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Writing Letters - Part 2

Encourage One Another to Look Up

You know that feeling when you pull up to your house or walk up to your mailbox and see a package has arrived?

Prime. It's a good feeling.

As exciting as Prime is, do you remember the surprise you felt as a kid when you received a letter in the mail?

In the middle of the advertising circulars, credit card mailers, and coupon envelopes (Valpak, why? Just why?), there is an envelope with your name on it.

I'd tear through the envelope and find a handwritten birthday card or the like.

But when you get a handwritten card and it's not your birthday? Not even close? Well, that's why we're talking about Writing Letters. If you missed last week, go ahead and give it a read. I believe it will encourage you today, too.

Writing letters is a dying art form. It's not intentional but we're busy, an email or text is more efficient and who even has stamps anymore?

A quick sift through a recent bundle of mail and I was surprised to find a simple envelope with my name and address handwritten across the front.

Curiosity for an unexpected letter rivaled that of my childhood and propelled me to gently but quickly lift the seal to see what was waiting for me inside.

Staying in Touch

The envelope and card simple, the handwriting elegant.

The message friendly, encouraging, touching.

When reading a handwritten note or letter, you see part of the writer in not only the words chosen but also in the handwriting.

This friend shared how the practice of spending one or two mornings every month to write cards for the purpose of spreading joy led me to receive this letter.

How beautiful is that?

In a world obsessed with serving self, writing is being used to serve others.

Going on, this friend shared that although we were never very close in high school, kindness was shared and fond memories remembered.

More than this, I was touched and humbled to hear how these simple, honest murmurs of my heart written in these posts like you're reading now has been a source of encouragement.

To think I tried to talk myself out of this because I was afraid of what others might think of me...

Glad God is patient with us and gave me the grace I needed to step out in obedience to His ever soft, but persistent, nudge.

This letter in my mailbox is a simple reminder of friendship and selflessness and how God can use us in unexpected ways if we are open to His call.

Encourage One Another

This is what we're called to do. We - you and me - are children of the day. In His Word, we're referred to as children of the light.

Our world is so dark.

Remember the song,

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.

Our light may seem small. It may not have a grand stage or a worldwide platform. It may be our neighbor next door or the receptionist at the gym or our classmate or co-worker. Your greatest influence may not even be what YOU do but who you raise. Your role as a parent or guardian may be how you have been called to sow into the Kingdom.

Like the light of fireworks on the dark summer night, it draws our attention and leaves us standing in awe and wonder. Even more, it causes us to look up.

That's us - a little light. We may not all be called to be the great big bursts of color through the sky; we may be one that shoots up high and creates a delicate swirl. It's not about comparison, it's about coming together as the body of Christ to draw others to look up.

They stop what they're doing, where they're at, take their eyes from looking down in the dark and bleakness of their circumstances and look up.

I believe that is how God wants us to live - looking up and helping point others' gazes upward, too.

The second part of this song, "I'm gonna let it shine," emphasizes how it is our choice.

Sometimes we get so focused on discerning God's will that we forget He gave us free choice. He gives us opportunities to be a light and step into what He is doing, but it's our choice whether we do so or not.

I think this is why it's so important for us to be in tune with that still, small voice. Turn down the noise and pay attention to the light inside of you. May it guide you and share light with others who are stumbling in the darkness.

That's why we're here - to shine and encourage one another.

Paul instructs us,

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:9

Encourage means to give support, confidence, or hope to (someone); to develop.

Build means to construct (something) by putting parts or material together; make stronger.

We have a very active role to play.

As we see in these words, we are not here to be observers but to be participants.

That co-worker, or barista, the teenager who put our groceries in the back of the car, the teller at the bank, even the friend on social media - we are here to give them support and hope, to help make them stronger for the race they have been called to run.

I've realized I can't do this well or at all if my eyes are focused on me. When drowning in my own cares, I pass by these opportunities. What a waste! God is attending to all of my needs. I'm here to be a light to others.

Encouragement is contagious. As we encourage one another, they are made stronger and inspired to encourage someone else. At the same time, we are encouraged ourselves!

2020 brought a contagious virus. May 2021 bring something ever more powerful - encouragement. May we be aware of the people in our midst and be intentional to lift and build one another up and point their eyes upward.

Good gracious, we need it!

This takes many forms but I believe it starts with our words. Whether written, read, spoken or heard, words carry life and death.

Are we using our words to encourage and build up?

Let's find strength in the Word of God that gives us life and joy as we use our words to shine a light of hope for others. May encouragement bring peace as we rest in His power to work in and through us.

Wishing everyone a Happy (and safe) Fourth of July! May the watermelon be juicy and easy to slice! Check out this video to see how to get bite-size watermelon without the mess in under 3 minutes!

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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