Thursday, March 1, 2012

Not So Wordless Wednesday: The Power of Words

Today, I signed in to Blogger and read a Wordless Wednesday post by Project Alicia which lead me to another post by Jill Samter Photography. (Also read the other links these wonderful ladies suggest) Both of these posts tied in with one written by Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience which I read last night.
Alicia's post really spoke to my heart. It could have been me speaking to my daughters. I wrote a similar (short) post on self belief in January dedicated to my youngest daughter.

I have spent much of my life struggling with low self esteem myself, believing the words of a couple of significant others - one of those significant others being my ex-husband and father of my 4 children (a lost soul himself). I believed those words of abuse spoken over me for 14 years:
"You are useless."
" No one else will want you."
"You are a terrible wife."
"No one could ever love you."... and worse.
Of all the abuse I endured in those 14 years, I believe the words were the most damaging.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue," Proverbs 18:21

Scanned photo taken by me in January 2002
I raised my 4 beautiful children alone, from 1998. I loved, encouraged and affirmed them daily but they still struggled with low self esteem. They were all extremely successful academically, in their numerous sports & other pursuits but success does not result in good self esteem. They still struggled within themselves. I believe they, too, believed the words spoken over them by their father - the legacy of abuse. It seemed that nothing I could say, no prayer I prayed would counteract the words spoken over them so long ago. This really hit me hard when I read my youngest daughter's online journal. Although she was 5 when her Dad left and moved to the US, without saying goodbye, the words she types about herself are like a nightmare of deja vu... they were the words spoken over me when I was carrying her.

Taken on the day of my wedding, December 2009 - the last photo I have of my 4 children together
I am happily re-married now (December 2009) and my husband loves me, affirms me, encourages me and tells me daily "You are beautiful". I struggle with this still... the power of words.
How does a husband teach his wife about self esteem? A quesion I can't answer. He has a hard task on his hands but thankfully he is loving, understanding & patient. I am blessed.

How does a mother teach her children about self esteem? I don't know, as I surely didn't succeed in undoing those harsh words spoken over my children from a very young age. They are all now grown adults. A little more about my children in my Gratitude Journal.

Sarah (27) & husband Oscar - she is incredibly beautiful, loving, caring, extremely talented and worthy. So blessed to have such a wonderful, loving husband who is helping her to discover her beauty & worth.
Daniel (22) - One of the last photos I have of my wonderfully gifted and deeply loved prodigal son, and my grandson. We haven't seen them in almost a year. He has a newborn daughter now too who I have never seen.
Ben (20) - my "gentle giant", incredibly gifted, loving, caring & thoughtful but keeps his feelings well hidden
Bec (19) - absolutely beautiful, amazingly talented, loving, caring, thoughtful & worthy. My hope an prayer is that one day she sees herself as I do
Even my beautiful best friend, Natalie, tells me constantly that I need to accept & believe compliments - she too tells me constantly that I am beautiful.

Words have power... the power of life or death. My task is to learn to accept the words of life being spoken over me... and to accept who I am in God.

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well." - Psalm 139:14

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           and then, she {snapped}


TexWisGirl said...

God bless you, Liz, and all of yours... 'tis true. words can damage as much as fists.

FilipBlog said...

What a fanntastic photo with your kids.


Nadege, said...

Mental abuse is devastating, after the bruises are gone, the words still remain swirling around in your head.
I too, have someone very special who tell me how beautiful and smart I am, I can't always bring myself to believe him.

Beautiful images.

El rincón de Ceditas said...

Bellas imágenes, graciassss por compartirlas!! Saludos desde Madrid

Michael S-B said...


Yes, you are beautiful. You are - we all are - created in God's image.

You know, I don't believe He made any mistakes :)

Seeing Each Day said...

Such heartwarming and also heartbreaking words in this post. You are so correct in defining it as a power - it doesn't seem sense that one negative phrase has the power to completely wash away every 10 positives ones but it does. Why is it we remember the hurtful words with such clarity and yet struggle to recall the kind and encouraging ones, but we do. It's lovely to know that you are gradually getting 'filled up' with the truth about who you are through your husband. I think your friend has some wise advice about accepting and believing - and it's clear you are working hard to get to that point which you deserve alot of credit for after what you've been through. It means you're holding your hand in front of you and cooly and in a hip fashion saying 'talk to the hand' to the negative power. The thing with kind words given, it's also a gift for the sender to see it received - you know when you compliment someone on their outfit and they immediately discard it by saying 'oh, this old thing, it only cost $5' as opposed to when they're eyes smile and they say 'thank you' in a genuine way in reply. You said such beautiful words about your children.

genie said...

Your words really touched my soul. There are so many of us living with the memories of verbal and emotional abuse which continue to haunt us day after day. They never go away.Therapy does no good. I think it is in the bloodstream and bone marrow of our bodies. I have refused to allow it to destroy my life and aspirations but it has taken a terrible toll. I am 73 and you would think the nightmarish pain would be gone considering my parents and sites have all passed away, but it is still very alive and on duty 24-7. I still wonder if my parents and my sister actually loved me just a little bit. I need to take time this weekend and read all of the posts you have mentioned. I am thrilled that you have found your soulmate and are so happy. I am also thankful that you children are doing well as adults. My youngest son and my daughter have had the hardest times, but they are ok, too. No one understand the trickle down effect unless he or she lives the life, walks the walk and talks the talk. Your photos are wonderful and have warmed my heart tonight. hugs, genie

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Beauitufl and heartfelt post Liz. I just read Alicia's posts today too.

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