You Are Powerful

According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, power is defined as “the ability or right to control people or things; political control of a country or area; or a person or organization that has a lot of control and influence over other people or organizations.” For the most part, we see power as a negative characteristic.

Earlier this week I was at a gathering of dear diaconal brothers and sisters where we participated in community organizing activities. Our facilitators taught us that power is also “the ability to act.” That definition was confirmed in the Miriam-Webster dictionary when I read this “power is the ability to act or produce an effect.” I have come to really appreciate this meaning of the word power. Power truly is about the ability to act.

However it is hard for us to see ourselves as powerful. We see ourselves as weak not powerful.I am reminded of a quote by Margaret Thatcher. “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, then you aren’t.” (I hope this quote doesn’t offend anyone but it made me chuckle when I read it.)

Yet the truth is, my dear readers and friends, each and every one of us is POWERFUL…because we have acted. No matter what your topic has been this month, you took the initiative and acted. You may not have made it the whole 31 days but you still acted. You may have gotten sidetracked by life…but that’s ok too…you still acted. You still made a choice to continue on and act. And I hope you realize that by acting, you are indeed powerful. In fact, in my mind, you are all super-heroes!

Though I have never seen myself as a powerful woman…and I am sure many of us still don’t see ourselves as powerful woman, yet the truth is that God has made us into powerful woman by calling and claiming us each as God’s children. I have learned that is ok to be vulnerable and share my story; our story of mental illness. In fact, it is so much a part of who I am as a child of God. It took me a really long time; 18 years to be exact, to be open about our journey of mental illness. Yet for some reason, that hot June day in August at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp, my mouth opened up and the words flowed from them. As I, for the first time, openly shared about our journey with mental illness. It changed me and freed me to truly be who God created me to be. What an unbelievable amazing POWERFUL gift! Yet I still don’t always see myself as a powerful woman!

However I think my dad has seen my sister and I in ways that my father in heaven does too. Dad sees my sister and I as strong and powerful. He is a huge wrestling fan and wished he had boys to teach wrestling too. Yet some of my favorite memories of growing up are of  my dad, sister and I wrestling on our living room floor until Mom had to yell at us because “someone is going to get hurt.” I think Dad knew he could wrestle with us because we could handle it; because we were stronger than we ever gave ourselves credit for. But Dad saw that beauty; that power, that grace in his girls…and still does!

Power is not about who is the strongest, wisest, or most in control! Power is not about being the best in the class. Power is the ability to act when you know you need to. Without the power I possess, I wouldn’t have ever shared our story of mental illness. Without my power, I wouldn’t have taken this #write31 day challenges. I wouldn’t have met you through your own blogs and commenting. So I want to say to each and every one of you, thank you; thank you for helping me realize my own power. And may you all find your own power as well.


“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”–2 Timothy 1:7 (NRSV)

“Sticks and Stones…..”

A friend of mine just posted the other day about how words matter. So sooo soooo true! I love words! I love to create with words….poetry, stories, etc. The cool thing about words is how they have power…they can bring sadness, they can bring joy, they can bring hatred, etc etc. When I think of the power of words, I cant help but think of the kids saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” The truth is words CAN and DO hurt!!! I recently just finished reading Jodi Picoult’s book “Nineteen Minutes.” The book encompasses how words can affect us. I wont say more than that because I dont want to give away the end or the plot line of the book.

Words have a way of surprising us in unexpected ways. They do have power. I think of one of my first classes in seminary. I was in a small group and finally got up the courage to speak in class. One of my new classmates immediately shot me down and after that I wouldnt speak in class. I did finally get to a point where I felt comfortable but I will never forget the power of those words. (The ironic thing is that this person became one of my dearest friends and she did apologize). I am also reminded of the words of one of my seminary professors who reminded me that it was so much easier for me to walk out the door, shut the door and never look back. It took more courage for me to stick with it. Those words have had a profound impact on my life. They helped me realize that I could do anything I set my mind. Two situations….two different sets of words….two different ways words impacted my life.

What is it about words? Why do we feel the need to say mean things? Why don’t we realize why words are so important? How have words impacted you and your life?