Saturday, August 18, 2007

Power of Words – Part II

Next week is one of the biggest outreaches our church does all year. From Tuesday through Saturday we will have a booth at the Benton County Fair. What I find fascinating is how powerful the encouraging words we give are. Last year we had a couple come to the table. After Tom and I gave what we felt God tell us to give, they looked at us and smiled. They received the same words last year at the fair. They felt great that they received the same words from different people a year apart. To them it symbolized being on the right track.

The message about the power of words has been burning in my heart. I wrote about this back in December. I’ve decided to reprint in part a revised version.

When I was younger, I used to get picked on. I’ve touched on this before in a previous post. I decided very early on that I would stick up for myself with my words and my fists. I would be proactive. In other words, I was a bully. There was one girl I used to pick on quite often. Why? It’s simple, because I could. I was not proud of that person I used to be and years later when I was a teenager, I became a Christian.

One day when I was 18 I was on a city bus and I noticed a girl staring at me. I sat in the back of the bus and right before she was about to get off, she looked at me. She asked, “Do you remember me?” I replied, “No, I’m sorry I don’t.” The next thing she said went through me like a knife, “You used to pick on me and beat me up when we were in grade school.” She then got off the bus. I just wanted to crawl under a rock. I was stunned. I was speechless. When my brain started to work again, I wanted to get off the bus and chase her down and tell her how very sorry I was. I wanted to tell her I’m not the same person. I was ashamed that I couldn’t remember the face of someone I caused such pain. I didn’t have the decency to remember her name. But all I could do was pray and ask God to forgive me. I prayed for her that she would find peace and healing for the hurt I caused.

But I wasn’t totally an evil kid. I had a good friend named Aminie. One day Aminie was upset and feeling blue. I asked her what was going on. She wanted to be a lawyer when she got older and that day, she felt it would never happen (she was only fourteen years old at the time and I was fifteen). I took a piece of paper and wrote something simple along these lines, “My friend Aminie is very smart and one day will be a great lawyer.” I signed my name. Twenty years later when she came to visit me for a weekend. She asked if I remembered writing this and then took that piece of paper out of her wallet. I was stunned. I had totally forgotten that I did that. She told me in law school, when things got tough, she would take out that piece of paper and it would encourage her to continue. She thanked me for getting her through law school.

Words carry great weight to them – either to heal or to harm. As a writer the written word is permanent, written forever. What I’ve come to realize is that the spoken word is just as powerful – written forever in a person’s heart. What I want to speak are encouraging words that propel people toward their destiny. Lord help me to always choose my words carefully. Help me to speak words that encourage others. Let my words be Your words spoken out of love. Amen

© Nadine Z. 2007

30 comments:

Shionge said...

Indeed Nadine...words can either break or heal and it is always important to know the kinds of words we want to communicate.

Having said that...sometimes in a fist of anger, hurting words just shot out and that's bad coz it is so difficult to take it back.

Have a great weekend nadine :D

Demara said...

wow that's amazing Nadine! So neat that you could write something so prophetic at such a young age. It just comes to prove that GOD CAN and DOES use anyone to get his messages across hey?

Thank-you for your faithfulness with visiting me!!!

Penless Thoughts said...

Oh the power of the tongue....for good or for evil!!! We need to be constantly aware of ours and how we use it.
Susan

Karolee said...

Great post, Nadine.

I refuse to go back for school reunions because I was picked on by most of the school (small town). It may be one reason why I chose to homeschool.

I've learned over the years how words affect our children. As mothers we need to be especially careful to build up and not tear down our little ones. It has taken me many, many years to overcome some of the words my mother spoke to me when I was a child.

eph2810 said...

Nadine - what a powerful post. Thank you so much for sharing it.

I think it is so neat that your friend Aminie carried the piece of paper all these years. Did you ever see the other girl again? Knowing you, you probably pray for her often.

Blessings on your weekend and always.

Dedee said...

Awesome thoughts Nadine.

I think words are very powerful. Think about it, in John 1:1 it says
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" This means that a title of Christ is "The word". Hmm. Maybe words are powerful. Even in Genesis, as God is creating the world it doesn't say "God waved his arm around and built things". It says, "And God Said. . ."

Thanks for this awesome post!

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

Oh Nadine... what a great post. I agree with you very much that words spoken can be just as powerful as words that are written. The words that are spoken can be just as harmful b/c they can attack heart and the eyes can be there and seen. I will say it again, but I cannot imagine you picking on anyone. You are such a wonderful woman.
- Audrey
Pinks & Blues

Kim - ScrapToMyLu said...

Nadine, thanks so much for stopping by my blogs and leaving a comment. Looks like you're in Washington too. I'm in Camas....across the river from Portland.
Have a great weekend.

EM said...

Nadine.. there is no question that your words speak volumes.

KC said...

What a wonderful post this is Nadine.
Thank you for posting it.

A Woman Who is: said...

Great post! Good intro for the fair week.

KAYLEE said...

GREAT POST:P

KAYLEE said...

i am unwell again trouble breathing and they think its my lungs:(

Amydeanne said...

thanks for sharing. It's nice to get learn about you.. even the "rough" things that we don't always want to share.

chelle said...

Words can last forever ... wow. Sometimes it is easy to forget that and ramble off terrible things instead of the positive things. Thanks for the reminder.

Keshi said...

sometimes words can slap harder than a real slap.

Keshi.

Diane said...

And to think....now you dedicate your time to the healing power of words! God was at work even before you realized it! Powerful message Nadine....I have taken your post to heart...and will be cautious with my words today...and every day forward! Yes, words pack a punch even when we are unaware of the impact. Both stories illustrate just that. Not one of us is perfect---still, God uses our imperfections for His purpose.

Great post.

Diane

Tammy said...

Wow. This was SO POWERFUL.

I went through a very rough year where I was singled out and made fun of at a new school...and over 30 years later, it still haunts me.

But words of encouragement and affirmation can also carry such incredible power.

Thank you for sharing with such honesty, Nadine...I was so touched by this post.

palmtreefanatic said...

this is another GREAT post! So true! what our words say to people!

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

These words are beautiful and powerful. It's a good reminder to remember that people do change.

Trina said...

Words truly are a powerful thing. We all need to weigh them more frequently BEFORE they ever leave our lips!

Jen(n) said...

very powerful post.

Damselfly said...

Well, you have a way with words! How wonderful that you use words now to help people, be positive and encourage others in their walk of faith.

KAYLEE said...

You ok today?

pinks & blues girls said...

What an incredibly inspiring story about your friend Aminine. It really is amazing what power words have - both good and bad.

I am sure that that girl on the bus was able to forgive you. You are such a beautiful spirit, and I am sure your kindness exuded from you that day on the bus to the point where she knew you had changed.

Wonderful post.

Jane, P&B Girls

PromiseKeepersDaughter said...

Oh how true that is. What a sweet story and how encouraging for you that she kept that piece of paper for so many years.

Another great post! Thanks Nadine

Art said...

Words can do harm or good. It's a great story about the note you wrote. That is awesome.

Chappyswife said...

Wow, Nadine. That is amazing. You reminded us that it can go either way with our words, and they are out there forever. I so want to uplift people. I need to do better in this area.

Elle*Bee said...

What a great post! You've confirmed what I always known. That bullies often grow up to be wonderful people, and that words have amazing power. We focus so much on the power of negative words, but we too often forget the power of postive words - especially for a child (but not exclusively so).

EMAM said...

I really love this post. =)

Your words definitley bring life to me!