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Encourage One Another

I remember my first brush with gossip . My sixth birthday. It's the first birthday that I can recall... on account of the gossip.

There we were, six or seven little girls, packed into into the playhouse that my grandfather had made. One guest had not yet arrived. We should have been playing tea party or ice cream parlor. But we were not and I didn't understand why. Instead we were huddled in a tight group tied together by whispers.

"She smells. Did you notice that she always wears the same clothes? She only goes to St. Michael's Elementary because she has a scholarship."

I didn't know any of those things. I didn't even guess at them. I didn't care. All I knew was that they were talking about a little girl who was not there to defend herself. I felt like I had been burned by the cruelness of their words. I could not stay amongst the flaming tongues and went to seek the comfort of my mother's hug and to cry at the inexplicable meaness in my playhouse. I learned that I am tender hearted on my sixth birthday. I learned the power of words on that day as well.

About a month ago, I received the Reflective Blogger's Award from my friend Lisa at The Preacher's Wife. I was so proud. Someone liked what I had written. Someone liked what I thought. I dutifully passed on the award to other bloggers but all the while I thought Finally, someone else has acknowledged what I have known all along. I have talent. I was ready to sign book deals and speak to thousands. It was only a matter of time before the reality check. You're getting mighty dressed up in those garments of pride. You can't expound on an idea for more than four paragraphs so the book thing is out. And speakers are funny and dynamic and don't say, "You know what I mean?" to drive a point home. So that's out too.

So I had to wrestle with the question, Why am I writing? I really wanted the answer to be Why, for fame and fortune, of course! But glorifying my name doesn't bring glory to the Name Above All Names so that couldn't be the final answer. The whole time I was fighting pride, I was reading other blogs and discovering women who are fighting illness or dealing with the loss of a child or are married to a husband who is in jail...The list is endless. For the most part these are not women without hope. They trust that there are jewels hidden within these burdens but they sure could use a person to come alongside and wrap them in words of encouragment. They don't want to hear Romans 8:28. They want words from the heart. I care. I thought about you and prayed for your family this morning. You matter. I'm sorry.

I might not have it in me to write books but I am a letter writer. The author of encouraging notes. Letters that get tucked in Bibles or quoted in sermons. Letters that get read and reread. I chose to reject the example of the mean girls in my playhouse. I would rather use my words for good. Words do have power, the power to cut to the quick and the power to lift one's soul. That's it. That's why I blog. To be a voice of encouragement. Here on my blog and especially in the comments section on other blogs.

A few days ago, I was given the opportunity to encourage a few people in another way. Kathy at Sunballo awarded me with the Reflective Blogger Award with these words:

I like her humor and her insights and her dedication to the Lord. You’ll find compassion and wisdom in her articles. I wish I could sit down at her breakfast table and discuss God’s Word with her and her children, to hear her perceptive ideas. Kate, you’ve encouraged me many times and I hope this encourages you to keep writing, keep praying, keep studying, keep loving those people God puts in your path!

But this time, my head didn't swell. Not one bit. I am simply glad to be able to shine the spotlight on some bloggers whom I admire.

Mary at Not Before Seven. She loves God's Word and is determined to know more of it and to share it with her three little ones. A girl after my own heart. She is a few mothering years behind me but I always come away from time spent at her blog impressed with the wisdom that I find there.

Bonnie at Ink It Blog. I "met" her this week when she left a comment here. I clicked over to her site and read Let the Dishes Wait... She wrote in such a way that I felt like I could see into Martha's thoughts. I went back for another visit and found post after post that I could relate to. She should get this award solely for creating a devotional about Montezuma's Revenge.

Kitty at kittyhox. She was the first person outside my circle of friends who stopped by for a visit. My first cyberspace friend. I love the way she skips with ease from one topic to another in a post and I follow along with her no matter where she arrives at the end. Her writing has a conversational feel to it.

Amy at Adore, Amplify and Admire. I could write more than four paragraphs about this girl. When she prays the heavens shake and mountains move. She has a servant's heart and a scholar's mind. My life is richer because I count her among my dearest real-life friends. There are not many posts on her blog in part because she is a people person and her days are busy. She may not write often but when she does I read and reread. I like that I can hear her voice as I read her words.

So here you are girls...

...go out and share this encouragement others.


Meg said…
Hi Kate. You are an encourager. Thanks for using your words and His for uplifting your sisters here in blogland and at home. I appreciate you. Meg
You are an encourager. I've been on the receiving end of it several times! :)

Your writing blesses me, encourages me and make me want to love Jesus a little more. (Well, a LOT more!)

Love you girl,
Faith said…
Kate, I can relate to you with some of that! And yes, God really does use you to encourage others with your comments as well as your own blog. And a hearty "amen!" to what people want to hear instead of Romans 8:28. ;) I love that you "get that."

Thanks for the blog recommendations, too!

May your heart be blessed today.
Kate, your tender heart impresses me again. I think these blogger awards help us encourage each other to higher goals. I'm going to check out your recommendations.
Mary@notbefore7 said…
I look foward to visiting the other sites you have now introduced me too. I have enjoyed your encouraging and thoughtful posts time and time again! You have such a heart for others and I have learned that about you so quickly. Thank you.
Amy said…

Thanks for encouraging me, not only with your kind words, but also with your heartfelt, insightful posts that communicate a depth of understanding wrought in the trenches of living every day life unto Him.

I'm reminded of Ephesians 5:19 where Paul directs us to be filled with the Spirit and to "speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in your heart to the Lord."

You are loved,
lori said…
I laughed when I read your blog today. "I might not have it in me to write books" (I don't, not enough patience in this girl, but God is working on that!) I too am the encourager with NOTES! I have been told that it is a ministry to do that. I had never thought of it that way until a friend said, "most of us think of the nice things to do..but you follow through." It's the follow through ministry! I loved what you wrote AGAIN...Thanks for reminding me that this is MY ministry in this season, to lift up and encourage those around me with my words...ultimately for HIM, who gives me the words! Peace
Jean 1 said…
Kate, this is a beautiful post. I love the reflective way you look into your past, I think we have all had those eye-opening experiences that brings us one step closer to seeing the ugly that lies out in the world. Also, I look forward to reading the new blogs you've recommended.
Janelle said…
Beautifully written. I find that more times than not, I have my ego wrapped around what I write. I have to fight pride daily. I am glad that I am not alone. Keep encouraging.
Cheryl said…
Kate, you write beautifully! You write because it helps you see things more clearly, then you can encourage us. You write because you have the passion. You write because God gives you the desire and the gift. You write great comments on our attempts at self-expression. Thank you for not hiding your talent under a bushel!
Bonnie W said…
Dear Kate,

I had not been able to visit my blog for several days - my daughter and hubby were preparing to move to Florida with their 4 little ones after living with us for 3 months. It has been a very busy, sad and happy weekend. They pulled out this morning in their U-Haul.

When I founs your note this afternoon, it was such an encouragement - a little gift from God to encourage me that the pain will pass as I get back into my routine of writing and sharing my heart with others.

I too plan on visiting the other blogs you mentioned as well as passing the encouragement along!

Thanks and God bless!

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