Archive for July 19th, 2013

Encouragement through friendship

We just finished a week of VBS at church. Vacation Bible School. It’s a highly energetic, very entertaining, potentially life-changing week for kids.

This year Chloe was the only one who participated. Elliot, Zippy, and I were volunteers. This particular type of volunteering proves to be extremely exhausting! But oh so worthwhile an endeavor!

On the last night of VBS, the leaders were instructed to give encouraging words to each of the kids in our group. As we spoke the words, we gave each child a glow stick as a symbol of the encouragement spoken. It was a very special experience for leaders and kids!

It was during this activity that I was surprised by a fellow adult leader on my team. She grabbed me as I went by. And with tears in her eyes she spoke an amazing encouragement to me.

She didn’t say the usual: “I don’t know how you do it.”   She didn’t say the overused and sometimes painful: “You are a saint,”  or the eye-roll-inducing: “God will only give you what you can handle.”

She simply said that she knows my life is at times a difficult one. But she also said that my life is a blessed one. And she said that I was a blessing to people watching me live my life. And as she handed me my glow stick, she told me that I was a shining star … or light … or whatever it was that she said.

The truth is I don’t remember her exact words. But I remember the sentiment. And I remember how loved and encouraged and appreciated and noticed I felt. I felt validated and worthy. I felt a deep-heart emotion that I don’t usually let myself feel. I felt like I had a friend and that that friend understood and appreciated me.

My eyes brimmed with tears as we hugged, and I let myself receive those words. I breathed in a deep breath and accepted those words as truth.

I sometimes have a difficult time accepting close-to-the-heart, intimate, emotional words from people — especially from a new(ish) friend like this one. But I purposely let myself receive those words and be encouraged.

I felt full. Full of blessing and happiness.

And truth be known, I could’ve bawled right then and there…. But, of course, I didn’t allow that to happen!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

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