The power of words

Faith & Inspiration

I never think of hospitals. I completely forget they exist until I am in one. The beehive of activity that goes on within the self-contained world of charts and dangling tubes and beeping things is a surprise to me all over again when the course of events and my desperate need bring me once again into its domain.

But every time I have been in a hospital-whether to have my four babies, or in trips to the ER-I have fallen in love with nurses. I have been smitten with adulation for the profession of nursing, convinced anew that there is no higher calling. There is something clean and honest about a nurse going about her duties. And it amazes me that someone exuding such competence and cheer should approach my sickbed and wait on my every need.

I was sharing this sentiment with my daughter as she lay in her little blue johnny the morning after her accident. I was almost embarrassed to say aloud to her that I wish I had been a nurse, because the truth is that I have always been sure I would have been a lousy nurse. For one thing, I can never remember people's ailments, nor polysyllabic drug names. But more importantly, I have always been grieved to see in myself a lack of the more womanish qualities of tenderness and warmth.

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Nevertheless, my daughter said to me: "You would have been a good nurse, Mom. You are so nurturing."

Brothers and sisters, "nurturing" is the very last adjective I would have affixed to myself. But I must tell you the impact of my daughter's statement: It produced in me a confidence (wholly unwarranted on the basis of the observation of my eyes) that I am "nurturing." And I could tell, instantly, that the confidence that I am nurturing was powerful in itself for calling the quality into existence in me.

This is no voodoo. Scripture says that God "gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist" (Romans 4:17). Also, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21). We have not even scratched the surface of this profound truth and its implications for the way we can encourage one another. God is a being with the supreme attributes of control, authority, and presence. But amazingly, as He conforms us to the image of Christ, we also are imbued with these same in an analogical way.

So go out on a limb and tell someone who has even a thimbleful of nurturing love-or faithfulness, or kindness, or self-control-that he possesses that virtue, and then watch the quality swell and increase. No lying. Just the mystery of the power of words.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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