Friday, May 3, 2013

Just a Word of Encouragement

Just a few of my husband's instruments

God placed a couple of people in my path this week to create teachable moments for me.  He's used these people in order for me to ask an important question of myself.  And I'm finding more and more that as I need these lessons in life, maybe someone else in the world (or at least in my small circle of readers) may need these as well.  Regardless, though, I do hope that maybe one day my grandchildren and generations to follow will understand my beliefs and values that make up who "Granny" really is.

It started on Sunday morning as I was making my way through some groups of people chatting before our church service began. Lucy had grabbed her Grandad's hand wanting him to take her to her class, and a friend of ours saw me but had just missed 2 of my favorite people walking by. Our friend then asked me  
"Is Dan playing in the band this morning?"  
I simply replied "No, not this morning."  
His response "I sure miss him up there in our praise band. I always looked forward to hearing his talent, and just to see him give all of his worship on stage." 

My heart was filled just in that little 60 second exchange
Someone had been touched not only by my husband's musical gift, but this person had actually seen the worship through Dan using his gift of music for his Lord & Savior.  

I just knew that this was going to be a God-filled week 
(which every week and every day and every moment is God-filled ... but hopefully you get the picture).

So then at breakfast a couple of mornings later, we saw an acquaintance who stopped by our table  
"I don't want to interrupt your breakfast, but I just wanted to say how much I always appreciated your 
worship service at our church."  
Dan replied "Well, thank you. That really means a lot to me." 
 So the conversation continued by our acquaintance "You know, we have so much good talent in our church & a lot of extremely great musicians. You always stood out to me and my wife."  
Dan just smiled and nodded his thanks once again.  The man continued ...  
"You see! Even just in your smile, I can see Jesus shining in your eyes. Your love for the Lord always comes through in your music. And other people see it too. No matter who's on the stage leading the worship music, that's their worship to Him. And we could always see you worshiping God through your singing & playing. 
And I just had to come over and tell you."

And my heart just overflowed
(Someone else had been touched by my husband's worship to his Savior)

And Yet ... 

I knew it was more than just an affirmation of my husband's singing & using his musical gift in our praise band.  Some people would look at this and shake their heads ... wondering if an ego was being filled.  Well, I know I'm biased, but I can honestly say that my husband has the least of the least egos that I have ever been around. For various reasons he hasn't been involved in the praise team for well over a year, yet his worship has been an encouragement to others & has left an impression on their lives. So an ego? 
I can safely say not with my husband.

But you know, God had another reason for placing these people in our paths this week. Sometimes His lessons in life are straight-up and I know exactly the point He is making to me.  However, at other times such as these I have to look beyond the surface to find His nuggets for me.  

And this has been a simple lesson in 
expressing appreciation & encouragement to others. 
How many times have I given up the opportunity to simply say to someone

"you've made a difference in my life"
"your contribution to (fill in the blank) has been a blessing to me"
or just simply ...
"thank you for all you've done and all you do"

Speaking for myself, I know that I haven't shown as much appreciation to others as I should have. Sometimes I've talked myself out of this by making the excuse that I 
may over-step or sound pretty silly ...
wouldn't know how to begin the conversation or even a message on a card ...
don't know how to approach people ...
am really not part of their "in-crowd" so it really doesn't matter.

My list of excuses can go on and on.

But this week has shown me otherwise.  I truly believe that God has called
 each of us to encourage each other in 

our everyday lives 
(families, work, schools, everyone we come in contact with during the day) ...
our various ministries within our churches & communities ...
(members, visitors, volunteers, staff)
even our inactivity within each aspect of our lives 
(we can interpret God's direction in each of our lives on this one)

I'm really not sure how this post will be accepted or even how my grandchildren will understand it as they mature & grow throughout their lives.  But, I do know that God has spoken to me this week through these 2 encounters of appreciation & encouragement. Sometimes it's easier for me to make my excuses & miss out on opportunities to be a blessing to others.  I don't really know how people will accept compliments and words of appreciation ... but I know that 
I am responsible for myself to follow God's direction for my actions. 

My words could be the words that will carry with someone who may be going through a challenging time in their lives that I simply do not know about ...
My words may be some of the few encouraging words someone may hear for the day or even longer ...

My words ... 

no ...

not my words but ...

God's words through His servant --

So, how am I doing at being an encouragement to others?

I'll admit that I'm working on it  ... 
I am a work in progress & am so thankful for His patience with me.

And I pray that I will continue to be obedient to God's guidance to encourage others ...
and that my future generations will follow God's path in lifting others up & encouraging them throughout their
everyday lives, ministries & communities.

We will never know what a blessing we could be to others
by simply being obedient to Him 
in encouraging others.



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