by Jennie McKay

IMG_6325Photo Credit: Jennie McKay

While my husband and I were out of town recently, my sweet in-laws took on the task of caring for our toddler. One night he was watching a movie while my mother-in-law was in the adjoining room preparing for bedtime. As she walked out in her modest nightgown, he exclaimed, “Mimi, you look FANTASTIC!” We chuckled as she relayed the story to us the next day and wondered where he had learned that phrase.

I’ve been reminded from moms who are ahead of me in parenting, “Watch what you say, because they like to repeat everything, “ and “It only takes one time for their little ears to hear it before they repeat it.” Heeding their advice, my mind immediately thinks of all the “inappropriate” or “ill-timed” words he could repeat. For instance, even though a skunk might smell “gross,” we definitely don’t tell other people they smell “gross!” As moms, don’t we wish we could know the words before they are on their tongues (Psalm 139:4) and act accordingly!

As I considered this and spent time in the Word, I came across these verses…

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Proverbs 18:21

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4

“…The tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever.” Proverbs 12:18b, 19

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26

…and my mind started thinking differently.

We often focus on the negative aspects of speech, on what we don’t want our children repeating. What if we instead shifted our focus onto what we should say? What if we invested a large deposit of life-giving words into our immediate and extended families?

God has given us a gift in the ability to communicate with one another! The thought that we might point to the abundant life Jesus provides (John 10:10) with our words is both humbling and convicting.

Through the help of the Holy Spirit, God has been daily transforming my speech and tone. Now Liam and I talk about “What a beautiful day it is!” instead of how hot it is outside.

As we use our language to thank the Lord, compliment others, encourage friends, and praise God, it leaves less room for the complaining, arguing, and tearing down.

As I said, I need help in this area from the Lord because it does not come naturally! These are some practical ways to speak life in your home:

  1. Pray: Surrender your heart and lips daily to the Holy Spirit and ask for His help in speaking life to family, friends, and neighbors. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
  2. Plan: Ask the Lord, “With whom do I need to be intentional with my words today?” Written words of encouragement, conversations of forgiveness, and healing words of life do not happen by accident! Soak your mind in God’s Word, and make the time spent with others purposeful. Aimless small-talk, while amusing, can be our chief enemy in strategically using our time in conversation!
  3. Praise: Did you know we are able to bless God with our words? We can bring glory to HIM! My prayer is that we become mothers of praise, and that our children hear the excellencies of the Lord spilling from our mouths and filling our homes. He is worthy!

“My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.” Psalm 71:8

Jennie McKay

*How are you and your family intentionally “speaking life” in your home? Please leave your comments below! 

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