Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Little Light Seeping Through the Darkness

If there is one thing that is always in short supply, it’s encouragement.

I don’t know why that is, but it is. And how you can tell is by the oversized reaction that occurs when someone gets encouraged.

It’s something in the water, I think. Or the culture. It’s become something of an endangered species. We hunger and thirst for encouragement.

I don’t actually think this is anything new. Encouragement is one of the spiritual gifts highlighted by St. Paul in his letter to the Romans (12:8). In other words, it was unusual enough to be classified as a special gift from God.

Over at Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray is doing a weekly jam on the topic – posing a prompt on Thursdays and then participants post by the following Thursday. The prompt for this week is unexpected encouragement which, given my opening words, is the only kind I think there is.

I think of encouragement as grace – a grace bestowed particularly in those times when life looks bleak, you’re surrounded by trouble, there are awful events you’re having to deal with, or any other of those things that comprise part of a normal life.

Like when your son has to have emergency brain surgery, and a pastor shows up to pray with you.

Or you’re a young couple, pregnant, move to St. Louis and their house in Houston won’t sell for 18 months because the mortgage industry has shut down (1979-1980), and an older couple takes them into their hearts.

Or you’re struggling with politics at work, and a co-worker comes into your office, closes the door, and says, “I know it must be bad. How can I help?”

Or someone sends you a direct message on Twitter. Or an email, telling you how much your blog post meant.

I’ve experienced all of these things, and it is always surprising, wonderful and welcome.

Little things. Small acts of grace. Gentle evidences that you care. Unexpected but experienced like a drink of cool water in the desert. Or a little light that seeps through the darkness.

Related: The link for next week's discussion at Faith Barista, Letting Go of Worry.

Photograph: Hayloft by Nancy Rosback. Used with permission.


emily wierenga said...

you write well, and true, friend. thank you.

Kathleen Overby said...

iLike X 1,000,000,000. Never ever put that many 0's.

n. davis rosback said...

now that you have said it, i can see that encouragement truly is grace.

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Glynn: You put it well: a light seeping through the darkness. I cannot even begin to describe or tell how many times a word or action "saved" me. I try to remember that and use it as a motivation to do the same. Thanks for a great reminder. said...

Such a small thing, encouragement, to give. And a great gift it is to receive. I love this idea. My favorite one at work is, "How can I help you?" And to be sincere in it.

Maureen said...

Given from the heart, and another heart opens.

Scott Couchenour said...

Glynn - yes! yes! yes! I totally am in favor of encouragement. This post needs to be raised up the social flagpole and flown for everyone to see. I have never known a genuine encouragement to go sour.

I'm gonna put a link to this post on the Facebook page, 365 Club said...

When people know you, Glynn, encouragement is not rare.

Jessica said...

Words written by a true encourager!

I never thought of grace and encouragement as the same. Grace is my theme word. It keeps finding its way into my days. Thank you for opening my heart to another element of grace I had not considered.

jasons said...

I believe your right. We need more encouragement, person to person. Great post. Thank you Glynn.

Bonnie Gray said...

I love how you write - so clean, it doesn't get in the way of sharing your encouragement, straight into my heart. I was moved how well you remember and how close the surface it is for you. I'm inspired to carry those encouragements and let them writer over the things that threaten to discourage me. Wonderful greatest hits of God in others for you.

Sandra Heska King said...

You, my friend, are the king of encouragement. You are a light!

HisFireFly said...

Do you realize how much you bless others with your gift of encouragement.

We receive. We thank you. We love you. And He gets the glory.

bahava said...

mmmm, well said :)