Did you even know there was such a day? I didn't either, until Dayspring enlisted participation through their (in)courage blog earlier this month. To encourage their blog readers in encouraging others, they sent out 400 packets of Hope and Encouragement cards for commenters to play with. As previously mentioned, notes of encouragement are one thing I have been able to do this summer, so I jumped at the opportunity.
All 10 cards will find new homes in short order, but the first one goes to a mom I know. She has three active sons, ages 3 years and under. In the last year, she has shepherded her flock through three moves, one of them across state lines while suffering from mononucleosis. In addition to all that, she is a pastor's wife active in the women's ministry of their church.
(Whew! I think I need to go lie down. Wait a minute, I am lying down.)
She has my love and profound admiration. She amazes me, and I tell her so. But not often enough.
While I wish I could drop by her house at least once a week and spell her, that's not currently an option. What I can, I do: help pray her through her days, rejoice in her triumphs and cry for her when things are hard, and send her day-brighteners from time to time. The envelope for this card seems big enough for some ice cream allowance.
Encouragement makes such a difference in my days; it is the least I can do to pay that grace forward. Small gestures can have an impact: gestures like adding an African violet to the grocery list, taking time out from a busy day to send an e-mail or a note, doing someone else's chore without being asked or expecting acknowledgement, offering a hug or a smile, thanking a service provider by name, or even simply asking, "How are you?" and waiting for an answer beyond, "Fine." All these things can pour courage and strength into someone to face at least the next few minutes of her day.
None of us knows the battles facing the people we meet today, but we know our own. Let us be gentle with each other. More often than not, I find more courage in my tank after I have poured some into another soul. Grace is funny that way. May the Lord come alongside each of you with the encouragement you need today and use you as His instrument to encourage someone else as well.