Choose Grace ~
Proverbs 13:3 Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. NLT
This weekend was another brick in my life-lesson foundation. All of my life, I have been outspoken and blunt. Matter of fact, my husband calls me, “Frank”. I pretty much built my social media reputation with outlandish, hard words. What is sad is that people love that. Our generation thrives on hateful words to others. As God started working on me two years ago, it was plain that I have to work on my mouth. It isn’t cute or funny or snappy to be a smartass. It sure isn’t Godly.
Part of my scripture last week set me up to really pay attention over the weekend to how people talk to each other. Let me see in others, God…… Don’t ask God to do anything if you really don’t want to see the answers. Let me tell you, He had no problems making abundantly clear the “your mouth can ruin everything” part of that scripture.
You guys know I write children’s books. I’m over the moon excited about them and just joyful that I’ve had the opportunity to share them. I went to a social gathering and an older woman came up to me and said, “I read Cody Cowboy and Clint Cowboy.” I asked her if she enjoyed them. With great hesitation, she said, “Well, they were ….ummmm….cute.” Then she went on to tell me that she enjoyed them and that her grandson enjoyed them. I didn’t hear a word of the praise after the first seed of doubt was planted.
I used that analogy, not to gain praise or sympathy or even empathy. This was a great lesson for me. My words...the ones I speak, are powerful. God used her to show me how words can make people feel insecure. I needed that.
My son cooked his first dinner for us Sunday evening. He was so, so proud of the meal. It wasn’t bad, but let me tell you, the self-righteous, high-and-mighty, know-everything “me” wanted to open my mouth and tell him what was wrong with his meal. Instead, I chose grace. I chose to tell him what was right with everything about the meal. It was exciting to see what power words of praise and encouragement had on him. I did a lot of thinking that night and had conviction that just as easily, I could have hurt my son with a few negative words. Thank You so much, Jesus, that You let me choose grace.
I have a lot of regrets about the way I have spoken in the past, especially to my children. I’ve hurt people, especially my daughter. For many years, my daughter battled an eating disorder. This year, we are celebrating her great strides in her recovery. I have to consciously choose to see the progress and encourage her on this even if it is minor. I wonder how many times I said things that made her feel less than perfect and contributed to that deep-rooted insecurity that still controls her to this day? Let me tell you this; NEVER speak harsh words to your child about their weight, no matter how you feel. EVER… You will scar them for life. It makes me 44 hot to hear an adult use words like “fat”, “obese”, “chubby”, “diet” when talking to a child. That’s verbal abuse, and I am guilty of it, I’m sure…...But that is a topic for another day.
God, I can’t change my past, but I can make a conscious effort to filter my words and soften them before I speak them. Help me to choose grace before I speak, or help me to just shut up. Thank You for the powerful lessons You put in my face this weekend. I know that You have put me in a position to touch many lives, and I’m overwhelmed by that. Help me to be who You want me to be. Thank You for Your grace with me.