While teaching a writing class, I notice a young woman sitting in the back with her eyes intently focused on her paper. The pencil in her hand deftly moves across the page, back and forth, alternating between long sweeping motions and quick short movements. I casually walk around the room, but when I come near her desk, she covers her work with another sheet of paper.
When the class ends, I ask her to stay a few moments. Once the rest of the students have left the classroom, I ask, “Mary, may I see what you were working on in class?”
Mary lowers her head and slowly pulls a drawing from her folder.
“Mary! You drew this?”
“You’re an amazing artist!”
Mary glances up, then quickly looks down again.
“You have a real gift,” I say, “You know that, right? Not too many people can do this with a pencil and paper. Will you study art in college?”
Mary shrugs her shoulders and says she isn’t sure if she should enroll in any art classes. She’s clearly hesitant to call herself an artist. So I tell her, “You’re an artist, Mary. My prayer for you is that you’ll be able to see this amazing gift inside you and, perhaps someday, share your beautiful work with others.”
Mary smiles as she walks away. And I keep thinking about how so many of us are just like her.
We have a gift inside us, but we’re hesitant to acknowledge it.
Maybe for you it’s drawing or painting.
Maybe it’s dancing or story-telling.
Maybe it’s photography or calligraphy.
Maybe it’s gardening or setting a beautiful table.
Maybe it’s something else.
Or maybe you’re convinced that artistry isn’t in your DNA. Maybe you’ve not found the right canvas for your beauty…yet.
One thing is for sure…God has created you with a distinct purpose in mind. He’s given you something only you can give to the world.
Friends, my prayer for you today is that you’ll begin to see the gifts inside you. That someone in your life will see those gifts in you and encourage you to share your gifts with others.
And if you see a hidden gem of beauty — a special gift — inside someone else, tell them today. Be the one who gives the gift of encouragement to those around you. Indeed, encouragement is one of the kindest gifts we can give.
*Excerpted from Word Writers: Ephesians by Denise J. HughesLeave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Thank you for this truly encouraging post. I knew I always like to write – even way back in grade school when I wrote poems about my dogs. I never really called myself a “writer” as I got older. After all, I didn’t have any published work to point to. Even now that I can point to something published, I still squirm with calling myself a writer. But, even with my blog, if my words touch one heart then God is using my gift for His purpose, not mine…His glorification, not mine. I continue writing to an audience of One and if others choose to listen in, then that’s up to God and the moving of the Holy Spirit. We aren’t responsible for the results, but for just using the gifts that God has graciously bestowed upon us. Great reminder!
Nancy Ruegg says
You always touch my heart, Bev! 🙂
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Thanks Nancy….You make my day on many occasions!!
Kathleen K. says
Your writing is always insightful, encouraging and uplifting. You use this God given gift beautifully here at this blog and on your website. I hope you will continue writing and maybe one day, you will publish something for more people to read and be blessed. I know how much I have been encouraged by your beautiful use of the english language. God bless you sweet sister.
Thank you Denise. what a beautiful and God-thing you did to help this girl, she will never forget your care and encouragement; what a life changing moment for her, no doubt. The power of life and death are in our words. Please pray for help for my grandchildren as they are being mistreated, harmful ways by their parents and please pray for these parents to get on God’s path of love and raising these treasured ones. They will not allow us to say a word to them about their parenting. Please pray we know what to do. My heart is crushed for them. Thank you.
Little Mary says
Just wanna let you know: Even though I don’t know you or them, I’m praying for you and your precious grandkids, too! 🙂 To God, NOTHING is impossible. Not even changing people’s hearts and minds! I’m trying to cling to that promise in my personal circumstances, too!
Love in Christ,
Thank you Mary so much for your prayers and your words of encouragement and verses for me. I will pray for you too. Thank you again.
Little Mary says
You’re so welcome, dear sister! I wish I could get to know you, but I live in Switzerland, so…
But the LORD loves us both passionately and we are bonded together through His love! I hope you will feel His comforting you and carrying you through when you feel you can’t bear the load anymore! You are never alone.
Mary, So thankful to know of you, my praying and encouraging Sister in Switzerland!!! Thank you for more encouragement from your heart. a little while after my prayer request, I received a text from my daughter. I felt that was an encouraging sign from our Lord that He is hearing these prayers today and working on behalf of these treasured, helpless innocent ones. Many drastic changes are needed for them from the parents but as I said, I felt the text was an encouragement from Him on their behalf. so thank you again for praying!
Little Mary says
That’s wonderful! The Lord certainly is watching over them, and as Beth said: God loves children in a special way! I would love to hear of it as soon as anything changes about the situation! I’m sure God will do great things! For “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think according to His power that works in us” (Eph.3,20) and I firmly believe that “the fervent prayer of a righteous person has great power.” – Jas.5,16 (And through Christ, we are righteous in God’s eyes!)
Blessings to you! (hug)
Beth Williams says
Praying now for you, your grandchildren & their parents. I pray God can soften the parents hearts to see what they are doing. With God ALL things are possible-even a major heart change!! God’s first love is for children. May you feel our arms hugging.
Thank you Beth for sharing your prayer requests with me. How encouraging to know you care enough to lift them up and write me. I received a text from my daughter right after you knowing of your prayers, so I feel that is our Lord giving a sign He is working. Many needs to be taken care of for these treasured ones, but thankful for this sign. And so thankful for you!
