It is a beautiful fall day, and I make a quick stop in front of our mailbox to pick up our mail. I peruse our mail and find all kinds of political advertisements, a few bills and a note with my name on it. I quickly put everything down on the counter and proceed to open this special note. It is from a friend of mine who I don’t get to see as much these days, but with whom I have years of history. She shares her life, checks in on me and proceeds to share some encouragements. Wow, my heart is full. It is like a drink of cold water on a hot day.
Do you ever need a word of encouragement? A recent study in Psychology Today says, “researchers have found that the prosocial gesture of expressing gratitude in a handwritten note boosts positive emotions in both the letter- writing ‘expresser ‘and the recipient of the stated appreciation.” Moreover, each note provides a hand-written record of a special moment in the lives of both the addresser and addressee. A memento! Dictionary.com defines a memento as a special reminder of something, especially a past event or time. Do you have a place you keep special cards or notes?
How often do you need a word of encouragement? In our fast-paced society, iPhones and busyness can cause us to forget to encourage. We are quick to set up a coffee date or even share a few minutes on the phone, but when was the last time you stopped to share a word of encouragement with someone – especially the hand-written variety? Now please don’t see this as a guilt trip — we all get busy and forget. But, when we understand the benefits described by that quote in Psychology Today, doesn’t our motivation increase? Such power in a simple gesture!
I like to ask my Father’s help in encouraging others. Maybe it is a friend who lost a loved one; a young mom in the throes of parenting and trying to do it well and purposefully; maybe it’s with an older wiser friend I admire and am grateful for; or someone who encouraged me personally. But as I sit with a card in hand, I ask myself and ask the Lord who needs encouragement today. And my joy is made complete as He leads me in thanking someone for what they do. He blesses me to be a blessing, and in turn, I am blessed.
Our words have power – whether on paper or in person. The Bible says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as in the fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) As I considered this idea of a thank you or love letter, I couldn’t help but think about our great God and how the Bible is his handwritten note to all of us. In 2 Timothy 3, we read that all scripture is God-breathed with the purpose of teaching, correcting, reproof and training in righteousness. This larger-than-life book is 66 books worth of multiple letters written by 40 different authors on three different continents over the course of 2000 years. The unity of scripture demonstrates its supernatural inspiration. Oh, friends, His love and plan for us is amazing. So, as His follower, I want to pass on His encouragement by knowing what His word says.
Before I let you go about the rest of your day, let me offer just a few more encouragements. Do you have one of those boxes? You know, the shoe box that sits up somewhere in your room or attic overflowing with those special notes? If you do, I encourage you to pull them out and sit with them. Recall God’s faithfulness in the many note cards you review. And, if you haven’t picked up God’s love letter, I encourage you to start in the book of John. Talk about a love letter! Perhaps, as you read the letters of man and the inspired grand letter of our great God, you might be moved to become a note writer, too. And you too can bless someone’s day.
— Sue M. Lindsey © November 2022