I assume we could all quickly recall a time when a word was spoken to us that brought life. Like a spark ignited inside, spurring us into action, making us come alive. The encouragement that came from some kind soul at the appropriate time was a wind that made our torn vessel sail again.
And sadly, just the opposite is true as well.
Unfortunately a harsh word spoken in anger, sarcasm or ignorance can echo in our ears years later. It can be paralyzing and make us susceptible to all kinds of harmful behaviors.
At times we may dwell on those painful moments and fulfill the negative words simply because we replay them so often in our minds. We wonder if perhaps these things were true all along.
These past few years have given me renewed hope with a picture of how powerful the blessing of words can be.
We have a dear friend, I speak of him here from time to time. We have only known him for about 4 years. We met him and his lovely at a very critical time in our journey. We were scarred and wounded and walking with a limp and in the middle of all that we found them to be a soft place to land. They were obviously seasoned and their prayers were powerful and spirit filled.
They took us in and begin to speak words of life into our souls. Their words were like gentle breezes that refreshed our weary bones . Their prayers like healing rain that poured over our dry desert.
He became a mentor to Jason meeting with him regularly, teaching him out of his many years of pastoring and leadership training.
They spoke blessing over our children and us. They prayed over us and loved us and affirmed us every time we were together or speaking on the phone.
One day I remember a phone call from them at a moment that I wasn't sure I could move forward any more.... They just wanted to let me know God had laid me on their hearts that morning and they prayed for me and reminded me of their love for me.
Our children grew to love them as much as we did. They were excited when we would have them in or go to visit.
But soon after we began our friendship we found out that there was a very ugly reality that threatened to separate us far too quickly.
He had a disease. And it was all throughout his body. This amazing man prayed humbly that God would take his pain away and God miraculously healed him from pain. To the end still without substantial pain, only an occasional headache from time to time. It's the most incredible miracle I have ever witnessed with my eyes.
We have watched God move in them and through them.
We have seen them love each other with a love that is rare and deep and precious. They speak to each other with such sweet words you wonder if they are newly weds.
How blessed we feel to have journeyed with them for this season. We believe God gave them to us as a gift. And we acknowledge his great hand in the timing of this relationship.
But now this encourager is making his exit and as I sit here beside his bed, while he sleeps restlessly, occasionally he opens his eyes to see if the shadows of the birds are still present outside his window. I attempt to live in the moment and cherish the time he has left. As I help him with his straw I ask him if he knows who I am and in his very sleepy, groggy voice he responds.... "Of course! I know your voice anywhere, Rosebud". I blink back tears and thank God for one more gift.
One more day to be near to him.
As I reflect back over the past few weeks I see many gifts that I will forever treasure.
Like the hospital visit with our little one. She lingered back on a chair as Jason and I sat on either side of him talking to him candidly about his home going and what he imagines it will be like. He had some last wishes and things he still wanted to say... I asked the little one if she wanted to say goodbye before we left. She came up to the bed and I pressed her hand against his since his eyesight has become very compromised. He reached over with both hands and grabbed hers. My already emotional heart felt like it would burst as he tried to sit up and begin speaking words of blessing over our sweet child. He began telling her what he loved about her and encouraged her to continue being a sweet spirit. And then a little tear formed in the right corner of her eye and started rolling down her cheek. And as my own hot tears streamed down my face I knew I was witnessing a beautiful moment my daughter will treasure in her heart Forever. After that day she never wanted to miss going to see him.
Nor will I.
His raspy voice whispers to us... "I will always love you. I am so grateful for you and your family."
The power of speaking blessing over another.
The beauty of the gift of encouragement.
We will forever be changed as we have been given the gift of life-giving words by these 2 dear souls who love Jesus and live like him.
All of our hearts long to be loved unconditionally and blessed by another who speaks life over us. We all can find that in a Father who sent his son down here to earth to make a bridge so we could spend eternity with him.
A daddy who wants to spend time with us. He knows your name and every detail of your life. And he accepts you and longs for your companionship. You never have to worry that you are taking too much of his time or a bother to him. He is never sharp tongued or quick tempered.
Maybe you are wondering how any Father could love you like that.
Jesus told this story to a crowd of listeners.
The Story of the Lost Son ~ Luke 15
11-12 Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’12-16 “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
17-20 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.
20-21 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
22-24 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.
25-27 “All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’
28-30 “The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’
31-32 “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’
Jesus was telling this to the crowd to demonstrate how the Father rejoices when lost sons and daughters come home. But the story also tells us that this father didn't even wait to hear the son say he was sorry.... He loved him unconditionally in spite of his son's hurtful and unwise behavior.
OUR FATHER is the Father of ALL blessings. The Father of Unconditional love. The One who knows your name.
I will miss my friend so much but he continues to always point me to the Heavenly Father reminding me that all glory be to him. He is the one who is the eternal encourager.
I have no doubt that a grand feast awaits him. He will certainly be rewarded for a life well lived.
Servants become great when they enter the upside down kingdom and I have no doubt he will be welcomed with fanfare and honor by the ones who have gone before him. But in his humility he will most certainly lay those crowns at the feet of his Master.
I have been blessed these past years.
Far beyond anything I deserve!
I am grateful.
And I am ready to take that train today if he calls my name.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
If you need some encouragement today. Please email me. I would love to hear from you. If you need a reminder that you are loved and blessed by your Heavenly Father please be assured that you are indeed.
Mahlon went home to be with his Savior Friday July 18, 2014.