 16:24
In the morning is a good time to start the day off right by first having our special time alone with words from our Master Teacher. We need to keep our hearts saturated daily with God's word and pray much for His abiding peace and then rest in His care for us.
As you pack lunches, little slips of paper stuck in a lunch box with words of encouragement or love for that person will cause a smile and a cheery outlook to a child or husband whose meeting some hard things that day. Be specific about things you are thankful for about that person. A quote by Mother Teresa," Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." Whisper some words of prayer for each one as you fill his lunch box.
Cheerily wish the sleepy heads good morning as they tumble into the kitchen looking for something to eat. l like to take that time to sit down with a cup of tea and chat a bit with our older boys who may have come in late the eve, before and just connect with them. Often those times are times of encouraging them to be true to their convictions, or helping them understand perplexing things they've encountered out in the world. Be available to talk and encourage them.
In the afternoon the school children need a time to connect with mom. Ask them about their grades, their friends, their games etc. Then help them strive for more by encouraging them by your words. Let them know you feel they can conquer that hard algebra. Tell that bumbling adolescent that they will get better, with practice, in catching the ball. Build them up with words that make them stretch up rather than slink away in defeat.
Does hubby call just when you are really in the middle of something? Take time to chat with him. He is your priceless treasure. Is he facing stress in a business venture? Let him know you believe in him and his ability to provide for the family. Tell others about things you are thankful he is doing for you. It likely will get back to him that you said it. What a wonderful relationship builder. He will be tempted to make you happy again soon! Put little notes between his Bible pages; tuck them in his shirt pocket when you press it. Be creative in finding ways to tell him how much he means to you.
One of the biggest threats of using the power of words wrong comes with us as women staying in our place as "help meets" and not the leader in our home. Our husbands like to hear our input on decisions facing our family but woe is us if we make them, by our words, feel like our way is best. It is easy to make them feel like we think we could have handled the siMation so much better. Husbands want to be respected. I read somewhere where when a husband makes a suggestion, though we have a different idea, practice answering in this way, "Yes! Let's do that!"
We play a vital role in our children's respect for us if we women stay in our place. How blessed it will be if our children learn from out of our own mouths that Dad is cherished for his opinions and authority. Our mouth is usually the avenue to let others know that our heart is not where it should be in this area. We need to daily work at keeping our husbands in their rightful place in our lives so our words build up rather than tear down our home.
Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop; but a good word maketh it glad. Prov. 12:25 When a friend calls who is feeling weighed down by preschoolers and work everywhere, make her day turn bright and cheery by sharing some words of humor. Help her feel you are with her in her affliction.
Many were the times when I felt like all I got done was changing diapers and wiping running noses that a call to a friend in the same shoes made me feel renewed to keep on. We would soon be laughing off the fatigue and depression by knowing that "this too would pass" and we were not alone in our situation. The day took on a much brighter hue knowing I had a friend who cared and understood.
In Psa. 45:1 it says "My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." One of the things I fall flat on my face is sending out the written encouraging word. You might hear from me once a year in a form letter but woe to the rest of the times you would be cheered if I sat down and jotted a few line. That friend going through a death in the family, that widow sitting all alone day after day, that Sunday school teacher preparing for the class would all be helped greatly to find a note of encouragement from you in the mailbox today. I received a beautifully feminine note card from a church sister a few days after having taught our women's Sunday School class one time telling me that she appreciated how much work I had put into the lesson. That did my heart so much good. I was feeling like a failure in a discipline area in the home at the time and just knowing someone appreciated my efforts meant so much. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Prov. 25:11
Bless others, either in person or in writing. When you hear of someone you know who is going through a hard time, reach out and bless them in whatever way you feel prompted by the Spirit. Ask the Lord to give you specific words or scripture that would meet their needs and then tell them. We need to enter into the suffering of others in order to minister effectively. Words alone are not enough. We have to feel the pain with them. You should feel virtue flow out of you when you bless them.
Someone who has entered the valley of grief needs others to come along side and enter that wilderness with them. Sometimes the lack of words and just a hug and shedding tears with them means more than words. Share memories you have of the one they lost with them. Tell them how much you appreciated that person. It is not poison to talk about their grief and loss. Do not pry or seek out information you don't need to know, but let them know you care. When in a crowd of people, seek them out. Make them feel like you want to be with them, not shy away because you don't know what to say.
This past week during our revivals the minister admonished us to tell others about the Lord. It doesn't need to be many words but just telling others how much Jesus means to us. I heard of an instance where a woman felt the Holy Spirit prompting her to tell a cashier that Jesus loved her. Since there was no one waiting in line while she checked out she followed the promptings. The cashier burst into tears and told her that she had been feeling like no one cared or loved her. One never knows how far reaching those few words may have gone.
We all are in different seasons of our lives. Some of you are daughters helping Mom in the home. You have so many ways to use words for good. Compliment your brothers and sisters on jobs well done.
Help mother get scrapbook pages done for the evangelist, or other people someone has chosen to cheer with a scrapbook. Write notes or emails of encouragement to those friends you know are in the midst of a trying situation. Tell your mother and dad how much you appreciate their hard work for the family. Sing! Your joyful words of song will likely lift your busy parents' heart, if for no other reason; they'll know that you are happy!
Older unmarried girls, you hold a very vital part. Many are the times our children were facing discouraging times or times of testing and their wonderful aunt sent the right card or poem or bookmark with accompanying words of encouragement. I find those treasures stacked on their headboards where they finger them from time to time. You will never know the impact your little deeds have on their young souls. You are not bogged down by family cares as much usually and can fill a mighty ministry of meeting needs that many of us long to do, but just don't get done.
Those of you who have touched lives in nursing homes or classrooms, even working in store clerk positions will maybe never know till eternity what impact some words you've spoken have had on some one's life.
Grandmothers, you hold a wonderful position too. You have weathered many a storm and can be such an encouragement to us younger ones. You help calm our fears when we have a daunting task to do. I value the older sisters who through a few words and actions make me feel as though they care about what is happening in my life. When you go out of your way to shake our hands and speak a few words in an upbeat manner goes a long way toward giving us the boost in the arm we need to keep living for the Lord. Your assurance of prayer support, your understanding words just help come along side our off times tired discouraged feet and keep us plodding on.
Make it a point to tell your married children what you appreciate about them. We know we are not getting everything done right but what an encouragement to know that someone noticed our feeble efforts! Isa. 50:4a says this, "The Lord God had given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary." Who is more learned than you older women?
Tell your grandchildren how much they mean to you and what they are doing that makes you happy. Encourage the ones who have begun the Christian life. Our teenagers need to hear from older people when they are doing right. They try harder to live right when they know that if they do wrong, they will disappoint grandma.
For those of us who are in the heat of the battle of raising our children post Eph. 4:29 in a prominent place for all to see in your home, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Let's put our words to the test, "Is it edifying?"
Our words need to be positive, not negative. It is amazing how children will respond to words of affirmation above those of criticism. Our words need to build up and do a favor to the recipient.
We all know there are times of the month we are much more prone to say things we wish we wouldn't have. Our nerves tend to have us more on edge and grouchy. Those are the times we probably need to keep our mouth shut more and pray harder. Pray the pray of the psalmist every day, maybe many times a day, "Set a watch O Lord before my mouth; keep the door of my lips."
We are all striving to be a Prov. 31 woman. It says of her, "In her tongue is the law of kindness."
In closing I would like to leave with you the prayer of the Psalmist when he said, "May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, 0 Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."