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Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Message of the Words

The Message of the Words

How often have you considered what your child really hears? It wasn’t until God began my healing that I realized how much had been distorted in me. It wasn’t necessarily what a person said, it was what I interpreted their words to mean. As I became aware of things I had believed about myself through another’s words, I had to face the reality that my children had heard things through my words. So many years had passed in my child-raising. Was there any way things could be redeemed? How could I go back and speak truth into those places? I know with God it’s never too late for redemption, but how do I go back?

One day God gave me a front row seat to His never-ending desire to heal and restore. My 2nd daughter was struggling when she came into my room. Being my child who internalizes, it wasn’t evident what was really going on, so I started asking questions. She blurted out. “I’m sorry I’ve always caused you so much pain.” Having just finished an intense time of healing through a set of tools our church uses, (Christ-life Solutions) I knew God was extending an invitation to be involved in a rescue.

I began to question her to find out why she would say such a thing. She said “I was the one who brought you so much pain in childbirth”. Aha, the lie is revealed. She had heard me talk to women, as most of us do, about my child births. She had heard me say that she was my longest, most painful childbirth. But what her mind processed was “I’m the one who caused my mom the most pain.” “I hurt my mom.” “It’s my fault.”

I held her in my arms as she wept. I began to soak her with the truth. “Oh sweetheart, you didn’t cause me pain.” “It wasn’t your fault.” “It was MY body that would not cooperate.” “You tried to get here, but my body wouldn’t let you.” “It’s not your fault.” “It was my body’s fault.” As she held onto me I told her of how desperately I had wanted to hold her in my arms. I told her how greatly she was loved and longed for. A moment of healing came as the truth set her free.

Our words have an effect, whether we realize it or not. Words like “you’re driving me crazy” are interpreted “I drive my mom crazy.” “I’m a problem”. It’s not the child that’s driving you crazy, it’s their behavior. But the child thinks it’s them. When I joked around saying “my kids are my slaves” my oldest heard, “mom just had us so we could work for her.” “You’re not getting this” can be interpreted “I’m stupid, I can’t understand.”

Children hear things through a child’s mind. They can’t reason it out through the mind of an adult. Whatever their minds process is what they end up believing. I know, I was one of those children.

I have hurt my children, because I have not considered what they might be hearing through my words. Sometimes I wonder if it can ever all be recovered. And then I remember:
“I will restore the years the locusts have eaten”, says the Lord (Joel 2:25)

Most heartache and brokenness come through family life. Words get distorted. Things are heard that are not meant. Children get hurt. I’ve heard enough stories to verify that. Listen through the ears of a child. Be careful what you speak. There is one who prowls around seeking to distort what you say to steal, kill and destroy. Don’t allow him to use your words.

I am thankful that it’s never too late. His grace covers everything, even my words. Instead of condemning me, He invites me to be a vessel of healing. I believe in the God who heals. I know, He came for me. What about you? What’s behind your words?
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
Questions for Reflection:
  • What are your kids hearing from your words?
  • Have you ever considered what you might have heard that’s been distorted?

“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, My God. Prick my heart when they’re not.”

You can find Julie at her personal blog, Jewelz Sightings.

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Blogger Denise said...

Bless you dear one.

July 13, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Heather@Mommymonk said...

Julie - This is probably one of your BEST YET! It hit home both from the perspective of a child and a mother. My words must be chosen carefully. I am writing a Bible study right now on Ephesians 4:25-32 and I read it in the Message. He says words are like gifts. Those are the kinds of words I want floating around my house.

Your words to me (on my blog) were shiny happy gifts that made my heart smile this morning! Thank you for your sweet heart Julie!

