If you can’t say nothin’ nice

Words. One of our essential forms of communication. We use them so much and so often that I fear we forget their power. Did you know that each word you say has the power to transform your life? To speak life or death into yourself or someone else? Proverbs puts it to us this way….

Proverb18Death and life. Which one are you speaking?

To be honest with you, when I did a little self-evaluating I didn’t like my results. I only had to look back as far as this morning during our daily rush to get ready and out the door.

“You guys are driving me absolutely nuts. You never just do what I say.”

The frustrated venting of a tired and frazzled mama that I didn’t think much else about after I said it, but what did I just speak into those little boy’s souls? What an opportunity I missed that morning! Instead of letting my frustration boil over, I could have used that moment to speak life into their tender hearts. I could have complemented my older boy on the fact that he went and got a long sleeve shirt without me asking because it was cold or told my smaller son that he was doing a great job at trying to put his own socks and shoes on (a big deal for a 2 year old!). But I didn’t. I failed.

Should I beat my self up about it and lament for all of time over how I feel like a terrible mother? No. I do, however, need to realize my shortcomings and allow the Holy Spirit to help me align myself with what His word says about my words.

What exactly does God’s word say about the words we speak and how is it applicable to my life?

There are NUMEROUS parts of the Bible that address our words and how we should speak with one another. Here are a few below:

words you useWe can see from the verses listed above that we are to be careful with our words. Also we see that if we notice a problem with our words we can most assuredly connect it to a heart problem. Before you read any further, take a moment and reflect on how your speech aligns with God’s word.

I’m going to take a moment and be completely transparent with you guys. I am the one who needs to read and take this blog post to heart the most! I struggle so much with the words that I speak. I have spent many nights in tears and praying for God to just make me better where I don’t mess up any more. I’ve come to realize that isn’t His way. He doesn’t just want to slap a Band-Aid on me where my speech is perfect so I can be proud of how “good” I am. He wants to work on my heart and fixing heart issues take time. I realized that the times I am most prone to speak “death” instead of “life” to others is when I’m inconvenienced. I then proceed to talk about just how inconvenienced I am and have no problem telling the person who is doing it. My second biggest area of speaking “death” instead of “life” is to myself. I firmly believe that I am not the only one in this area. So let’s divide the rest of this into 2 different sections. Take your time and really try to focus. I know it’s long, but it’s worth it! Do each section at a different time if you must!


Words We Speak To Others

ephesians4291thessalonians511

Think about how other’s words have an effect on you. Does it brighten your day when someone compliments your style? Does it give you a boost of confidence when someone praises your abilities or your character? How does it affect you when someone is harsh or only tells you what you have done wrong? How does it feel when someone treats you as insignificant or inconvenient? Do you feel built up or torn down?

As Christians we are supposed to build each other up and encourage each other. In both of the verses seen above, Paul is talking about how we are to supposed to build each other up–its  not presented as an option if you are just having a great day. It also says that we are supposed to speak according to the need of the moment so that we can give grace to those who hear. Grace doesn’t rub someone’s mistake in their face. Grace doesn’t tear someone down and only point out their shortcomings—whether it be to their face or behind their back! Grace doesn’t lash out because it feels inconvenienced. Next time you are speaking to others, take note if your words are building up or tearing down. Remember,  our words come from the heart and not the actions of others! (SO , SO hard for me to swallow that one, ya’ll!)

Words We Speak To Ourselves

I am my biggest critic and my own worst enemy. Can anyone else relate? I have let my self-talk become so negative that it feels awkward to say something nice about myself. “I can’t” and “I’m not” and found generously throughout my vocabulary.

Now that we know that our words have the power of life and death [maybe not physically, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally YES!], I have a question..

Are you keeping your self alive and vibrant or are you killing yourself?

Do you speak so negatively to and about yourself that your spirit man is dead? If so, YOU have the power to change that. Remember that just as our words have the power of death, they also have the power of life. Start speaking life into yourself today. If you can’t think of one single thing, then pray to God that He would begin a work in you for you to see all of the things He loves about you. Let His love work in you and you will begin to love yourself.

