21 February 2011

It Only Takes a Stamp!

Trivia: The price of a U.S. first-class postage stamp in the
early 1960’s was 4 cents and was raised to 5 cents in 1963.

When I was a young girl, I loved writing letters, and sending greeting cards and postcards. Our family took summer vacations and I remember how my favorite thing was to check out the souvenir shops for postcards to mail home to my grandparents and friends. As a teen, I couldn’t wait until the current edition of my Tiger Beat magazine hit the newsstand, and remember searching from cover to cover to get updated addresses to write to my “fav” teen idols. But most of all, I remember corresponding with pen-pals and missionaries from many different countries.

This month I’ve been blogging about sharing God’s love with others and the importance of our words. Today I am going to continue along the same thoughts by writing about “letters of encouragement.” People have been writing letters of encouragement as far back as the Bible. In fact, most of the books in the New Testament are epistles – letters from the apostles. Just read Paul’s letters for wonderful examples of care, concern and encouragement. One such letter was written to the church in Antioch. Acts 15:30-31 tells us, “They gathered the church and gave them the letter. When they read it, they were very happy because of the encouraging message.”

Have you ever received a card in the mail and by just looking at the envelope it brought a smile to your face. Maybe it was covered with fun stickers from a creative friend. Maybe it was the child-like writing of your grandchild, or a very special return address that caught your attention. Of all the people you know, who do you most enjoy getting news or encouragement from?

In the Women of Faith Bible Study entitled “Encouraging One Another”, Luci Swindoll shared her thoughts about receiving words of encouragement.... “I like to get messages that are sweet, kind, encouraging, informative and not everlastingly long. I like words from the heart. I like original thoughts. I like information and Scriptures from an understanding, sympathetic friend that will help me on my way in life. And I like clever notes from people who have a way with words. Words that snap and tickle and assure and thrill me to the bone.”

Have you ever been in awe about the timing of a card that you received? Thought to yourself, “how did they know that those words were just what I needed to hear today?” It happens to me all the time. So, don’t forget that encouragement goes both ways. When someone has given you a needed lift, let them know how God has been using them in your life (see 1 Corinthians 16:18) and, don’t forget to thank God for that person (see 1 Corinthians 1:4).

Today I still have my passion for the lost art of corresponding via the U.S. Post Office, just like I did when I was younger. After all, “real mail” reminds us that someone is thinking of us, and as Hallmark says, “cares to send the very best.” To me the “very best” isn’t the card itself, but the handwritten, heartfelt messages written on the inside.

Over ten years ago, God began to show me a way to turn my passion in to a Card Ministry. So, I set out to find women with the same spiritual gifts of encouragement. In times such as these, a Card Ministry is a necessity. There are hurting people in our families, our churches and our world. There are celebrations and sorrows that need to be shared. I’ve been blessed to be able to help start several Card Ministries and as we encourage others, God has encouraged us! God has also put it on my heart to write a manual to provide others with the necessary tools to start their own Card Ministry. (For more information, put a comment on my blog or email me at donna_a_weaver@hotmail.com).

“I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand,
which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:17

Be like the apostle Paul and put a personal touch on your greetings. Your “personal touch” could be something as simple as using a pink pen every time you sign a card, or making sure a Scripture verse is always written inside. For many years now, I have been in the habit of signing all of my correspondence.....

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

P.S.  Have a Blessed Week!


Maxine said...

Donna I so agree with your encouraging words for OTHERS. We so live in a world where people want to tear down others!!! I find that in my encouraging words, GOD encourages me as well!! Loved this post!! Maxine

Donna Weaver said...

Thanks for your comments Maxine. I think it is so much easier to encourage others and it makes me feel so much better, too. When we tear others down, those harmful words and un-godly actions are stuffed in to our own heart...YUCK!