One time, when I was little, I played a game.
Grandparents, aunts and uncles were all visiting that weekend. The house was packed.
I don’t know why I came up with the idea, but I thought it would be fun to hide. I wanted to see what would happen, if I suddenly went missing.
I slipped behind our dusty olive-green couch, squeezing myself under it’s sagging belly. My legs slid in easy, along with part of my tummy. There I hid half contorted, like a gummy worm stuck between the wall and the carpet.
I waited and waited for someone to come look for me.
I eventually climbed out numb and stiff.
No one seemed to miss me.
No matter how old we get or how strong we’ve grown, we can all use encouragement.
We all find ourselves stuck in hard places —
— we wonder if anyone notices.
— we wonder if anyone cares.
When we are happy, is there someone I can dance the crazy-dance with?
When we are unsure, is there anyone I can talk to in run-on sentences and find them still listening?
When we’re pressed against our everyday lives, we wonder if anyone sees.
Of course, we get up, put on our shoes and gas in the car.
Still. Deep inside, we are all waiting for a chance to be known.
The times in my life I was most encouraged were the times I felt most invisible.
I might have only shared the very tip of the iceberg of worries — or glossed over something happy going on in my life.
Once in awhile, someone notices. There was more to the struggle or the excitement I was willing to reveal.
For some unknown reason to me, that someone will go to the store, stand in the card aisle, and pick out some words — just for me. She might have just pulled out her drawer full of envelopes and notes. I wouldn’t be surprised. But I’d imagine her committing pen to paper, signing her name and whispering a prayer in her heart for me.
In Honor of You
If you are one of these women who have a heart for those who are feeling invisible — this month at (In)Courage is in honor of you.
June is the very special month of (in)spired deals, highlighting one of the most treasured gifts I have ever received: the gift of encouragement.
I know for a fact, my heart would not be as alive — embracing both my scars and my blessings — if it weren’t for women like you.
You are the ones that God sees and says with cheer —
“We all have different gifts, based on the grace given us… If it is encouraging, devote yourself to encouraging others.” Romans 12:6-8
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thess. 5:11
There is often a lot of spotlight given to the more “up-in-front” spiritual gifts like evangelism or teaching. But the spiritual gift of encouragement is no lesser just because it is hidden.
Jesus Himself encourages us with the work of giving in secret —
“…so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:4
Sometimes, when we send out cards, we may not hear back, for reasons we don’t know.
God says those cards we send are beautiful gifts He sees and values.
And He rewards us with refreshment in return.
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
Nurture God’s Gift In You
Because of the encouragement I have received, I love serving up encouragement as often as I can.
You see, I am still learning to dare with my heart, to share the hurt and the joys.
By encouraging others, I am believing we can offer gifts from God to each other —
Courage to be friends.
Courage to face hard times.
Courage to celebrate good times.
Courage to be loved — not invisible.
Take some time to nurture your gift of encouragement.
* Browse the wonderful (in)spired June products — cards and gifts — here at the DaySpring Store.
* Use the (in)spired special June coupon: JUNE20. This month, you can save $20 on any $50 order (spend $70 and you get free shipping too).
* As you look through this month’s (in)spired deals, I know you might disappear for a while, imagining faces of old friends and new, opening up an envelope or gift in the mail. Just from you.
Share A Post
I’d love to get encouraged by your words, too.
Share a post from your blog on how you’ve been encouraged — whether through time with God, with friends, or through journeying in everyday life.
Just submit the url of the your post below.
I’ll be making my way, to drop by to read and visit with my cup of coffee, my heart beating with anticipation, of being with together with you. Encouraged and no longer alone.
What encourages you when you feel invisible?
By Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista serving up shots of faith for everyday life.
Win your pick of DaySpring’s Premium Greeting cards: Visit Faith Barista tomorrow Thursday 6/2/11. DaySpring will be giving away two Greeting Card packs at the Faith Barista Jam there.
Photo courtesy of findstuff22 via Photobucket.Leave a Comment
Bonnie, you have encouraged me today, as always! 🙂 There’s a certain thrill you get from lifting each other up!
Bonnie Gray says
Having your visit always brings me a smile. I feel the thrill of your encouragement! 😉
Every inCourage post I read is so timely. I blogged yesterday about feeling depressed and forgotten lately. I am an encourager – I love writting cards and notes to people, and love the feeling I get from encouraging and praying for others. Lately, however, I have been struggling with depression – I needed to be reminded that this is a gift. Thank you.
Bonnie Gray says
Becca – you ARE an encourager. Keep going – you’re leaving a trail of blessing that God sees. Depression is hard, but together we can lift each other up!
I would like to send one huge card to the entire incourage community, and staff. Hearts are so-so heavy. Lean in and hold on to each other. We already know the outcome and who wins this earthly battle. Let’s push towards the front of the line, and not leave one sister behind.
Bonnie Gray says
THANK YOU, Reese! So blessed to have you to be our encourager!
