The Ripple Effect

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The tongue can bring death or life. —Proverbs 18:21, NLT

Something she said stayed with me. “You will find it’s hard to trust all your girlfriends. The one you least expect will put a knife in your back—usually because of a boy.” As a young teenager, I was horrified at this thought. I knew it would never happen to me.

My friends were loyal and loving.

I did not think about it again until it happened during my first year of college, just as my mother had said it would. I felt stunned. I cut my former friend out of my circle and filed the experience under “lessons learned.” This unspoken awareness of the duality of the impact women have in one another’s life has expanded over the passing decades.

Some women have spoken wisdom into my life while the words of others have hurt me, depleted me, and broken me down.

To be fair, most were not spoken to be intentionally cruel but came from a place of deep hurt. Each of us has seasons where we hurt others due to the healing needed in our own lives. As we do the work to grow and allow the Lord to heal us, we start to see the role our words and actions have played in the painful experiences of those we love.

When I first stepped out of a twenty-five-year marriage, I saw only the pain inflicted on me and recalled the hurtful words spoken to me that diminished and finally crushed me. It was the words of a trusted friend who allowed God to speak through her to me that carried me. She was His comfort, love, and hope when my world went dark.

His voice beckoned me to carry on, learn of His grace, and start over again. He restored my soul and brought me back not only to Himself but also to the purpose for which He had created me. Now by His grace, I use words and stories to demonstrate His power, love, and restoration to those who are hurting. I call this the ripple effect—one woman mentoring another, speaking words of wisdom, caution, affirmation, and encouragement.

As we uplift one another, the ripples flow from one to the next to the next, and together, we all grow stronger. As we women profoundly impact one another from one generation to the next, let this be our prayer: May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14, NLT).

Emra Smith

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