Words can be given life through one of two ways- writing or speaking. Obviously I enjoy writing and I've always liked to write ever since I was a kid. Speaking though, this is a different story....
There were attempts by the enemy of my life, Satan, to steal my voice before I was even born. He wanted my mom to have an abortion but she didn't. Then I was born 3 whole months early and by all statistical measures I should not have continued to live but I did. And I do.
I had a stepfather who lived with me from the time I was 5 years old until I was 13 and for the first 4 years we had a very sweet relationship. He didn't have any children and he absolutely adored me! He taught me how to ride a bike, we would read stories together before bed and he was always bringing home "surprises" of toys and trinkets for me. Then, just before I turned 9, my younger brother was born and this caused my stepdad to kind of lose his mind because he went from absolutely adoring me to absolutely abhorring anything about me.
One of the things he began to do to display his hatred was any time I said something when he was in the same room as me he would cover his ears, make a miserable high pitched sound and say that my voice was the worst thing he'd ever heard and I should never speak. As a 9 year old being told these things by my hero I began to do just that, I stopped talking. Almost completely for 4 years. When I did talk to my younger brothers it was in whispers. And at school I would only answer questions when I was called upon but I would never volunteer. I began to believe that I truly had nothing to contribute to the people around me, ever.
Another piece of this very strategic plan of Satan was that there were times when I was supposed to speak at home. When social workers or police would show up at our door I was expected to tell them that everything was tine. I was terrified that if I didn't say the right things my brothers and I would be taken away from our mom and so I knew how to speak lies. My days were full of believing lies and speaking lies.
It has not been a simple journey to figure out what my voice sounds like after those years of being silent. One of the truest things I know though is that I value things that I have put effort into, things that I have gained with Jesus despite Satan's attempts to stop me from having all God desires for me. I have spent LOTS of time with God and with the people He puts in my life figuring out how to verbally communicate my thoughts, opinions, likes, dislikes, sarcasm, hopes, dreams, fears, gratitude and so many other things. And, as a result I cherish moments when others are listening to me. I choose my words carefully never wanting to miss out on what might happen because of them.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that there is power to bring life or death in our tongues and I know it. My stepdad used the words that came off his tongue to try to kill my spirit and I have a feeling that Satan thought he had victory when for so many years I didn't speak and then for years after than I was afraid to speak even as I was surrounded by ones who encouraged me that they wanted to hear my voice. But, Satan doesn't win because there surely is power in the tongue. Power to bring LIFE and the more I trust God the more He brings that life through the words of people around me, the Bible and the Holy Spirit in me.
Today God not only empowers me to use my voice to bring life, hope, joy, destiny, encouragement, sometimes correction and ultimately His character to those around me in one language, butt in two languages! He really does give a double portion for what has been stolen (Job 42:10)!
And, the power in my words is not only to be used for others. I am constantly learning more and more that the words I speak have enormous influence over my own life. I used to spend so much time just thinking thoughts in my head and not speaking them out. This allowed me to create my own beliefs and ideas about the world and people without ever being challenged on them because I didn't share them. Now, speaking out loud the thoughts that run through my head has become a vital piece of the process that sets me free from deception that Satan still tries to keep me trapped in. When I speak my thoughts out loud I am confronted with either their validity or their falseness. Maybe you are too...?
God knows us better than we know ourselves and He gives each of us the tools we need for restoration as long as we are willing to be honest about what was lost, stolen, broken...
God, would You reveal to each of us the amazing power You have entrusted to us through our words? Give courage to those who need courage to speak, hope to those who feel as though their voices have been silenced and restoration to those who have been silent for too long.