My brother texted me about something important that was going on in his life. I wrote him back with some encouraging words. It was a long text!
Almost a week later, I hadn’t heard back from him about what was going on. That seemed strange, given my insightful, encouraging comments, I thought to myself. I’d send a quick note to him checking how everything had worked out. I pulled out my cell phone and typed in his name. I hadn’t pushed second! Six days later, my helpful response still sat in the text box! Oh my goodness! What had he thought?! For six days, he had no doubt wondered what I was thinking, wondered why I hadn’t responded to his heart-felt concerns! Good grief! I sent an “Oh my goodness! I thought I had sent this!” text to him, kicking myself as I did. Why hadn’t I pushed send!
I felt like I had good words of encouragement for someone I loved and yet hadn’t gotten them to him. I had words to give him strength but inadvertently kept them to myself!
I gave me a good talking to, shaking my head plenty at my mistake. I had really dropped the ball.
It dawned on me that this happens more often than I realize. Aren’t there other times when I have good words of encouragement for someone but don’t follow through? Haven’t I had people on my mind, thinking I would send them a text or card or give them a call but just didn’t ever get around to it? Are you that way?
After my good talking to, I asked the Lord to help me do better about following through with my good intentions, for me to look for opportunities like Velma on Scooby Doo looks for clues! My heart’s desire is to bring hope and light to this dark world!
Later that day, a young lady who had just gone off to college was on my mind. I still had her high school graduation announcement hanging up. I passed her picture several times and then finally stopped. This had been out all summer but this week-and especially today-I had looked at it countless times. Something must be up! I prayed for her right then. Being a college student is tough; she might be having a bad day or a stomach virus. I didn’t have her cell number or address but God knew where she was and what was going on. Then, I remembered I had her mom’s cell number! I grabbed my phone.
Wait! I thought and put down the phone. She might think I was nuts. Actually, since she knows me, she probably already thinks I’m nuts. But wouldn’t you want to know that someone is praying for one of your kids or someone you loved? I picked up the phone again pre-thinking what I would say. “This has been hanging up all summer,” I wrote and sent a pic of the announcement. “All week, she has been on my mind, especially today. Will you let her know that I am praying for her? And…if you will give me her mailing address, I can send her mail. Or her cell number and I can send her a Bible verse. But no pressure.” The no pressure stuff was totally true. Most college freshmen don’t want some older lady-even if they know them-to have their cell phone numbers, but almost all freshmen like mail! Anyway, no matter the outcome, the young lady would know that she was cared about and being prayed for.
Later, the freshman’s mom responded, “Please continue to keep her in your prayers, she is having a tough week…” She thanked me for caring and praying. I got the address (and cell number) and cried a little. I prayed for her again, for her to be strong, make good friends, and trust in the Lord.
Ephesians 4:29 says: “Do not let any unwholesome words come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up…that it may benefit those who listen.” Unwholesome words can be lots of different stuff besides four-letter words (i.e. negative, hurtful, critical, etc.). These days, with all of our technology and social media, words come out of our fingers, too!
We have the power of life and the hope of God in our words. Are we following through with passing them on! I may have great thoughts in my head for encouraging, but I don’t need to just think it, I need to push send!
Is there someone in your life (or in your phone) you need to encourage…today? I don’t mean you have to act like Buddy the Elf (my favorite) or Mother Teresa (another favorite), just be you. God will surely bring people in your life that you need to be their short term personal cheerleader. Watch and see! It will happen! You can accept the challenge, take a breath…and follow through!
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.