Here is a personal example I have:

Recently, I noticed I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with my job. I was beginning to lose the love and passion I once had for it. I always speak to my mother or my husband while I’m walking to my car and on my way home. She or he always asks how my day was and I would always answer either “It was ok.” or “Awful.” One evening I resolved to change that. If my day was good I would say, “It was a good day.” If not, I would simply say, “It was rough.” I was acknowledging my bad days but not using such negative words about it and actually giving my good days credit too. There were 2 benefits I noticed: 1. I started looking at my day and focusing on the positives and realizing that I really did have a good day. My joy of working in the NICU has come back again! 2. My family didn’t have to listen to all of the negativity and complaints about things and people that I shouldn’t have let steal my joy in the first place.

I encourage you to start with something small in your life and speak something positive OUT LOUD about it. For example, you could say “Today is going to be a good sday.” or ” I can do (insert thing here).” or how about “My God is with me and I can do all things through Him!” Begin to speak life over yourself and you will be surprised how it spills over into other areas of your life.


How Can I Change The Way I Talk?

3 verses

1. Do a heart check.

Jesus told us we speak what is in our hearts. Pray for God to show you areas in your heart that you need to work on. For example: My destructive words towards people when I feel inconvenienced is due to my selfishness and impatience.

2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to change you from the inside out.

Allow Him to work on your heart and mind to change stubborn views and feelings that keep you from allowing grace to flow freely from your speech. For example: Is it hard to speak with grace to certain people due to unforgiveness in your heart?

3. READ, READ, READ God’s Word.

God’s word is what we use as the standard measure of Holiness to strive towards. How can we know what we need to work on to align our self to God’s standard when we don’t know what that standard is? Set a goal to read your Bible for 5-10 minutes everyday and then grow from there!

4. Memorize and speak scriptures over yourself and others.

I cannot stress how important this is and how powerful it is as well. When you begin to speak God’s words and His promises into your life, a deep work begins down in your spirit. Things that you once struggled with begin to break off and you start acting and speaking more and more like His word says! A new boldness and confidence in Him begins. Your prayer life begins to be transformed. TRY it! It may feel awkward at first, but the more you do it the less awkward it will feel. Here are a few practical ways you can do this.

” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13

To Yourself: Simply say this verse out loud.                                                                                 To Others: If you see someone struggling and they confide in you, something to the effect of “Remember that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. I am praying that you will feel His strength with you during this time.”


“How precious are your thoughts of me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”               Psalm 139:17

To Yourself: Say this verse out loud.                                                                                                   To Others: “Did you know that it says that God’s thoughts of you are precious and the sum of them is vast?” Or write them a note with this verse with a personalized note about how God hasn’t forgotten about them.

5. Find a few friends and challenge each other to do a “Speak Life Challenge.”

Put Paul’s words to action! Encourage and build each other up. Help each other to find areas in  life where you need to speak more positive and encouraging words.

Keep up with each others progress through group text or meeting in person. Send each other thoughtful verses or uplifting quotes.

What Do You Think?

What are some barriers that may keep you from doing these steps? Do you have any more ideas to change how we speak to each other? Do you struggle with negative speech? How has God worked in this area of your life? I would love to hear about it! Comment below or email me! Share this posts with your friends! Lets start encouraging each other the way God’s word tells us to!

In Christ,

Marinda

I am A Prodigal Come Home

“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet: and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.”                   – Luke 15:21-24

The Prodigal Son. When I was younger, I always had a problem with this story. I was like the older brother who stayed home and was resentful of the other brother who got the party instead of what he deserved. Somewhere in my self-righteous, religious mind I had it figured out that if you were “good” enough you would have never left in the first place.

OH BOY WAS I WRONG. Foolish as well.

