Your Words Carry the Weight of Power.

I remember driving as a passenger one day and being told that Satan lives within me.I was trapped in the car and wanted to open the door and fall out onto the concrete. Granted, I was being a brat. Yes I was a turd and a thorn in this persons side, but no matter your age or your background, that is no sentence to tell anyone.

I remember standing in my closet choosing clothes for the day when I was told that I didn't belong in my family. That I may as well run away and never come back. Yes, as siblings we are young and we say things we do not mean, but words are power. So that is what I did: I packed my purple bag and ran to the pond across the wheat field from our house. I was a burden and I didn't belong. I was annoying and I would bless this family more if I weren't existing.

I remember hearing the words: My arms were chubby. My toes were too short. I had polish sausage fingers. Sex is bad. Our bodies are bad. Loren doesn't want to marry a dumb woman so puts her brain on a shelf.

Each of these words have affected my life in a multitude of ways. For too long, I had carried them as my identity. I used them to define who I was and what I was worth. And was I so, so wrong?

I remember many words said unto me...and as I write this, I cannot help but know that I have hurt others just as deeply, if not deeper, with words that have left my mouth. It bothers me to think that I have etched lies into other humans; that my voice carried the weight of an identity crisis and I had no idea. I also remember being stared straight into my eyes...as though he was peering into my soul, with tears in his eyes while my own streamed down my face. We were sitting at a cafeteria table at Winema and he told me I was worth. I was value. I was beloved. Beloved of Christ. The entire week was a turning point in my life. I continued carrying the baggage of unnecessary shame and lies for months...but their words were Christ's words and they were slowly replacing the lies. They were are so patient with me.

Words are power.

They bring life and they bring death.

A man I once saw as a hero said, "It takes 10 positive words/statements to remove the 1 negative lie we believe." Ten. To replace the one.

If grace were an ocean, we're all sinking.

I see many things as a {youth} pastor's wife. I observe on the surface how parents treat their children, their kids who are growing into adults. I hear stories from hundreds of kids while at camps every summer. Sometimes, it makes me cringe. Sometimes, it brings back too many sour things to think on. Sometimes I am forced to my knees to beg Jesus for strength to keep going. I know, I only see and hear one side of the story. I also will be the first to admit that we are each broken and there is a reason that we hurt one another -- but that doesn't justify or bring truth to the lies we are told by action or word.

Camp was full of stories and baggage and brokenness. Two weeks of hundreds of middle schoolers = a lot of yucky broken stories. I touched on this here, Why Your Story Matters. If it were not for the power and strength of Jesus, I would have died last week. I am certain. I would have allowed my heart to shrivel and harden and turn off - I would have built sound walls of protection over my beating raw heart. But because of Jesus, and only by His grace, I remained raw and vulnerable. I listened with a real heart, ready to mourn and willing to celebrate.

One of the most impacting revelations I had all week was this:

If I am entrusted with a soul's broken story, will I steward it well? When someone shares their story and their heart, when I am handed insight into someone's life, I have a few options:

1. I can listen, harden my heart, try to make light of their pain, make a joke or two, and try to move on. Ignore that this is someone's reality.

2. I can listen; my heart raw, I cry with them, mourn with them, feel with them...and move on, not saying much. Never bring it up again out of fear. Fear of offending, fear of stepping on toes, fear of {hu}man. {I often do this}.

3. I can listen. Keep my heart raw and vulnerable and willing, be so prayerful while they share...and then use my words to build them up. Use my words to shed light and hope and truth. Use my words as power and tell them that this was not God's plan. This is not God's heart. This is not God's definition of "self" for them...in fact, He claims them much more. He claims them as His, covered by the red blood of Christ. I can share with them that, though this does not justify or validate the hurter's sin, they are just as broken. They are just as lost and they have no idea how deeply loved they are either.

We can keep silent, which is often more of a blessing than not. But we can also create hope and encouragement with our words, when flowing from the right posture.

With a humble heart and willing words, we can bring the only Hope they may ever be told. We can tell them of His glorious Love and plans of freedom. We can share that His heart is for them, not against them. That even in the suffering and the pain and the brokenness, we can find freedom and experience joy. Real joy. Not fleeting happiness, but unending joy.

Oh my friends, our words are power.

When we spend time in the silence, letting God fill our hearts and speak soft words of wisdom and love and Truth, we can go out and we can speak power. But the key is spending time in silence with our God. The key to being men and women of power is to be in the presence of God himself, allowing Him to fill us full. Only then is His spirit able to speak through us; only then will we change this world.

mother teresa quote, no greater love

I will never forget the eyes staring back into mine while I told Truths I have been yearning to tell. It was more like soul to soul than mouth to ears: "I see the way you are often treated, and it is not okay. It is not God's heart. It is not God's plan. And He loves you so much. So much more. He is real - He isn't just an idea. And I want you to know that. I want you to fall so madly in Love with Jesus Christ because His heart for you is unending. And only in Him will you find peace and joy. I promise. I promise."

|To empower is be powerful|

My question for you is: will you choose to be powerful for Christ's Kingdom, or for your own kingdom? It cannot be both.

mother teresa- our words have power

In closing, I have been dwelling on this quote:

"All our words are useless, unless they come from within. Words that do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness." Mother Teresa, from No Greater Love.

I have a long ways to go. I fail daily and I hurt others without even realizing it. My friend Lorna had this as her Facebook status:

"The greatest oak tree was once a little nut who held his ground."

May we hold our ground on Christ and let Him transform us by His presence. I praise Jesus for His grace and have been leaning into it more than ever. As I realize how deeply un-incredible I am, as I become aware that I am nothing...I fall to my knees in thanksgiving, acknowledging that He is everything and He brings me value. He brings me worth. His words are power and I can choose to use them. I can choose to spend time with Him, filling myself with Him, so that He may flow out of me.

Join me?

|Verses on our words/tongues| Proverbs 18:21 Matthew 12:36-37 Proverbs 12:18 Here is an entire list of them: click here.