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Written Words Give Power
As a young mother, I heard author and speaker Ann Ortlund say that when you want to compliment someone, you should write it. Why? We may easily forget spoken words, no matter how inspiring. But written words give power and credibility to a thought, especially an encouraging thought. Later on, when the person you complimented needs a soul-lift, they have your words of affirmation to help them overcome self-doubt and discouragement.
I discovered that Thanksgiving was the perfect day to start this “cheerleading on paper.” Before we ate dinner, we put each person’s name on a slip of paper and dropped them—the papers, not the people—in a basket. After the meal, everyone drew a name from the basket—no peeking!
A Sense of Kinship
Then we sat with pen or pencil and paper—fancy stationery or plain copy paper—and wrote that person a note telling them why we were thankful for them. When the children were too small to write, they whispered their dictations to us. After we completed our notes, we went around the table and read them aloud. Some brought laughter, others tears, all a sense of kinship and gratitude.
How amazing to see God’s hand at work during these “Thankful Letter” moments. A sister forced to write why she was thankful for her pesky little brother sees him in a new light for a moment; a dad suddenly realizes he needs to express his esteem for his son more often; a spouse receives praise for a quality they thought had gone unnoticed.
God is Thrilled
Hearts stir to new feelings of affection and loyalty. God is thrilled. We are ministering to each other the way He intended when He created the family, bringing out the gifts in one another’s lives. Thanksgiving becomes a time of refreshing our commitment to the ones we love most. And we are further cementing that love by writing it.
I used this “ink and paper applause” method throughout my children’s lives to tell them how proud I was of a character quality they exhibited; to applaud an achievement of theirs; and to share a bit of wisdom from God’s Word for their futures. I’ve also used it with my husband and close friends, to show my esteem for them in a tangible, permanent way.
The Creator has placed people in our lives to make us better than we could be without them. He has put us in others’ lives to bring them closer to His good plan for them. Sharing our thankfulness to those people through writing is a way to celebrate His goodness, and to enlarge their hearts toward Him.
Has God used someone to make a positive difference in your life? Don’t just tell it to them; spell it to them. Write your thanks.
Speaking of thanks, I'd like to say a huge "thank you" to all of you who helped me shout about my book giveaway extravaganza yesterday! It was a huge success, and I'm so grateful for your help. Mostly I'm grateful to have YOU in my life. Thanks for just being you...