Have you ever heard these words from someone? You will never become this or that… you will never do this or that…I’m sure you have. Somehow, some people do not weight their thoughts before speaking them into words. Somehow, some people use their words because they can’t use anything else against you. I believe that these very same people were told the same words in their past and are projecting their beliefs in them into other people’s life. The Bible is clear that the tongue can bring death or life (proverbs 18:21). What we speak into people’s lives or into our own has an impact: a curse or a blessing. The good news is, we can overcome these words because the Bible pronounces promises and blessings over our lives. But let me tell you one of my stories.
Back in high school, I studied English, Spanish, and Dutch. Spanish came very easy and English was kind of alright. After this, I decided to get a Masters in translation in English and Spanish. (In Europe, you can go straight for a Masters). I studied for two years and excelled in Spanish and struggled in English. Listening to the BBC World News was challenging so as reading articles from the New York Times. This is when my English professor came into play. At one of my finals, he told me “Maïté, you will never speak English well, it is better if you stop now”. Since I was struggling with a law class as well, I thought about it and decided to stop. From there, my father encouraged me to do a Bachelor in Education and French. I went for it without any convictions until my first day teaching in high school. The minute I stepped in front of the classroom I knew God had placed me there and I knew I wanted to teach.
So, I became a French teacher, started teaching in Belgium and then moved to the States. When I arrived to the States, my English professor’s words hunted me down. I was frightened by the very idea of talking to people because I thought (according to his words) that I couldn’t speak well. Eight months after arriving in the States, my parents came to visit and I brought them to my work place. I introduced them to one of my colleagues and translated for them (my parents don’t speak much English). My colleague looked at me and said: “really, you are from another country? And English is not your native language?” This was the start of my walk into the truth; the truth that I could speak English and I could speak it well. Not perfectly but who does?
A few weeks later, my husband came up with the idea that maybe I should go back to school and get my Masters. What??? Me??? Studying at an American university??? In English??? No way!!! Well, I ended up registering for a course. I remember reading the material three or four times before I could even do the assignments. I finished my first class with an A and decided to go on. At first, I had my husband proof read my papers and then, my good friend Ronnie. Ronnie was in the same class and we finished the program together. Within 16 months I graduated with a 3.9 GPA. Not bad for someone who would never speak English well. As I was ready to graduate, my husband said: “What about getting a Ph.D?” Excuse me??? A what??? The same thing happened; I started with one class, got an A, and finished my classwork. Today, I am finishing the writing of my dissertation.
Today, I believe I am walking into the truth about my English… I believe that the words of this English professor do not have an impact on me anymore. Step by step, truth by truth, I decided to agree with what God says about my English. It is not a perfect or flawless English but it is perfect in His sight. As a matter of fact… today, I started a new job: teaching English as a Second Language to immigrants. God has such a powerful truth about it that He entrusted me with a job that no one would ever have given me (I would not even have hired myself!!!). Today, I decided that I would speak words of blessings into my students’ lives regarding their English. One student said she was scared to continue her education in English and I turned the curse I received into a blessing for her.
I strongly believe that God redeems our lives. I believe that when we get hurt, God redeems it for good and heals us. I believe that my healed scars ought to be a blessing and a testimony for someone else. When a heart has been changed the words coming out of it are full of grace, His grace. God’s word(s) is(are) powerful. Would you agree? What are your scars and what could be their testimonies to people around you?
Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.