Monday, June 12, 2017

How To Be An Encourager

There’s probably not a more iconic figure of our generation than Princess Diana of Wales. Beautiful, charitable, and the model of sophistication, she’s been admired by people around the world—before and after her death twenty years ago. But what’s often missed is the quiet way she encouraged others. Sure, we’ve seen the photos of her visiting AIDS clinics and walking through areas where land mines had been cleared. You have to dig beneath the surface to find the stories of her visiting homeless shelters at night, sometimes taking her sons along, under the cloak of secrecy.

An avid letter writer, Princess Diana often sat down and wrote thank you notes to dinner companions immediately after arriving home from the dinner. It has been reported that she personally wrote thank you notes for thousands of gifts received after Prince William’s birth. When you read through some of the samples online, her hand-written notes were intimate, caring, encouraging, and grateful, no matter the occasion.

We can also look back 2,000 years to another letter writer, the Apostle Paul, who undoubtedly would share the same surprise as Diana that his letters are still being pored over in this new millennium. Paul used his letters to instruct and admonish, but he also used them to encourage. His letters still encourage us today.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times … Romans 1:8-10 NIV 

We see Paul’s encouragement again in his first letter to the Corinthians.

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way … Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 

Writing an encouraging note is a simple thing. But with texting and email so prevalent, note writing seems to be a vanishing act. Yet consider for a moment the impact a handwritten note might have on someone. Can you imagine getting a card from a Christian friend that said they thanked God for you and then shared some of the wonderful blessings of God in their life?

Paul acknowledged how another Christian gave him “great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 7). He was refreshed by the encouragement he received! Imagine how encouragement from fellow Christians carried him on some of the darkest days he experienced.

When my grandmother was in the final years of her life suffering with Parkinson’s, I bought a stack of North and South Carolina postcards. I knew how much she loved flowers, so most of the cards had beautiful blossoms on the front. They were much easier for her to hold in her hand and just look at, even after she’d read them. It also eliminated any excuse not to write her, no matter how busy my schedule was. I made it a point to send one to her weekly. After her death, one of those postcards was discovered inside of her purse.  

In our modern day of electronics, emails, texts, and social media, we can get lured into believing there’s no need for snail mail any more. But think of a shut-in or someone with a new diagnosis of cancer or grieving the loss of a loved one. It seems like such a simple concept, but you may never know how much that note means to them.

Is there someone in your life that you could bless with a card of encouragement? Take a few moments to put one in the mail today. You’ll experience the double blessing of encouragement by doing so.

Have you ever received a card or note that really blessed you? I’d love to hear about it!


**Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for Just Claire by Jean Ann Williams! Winner announced in the June 19th issue of the Weekly Windup.**


Laura Hodges Poole blogs regularly at  A Word of Encouragement. Her devotional, While I'm Waiting, and her latest collaboration, My Journey Through Fibromyalgia: Rumors, Ravages & The Rescueare available on Amazon along with her other books. She enjoys mentoring and helping other writers polish their work. When she’s not writing, you might find her hiking, playing the piano, or being crafty. A mother of two, Laura lives in South Carolina with her husband and son.


Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com. 

13 comments:

  1. Great and thoughtful post, Laura. I still enjoy sending snail mail thank you notes, encouragement, get well and other cards. I have multiple cards I've received through the years that lifted me up when I opened them up after going to the mailbox. God bless and uplift you as you've encouraged others.

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    1. Thank you, Marilyn. I've saved cards from loved ones over the years, and they still encourage me when I read back through them. God bless your day!

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  2. I truly enjoy the advantages of social media, email and the Internet but I am still a believer in snail mail and I often send notes and cards. Many years ago, at a young, I was having severe joint pain. I was very discouraged so imagine my surprise and joy at finding a card and note in my mailbox from my aunt and uncle. I have never forgotten my feelings and I try to share that same goodwill with others!

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    1. I enjoy the advantages of social media, as well, but like you, I love opening my mailbox and finding a card! Thanks for sharing your memory of encouragement. God bless your day.

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  3. I loved your post! I, in fact, sent three notes this past week. Writing and receiving notes has always been important to me. Have great day!

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    1. Thanks, Melanie! Glad you enjoyed it. Sounds like you're one step ahead of me in your encouragement! God bless your day.

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  4. A lovely post. Thank you. I will make more of an effort to send notes of encouragement and thank yous.

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    1. Thanks, Shirley. Glad you enjoyed it! God bless.

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  5. A beautiful post, Laura. Thanks for sharing that tidbit about Diana.
    Handwritten notes are disappearing. But I try to take the time to do them. Your post inspires me to do it more.

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    1. Thanks, Amber. I'm glad it inspired you. God bless.

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  6. One of the notes I received in the mail was from one of the lovely readers of our blog. ;) She wrote a kind note expressing her prayers and thoughts and it has stuck with me. I still have the note in my special keepsake drawer at home.

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    1. That's really sweet. Nice to know that the blog is touching people in that way.

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  7. Oh you are so right! I love notes, and love to send them occasionally. However- I send out cards to nursing home-shut-ins every month, using recycled greeting cards. I ENCOURAGE any of you reading this to do the same. 37 of the 87 I provide cards for- have no visits, no mail. Maybe more. Your post touched my heart in the right place! and I love the patchwork background.

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