July 13, 2008 at 7:28 AM  
Blogger skoots1mom said...

as a youth counselor at our church, your article so caught my ear and my attention. Thank you for writing this in such a loving way.
In addition to thinking of our words before we blurt them out, we must also as Him to make us VERY aware of "non verbals" that may be shouting at us as we are speaking or as they are trying to communicate with us. I find that kids a lot of times speak more through their non-verbals and you have to dig in a little deeper to get to their true root of the conversation, but praying over them and with them will lead you to the answers.

Jer. 33:3 Call to me and i will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you did not know.

Great post! I'll visit again...

July 13, 2008 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

Awesome word Julie!
Not long ago, my kids told me something that they misinterpreted long ago (as preschoolers). Since that time, they assured me, that they discovered that they'd misunderstood, but I was horrified at what they "thought" I'd said and meant. Though I spent most of my energy at that time loving and protecting them and teaching of God and hugging them, and homeschooling, etc., one innocent phrase was misinterpreted by them. Of course the enemy was always near to help aid in the confusion.

You are so right in saying that they interpret with a child's limited reasoning. I hope everyone who reads this will ask God to show them each and every time their words are twisted and misunderstood by their children.

Many folks needed to hear this today. Thank you Julie!

July 13, 2008 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Thank you, thank you, for this timely reminder. I've been parenting for 19 years, and while I accept the truth of what you're saying, I still struggle with my words sometimes. I needed this admonition, as the summer has brought the usual stresses of kids 24/7. It has also brought untold joys, but joys rarely birth the harsh words you're talking about.

Thank you.


July 13, 2008 at 9:00 PM  
Anonymous dancingdreamer said...


Thank you so much for this beautiful reminder to choose my words wisely.

Love you!

July 13, 2008 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Hi, Sometimes I think intentional verbal abuse is worse that physical abuse! I know I really distort what people say to me and about me. I hope my two sons feel they can be honest with me if anything is bothering them. Thanks.....Cindi

July 13, 2008 at 11:28 PM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

Wow, what an eye opener! Thank you for sharing this!

July 14, 2008 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

This is such a wonderful illustration of how we need to be aware of what we say. I have been so guilty of not speaking mindfully. Thank you for this reminder that it is never too late!

July 14, 2008 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

Oooooo....Julie....this kicked me in the gut and brought tears to my eyes. My children are just getting to the age where they hear and understand everything. I need to pray for more wisdom in what I say to them!

July 14, 2008 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger ChristiS said...

I'm with Missy....this one hit me hard! Thanks so much for being God's mouthpiece, Julie!

July 14, 2008 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent, Julie! I truly do need to stop and consider what my children are "hearing" when I speak. And I am so thankful that He can redeem all of the many times I have totally blown it with my girls. Thank you for the reminder and for the encouragement.

Love you,

July 14, 2008 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger Shanda said...

Such an important reminder. I need to filter my words very carefully. I have conversations with my sisters about how we perceived things as children. We can remember the exact event, but recall them completely different because of the different lenses we viewed life from. It helps to talk to each other because then we understand our kids better.

I love that you are aware of the need for children to be rescued, even more so with young girls. Your daughter will forever remember the time when her Mom held her in her arms and soaked her with the TRUTH.

Your openness and honesty has allowed you the blessing of having a child that was able to come to you in the first place. That's just the kind of mom a child needs! And just the kind of mom I hope to be to my children!

Thanks for this lesson!


July 15, 2008 at 8:58 AM  
Anonymous amy said...

Julie, Thank you for sharing this with us. This is a thought-provoking yet beautiful post. The message that God can heal shines through. I know there have been many times when I speak before I think. I am so glad God forgives and can restore us and our children. Blessings to you.

July 15, 2008 at 1:35 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

I've been dealing with this subject for 2 weeks .. what my child is hearing from others... thank-you! A reminder that my words affect her as well!

July 15, 2008 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

Thank you for this. I have to apologize to my daughter often. She's only 5 and I pray earnestly that our relationship will continue to be strong as she grows up. My words can either hurt or heal her.

July 15, 2008 at 11:08 PM  

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