Sometimes it’s easy to “dismiss” something small we did or could do for someone else…maybe we need to remember how much the small things have meant to us! Thanks for the reminder! (Also, sometimes I forward your blog posts as an encouragement to others!)
Bonnie Gray says
rjb! What an encourager you are! Thank you. And God has never put out a menu of sizing. We are all Super-Size in His eyes!
Betty Draper says
Friday, June 3, 2011
Courage Finds Homes
This little silver ring with “courage” etched on it has been used almost daily as a reminder of my ever needy soul for courage. It’s caused me to look on purpose for Women who need a touch of courage as they walk through this worlds with all its trials.
Recently in California a lady clerk in a grocery store ask me what my pendant said. My heart raced for I have been waiting for someone to ask me. After I said, courage, she replied, is that the same as “guts”, I smiled and said yeah I think it could be called that. She then went on to say, well with the way the world is going we are going to needs some guts…I couldn’t agree more even though I don’t think she and I were thinking the same thing. Her next customer was pushing her groceries up to the line so I knew I might be able to get one more word in for Him. I took a deep breathe and said Mam I am a Christian and all that is going on does not concern me much for I know the Lord and He will give courage for whatever is to come. I could tell she would have talked more but work called her so I gave a huge thank you and left this dear soul in God’s hand, I had planted, someone else will water.
For several years I have been collecting courageous wise hearted friends. Friends I know well, some I only met once, a few I have never met. It all started when I bought my first courage ring and then went back to buy enough for all the women in my Sunday school class. Being an older women class I knew they would appreciate the burden God laid on my heart to give out courage. Over half these ladies were widows so they understood the courage it takes to get back into life after losing a loved one. A couple women live with unsaved husbands, some have to live with their children after being on their own for so long or their children had to live with them. One had a son in prison, another had family member with cancer, several had chronic ailments of their own, physical pain they bore daily, heartache after heart ache walked into that Sunday school class weekly. But the challenge to them as I put the courage circle chain on their necks was to look around the church and find a younger women, maybe even a teen who needed a courage touch. Then if God so leads, give them the courage ring and I would to the best of my ability get them another one or give them the web site to order their own. The first one to do so gave it to their grand daughter who was struggling with school. I begin to pass out these courage rings to other friends, in the states and even overseas with the same exhortation. Next I heard from another mother who daughter needed a touch of courage, one of our missionaries in the bush gave hers to a tribal lady struggling. Another mother whose daughter had a break down parted with hers and put it around that sweet frail daughter neck. A missionary laid aside by a debilitation illness must leave their love of their life, missions and come home. several young missionary women who are just starting out their journey overseas. A homeless women living in her car brought to the Lord by some courageous wise hearted women. There is now a band of sisters all over the world who wear the “courage circle” as a reminder to take courage and in a fallen sinful world look for some one to encourage.
The word courage is in both discourage and encourage and we are the only ones who can chose which to do.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous.
You cannot be loving if you are not courageous.
You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous.
You cannot enter into reality if you are not courageous.
Hence courage comes first… and everything else follows.”
Often the real test of courage is not to die, but to live. Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.Courage is resistance to fear; mastery of fear – not absence of fear.
My little courage circle that hangs near my heart has helped me conquer my fear of flying. Given me words when I thought none would come, shut my mouth when too many words spilled out. Courage has helped me follow my spirit filled husband who has taken me all over the world to serve the Lord. Now I find at my age, 64 a need for courage still for my body is getting frailer as I type. Nothing stops time. I have to wonder in the still nights when I cannot sleep, will that courage be there to be old, you know really old, everyone tells me 64 is not old so there must be older. My mother lives in a nursing home and at age 84 I see courage every time I get to visit her. I sense her resistant to give into the dreary life that comes with a nursing home. I hear her voice as she goes to the singing, helps the staff stuff Easter eggs for the children egg hunt. I watch her struggle as the two nurses it takes to get her out of her wheel chair to go anything, struggle to maintain a sense of acceptance. She may be the bravest women I know right now.
Acceptance takes more courage then action.
God give me courage
(sorry the picture did not come through)
Eek! Can you remove my link #12. I put my review under the wrong thing. I did not see that it wouldn’t be up until the 14th. Sorry :/
Favorite Finds – 06/11/11 | ememby says
[…] encouragement is good from Incourage: You’re Not Invisible: The Power of Encouragement (One liner: “No matter how old we get or how strong we’ve grown, we can all use […]
Your words are so true. I don’t think that those who encourage others usually know how much it means to those they encourage. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago I was devastated and scared. I can’t make it through the toughest days without alot of encouragement. On those low days I always seem to find a card in the mail from someone with an encouraging message or verse. Or some days my encouragement has come from reading Psalms and praying. Funny that those days when I have I felt down and grey the weather was also grey, but after praying God sent me a ray of sun to light up the beautiful flowers outside my window. That was His encouragement to me not to give up, He will get me through! He works miracles! I am so thankful God encourages and gives others the gift of encouragement too. How would we get along without it? When I look at the stack of get well cards friends have sent me I’m truly amazed how many care about me and are praying for me!