Our words are powerful. Indeed, the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body. How we use that muscle makes all the difference. James 3:5 says, "The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark."

Read Psalm 34:13; 39:1; Proverbs 10:19; 21:23.

How can we, as moms, watch our words and train our tongues?

Our words can be used to build up or tear down. We can speak words of encouragement or we can speak words of destruction. We can think before we speak or we can react without thinking about the effect of our words. These are choices we make every time we open our mouths. Sitting on my bed and being silent is sounding better and better!

Here are some good and bad ways we use our words:

  •  Praising—Psalm 71:24
  • Praying—Psalm 86:6
  • Singing—Psalm 119:172
  • Lying—Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Flattering—Proverbs 28:23
  • Teaching—Proverbs 31:26
  • Worshipping—Philippians 2:11
  • Arguing—2 Timothy 2:23

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me," the old saying goes. That could not be further from the truth. Words do hurt. Our words have so much power. Proverbs 25:15 says, "Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone."

Have you given much thought to the power of your words? Spend some time writing about times when you have chosen your words carefully and times when you have not. Examine the effects of your choices.

"A man finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!" (Proverbs 15:23).

"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" (Proverbs 25:11).

We must choose our words carefully. We can’t just say whatever we think and blurt things out haphazardly. What we say with our tongues reaches far beyond the moment. The words we use will often stay with someone forever. We cannot take back our words once we say them. All we can do is pray for God to fill in our gaps, forgive us when we mess up, and be our portion each day so that we do not reach the end of ourselves.

Excerpted from The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained (Harvest House Publishers) by Lysa Terkeurst. © 2006 by Lysa Terkeurst. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Lysa Terkeurst is a wife, mother of five, and the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She has appeared on many national broadcast programs, including Focus on the Family. She is the author of a number of books, including What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, and the coathor of A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life.