This day has been great so far. I was so thankful for the post that poured out of me around 12:00 this morning. It was the kind of post that comes after I have been trying to write something forever but it's just not coming together then all of a sudden I click on 'new post' and before I know it something I had no idea I wanted to write is written. I know those posts come from the Lord because when I go back and read them it's like I am seeing it for the first time and it is exactly what I needed to read.
This day is also great because I have received such encouragement from my friends in the blog world! It was obvious the Lord sent y'all my way last night/today leaving comments and sending emails. What a pick-me-up! It was just the encouragement I needed to be able to make the right choices today. I have given much thanks to the Lord for all of you encouragers today! You set a great example and one thing I know I want to be is an intentional encourager. It just means so much to hear even the simplest (and often those are the best) words of love and encouragement from someone.
Once when I was teaching in an elementary school I was walking down the hallway and saw a teacher who looked just really well "put-together". I didn't know her that well and it wasn't (isn't) really in my nature to gush about other people (I know. That's bad.) but for some reason that day I just blurted it out, "Hey So-and-so, you look really terrific today!" She looked back at me with an almost shocked expression. She had been rushing back to her classroom from the copier but she stopped and came right up to me with tears in her eyes. She said, "Thank you. Thank you for saying that. I have had a really rough week and...I just needed to hear that." She gave me a big hug and then went on her way.
Wow, who knew such a simple thing for me to do would yield such a response? There was serious sadness in this woman's face when she looked back at me but she was smiling as she walked away. She definitely had a little more pep in her step :) I thank God for that moment because it made me realize that whenever I think something kind, uplifting or encouraging--I should speak it. Always. Even if it's not really someone I know that well or even if it seems awkward, etc.
One last thing I'll say is that the most important criteria for encouragement is that is should be REAL. (I had to say it, right?) Flattery is not the same as encouragement. I read a really neat book that describes 'true encouragement' as seeing God in someone and pointing it out. I like that. That's real.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.