GUEST POST BY KAREN EHMAN
One wintery Saturday afternoon found me cleaning our basement storage room. There were boxes of papers to sort, bins of holiday decorations to shuffle, and other assorted items that needed to be neatly realigned on the shelves. I’d estimated it would take me an hour or so to tidy up the space. Except I hadn’t factored in one thing.
The items I straightened and stacked weren’t spectacular; they were the common articles found in many basements and garages. But the fragrance of precious memories clung to them. Memories of events that changed my life. Memories of people who touched my heart. My cleaning pace slowed significantly. Some items I happened across made me chuckle out loud. Others brought a twinge of longing and sadness. All were sweet to my soul.
I gently folded the ivory lace dress my daughter wore for her baby dedication at church many years ago. My mother bought it for her and continues to dote on her grandchildren, picking up special gifts and treats for them. She has a knack for making others feel loved.
I whisper a prayer of thankfulness every time I remember my mom.
A hand-sewn stuffed rabbit sat perched on a corner shelf. My college roommate Kelly lovingly crafted it for my daughter when she was young. For over two decades, Kelly has been a thoughtful friend who never forgets my birthday.
I feel so noticed and loved every time I remember my friend Kelly.
I found an old key on a greyed leather key chain. Turning the key chain over I saw a simple word scrawled across the back: pool. Our former neighbor, a widow and retired schoolteacher, had an in-ground swimming pool, and we did not. Without children or grandkids nearby, she gave us a key so our young family could take a dip any time we wished.
A smile dances across my face every time I remember Mrs. B.
Memories surrounded me as I sorted through yearbooks and photo albums. Old friends. Precious relatives. Former coworkers. Pieces of my past. So many of these dear folks played a part in my life. Remembering them brought me pure joy. And yes—also a few tears to my eyes.
All these people have impacted my life. Their encouragement, advice, and sometimes mere presence were blessings to me. But so many times, I fail to tell them so.
I imagine you too have people who make your heart smile with delight when you remember them. It really doesn’t take that much time to briefly step out of our daily routine and devote a moment or two to send a handwritten note to someone about whom we would say, “Gratitude swells in my heart every time I remember you.” Expressing thankfulness brings contentment, and contentment brings peace—peace in knowing how the many people with whom we’ve crossed paths were designed to help make us who we are today.
So here is a challenge. Will you carve out some time today to use your words to encourage—to intentionally bless others? It really is very easy. Someone is waiting to hear how thankful you are for them. It might just make their day. And yours.
So, do this simple gesture. Grab a pen and notecard. (Remember them?) Use any of these prompts to get you started on jotting a handwritten note to a loved one in your life. For some, the statement stands alone. For others, elaborate on the thought that is given. Your words are sure to cheer and encourage the recipient!
Five Powerful Phrases to Speak to Your Friend
My favorite thing about our friendship is …
The best time I ever had with you was when …
I am with you all the way.
The character quality I most in admire in you is …
My favorite way to spend time with you is …
Five Powerful Phrases to Speak to Your Parent
I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you before, but thank you for …
A wonderful memory I have of my childhood is …
I admire your strength.
How can I help you?
I am proud of you for …
Five Powerful Phrases to Speak to Your Spouse
I trust your judgment.
I’m glad I married you.
Here is what I appreciate most about you …
I am with you.
Being married to you has taught me …
Five Powerful Phrases to Speak to Your Child
You can do it.
A happy memory I have of when you were younger is …
I am confident you can make good choices.
Being your mom has taught me …
One quality I admire in you is...
All day long we see words; we are inundated with language.
Most often this comes in the form of electronic words streaming across a screen. We read tweets. We scroll through Facebook statuses. We read memos and answer emails. We work our way through our favorite blogs. But very seldom do we get an old-fashioned, handwritten sentiment delivered to our mailbox.
So just who in your life might be waiting to receive helpful, healing, and hopeful words from you? Don’t limit it to just family members. Are there others? Coworkers, the people with whom you share an office space? Neighbors? Committee members? Even the “necessary people” in your life?
Necessary people are the ones who help us do life. The postal worker. The doctor or dentist. The person who does our nails or colors our hair. Why, even the garbage collector!
Each day you encounter many people, either face-to-face or perhaps online. If you aspire to be a person who reaches out and speaks life to at least one soul each day, I guarantee your words will not only cheer them…
They will also change you.
Are you ready? Grab a pen. Wield your words in a way that works wonders. Use them to build, not to break; to bless, not to badger; to encourage, not to embitter; to praise, not to pounce.
Speak life. Impart grace.
How will you use your words for good today?
Karen Ehman is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and New York Times bestselling author. Described as profoundly practical, engagingly funny and downright real, her passion is to help women to live their priorities and love their lives as they serve God and others.
Karen writes for Encouragement for Today online devotions that bring God’s peace, perspective, and purpose to over four million women daily. She has authored ten books including the popular LET. IT. GO: How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith and New York Times bestseller Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It and When to Say Nothing at All. Both include a companion DVD Bible study designed for group or individual use.
She has co-authored two books just for moms with Ruth Schwenk of The Better Mom - Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock It Off and the newly released ECPA best-seller Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus. She is also the Speaker Track Director of Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference and a teaching staff member of their writers' training site COMPEL.
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