When I started teaching, during the school week I lived with dear friends who opened their home to me so I could save on rent. While living there, I remember getting up for my first day of teaching; I barely slept the night before, and was a hot mess of nerves as I got ready to meet my students for the first time. I kept fighting thoughts like, “They’re going to eat me alive. Today is going to be awful. I’m going to fail miserably.”

I came down the stairs, shaky and sick to my stomach, to find my friends’ mom, Rowyda, having her quiet time in the living room. She came up to me with some scratch paper she’d written on and said, “I felt God wanted me to tell you this. You’re going to do great today!”

I looked at the paper as my hand shook, and read, “I have prepared you, my daughter–trust me!” I can’t remember at the time if I cried, but just recalling the comfort of those words as I write this seven years later brings tears to my eyes. I didn’t stop being afraid, and things didn’t get magically easier, but what Rowyda wrote to me from God that day comforted me so much, that words still can’t describe how life-giving they were to me. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and that day, Rowyda infused me with life in a way I’ll never forget.

I’m sure if I asked you to share a moment in your life when someone spoke a word over you, you could think in an instant of a word you’ll never forget because it was so formative to you. Maybe it changed the trajectory of your entire life, or sealed a crucial decision or cemented a way of seeing yourself. The unfortunate truth is that probably many of you have words spoken that you’ll never forget because of how hurtful they were. I have a friend from college who says he can’t cry in public to this day because his father told him (just once!), “Men don’t cry.”

We can all remember times in our life when people spoke life–or death–over us. Words that set us off to succeed and flourish or words that tore us down so we couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Let us never underestimate the power of our words, and speak life, dear brothers and sisters!

Ashley Carr
High School Teacher

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