Dear daughters, it might be shocking to you– but in middle school, I played volleyball. In our 8th grade season– there was a juicy rumor spreading about one of our coaches. You know Grandma taught in the district, and it wasn’t long before she had heard the rumor weed. She asked if I had been apart of spreading the news.
“Well, I made sure all of my teammates were aware of the information.”
Grandma told me- “Go get a piece of paper.” I obeyed. “Now, rip it up as small as you can.” Again, I followed instructions. And she kept asking me to rip it. Again and again. Dozens of tiny pieces in my hand, Grandma told me to go to the backyard and let it all go outside.
Again, I did as I was instructed. I was a good rule following girl. But when I came back inside, I asked my mom why she wanted me to “litter” all over the yard.
“Well, Sharon, I want to teach you a lesson. You feel bad about littering in the backyard. I’d like you to go pick up all those papers you just put back there.”
Me and my teenage self rolled my eyes. “Mom. There’s no way I can pick up all those papers! The wind has scattered them… do you really expect me to do that??”
“Sharon, no, but the words you speak are much like those tiny pieces of paper. You might be sorry you’ve spoken them, but you can never take them back.” Grandma went on to explain the damage that rumor had caused, and how it was, in fact, wildly untrue. She then had me write a note of apology to my coach.
There are moments in life that are etched into your mind. This is one of those defining moments for me– the power of words.
And, dear daughters, this lesson has served me well— and I want to share it with you. You have words. Use them. And use them wisely.
Speak your Mind.
Speak with Kindness.
Speak up for Truth.
Speak out for Justice.
Words matter. Words make a difference. Words show a glimpse of your heart. Words take work— and work WELL worth the effort, for words are the foundation of communication.
Communication is key. Far too often, we find ourselves in problems that could have been solved, oh so simply, with a little grace and a quick question of clarification. BUT for this to happen you must take the first step— the often AWKWARD and uncomfortable step– and speak out and ask. It requires vulnerability. Dear daughters, it is worth it. Communication is essential to true relationships in life. One relationship that needs communicative intentionality is your marriage. I want to talk about the importance of this specific relationship.
The spouse you choose has the ability to impact ALL areas of your life. From where you live, to the jobs you take- to your children— ultimately, even, the joy of your daily life is impacted by this one relationship. It is so critical, dear daughters, to work hard to communicate well with your spouse.
Your dad and I have put in countless hours “working” on our marriage. It might seem weird to say “work” but it’s a great way to describe the effort required. Sometimes, it’s fun. Sometimes annoying. Other times awkward, frustrating, or downright hard. BUT— beyond a shadow of a doubt– it is well worth the effort.
During our early years of marriage, your dad had the opportunity to attend Ashland Theological Seminary to get his Master’s Degree. During this two year program, it included free counseling for students. We chose to enter the marriage counseling program. We didn’t look like typical counseling candidates— there were no major problems plaguing our marriage. BUT this opportunity was one of the single most defining elements to the strength of our marriage.
It gave us tools to create healthy lines of communication, and space to learn how to form our family. We are advocates for counseling. You girls know this to be true– several times on and off throughout the years we’ve gone back to counseling. It’s an EXCELLENT resource everyone should use.
It was here that your dad and I learned a key “trick” that we use to THIS day. I know it’s hard to believe, but I talk A LOT. And, occasionally, I have the tendency to just talk right over your dad. I don’t mean to do it. It just “happens.” AND it leaves your dad feeling steamrolled, devalued and unheard.
WELL– when we uncovered this in one counseling session, I was devastated! I certainly didn’t want your dad to feel devalued and unheard— that was NEVER my intent. And I didn’t know how to solve it. Our counselor suggested a simple trick. Often when we chat we are sitting in close proximity. SO– if your dad is starting to feel “steamrolled” in our conversations… he is to tap my knee.
That’s it. A tap; and it’s a signal to me to stop talking and listen.
Girls, we use this ALL THE TIME. And, even to this day. It’s far less now, as I’ve developed this skill of listening more; but it’s still there– because I’m not perfect and it’s a tool that has helped us beyond description.
So, daughters– when learning this art of communication remember this truth– It is TWO ways. Speaking and Listening. Both are important. And it’s always worth the effort. Always. It’s never “too” awkward. (And while I’m at it– as much as possible– try to have conversations face to face. So much of communication is nonverbal. Tone & body language– that texting can complicate. Don’t be afraid of FACE to FACE conversations! Texting is a tool; but not the only form of communication.)
Back to your future spouse. THERE IS SO MUCH to be said about this topic. And we’ll have those conversations in the future. Your dad crafted five important facts– that I feel you should know now– in connection to this important relationship of your future spouse. When looking for that spouse (MANY YEARS DOWN THE ROAD MIND YOU) Look for this:
- You want to find a spouse who LOVES Jesus more than you.
- You want to find a spouse who SERVES like you.
- You want to find a spouse who desires to keep GROWING with you.
- You want to find a spouse who has FUN with you and makes you LAUGH.
- You want to find a spouse who LOVES family.
Relationships are hard. They take work. Lots of it. But it is worth it. And learning the importance of communication and the power of your words will serve you in EVER single area of your life.
As I end this chapter of the blog, I want to leave you with the truth about our tongues found in the first part of James chapter 3:
- “The one who can control his tongue can also control the rest of his body. It’s like when we place a metal bit into a horse’s mouth to ride it; we can control its entire body with the slightest movement of our hands. Have you ever seen a massive ship sailing effortlessly across the water? Despite its immense size and the fact that it is propelled by mighty winds, a small rudder directs the ship in any direction the pilot chooses. It’s just the same with our tongues! It’s a small muscle, capable of marvelous undertakings.
And do you know how many forest fires begin with a single ember from a small campfire? The tongue is a blazing fire seeking to ignite an entire world of vices. The tongue is unique among all parts of the body because it is capable of corrupting the whole body.”
Words are powerful. Use them wisely.