Five Words That Can Change Your Life and the Lives of Others
Years ago, a stranger clipped my senior picture from the local paper and enclosed it with a hand-written, encouraging note in the mail: “You have a beautiful smile.” Just five words–and a simple gesture that took maybe five or ten minutes, but can you guess I started flashing my pearly whites after that?
Those Words Made an Impression
Those thoughtful words made such an impression on me that I decided I could do the same thing. As a young wife and mom I started scouring our small-town newspaper for articles about people: wedding announcements, death notices, school honorees–anything that warranted a “Good for you!” “I’m praying for you,” or “I’m so sorry.”
People would call me, wondering why a stranger would take the time to send them a note. I wasn’t trying to enlist them for anything. I was simply copying a kind deed someone had done for me. I kept remembering Paul’s words in the book of Acts that talked about how Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38). Maybe my simple “words” could classify as doing some good for others.
A Lack of Encouraging Words
But it took a negative experience to cement my belief in the true power of encouragement: working in a job where words of encouragement were as scarce as the time given me to complete the demanding work overload for two anxious employers. I was young and inexperienced but it seemed as if mistakes were, um, unforgivable. The constant lack of grace, sensitivity, and encouragement left me drained–and sent me home sprawling across my bed in tears on many nights.
I hadn’t yet discovered my love of words through writing then, but I knew enough to recognize the power of positive, encouraging words. God reminded me of the powerful words of Proverbs 25:11 (NIV): “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
The job ended after a year but my determination solidified: With God’s help, I would always try to paint word pictures that would bring beauty, encouragement, and healing–ones that would create “apples of gold in settings of silver” in the hearts of others.
God’s Encouraging Words
Ultimately it was–and is–God’s encouragement that constantly lifts my spirits and keeps me positive and loving life. Listen to some of His words of encouragement:
- “I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2 NIV).
- “My peace I give you” (John 14:27 NIV).
- “I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15 NIV).
- “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV).
- “You are precious and honored” (Isaiah 43:4 NIV).
Now, those are the kind of words that can change your life, as well as the lives of others.
(Poster thought from Day-votions® for Women, © 2009, Rebecca Barlow Jordan (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan).
It’s Your Turn
What about you? When and how have you discovered the power of encouragement? What words have encouraged you? How have the words of God and others changed your life? Challenge for study: What five words in Scripture can you find that have made (or could make) a difference in your life? Please share your comments below.
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