For some reason, I find God works in quite amazing ways at the grocery store. Either that’s the only place I frequent, or His presence and power mightily manifest there. Either way, I have lots of good stories that come from that store and they encourage me in my faith.
So, the other day I bought 4 cases of mangoes. I know, who does that right? Well, we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and there was a sale. So, the checkout lady scans them before I get up there and I hear her on the walkie talkie, “Ruth, you might want to check the mangoes. I just sold four cases of them.” She said this is a snarly voice.
When I finally approached the register, there wasn’t a hello or acknowledgement of any kind. She sort of appeared to be having a bad day. And I just observed her.
She gave me my total and as she was ringing everything through, I looked at her and said, “Oh my goodness, your hair is adorable.”
And it was. It was short and blonde, and she had a headband in. She definitely looked cute. I wouldn’t have said it just to say it.
“Oh, god. Shut up.” She says to me while blushing and smiling.
“No, it’s super cute. You look all summery and nice.”
Well, she wished me a good rest of my day with a huge smile.
Now we go to a grocery story where you bag your own. So I went to the bagging area and watched as the next person came through.
You would have thought short blonde haired headband check out lady was a different person. There was a “hi, how are you?” with smiles and extra chit chat. I watched her and she seemed to have a spring in her step.
“Point proved,” I told myself as I pulled my cart out the door.
Simple words had a profound effect on someone.
I acknowledged her as a person, not a check out lady. I told her something that seemed nice to me – her appearance which you know we ladies care about a lot. And it obviously made an impact on her.
And now another example. Different situation, this time…not at the grocery store.
“It doesn’t matter how you birth your baby. You shouldn’t let your experience define you.” Spoken by an authority in the birth world as I sat with this person, chatting over coffee.
This. Crushed. Me.
If you have read anything so far about my story, you know that it was life changing for me. It did matter how I birthed. The whole experience has defined me in a huge way. To hear these words literally felt like someone had physically hurt me. My heart felt damaged.
Here she is, an authority on birth. And I’m well, a mom who had different birth experiences each time and felt like each time shaped and molded me. But, if this woman is a birth authority, maybe she’s right and everything I have believed is wrong.
I give these two example to show the power of words. Words that are spoken. No you can’t hold them in your hands, you can’t touch them. But the ability of a spoken word can either cheer or discourage. It can motivate, strengthen or leave someone feeling hurt.
What words have you spoken lately?
“We won’t ever have enough money for a new washing machine, let alone a vacation.”
“I want to have a natural birth, but I’m not strong enough. I don’t have any pain tolerance.”
“My child has never listened. He exhausts me.”
“I always get sick during flu season. That’s just the way it is for me.”
I challenge you, as I continue to challenge myself. Are these things that God would want us to say? Are any of these His truths? And when we say them out loud, when we speak them what do they do to us? What do they do to our families, to those around us. Do people walk away feeling hope in their hearts, or do they feel hopeless? Do those words make us feel that things may never change?
Here are some practical ways we can watch our words:
The Words We Speak to Ourselves – instead of speaking how we see ourselves, we should speak how God sees us.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
If you are a believer, you are a NEW creation. Your past is gone. You don’t stand condemned anymore. You are deeply loved. These are good, life giving words! Own them!
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
The.Creator.Made. YOU. You. And He created you for GOOD works. He prepared it before time came to be. What an awesome thought. You are deeply loved, and valued in the sight of God. What more could we want?
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Romans 8:14
Again, we who are led by the Spirit of God, the Creator….He who made the sun, stars, millions of insects and animals….He’s OUR Daddy! It’s like the kid whose dad is a major league baseball player. “See,” the boy says to his friends, “that’s MY dad!” How much more for us?! The Creator, He is OUR Daddy! Good news friends! When we know who our Dad is, we don’t have to worry about anything anymore!
The Words We Speak to Others – what if we spoke encouraging, life giving words to our husbands, children, family and friends? Even those we see at the grocery store? Do you think we could make a difference in their lives, by something as simple as our words?
Find their strengths – we know that people aren’t perfect. They have flaws. But what if we could find something within them that we appreciate and tell them? Maybe the middle child does a wonderful job of helping with the baby, or the oldest does a great job of being a team player within the family. We should tell them. Praise them and watch their faces light up!
Find their strengths that haven’t blossomed yet – do you see something in someone that they are not aware of? Maybe they are really great with people. Maybe they have a huge love for their family and they don’t quite know they have such a gift. Tell them you see it and encourage them to walk in it even more.
If you see something you like in someone, tell them! Just like my grocery store lady. I think lots of things about a lot of people when I am out and about. If you see something positive, why not share it with them? There’s so much negativity, I believe a kind word can change a whole day!
The Words We Speak Over Our Situations – waiting for something to happen in your life? Wondering what’s next? Thinking doom and gloom? This isn’t ok! This isn’t how God thinks!
“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19
This is a promise we must hold onto. We walk by faith, not by sight. If we had it already, we wouldn’t need faith!
“Let the weak say, I am strong.” Joel 3:10
Who says they are strong? Those who feel weak. So if things aren’t going your way, don’t declare what you see. Declare what He says.
“You, dear children, are from God, and have overcame them, because the one who is in you is the one who is greater than the one who is in the world.” I John 4:4
The One who is in US, is greater than any in the world. What circumstance seems so hard when we speak these words?
****I will leave you some closing thoughts from a book I love. This book I used on my VBA3C journey and I use it still to this day.****
“Life is largely made up of words. We make love with words. We declare war with words. Divorces are made up of words. Children become what words make them.
Let us be careful about words. Let’s put the biggest richest things into them. Let’s put big, rich words into the letters and articles that we write. Let’s fill our words with wonderful love, fresh from the heart of the Father.”
~Words That Move Mountains – E.W. Kenyon and Don Gossett