When I was a young teenager there was an adult in my life who continually made fun of me. I was always a knees and elbows kinda kid and pretty fair skinned. For those reasons the adult would often call me "Olive Oyl." (Look her up, kids, she was a cartoon character way back before we had phones without cords.) Now, I don't think this adult meant any harm but those words have haunted me well into adulthood. I'm 35 years old for crying out loud and definitely no longer knees and elbows. But I packed those words it my "bag" and I've carried them around for years.
Word are so powerful. When someone else defines our uncertainties they often leave us with something that will affect us for months, years, even decades.
Our middle son struggled a bit with security during our move from South Carolina to Georgia. He had been in a lot of new places and life changed quickly and often. One Sunday, as I dropped him off at the door of a new church nursery, I got down on my knees, put his little face in my hands, looked him straight in the eyes and said "Mommy will always come back, Mommy will always come back, Mommy will always come back." With tears in his eyes, he hesitated a bit but eventually made his way into the classroom. Since that day he has happily walked inside each Sunday morning.
Yesterday, I was helping him pick up his toys and I had to stop and leave the room for a minute. As I was walking out, I heard him say "Mommy will always come back." His words stopped me in my tracks. I hadn't said that to him since that day outside the nursery several months ago. But he, a little three year old boy, had stored those words deep in his heart.
Mama, they hear us. Whether it's the tear filled whisper of "I can't do this" or the resounding truth of "Mommy will always come back," they hear us.
I know it's difficult to always say the right things. I know it's hard to hold our tongues when we are mentally and physically done. I've done full weeks alone while my husband worked a demanding job. I've said the wrong things. My patience has often worn thin and my temper has raged out of control. So believe me when I tell you I've been there.
But I've learned something incredible along the way. We can use our words to speak truth, security, and confidence into our children. Give them the truth of God's word, the security of a loving family and the confidence of their place in our homes. We can do all of this with words. And it can sound like this.
Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God. Whoever you meet that chooses not to love you, remember your family does. Wherever you go, remember that you belong to this family, you have an important role on this team.
And Mommy will always come back.