“I wanted to share just a moment of my amazing day with you, because a conversation you and I had one day came back to me. We are on a family trip in New York . My girls are in camp during the day and the friend we are staying with offered to pick them up so my husband and I could go into the city and not worry about getting back late. Neither of us have ever been to NYC. We arrive after a beautiful train ride in and start to discuss what we want to do and see. The shops are everywhere and seriously calling my name, but the moment i remember is you telling me about going to Paris and not wanting the shopping to take control over you seeing all there was to offer. So, we saw the city, loved it all and the only shop I went in was FAO Schwartz to bring each of my girls a small token from the big city. I am so grateful I didn’t spend my time, spending my money ( even though my hubby was very willing to let me ) and I am grateful for your wisdom you shared. I will treasure my memories of this wonderful day.”
This is a note I received from a special friend of mine yesterday. The conversation, I’m sure, was one we had over a year ago. It was incredibly heartwarming for me to hear that a story I shared was meaningful to her. It made me think of all the people who have impacted me with kind words of encouragement or inspiring stories. I wondered if I’ve been as diligent in expressing just how much to each of them. The power of one encouraging word could make the difference for someone. Do we really think about the long-term impact of our words?
For years, I was sharp-tongued, callous and hasty in delivering my short-tempered remarks. Recently, I was discussing this and talked with a friend about the time when I felt like God was dealing with me about my words. He revealed to me that I’d yielded to a critical nature…..of myself, of situations, and even other people. The critical spirit began to turn me away from optimism and more toward cynicism. My words often were poisonous and hurtful. One day, several months ago while I was vacuuming my floor, I heard the still small voice, “You are an exhorter.” Right. “Wrong girl”, I thought. “I’m just keepin’ it real. I’m just honest.” I really didn’t see myself as an encourager at all. The cool thing about the whisper of God’s correction is that it’s so love-drenched when it comes, you want to cooperate and make the heart adjustment. He doesn’t come beating you over the head with how rotten you are. He doesn’t fixate on your weakness, but rather exposes it gently by reminding you who of you are in Him. At that time, when revelation has come to us, we have a choice to cooperate or reject his chastening. He began to show me how a kind word turns away wrath, lifts one’s spirits and makes a difference.
I was reminded of this again when I received the note. One friend’s kind words lifted my spirits….reminded me that our words are powerful, and not delivered in vain. I should choose them carefully and use them to edify others.