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The Power of Words: A Redeemed Life

“You’ll grow up to be a beggar,” Winnie’s dad told her.

By Penny Iverson, an Alliance international worker serving in Taiwan

Many of us have observed the power of words to inspire and shape us—and even to destroy (see Proverbs 18:21). I had an opportunity to speak this truth into the lives of two young moms. They had shared with me some predictions their unsaved family members had made over them as children.

I encouraged these women to break self-defeating, unbiblical pronouncements others had made over them—to expose these statements as the lies they are. I also told them to declare God’s truth over themselves and their children.

One of the women, Winnie, immediately got it.

Her parents had divorced when she was an infant; she never knew her mom, nor was she allowed to contact her. Winnie’s dad had often told her, “You’ll grow up to be a beggar.”

A Lonely Childhood

During Winnie’s youth, her father worked long hours and left her to fend for herself. She had to purchase her own food, do laundry, and visit the doctor alone when she was ill—even as young as age nine.

Winnie is now a warrior for Jesus.

Unable to stay well-groomed without a mother’s care and influence, Winnie was avoided or ridiculed by other children. She often considered taking her life.

By the time she reached junior high, Winnie was headed down a dark path. With no one seeming to care about her, she began stealing, smoking, and skipping school.

Then a friend invited her to a church youth group, where she learned about Christ’s love for her. Winnie’s life began to change when she met Jesus.

When she told her father that she wanted to become a Christian, he threatened to break her legs. But even that couldn’t deter her from pursuing the One who would always love and accept her.

In time Winnie married and moved with her husband to our small, rural community. She became a member of our congregation, Amazing Grace Church, and has become like a daughter to me. Her little boys are my Taiwanese “grandsons.”

From Beggar to Warrior

Because of her past wounds, Winnie battled feelings of inadequacy. She also struggled with anger issues after having married into a difficult, broken family.

Winnie and her oldest son, Nathan, now five

Several years ago, a special speaker visited our church who has an inner healing prayer ministry—born out of her own pain and brokenness. During the service, Winnie asked the woman to pray for her.

As the speaker and I interceded together for Winnie, the woman suddenly looked up at me and proclaimed, “She will be one of Jesus’ warriors.”

After learning some hard lessons in forgiveness and compassion, Winnie has begun to walk in her new name and identity. She steps out for Christ in a culture where this kind of boldness is rare and is willing to lead, even when she personally feels inadequate.

Winnie also has volunteered in a mid-week tutorial program for kids from low-income families, helping them with homework, reading them Bible stories, and telling them how they can know God. She cares deeply for these children, many of whom are from backgrounds like hers.

Winnie has forgiven her father, and he has seen the change in her. Whenever they visit, he asks if she still goes to church.

Winnie didn’t grow up to be a beggar, as her earthly father had declared; she grew up to be a warrior-princess for her heavenly Father, the King.


Intercede for Penny Iverson as she continues to speak God’s truth into the lives of women like Winnie. Pray too for Winnie as she grows in faith and knowledge of the Word.