Beth Williams says
I’m happy to hear that your daughter texted you. I pray God continues to work on her heart. May God continue to bless you & your family!!!
My heart breaks for you as I think of my precious little grandchildren.
My prayer is for God to please intercede in this situation.
Blessings to you dear sister.
Thank you for caring and weeping with those who weep: these treasured grandchildren and their grandparents.
Thank you for your gracious prayers and words.
PS as I said to Beth and Maggie I feel our Lord responded to your prayers, as I received a text from my daughter. Long road of changes needed for these treasured grandchildren by their parents, but I thought the text was an encouragement from the LORD. Very thankful to Him for that and for those of you who responded to my cry for prayers for them. May He bless you richly for caring about little ones you don’t know at all.
I was so moved by both Denise’s devotional and Bev’s reply to his morning. I have had a negative attitude about myself for so long. Starting my day each morning with encouraging words has really turned this old girl around. Thank you.
Michele Morin says
It’s so important for people in authority (teachers, parents, church leaders) to call out the gifts we see in others and to affirm them with an emphasis on God’s plan and gifting and to communicate hope for a bright future in using that gift for Him. Thanks for modeling that, Denise, and for showing us that it can happen in small and quiet ways — but we have to be watching for opportunities.
Blessings to you.
I agree with you that encouragement is a wonderful gift. Thank you for your encouraging words today!
Denise, all I can say is WOW! What a powerful and beautiful devotional. When we use our words to encourage another person, we model Jesus for him or her. I started taking an oil painting class last night, having not picked up a brush in 35 years (Yikes!! :->). I have to admit I felt a bit inferior, and the teachers made me feel so much better with their kind and encouraging words. I pray I will spread that same encouragement each day. May the Lord give each of us daily divine appointments where we can be Jesus’ hands and feet to people who need kindness.
Denise, thank you also for your books and Bible Studies! You have encouraged me to fall in love with God’s Word, and I’m thankful for you. 🙂 <
In His Grip,
Beth Williams says
Thank you for affirming that girl’s talent. Everyone-especially young people-need encouragement. This world so easily discourages us. We hear all the bad & negative stuff, but rarely hear anything good. I’m not an artistic or crafty person. I have found that my talent is encouragement. I readily & easily tell others “God loves them” “Have a great day.” Music is my passion & I do sign language to songs at church some. I guess I express my worship of God by singing praises to Him.
As I read this, I couldn’t help but remember the night that you sent me that email, inviting me to be part of A Moment to Breathe. Just to know that my words were valued and that someone saw me as a writer meant more than you will ever know. I still tear up when I read it and even look at it and remember that my gifts are valued. I’m making it a goal this year to see that same kind of value in those around me…and to be an encourager every day. Because we all have something pretty great to offer, don’t we? I’m thankful for your words…and for YOU, too! Blessings, friend. 🙂
Caryn Christensen says
One of *your* gifts is to recognize (pay attention to) and call out talents in others. I have been the recipient of your kind words in the past and am so appreciative. Thank you for taking Prov. 16:24 to heart. “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Pearl Allard says
Denise, thank you for this post. These words, “God has created you with a distinct purpose in mind. He’s given you something only you can give to the world.” I’m sure I’ll be quoting you to my ladies in Bible study. They need to know that what God is teaching them, regardless of whether it’s expressed poetically or simply, NEEDS to be shared. When everyone participates, everyone is enriched. When some let “the smarter ones” or the “more eloquent ones” do all the talking, it robs us of the fullness God intends our community to have. Every single person has something of value to offer. I’m so with you, Denise! Thank you again.
Nancy Ruegg says
You are so right, Denise: “encouragement is one of the kindest gifts we can give.” Besides, encouraging others is a FUN practice–sure to lift spirits, infuse strength, and create smiles. Both giver and receiver are blessed!
Encouragement is such a fun gift to give, isn’t it? And, yes—so kind. We live in such a competitive society that I wonder if we focus more on what we’re “not” than on what we are. If that makes sense? Someone else’s strengths don’t minimize ours, but we can so easily fail to recognize our own value. Lovely post, Denise. Thank you. ♥
Thank you Denise for the gift of this post! Heavenly Father is always placing us exactly where we need to be – places in time that offer us opportunities to acknowledge the gifts of others – as Ann Voskamp writes, “The greatest living always happens through the givenness” – blessings to all!
Rebecca L Jones says
I always called myself a writer, even with nothing published because I knew it was mine. Rejection slips and critics, dampened the flame but the fire of the Holy Spirit sparked it once more. If I can bless someone with a blog, or anything else, He gets the glory. I think we all have some creative gift, our Father is the Creator. I heard of a woman who made the best cakes, some people are party planners, or photographers or even being a mother takes creativity enough, I encourage women of all ages, it’s never to late to start or to dream
Kim B Smith says
Thank yo for not only encouraging words, but a reminder for me of my gifts. We are all so miraculous I think for me I forget because of the distraction here on earth we walk in.
Thank you for this post Bev. Something to pray about that we will find that unique purpose God has given us.
Sarah Geringer says
Denise, I enjoyed your writing style and insights in Deeper Waters last year. Such a joy to find this encouragement today. I do have artistic talent, and I need to nurture it more. I’m always working so hard that I forget I need to simply enjoy myself, and making art helps me do that. You’ve inspired me to schedule some painting time this month–thank you!