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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tell Her!

My husband has the gift of encouragement.
I'm so grateful to God that He put us together.
Because I need lots of encouragement.
(Of course, my gifts build up my husband, too.)

Years ago I used to come home after a day spent with various women's groups.
I'd tell about all of my conversations and then say something like this:
"So and so sure has a special way of making all the women feel significant."

Then my husband would ask, "Well, did you tell her?"
"Tell her?"
"Yes." my husband would say enthusiastically. "It probably would have made her day to tell her what you were thinking."

Tell a person to their face what wonderful things I was thinking about them?

Now, that's a novel idea!

I wasn't raised in a family where that was done, and I never thought that my words could hold such power.
But the next time I attended another Bible study I made it a point to speak words of encouragement to a woman who demonstrated a gift for listening to others.
When I came home, I told my husband what I'd said to my Bible study friend.

By coincidence, the following Sunday, our friend, Jeff shared that he had been talking to his friend, Greg at the Seminary a couple of weeks earlier. Jeff's friend shared that he had a lot of things to think about concerning his studies and asked Jeff to pray for him. Jeff doesn't remember specifically what he said to Greg to encourage him, but they prayed together.
A few days after their conversation, Greg called Jeff and thanked him for listening to him and encouraging him.
Greg said, "I had already made up my mind to give up my plans to enter the ministry. I felt so overwhelmed and discouraged. But then you told me I had a special gift of caring for others and that I should press on. Jeff, if it hadn't been for you being there and listening to me, I would have given up."

By the time Jeff—a calm, unemotional, intellectual guy— had finished sharing his story with the Sunday School class, tears rolled down his face.
He said, "I never thought a few words coming from me could have the power to change the course of another person's life so dramatically."

Coming on the heels of my husband's nudge to start sharing encouragement with women, Jeff's story left a powerful imprint on my soul.

We may never know what is going on inside another person: the struggles, the discouragement, the fears, the doubts.
But God does.
He wants us to be His instrument to speak blessing into another's life.

When you feel a nudge to speak words of kindness, don't just think about it.
Do it!

"He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious
will have the king for his friend." (Prov. 22:11 NIV Bible)

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