Your words matter.
This has been one of my favorite truths for as long as I’ve known it, although I can’t remember who first shared it with me. I certainly have memories of my mom correcting me when I was younger, and me being ugly to my younger sisters. (Sorry, sisters.) However, it wasn’t until I got married and had children that I fully understood what this meant.
My words matter.
With summer in full swing, I’ve been reminded of this truth quite a bit. The kids and I have been bumping up against each other as we all seem to be in a new phase and stage. Temperament, personality, equilibrium, social and emotional development - it all seems to be colliding under one roof at the very same time.
And did I mention it’s 100 degrees outside?!
Soaking up the sweet gift of our air conditioning and washing the 100th dish my children have used on a given day, it’s easy for me to get lost in my own thoughts. You might remember that I am a recovering catastrophic thinker. So with the combination of lethal Texas temperatures and quibbling siblings - I have to get my heart and mind right.
I must confess that while I welcome the reprieve from our school schedule, summertime most definitely robs me of my time. I don’t have the same scheduled days that I did during the school year. I have to divide my attention much more. Summer forces me to revisit the drawing board on how I will approach all the things - from food planning to recreation to discipline.
I have to reset my expectations as to what summer really means for our family.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fun in the sun and the flexible work schedule my husband has during these months. I enjoy later bedtimes and seeing loved ones we don’t get to connect with as frequently during the school months.
What I don’t love are the messes, the endless hungry kids, or their bickering. I don’t enjoy the arguing or that my kids’ often want to be entertained. I don’t enjoy grocery shopping with four kids or listening to the whining and tattling.
Right now, I am struggling to keep the peace not only within my family, but within myself. Here’s when the comparison begins to seep in. Here’s the moment when I am weak and susceptible to the enemy’s lies.
Because guess what? My life doesn’t currently look or feel like what I want it to - it doesn’t look like the strangers I see having the “best. summer. ever.” on social media.
My prayer time doesn’t feel like I think it should either.
My physical and spiritual life? Well, they’re cluttered and sometimes crusted with dried cereal and piles of my kids “artwork”. I usually have to dig my MPC out from my junk drawer in order to pray one single page.
And my Bible sits on my bedside table with a stack of children’s books on top of it. I have dig it out, just like I have to find the truth that is underneath the mess of my inner self.
Here I am, ladies. Here we are - still in the same theme we’ve been blogging about for a few weeks. Identifying lies and refocusing on truths. Because the truth is that He isn’t finished yet, there is work yet to be done.
Jenny blogged about the lie all mother’s face - that we aren’t enough or that we can’t “do this”. I couldn’t help but be reminded how important it is for us to model to our children (and our spouse) that our words matter.
I was reminded that not only must we be on guard as to what we put into our minds, but also what we speak from our lips. We must be vigilant about what we project to our children, because we are shaping how they too think and to speak.
We have been given a gift, and responsibility, to use our words to instruct our children in the faith, invite them to prayer, and in pass on truth. What we say and do become the foundation our children begin to build their lives upon. We give them the lens in which to view the world - how they will perceive their own world.
And if there's one time when a mom comes face to face with how impactful her words are, it is during these summer months!
Just the other day, I counted ten times I had reprimanded or hissed at a child for doing or not doing what I wanted - I was berating my four kids to the point that I was tired of hearing my own voice.
The lies started creeping in about how I would handle this day. My kids are having the worst summer. Other moms are doing this better. I need to add more structure. No, I need to add less structure. Then, I remembered that powerful quote Jenny had recently shared from St. Joan of Arc, “I am not afraid. I was made for this.”
I stopped what I was doing, and I gathered my littles around me. I looked each one of them in the eyes, and I apologized.
I asked for forgiveness, and I asked for a do-over.
My words mattered.
I needed to not only rewrite the lies that I was hearing in my head about not being able to handle “this”, or that I was not good enough. More importantly, I had to rewrite the lie I was telling my children that they weren’t good enough either.
Sitting on that hardwood floor, I asked for the mercy to start over. In that moment I gave my children a new mama - I gave myself a new me.
We opened mama’s “blue prayer book”, and we prayed for our family together. I also left the dishes in the sink,we all put on our shoes, and I gave my kids 20 minutes of me. We played outside and talked about bugs and birds.
My words and actions matter. And if my words matter, then His words matter even more!
Only I have the power, with His grace, to be the best me I can be. This is why I encourage you to get into your MPC, especially this summer, and pray your self page. Use His words to retrain your brain. Rather than focusing on what we’re not we can focus on what we are! Nevermind what other mothers are - they are not you!
I am the best me in my kids’ and my husband’s world. And you, my dear sister, are the best mom and wife for your people. You are the best in their world.
Let that truth wash over you, that you were created for this - you have all that you need for this summer break. You are equipped with His grace and power and Holy Word to be the mom and wife He is calling you to be!
I can’t help but make sure I mention one area that our words greatly matter, and that is on social media. We must put into practice being mindful of words we use in our little worlds and also words we use for the world to see.
Before we use our words for the world to see, let’s make sure that we are seeing clearly the world that we are living in. Let’s hold each other accountable, let’s remembering that our words matter even on social media. And our picture, posts, comments, and likes - cannot be a measure of who we are or how much we are loved! And as I blogged about a few weeks ago, what we “do” is not synonymous who we are.
Let’s cool off a minute - if summer is bringing too much heat into your world. Let’s pause. Pray. Rewrite the lie and redirect our focus. Today, let’s put down the phones and have so much fun that we forget to snap a picture or post about it! Today, let’s be the best moms our kids could ever have! Today, let’s rock this mom gig.
Your words matter, my friend. Use them well.
(I promise I will do the same.)
Sending you a hug and high five, mama. You’ve got this *fist bump*
I will leave with you one of my favorite scriptures that I pray each time I open my MPC...
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14, NLT