If I would have known that in a year or two I would be so far from God and living a life I never dreamt I could live, I would have told you,  “Never! I am BETTER than that.” Pride is a terrible thing.

pride

I went from being involved in every single activity possible at my church and as close to God as I thought possible to being someone who never let God even cross her mind. You see, I got church hurt. BAD. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I wasn’t supposed to rely on other people to maintain my spiritual life. Instead of running to God, I ran from Him…. straight into the arms of a stupid boy and a terrible group of “friends.” Satan jumped all over this opportunity and I welcomed his trap with open arms like it was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. I thought they “cared” about me and wanted to show me how to “loosen up” and “not be so judgmental.”

Fast forward two years and the boy is gone. So are the friends. I’m left trying to figure out how I an going to raise a baby by myself while I’m still in college.

“There goes medical school. I’ll just switch to nursing.” “All of my friends are gone. Just live in complete isolation. This is your fault anyways.” “I feel so betrayed and so empty inside. Lash out and rage against everyone that hurt you.”

Thankfully, I finished nursing school and have found a profession that I love and respect so much. The people I lashed out at cared less and I finally just stopped. I found a best friend after my son was born who is now my sweet husband and the best daddy in the whole world to both of our boys. I thought life was going the best as it could, all the while I’m still running from God. During that period of my life, I was so ashamed and embarrassed of myself that I ran further and further.

A few years later, I went to church with my mom as a favor. I felt God for the first time in 7 years. A few weeks later, I sat in the row at that same church and told God I was sorry and asked Him to please forgive me. I was much like that prodigal son when I returned home.  “I will get up and go to my father and will say to him, ‘Father I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son” But all I could feel was the Holy Spirit wrap me up and I heard my Heavenly Father say to me, “Welcome home. How I have missed you!” And from there my whole life has completely changed.

I let go of my anger and bitterness. I am a better mother to my boys. After almost 2 years of prayers and tears, my sweet husband gave his life to Christ. My marriage was saved. My children get to grow up in a completely different household. I wish I could describe to you every moment and detail of how it happened because when I look back I can see how God weaved every part together.

In the story that Jesus tells (if you want to read all of it go to Luke 15:11-32), the father not only welcomes the son home with open arms. He showers him with love. When I came back home, I knew God had welcomed me but I felt like I didn’t deserve a place at the table. I had done too much wrong. I had broken the trust placed in me when I had been in a leadership position. I had no business being involved anywhere. I should just be thankful for the forgiveness I received and leave it at that.

I have learned, however, that’s not the God I serve. Not only did He welcome me back, He lavished His love all over me. He healed my heart and all the hurt, anger, and sorrow inside of it. He wrapped me up in His presence and fed my spirit. He also taught me a lot about my shortcomings and wrong thinking. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was– I can’t fix it. I am just a broken sinner incapable of ever making myself good enough. can’t and never will be able to do it. But He can. MY job is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in my heart and change me from the inside and it would flow to the outside. had been doing it backwards. I tried so hard to fix my outside actions that I thought it would make my heart right. Trust me though I am still having to learn this every day.

Even after all of this, He didn’t stop. He spoke to my heart and pressed it upon me to begin to serve. I never imagined that He would allow me to be where I am today. He has brought person after person and opportunity after opportunity to serve and minister through various ways.

And that is what has led me here…writing to you in this blog. Hoping to communicate the Father’s love and the freedom that comes in following Him.

This is why I am laying it all out there and sharing my story with you. So that you can know that you are never too far from Him that He won’t welcome you back into His arms.

I am a prodigal come home. He accepted me with all my faults, bruises, and scars.

Be encouraged.

If you are feeling that yearning in your heart to return to Him, don’t put it off another day. I know its hard and scary and embarrassing. However, I can guarantee you won’t regret it.

If you’ve never shared with someone your story of all that God has done in your life—DO IT!! Your story is worth telling. You never know who it may encourage or bless.


Let’s start something together! No matter your story-if you have accepted Jesus as your savior you are a prodigal come home. Share this blog post with #iamaprodigalcomehome and share all or part of your story! Even if its just about what all has changed since becoming a Christian. Let’s be an encouragement to each other!!

In Christ,

Marinda