There is nothing better than the encouragement of a good friend.
~~Katharine Butler Hathaway
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27:9 (ESV)
This weekend I journeyed to San Antonio, Texas with several precious Christian sisters for the annual Women of Faith event.
Now it would be an understatement to say that the lineup of professional speakers and musicians were less than inspirational but what struck me most were the endless treasured moments among friends. I have found that when a group of God loving women with the intention to encourage and build each other up can be powerful. When we demonstrate the courage to drop all pretense or illusion of perfection or “having it all together” God can work in a mighty way.
These blessings were not in the form of some earth shattering or monumental happenings, rather constant subtle reminders of the heartfelt positive regard and respect each had for the other. This was displayed in multiple ways: a smile, hug, laughter, song, kind and encouraging words. This created a safe atmosphere in which we could each share our hearts and allow our own unique personalities to shine without fear of ridicule or judgment.
When women who delight in the Lord, choose to build up, not tear down, choose humility over arrogance and competition, engage in loving actions and words instead of pettiness and gossip, there is no limit to the influence of the Holy Spirit. The bible is incredibly clear regarding our personal role of encouragement among believers:
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:13-16 (ESV)
Dear Lord, my prayer to you this day is that I will become still, calm and more open to my surroundings and the people you have put into my path. I am not able to be an adequate servant for you if I remain fearful, scattered, and preoccupied. Help me Lord, to come out of myself and see my surroundings with a clarity in which only you can provide. For with this clarity I am able to recognize and take pleasure in treasured moments and opportunities that I might have otherwise missed. Help me to be an individual that builds others up instead of tearing down. Guard my tongue and heart so that all I say and do are pleasing in your sight.