Encouragement is such a balm to the human spirit. A kind word, even a smile, has the power to lift people up from out of the pit. It can be quite challenging when you love encouraging others yet barely receive any encouragement yourself. Somehow, there is the perception that “strong” people do not need encouragement. That has been my story until recently. I come from an environment where people do not praise freely. it could be out of fear, envy, awkwardness, or sometimes not even knowing how to. Sadly, we think that complimenting others might make them too vain or that their head will grow too “big”! Rather we tend to use “shaming” (put-downs, negative comments) to keep those who may want to soar in their place! I did a blog about this very issue last year: Learning the Fine Art of Encouragement. That, however, has never stopped me from pouring into others whenever I have the opportunity. It is important to build others up!
On Saturday April 6th, my God really outdid himself! He showed me what encouragement looks like. On that day, I received such profound encouragement from not one, but four precious women of God. I believe my God knew I needed to hear a word for this season and He had prepared the vessels He was going to use to achieve His purpose. Sometimes people see in us what we do not even see in ourselves. God will use His people to speak to us to propel us to the next level.
The art of encouragement is one that every believer needs to cultivate. That is how we build one another up, are edified and grow in our faith. It is such a blessing when this happens in the Body. I thank my three sisters at our Women’s program that morning. You may never know what God used you to do that morning. May He bless you richly. Sometimes we are stuck too long on Mount Horeb, and God will use people to give you that gentle nudge. Depending how long you have been stuck on the mountain, it could be a push or shove 😄😄😄. I love my sisters in the Vine!
After the program, I had to make one quick stop to get some hair products before heading home. that proved futile for I quickly found out that the store was closed. I headed home but as the Christian bookstore was on my way, I decided to stop in there. I had been planning to stop in and browse but had not been able to do so. I think this was my first time there this year. Well talk about divinely ordained appointments!
I met a beautiful and vivacious young lady who was doing a book signing that day. I walked up to her and started chatting with her. What a gracious, charming, and strong woman of God. Her book is a 21-day devotional entitled “Becoming”. I told her that I do faith based writing based on the Bible. This young lady just poured into me encouraging me not to give up and pursue my writing seriously. I explained to Caroline that it was not my plan to come there that day at all. I strongly believe that God orchestrated that encounter for her to speak to me. I told her I was so proud of her that she had been able to get published. She actually has three books published. What an accomplishment! It gave me hope that nothing is impossible with God! Of course, I got her devotional which she autographed for me. Anytime I pick up that book, it encourages me to keep pushing, and hard, because He is not done with me yet. I bid her goodbye and headed home. What a blessed day. The title of the book again is “BECOMING, A 21 Day Devotional Journey” by Caroline Ciano. I highly recommend this devotional as it makes you examine areas of your life that you may have overlooked in the busyness of life. Some of this work is part of the pruning that needs to happen as we move along the different levels of our faith walk.
As if that was not enough, the next day in church another sister came up to me to encourage me some more; she senses there is more in me that needs to come out she said, hmm. My cup runneth over indeed, God planned a weekend of encouragement to set me on track and be on my way. He knows us intimately and is always working for our good.
Always speak kindly to others. Your words be may be the salve to someone’s turbulent emotions. Make it a point to bless someone with encouraging words everyday. It is not so difficult. All you need is to commit to it. It is such a precious gift to give of ourselves to others!
Scriptures for reflection:
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Dear Lord, teach us how to lift one another up daily. Help us to be sensitive to the needs of the people around us. May we be so filled with your love such that we devote ourselves purposefully to strengthening and sharpening each other. Holy spirit help us in this area, amen.
Yaa F. Attobrah