Oh Sisters in Christ, how I love you. Ones I know and ones I don’t. I love you because you are fighting the good fight in your homes, in your communities, and in your churches. I love you because you aren’t perfect but you keep plugging away, confident that God will see to completion the good work He has begun in you. I love you because no matter how hard-pressed on every side you may be, you cling to the knowledge that you are not crushed and your God has not abandoned you. I love you because you aren’t afraid to be honest with your God about how hard it can be on this planet while simultaneously thanking Him for the very messy life you lead. You carry so many loads. You are responsible for so much. Your to-do-list never becomes an I’m-done-list. But you still press on.
So in case no one has told you lately, you are admired. I’m in awe of all you do, amazed at the love you share, and I know it makes a difference in the lives of others. I know it seems sometimes as if no one sees you. No one recognizes all the love you pour into life. So may I just assure you that not only does the One who has declared you to be the apple of His eye see you, those around you see you too. Please forgive us for the times we fail to tell you how amazing we find you to be. Please forgive us for not taking the time to give voice to love.
I know there will be those who read this and want to remind me that if we are doing things for the glory of God it really won’t matter who sees, who mentions, who takes the time to notice. And I wholeheartedly agree that God sees and is enthralled when we live life for Him; when we love wherever we are in His Name. But, I also wonder if one of the ways God chooses to spur us forward might be through the encouragement, confirmation, and kindness of those around us. I might even ask you to entertain the idea that there is Biblical exhortation to do exactly that.
- After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.” Acts 13:15
- And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. Acts 15:32
- Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:18
- For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
- And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 1 Thessalonians 5:14
Every one of those verses, and there are many more on both sides of the Covenant Line, exhort us to tangibly love. Even the word admonish, which might sound harsh if not investigated a bit, is an exhortation to love through instruction. It means to appeal to the mind with spiritual substance, to exert positive pressure on someone’s logic, and to urge them to choose God’s best.
It seems to me based on the Truth of Scripture that I need to be looking for opportunities to notice and affirm those around me. False flattery? No, not ever, no. That’s the enemy’s deceitful twist on building one another up—ingratiating for gain—Satan’s counterfeit. But honest encouragement, honest appreciation, honest strengthening. . . done for no other reason than to say to your Sister, “I see you and I esteem you so.” Girlfriend, this is more than just a good idea. It’s essential to our doing life together as believers. It’s what distinguishes us from the dog-eat-dog emotional environment so many women we know are devoured by.
See, here’s what I think. If you and I were to begin to make a concerted effort to give voice to all the wonderful things we see the Sisters in our lives being and accomplishing, it would draw attention. If you and I were to make an effort to express appreciation every time we see a fellow Sojourner going the extra mile, others would sit up and take notice. If we were to come along side one another and celebrate the choices we see our sweet Friends making to serve others instead of being served, heads would turn. Why? Because only a woman who has been changed by the Unchangeable One lives like that—no one does those things, no one gives voice to genuine love— UNLESS THE VERY PRESENCE OF LOVE IS LIVING IN THEM.
Do you get it Girlfriend? The love you pour out on others spreads His fame and strengthens His Kingdom. It says to the world that He will not be contained and His LOVE will always change things, even the deep self-serving things that keep us from building up those around us. Yes, only He can revive hearts and encourage souls, but what if you were the way He chose to do it? What if Love chose to speak through you? Doesn’t the idea of it make you almost giddy? Oh, how I pray you walk away today being encouraged to give voice to love and your path crosses a heart that needs to hear it.
But I’m not stopping there. I’m also going before the Throne with one more request. I’m asking Him to send you someone to speak the voice of love straight to your heart. To encourage you. To strengthen you. To esteem you. And may I just exhort you Sweet Friend to receive His message with full assurance of His Love and His desire to revive your heart because while I may not know you, I do know Him and I have no doubt, Daughter of the King, that you possess the affection of your Father’s heart and He finds you to be worth every word.