Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Treasure of an Encourager

I was at a funeral with my dad a couple of days ago and saw a long time family friend. My mother and this special woman have been friends since I was in elementary school. Immediately, this lady walked toward us greeted us with a beautiful smile and words of endearment. Instantly, I was filled with a renewed appreciation for the positive and encouraging heart of this wonderful woman. It was like finding a treasure that you misplaced years ago, but found serendipitously with its value tremendously appreciated over time.

Her eyes sparkled and a smile broke out across her face with every pause in the conversation. As we stood in the parking lot on a beautiful spring day her healthy silvery hair was blowing around her face like an aura of positivity. This woman has the rare ability to always affirm you just by the way she tilts her head and looks at you when she listens to what you have to say. She always boosts your esteem with comments like, “that’s great!” which make you feel like you’ve just told her the most wonderful and interesting thing ever. She makes you laugh and lifts your spirits with witty words and Barnabas-ish quips in response. Whenever you ask her a question, she always adeptly weaves the focus of the conversation back to the person she knows you like to talk about the most…yourself.

We all reminisced about yearly family vacations to the beach and an unforgettable 2 week tour of the Western U.S. with 6 kids and 4 adults in one RV. She recalled specific memorable moments from those adventures that made us all snicker and laugh and sigh with fond remembrance. As we visited for just a few minutes, I realized what a treasure this woman is to those who are privileged to interact with her. She always sees negative situations from a positive perspective and helps you see it too. Her four children enjoy the empowerment and success that comes from the lifetime of accolades and affirmations of a proud mother.

After seeing this woman again, I was glad to know that nothing had changed about her except the fact that she had become even more adept at saying the most optimistic words at just the right moment. She is an expert encourager and an inspiration to me. I pray I can encourage like she does.

Hebrews 3:12-13 (NIV) See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.