Have you ever kept a card or letter that someone has written to you? Do you occasionally re-read it? Who sent it to you? Why have you held on to it? How do you feel when you read the message it holds?
I like to write cards and letters. No, I LOVE to write cards and letters. It is a zestful, life giving, energizing passion of mine. My life’s mission is to encourage with love, passion, and enthusiasm. I live this out through PEP UP for Joy. Passionate Encouragement and Prayer Uplifts People spreading Joy.
There is a note in my study Bible that reads, “A word of encouragement offered at the right moment can make a difference between finishing well and collapsing along the way.” My heart goes aflutter just thinking about helping to prevent people from collapsing and assisting them in finishing their race well.
Cards and letters are one of the most frequently used tools in my encouraging tool box. We live in an incredible age of opportunity with so many channels to write and distribute cards, letters, notes, texts, and messages. They all have great potential to uplift people and spread joy.
I do write a lot by hand, even though my penmanship is not the most elegant or beautiful. I try not to fall prey to being jealous or envious of those who can artistically script and swirl letters with an awe-inspiring calligraphic craft.
I may not be able to swirl letters, but I have learned that I can structure words together into messages that stir the heart. It is a gift I am humbled and honored to have. It is a talent I am working to be a faithful steward of and to serve a greater purpose with.
I would love to be a Professional Encourager, to be able to do what I do and make a living doing it. I have yet to encounter an opportunity or job posting for a Chief Encouragement Officer. But, I do NOT let that stop me. Every professional once started as an amateur, who was once a complete newbie.
So, I fall somewhere on that spectrum between newbie and professional. It may not be well defined or have a large pay check to go with it, but the benefits of being an encourager are pretty incredible.
I carry my heart of encouragement with me into everything that I do. In my roles as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker, substitute teacher, and as a complete stranger I am still an encourager. In any environment be it home, work, school, church, community, volunteer organizations, or the grocery store I am who I am.
I can not count the number of times I have had people tell me these two things, “your card came at just the right time with the perfect words” and “you have no idea how much that meant, I hold on to what you wrote and re-read it often.”
Those responses from people blow me away. I scarcely know what to do or how to react in those moments. I often think that what I do is such a small thing, it does not require much of my time, talent, or treasures. It’s usually not the gift of greatness that I had imagined in my mind to give, but more just trying to give of the little that I do have.
The true credit, and all of the glory, goes to the Holy Trinity. God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The prompting on my heart, the provision for my hands, and the pronouncement that is heard is all a gift of glory from God.
I am just the messenger. The messy messenger.
Only this morning I sat at my kitchen table, head in my hands, tears streaming down. I just felt yucky. I have felt off for the past few days. I have been doing my best to push through, press on, and persevere. I haven’t been able to put a finger on an exact cause. I have evaluated and eliminated several possibilities. I am just not right.
My days have had a few bumps to them, but they have also held fun, family, rich blessings, smiles, laughs, and joys. I have decided to chalk this yuck up to just being human in a broken world.
I am a messy messenger. I am no candidate for sainthood. I am stubborn. I am selfish. I am impatient. I get frustrated and upset (sometimes over the most ridiculous little things). In the wrong moment, a bit too much basil can be a brick wall for me.
I’m not sure what it is about basil that gives me such an adverse reaction. I love oregano and parsley and cilantro, but I absolutely balk at basil. I realize that is such a small and insignificant non-problem in the whole scheme of life. But, to me it is a great illustration, neurotic and a bit psychotic, of what a mess I am.
I am truly not worthy for the calling that I have been given. My track record of decisions, actions, and attitudes has not at all earned me a profile creditable enough to manage the measure that I have been given. I’m a mess even at my best.
A Gift of Glorious Goodness and Lavish Love
The messages that are laid in my hand are rich acts of lavish love, gifts of glorious goodness that I am deeply grateful (but undeserving) to hold. The eternal love, the sacrifices of Jesus, have blessed me with salvation. Salvation brings restoration of relationship and an abundant life.
Howard Thurman once wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
In John 10:10 (NIV) Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The world does need people who have come alive. The world needs messy messengers who are alive with full abundant life.
“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but
to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
He died for us so that , whether we are awake or asleep,
we may live together with him.
Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 (NIV)
Live It Out
Messy messengers bring faith, hope, and love into their daily lives, into whatever roles they fill and environments they find themselves in. They make the most of what they have been given in the ordinary moments of their days.
They may dream with expectations in the stars, but at the same time they observe the extraordinary in the moments of absolute ordinary.
God appointed salvation as a gift for us; a gift of glorious goodness and lavish love. He wants to place a message in our messy hands for us to carry into the world. A message that we carry not on our own, but carry with the Lord’s prompting, provision, and pronouncement.
Carrying the message you have been given. Living an abundant life through salvation. Meeting little needs in daily moments. These are the things that make immeasurable difference.
Each messy messenger gets their own personal, unique, hand scripted, authentic message to carry. Perhaps you are called to lead, or called to support. Maybe you were called to parent or called to be cared for.
You could be called to cook, to clean, to research, to invent, to communicate, to design, to build, to decipher, to grow, to harvest, to teach, to discover, to shepherd, to share, to encourage, to equip, or some crazy combination of all of the above or even more. Possibly for your lifetime, perchance for just a season.
What message do you have in this moment, what pronouncement have you been given?
What provision has been placed in your palm?
What are to the tools you have available to you in the roles you play or the environments you are in?
What promptings have you received in your relationship with the Lord?
Take some time this week to ponder these questions, observe your life for opportunities, and prayerfully consider the message you have been given.
Pray Through It
Beloved Lord, thank You for making us messengers even in the midst of our messes. Lord, help us fully receive Your gloriously good gift of salvation.
May Your lavish love just soak into to all of our empty places until we soggily splash with abundant life in such a way that we could refresh and encourage those around us.
Lord may we be receptive to Your promptings, may we be good stewards of Your provision, and may we be faithful messy messengers of Your pronouncements. May the body of believers be built up in Your strength and fullness.
May the message of Jesus be shared in the glory of His name. Amen