To give support, confidence or hope to (someone); to give support and advice to (someone) so that they will continue to do something; help or stimulate (an activity, state, or view) to develop.
Every spring as gardens begin to bloom, I am completely swept away by flower markets. Its a little known fact that in NYC, flowers are sold on the street, or outside of little corner shops and that they are cheap! There is nothing I love more than to see and smell them, to choose bouquets to take home and arrange on my table, or to have them wrapped in tissue paper and deliver them to a friend. When you receive flowers, when you buy flowers, when you peruse them and obsess over them as some are prone to do (ahem), beauty unfurls. Blossoms and color and scents mingle to represent love and friendship and life, passed from one to another in one of the simplest and one of the most meaningful of ways.
If I could, I would offer each f you a bouquet right now. I'd deliver hydrangeas or peonies wrapped in paper to your door and give you a big squeeze as I passed beauty into your hands and whispered that you are loved and delighted in. Because you are, and I desperately want you to know that you shine beauty that far exceeds a fresh bloom. But maybe some days, we all need a fresh bloom to remember who we are. We need sisters and friends and confidants and even those we don't know all that well, to remind us of our true selves and who we are in Christ.
This is encouragement at its core. To breathe life, to support, to come along side, to infuse another soul with words and care that offer hope, direction and start something new. I can't hand deliver flowers to each of you, but I can offer my words. I can speak life, I can write it down on a note card, on a napkin, in a text message, or a blog post. In some cases it might come along side a stem, but I know that the words of encouragement I can pour out are the bouquet itself... words that offer beauty are a worthwhile ministry.
The Bible teaches us that The Word became flesh and made his home among us, lived for us and with us, and died for us. The Living Word, the testimony of Christ is alive and rooted in the heart of his children. If you know him, if you are his, you are an ambassador of his truth and love and hope to all who encounter your life. You can pour out words that encourage like blooms to new moms, to fellow sisters, to those in need. expressing love through the written word is a ministry of letters, that can be taken up by the busiest among us, the infirm, the mama who longs to play an active role in bringing life to others but also knows in this season she is physically called to home and young children. It is a ministry of encouragement your children can take hold of along side you, that will help shape them to see needs, hurts, and others beyond themselves.
Who in your life could use some encouragement? Who is longing to be seen? Is there a friend at church, a lonely mom at the park, a clerk, a neighbor, maybe even a stranger, who you can intentionally love on with words today? Who in your world could use a bouquet?
Sharing words can be so simple and such a meaningful way to love your community this season. Here are a few ideas for how to get in the habit of encouraging others this summer.
-Share scripture that is meaningful to you on a notecard with a prayer for the recipient. Pop it in the mail the old fashioned way!
-Text a friend in the morning to let her know you are praying for her. Speak life and gospel to her heart in the morning.
-Collect a few pretty postcards and drop them in the mail to friends, both local and afar with a note or verse written in to let them know you wanted to deliver beauty to their mailbox. Or keep some in your purse and hand them out as God's spirit leads you!
-Write thank you notes with your children to the helpers in your community. Think of those who you see often but that are "often unseen" (grocery store clerks, librarians, receptionists, doorman, postmen, etc.)
-Keep a list of the attributes and the promises of God- send them to friends to remind them of all they have to hope in through Christ.
-Pray for each recipient as you email, send notes on Facebook, and stick cards in the mail.
-Get your children involved in writing to family who live far away, drawing pictures and sending updates in handwritten notes will be a treasure to them.
May the fragrance of Christ go before you, as your words present His beauty and truth to those you encourage with bouquets of words this summer.