Set a guard, oh Lord, before my mouth;

keep watch at the door of my lips.”

—Psalm 141:3

Went to the dentist this week and the gal that cleans my teeth always smiles and says, “Goodness, you have such a little mouth!”

YIKES … you couldn’t prove it by me, a woman who has long suffered from hoof-in-mouth disease, blurting out things that would curl hair, toes, and anything else. Awful things like when I was about 14, telling my Aunt Julie in front of her husband’s casket “that she was not to worry because she was so beautiful, she would have a million guys after her—she’d knock ‘em dead.” Or the time at work when somebody was talking to me in front of my desk, blocking my view of my office door where all I could see was the huge stomach of a pregnant lady. “Oh, we have a pregnant lady,” I said in a cheery, welcome voice that was not so welcome to the woman who was not so pregnant or pregnant at all!

Of course, I’ve known for some time now that I’m more lip-to-brain than brain-to-lip, but even so, I honestly believed I had grown and gotten much better over the years, despite having a big mouth, which is clearly evident in this picture with my sweet granddaughter.

So when my prayer partner gave me Joyce Meyer’s new book, Change Your Words, Change Your Life for Christmas, I was thrilled, of course, but a part of me couldn’t help but think—do I really need this?

Uh, yeah. I knew that right off the bat after I’d read the first page, which told the story of a very sharp, kind, and encouraging woman at this company who was on the fast track to the next Vice President job that came up because everybody flat-out loved and respected her. So much so, that her boss asked her to proof a speech he’d written for a very important meeting, in which he used a joke that was out of place. Picking up the phone, the woman promptly left a voice mail that said, “What were you thinking, boss? Don’t you know the CEO will hate that joke? He has no sense of humor.” Only instead of sending it just to her boss, she inadvertently sent it to the entire company including the CEO, shooting any chances for promotion in the proverbial foot. Needless to say, she never got that next promotion or the one after that.

What’s really scary about this story is that not three hours after reading it, I get an e-mail from my daughter, asking me for the e-mail of one of my dear friends who, unfortunately, I don’t see very often. Amy needed my friend’s e-mail address to ask her something, so I simply clicked on reply, then typed my friend’s name in the CC line, copied it and pasted it in the body of the e-mail, forgetting to delete it from the CC line. Unfortunately in that e-mail, Amy also told me she didn’t see this friend on the wedding list and wondered why, asking if I wanted to include her? “Absolutely,” I said without any hesitation, because this friend is a given to both me and Amy. But because Amy and I had been battling back and forth for weeks on who she could cut from the list to stay within budget (including all of my 45 nieces and nephews!!), I added, “consider it an act of love for your mother.”

The moment I hit the send button, every muscle in my body froze when I realized I just sent this same e-mail to this precious friend, who could very well misconstrue that statement to mean it would take an act of love to invite this person at all, which was not the case at all. I was stunned, mortified, and sick to my stomach, immediately running into Keith with tears in my eyes.

“Julie, it’s not that bad, trust me,” he told me, comforting me with a hug on his lap, but I didn’t believe it for a second. Then all at once my thoughts traveled back to that first page of Joyce Meyer’s book, illustrating with painful clarity just how careful we must be with our words. To become aware that we need to ask God to, indeed, “set a guard” before our mouths … or in my case, a German shepherd, electric fence, and an armed Brinks guard.

So I’ve decided I need to dive into this book BIG TIME, and will let you know down the road just what I think of it, but my prayer partner swears I will love it … and knowing me and my big mouth, I’m guessing my family and friends will too …

Hugs and Happy Weekend!!

Julie (Big Mouth) Lessman