A Quick Thought Feast
A Quick Thought Feast
I am sitting here pondering on what to write about how encouragement brings joy and there are so many different ways that God has used others to encourage me in the past few months and I want to feast on them for a moment…
There are the people close:
The friends who give hugs at morning prayers,
Who say ‘thank you’ after a meal cooked,
Those who offer to lay hands on me and pray when I’m struggling,
Letters of friendship: ‘just because I love you.’
Text messages to just check in and say ‘hi’ during the day,
Words of encouragement and timely advice offered.
There are the people far:
Long emails with updates of life in other continents - a leaning in, making things seem so close even though we are so far away.
Long emails with words of encouragement and thanks which encourage me to keep going.
Short emails of shared ideas, TED talks, mummy-blogs, recipes…
Short emails of reaching out: ‘You doing okay?’
Text messages to make dates to Skype
Skype dates making Australia, Europe, Asia, the US and Peru feel like next door.
Phone calls from my family on a Friday night.
There have been thoughtful gifts:
A welcome basket of flowers and food so beautifully put together in Cinncinatti,
A colorful handmade bracelet to express friendship from the jungle,
So many meals provided and shared on our travels, each one unique and special,
Bunches of flowers from a husband who knows my favourites,
Unexpected donations which remind me God will always provide,
A beautiful necklace in my favourite colour as a late thirtieth birthday present,
There have been words:
‘I love you’
‘You’re meant to be doing this’
‘You’re doing a great job!’
‘That meant a lot to me’
‘I forgive you’
And there have been all the opportunities for friendship:
Chats after prayers,
Monday and Tuesday night girl-chats over cups of green tea or some other latest health drink,
Conversations over creative time, juggling children, painted hands, food coloring and painting shirts,
Opportunities for sharing deep questions as I read books with the boys,
Conversations with fellow-Mummies whilst the children pretend to be royalty in the back garden.
Conversations with neighbours as I walk to the local shops,
Mummy-dates with the boys,
Late-night reflections with Mark.
When I was travelling sometimes I only checked my email once a day because my phone wasn’t connected to the internet all the time. (I know, I know, I hate that admission too!) What that made me realize was just how many emails I get in one day. Of course many of them can be deleted straight away, but when I look over how many are personal and of significance, it is really quite amazing how many encouraging emails I can receive in a week. I don’t think I have been conscious of that until right now. Until I have actually thought about it - actually written this list.
That is one of the things I am recognizing more and more this month as I'm consciously putting on joy - there is no shortage of opportunities to be joyful. No one can blame God and say He doesn't shower us with blessings and opportunities! We just so easily and quickly forget the blessings we have and take so much for granted.
Making the above list, I am so thankful for all the different friendships I have both near and far that bring joy and encouragement to keep going. I am so glad that I have a community that is present and active in encouragement in my life. I am so grateful for the myriad of people who reach out from so many different corners of the world by email to say hi and connect and update us on their news even though we may only see them once every four years! (And so grateful compared to how missionaries even twenty years ago would have been disconnected often from home.) I am so grateful that God uses others to encourage me, and me to encourage others. What joy!
Let’s put on joy together:
Take a moment to write a list of ways God has used other people to encourage you and bring you joy in the past few months. If you need a prompt:
- Those people near
- Those people far
- Thoughtful gifts
- Opportunities for friendship.
Thank God for His provision of friendship in your life.
May you be encouraged and encourage today! This is Day 14 of a 21 Day challenge to put on joy in practical ways. You can receive these posts by email by clicking to sign up here.