Cars run on gas, trains run on coal and I on words.
I hardly remember a time when I wasn’t eating up poems, gnawing on novels and drinking in the sweet sound of my mother’s reading voice. These words made me want words of my own and when I started my own run-on sentences online, I ran into some beautiful souls. Blog comments, emails, letters later, I realized what words could do to a girl.
Words could knit souls together, words could send me full speed ahead until I thought I might crash into the gold at the end of the rainbow, and words could shred me into a million pieces.
You see, women and words go hand-in-hand. We often learn to talk earlier than our brothers and by the time we get our first tube of lipstick, we’ve mastered the art of word-slinging. We know words can get us a better grade and we know words can be a stepping stone on the popularity pyramid. We learn how to use words to twist the truth just enough and to make someone wonder if they’re worth anything at all.
From Delilah’s nagging to Esther’s bold plea, “women + words” has been a potent combination. There have been days when I shut my own words off and wonder if I’ll ever write again because of the sharp words of one woman on one website or email. And when those days are about to seal my lips and seal the deal, inevitably another comment or email or Tweet comes through, full of encouragement, praise, prayer and comfort. It is these words that I run with and run on for the days to come, like gas in a car or fruitcake on a dog-sled race. I take these words and use them to power me to my next checkpoint because words from women are just that: powerful.
Yes, they are just that powerful. Powerful enough, as you might’ve noticed, to take you from cloud nine to a teary pillow in nine seconds flat. Powerful enough to keep you guessing if you’re pretty enough, smart enough, good enough to count.
But, like any power, this one can be harnessed for good or evil. Fire warms us by the hearth and helps us create delicious meals at the stove and can even prepare a field for planting, but when it goes untended, it goes out of control and can steal our homes, our towns; our very life.
Words from the mouth of a woman are just like fire. They have the power to warm, create, and prepare, but when they run wild they steal and kill.
How do we harness such a great influence? How do we make sure our words are warming hearts, creating peace, preparing others for Jesus? How do we make sure they are never stealing joy and killing friendship?
James 3:8 tells us that though we can break horses and tame beasts, no one can control the tongue. So are we to give up? Let our tongues have their fiery way? God is gracious enough to give us the answer in the following verses from James 3:13-18:
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Let us ask for wisdom from above to tame our tongues. We were given the gifts of speech and language to glorify you and uplift others. Teach us to speak like You speak: in a way that brings life.
Photography: JenniMarie Photography
Originally Published in 2013