Words. They are often the key to some of the most inspiring memories, as well as some of the most scarring. Chances are that at some point someone's words have made an impact on us all. International speaker, Sharon Jaynes uses her platform to encourage women every day to recognize the incredible power of their words and to learn how to use them to inspire future generations.
In her upcoming book, The Power of a Woman's Words, Sharon illustrates how words can bring life or cause damage using personal experiences, as well as women in the bible, as she offers practical advice for using the gift of words to encourage and build up others.
Sharon has also created a guide, The Power of a Woman's Words Workbook and Study Guide, for learning how to use the gift of words to shape the lives of others.
Q: Sharon, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself: tell us a little about yourself and your ministry.
I was born in eastern North Carolina in a pretty little town. From the outside looking in, we looked like a typical southern family with two kids and a collie dog named Lassie. But on the inside, what went on was not pretty. My father had a drinking problem and our household experienced the ups and downs of explosive arguments, physical violence, passive aggressive silence, with a few good days thrown in the mix. And even with all the vices that plagued our home, we went to church on Sundays. We had a religion in our lives, but I knew nothing about how to have a relationship with Jesus.
However, when I was twelve years old, a woman in our neighborhood began to tell me about a heavenly Father who loved me so much He gave His son to die for me. For two years this woman poured the love of Jesus in to my broken, shattered life.
When I was fourteen, I gave my life to Christ. Over the next six years, both of my parents came to the Lord as well. It is truly a miracle story. Yes, God still moves mountains and He changed a wife-beating-alcoholic into a loving man who called Jesus Lord. And He changed a broken scared and scarred little girl into a bold woman who loves telling others about what He can do in their lives too.
The transformation I experienced over the following twenty years became the springboard for my ministry with women. Even though I became a Christian as a teenager, I carried feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy right on into my newfound faith. It took me twenty years to finally reject the pre-programmed lies of the enemy that screamed I wasn't enough and replace them with the truth of God that said I was. That has been my calling ever since: to equip, encourage, and empower women to walk in courage and confidence as they grasp their true identity as a child of God and co-heir with Christ...to live fully and free.
Today, I serve with Gwen Smith and Mary Southerland at Girlfriends in God (www.girlfriendsingGod.com) and with Lysa TerKeurst and an amazing staff at Proverbs 31 Ministries (www.proverbs31.org). I love connecting with women on my weekly blog at sharonjaynes.com and speaking at women's conference all across the country.
Q: Congratulations on the release of your new book The Power of a Woman's Words. What is the book about?
The Power of a Woman's Words is about how the words we speak shape the lives of others. It helps us see how our words are the mirrors in which others see themselves, whether good or bad, true or false. The book is filled with stories that show how a woman's words speak life to someone or suck the life right out of them. The stories are paired with Scripture about what God has to say about the words we say.
The Power of a Woman's Words is all about change --- how to exchange careless words that hurt for intentional words that help others succeed; how to recognize words that tear down confidence and replace them with words that build others up; how to overcome negativity that pushes people away and become a well of positivity that draws others in; and how to tame the tongue by applying practical principles that help you think before you speak. Whether it's speaking to children, husbands, friends, fellow believers, or those we meet on the streets every day, with prayer and practice, we have the ability to change the course of a life for good.
Q: What prompted you to write a book about the power of words?
Back to the first question, you can see that there was one woman whose words changed my life forever. When I became a wife and a mom, I wanted to make sure that I was that kind of woman. I had seen both sides of the coin-the negative affect of words that took years to heal, and the positive affect of words that initiated that healing. I became a student of words, and then one day, God called me to put it all down on paper for others to join me in becoming a speaker of life.
Q: In your book, you talked about how words can spark life in others. What do you mean by that?
Most of us can think of someone who encouraged us to be better, to reach higher, or to persist longer. Also, most of us can think of someone who discouraged us from reaching for our dreams or believing that we were capable, lovable, or valuable. When we speak life, we spark life-we have the ability to fan the dying embers of someone's smoldering dreams into a roaring fire in their belly.
Q: Your book is derived from personal experience. Tell us some of the wisdom you have gleaned about encouraging people who are hard to love.
Have you ever heard the saying, "I got a dressing down"? Here's what I like to do...I like to give someone a "dressing up." I've watched a waiter's countenance change to from grumpy to gracious by simply offering a few encouraging words, and an irritable older man's frown transform into an irrepressible smile by pointing out what makes him special. It's not hard, but it does take intentionality and practice.
Q: What is your advice to people who feel that they are at a loss for words? People who don't know how to express themselves through their words?
Make lists! I have lots of lists in The Power of a Woman's Words. Words that Crush a Child's Heart/Words that a Child Longs to Hear. Words that a Husband Hopes He Never Hears/Words that a Husband Longs to Hear. Words to Avoid Speaking to Adult Children/ Words that Foster Deeper Relationships with Adult Children. Make list for yourself and then go about the business of speaking words that build relationships rather than tear them down.
Q: How can your book help us to use words wisely?
The first thing that the book will help us do is to be aware of the impact of our words. The second is to show up how to change the words we speak and gain control of our tongues. The Bible has good news and bad news. The bad news is, "no man can tame the tongue" (James 3:8). The good news is, "nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). So, by cooperating with the God through prayer and practice, we can change and harness the incredible power we have right under our noses.
Q: Where can people connect with you online, and where can they pick up a copy of The Power of a Woman's Words?
I love connecting with readers. They can find me at www.sharonjaynes.com, where there are lots of free resources, a weekly blog, a free 5-Day Taming the Tongue Challenge, and much more. They can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and my special Facebook page-The Praying Wives Club. Folks can find The Power of a Woman's Words on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Christian Book Distributors, and my website. And here's a bonus feature-it also has a companion Bible Study Guide for individuals or groups!