"Brenden!" Joshua's little voice spoke in a squeaky, excited whisper, "Mommy said when I grow up I am going to be a very patient man!"
I smiled as I stood at the stove listening to the conversation shared between my two boys. Earlier when Joshua had asked for a drink of water he said "Mommy, may I please have a drink of water...but I will be patient." He saw I was working on something and not only asked politely but acknowledged that I was busy and he was willing to wait. He was making his need known to me but was patient and did not interrupt me.
I wanted to show him how pleased I was not only for using his manners but for waiting patiently. I chose to speak intentionally into his life and uplift him with my words. I said, "Joshua, you asked so nicely for a drink of water and waited so patiently. Thank you. When you grow up you are going to be a very patient man who knows how to wait nicely for things."
Joshua's face lit up and he beamed, taking in those words. I didn't realized the full impact it had on him until I heard him speaking with Brenden.
Two Sundays ago someone in our church stood up to give a testimony. One of the things they touched on was words of encouragement. He said not to underestimate the impact on someone's life from even the smallest word of encouragement. Then he recalled something someone said to him which impacted his life and helped change it for the better. Those words might have been insignificant to the person speaking them but meant a great deal to him.
So what is speaking intentionally you ask? Don't we all intend to speak when we say something?
Many days we go through life without giving much thought as to what we're saying. Sure, we think about what we're going say even if it's only to formulate a sentence from the words racing through our mind, but we don't think about the impact it will have on our future or the future of the person we're speaking to. Most of the time we barely think about the impact our words have on our present situation. Our words can be a ripple effect. Those ripples can reach further out than we can imagine. They can have good results or turn into a massive tidal wave, resulting in some pretty deadly shipwrecks. (James 3:5)
The Bible has MANY verses on the dangers and benefits of what we speak. Here are a few...
"keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies."
"The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just."
"You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor."
"They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows."
"Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues."
"The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value."
"From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced."
"The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
"Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment."
"The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit."
"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
"Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity."
"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."
"Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them."
"Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless."
"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark."
"For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech."
The list could go on, but I'll stop there. It is evident from reading these verses that what we speak can effect everyone around us a great deal more than we think.
Speaking intentionally is simply pausing and considering what you say in a way that will INTENTIONALLY impact someone's life in a positive way. Those intentional words can shape and mold your children into the men and women they will grow to be.
As mothers we need to acknowledge the impact our words (not just what we say but also HOW we say it) on our children. How we speak to our husbands, neighbors, family friends, etc in front of our children also impacts them.
So speak intentionally. Speak encouragement and love into their lives that will allow them to envision the great future God has waiting for them. Lift them up with your words. Speak about the Biblical & Godly characteristics you envision them having when they're grown. Acknowledge the good choices they make and positives things they do just as much as you acknowledge the bad choices during discipline.
It's so easy to pause and adore our children while they sleep and think about the good they have done, will do, and how blessed we are to have them. However, it's a lot more difficult to express those thoughts when they're awake and causing chaos. :-)
While listening to K-Love Christian Radio one morning I heard this: T.H.I.N.K. before you speak. Is what your saying True, Helpful, Inspiring, Nice or Kind? If it's not one of those things then you probably shouldn't be saying it. :-)
So when your children are creating chaos in your house, your stressed, and ready to snap....T.H.I.N.K. before you speak you to your children and speak intentionally into their lives. :-)
I truly hope God has spoken to your heart on this subject as He has mine. I'm a work in progress and I still struggle in this area A LOT. But His mercies are new each morning and I'm getting better. :-) I chose to post on this subject, not because I've mastered how and what I speak, but because I struggle with this myself. I'm determined to keep improving, making changes, and speak life-giving words to my children.The changes I'm seeing in my children are already significant and inspiring.
Have a joyous day and go speak something intentionally into your children's lives!