Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where Seldom Was Heard a Discouraging Word . . .

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing"(Proverbs 12:18, NIV)

Whether you are religious or not, reflect on this verse and burn it onto your heart and then act!

This is a rough world we live in, am I right? I have had a week where one certain word just keeps playing through my days - encourage. Imagine how much easier this world could be if we all could program our brains to dole out tons of encouragement throughout our days - good, honest, sincere encouragement.

On Tuesday, I had a coffee date scheduled with a school friend at a coffee place that I've been wanting to visit and she called right beforehand sounding distressed, needing to cancel.  Instead of heading to my desk to switch gears and work there, I decided to still head to the cafe with some work in hand.  I had a meeting nearby there later in the morning, so this would be perfect.  I slowed down my getting ready, and am so thankful that I did as I got a text from another friend who also had a coffee date cancel, wondering if I could grab a cup of coffee with her (just a few minutes later and I would have been headed in the opposite direction and would have said, "no").  I mulled the idea over and decided yes, I've been wanting to run something past her lately anyway, needing some encouragement on my walk in life, so I took her up on the offer.  I received encouragement from her far beyond what I hoped for and expected, and it just set the tone for a really great day to come!

I left that date and headed to my meeting, instead deciding to visit the new cafe afterwards (am I losing you?  I do tend to babble).  My meeting was great, very upbeat and encouraging and I was flying so high by the time I got to the cafe.  I settled in there, and was enjoying a REALLY good cup of iced coffee and was getting a lot of work done when about 2 hours later, who walks in to grab herself a quick cup of joe on the run, but my early morning coffee date.  While she was waiting for her order, I called out her name and she spun around and was so shocked to see me sitting there.  She had time to sit down and we talked for almost 2 hours, going over a VERY rough year she has had and I am so hopeful that I doled out a hefty dose of encouragement on her.  I have been SO encouraged by her strength and perseverance!  She is an AMAZING woman!

Yesterday evening, I had yet another coffee date with a somewhat new friend who I have not sat down with over coffee yet, so I was REALLY looking forward to our time together.  After 4 hours together, I walked away from that meeting so totally encouraged by her stories about how she has felt so led by God in so many ways in her life.  I am encouraged to be still and know . . . I need to purposefully quiet and slow myself down to hear what it is that God wants from me in my life.  One story that she shared with me was about a homeless man who is frequently spotted walking up and down a local highway.  I knew exactly who she was talking about, as we too have seen him many times.  My friend was so prompted to stop one time to talk to him and while she shared that she has absolutely no idea yet what it is she can do for him, I am sure that her kind and gentle words to this man were so very encouraging to his hard life.  She told him that she would pray for him, not knowing how he would take that, but I imagine he felt very encouraged by knowing that.  She has since stopped again to talk with him with her husband and he too spoke some very encouraging words to him.  Both times they were able to give him some money and along with their words, most likely gave him the courage to go on for yet one more day.  She is sure their involvement in this man's life isn't over and I am excited to hear the future stories about their encounters.

So, who in your life can you slow down to encourage?  Or are you, yourself, so in need of encouragement that you can't even imagine doling it out for others?  Do what I did this week - surround yourself with some really amazing people, share your story, listen wholeheartedly to theirs and soak up the encouragement that will flow.

Through my blogging, I have come across a really cool blog called (In)courage (click on the name to check them out).  It is a blog about encouraging stories and ideas for spreading encouragement.  They had a giveaway this week where the first 400 people to respond would be sent a package of cards to use to send out an encouraging word to whoever is laid on their hearts.  I was one of the first to sign up and I can't wait to get my set of cards.  The deal is, though, that we have to report back on September 12th with a story of how we used our cards.  I can't wait to see who God lays on my heart to send them to and how the dose of encouragement was received.

Please join me in becoming an encouragement warrior and let it become a way of life for you.  And, as always, be sure to share your stories of encouragement with me, I would love to hear them!