When we make a lifestyle of encouragement, we are not just telling people what they want to hear. Encouragement is not just flattery; it is an effort to agree with God's best for that person. At home and at work and at school, we spend a lot of time with the same people each day. We need to determine what kind of influence we will have. Will we build or will we tear down?
My teen years were filled with dating disappointments and stress about grades. I wanted to grow up but tried not to grow out of my place in my family. My mother was an encourager. She reminded me that God had a plan for me. She focused on my place in our family rather than harping on every mistake that I made. She was quick to send me to "get it straight with the Lord." But morning greeted me with mercy and lunch bag literature. This bag said:
April 18, 1988
Fifteen years ago,
God gave me a special gift;
He answered a prayer I'd prayed
Years ago, that went like this:
I need a girl, Heavenly Father,
Whose heart would love You,
She needs to be sweet and smart,
And she needs to love me too.
She'll make my day with her pretty smile
And try real hard to keep me in style.
She'll be the perfect daughter,
A special blend You see;
She'll be like her dad and her Jesus
And just a little like me.
Now she's here
And to my delight,
God, you made her
I may not have met all of that criteria all of the time, but that was her prayer for me. ahhhhh