(Instructions for making the pictured card here.)
Who doesn’t want a little surprise happiness in their day? Who doesn’t want someone else to say, ‘hey, you’re a great person and I want you to know that.’
There is this family at our church. They’re pretty nice people. And three times now. Yes, three times in the last two and a half years, they have called during the middle of the afternoon and said they were bringing dinner for our family. For no real reason. They said they were planning dinner and thinking of us. So they doubled up the dinner cookings and brought us a home cooked meal.
Yes, we felt we didn’t deserve their food. Yes, we were happily perplexed as to why they were thinking about us. Yes, I always enjoy a day off from cooking dinner. Yes, we felt encouraged and loved.
No, we were not annoyed. No, we didn’t think they felt I was incapable of cooking a good meal. No, we were not discouraged.
Hopefully this list will serve for me as a reminder that we all need encouragement, and I shouldn’t hesitate to offer some to those I see almost every day.
Here are ten people who may need some encouragement today.
1. Your neighbor.
We live in a neighborhood. Our neighbor’s front door is maybe fifteen steps away. I see them every day. We are kind of forced to do life with them simply because they live right next door. We wave a lot to them and make really nice small talk. Neighbors are somewhat of a one of a kind relationship because they are in our life every day.
Think of all the opportunities I have to send some encouragement their way! If you aren’t already great friends with your neighbor, start by baking some cookies at the next holiday. Be intentional and send them a Christmas card. Or, find out their kids’ birthdays and take a small cake over.
2. A single mom.
I have two kids (and a husband), and life with little kids is just hard some times. I don’t think there is any way around it. I cannot imagine raising little ones without someone extra in the house to help out. If you know a single mom, don’t hesitate to take a meal over or offer to do some yard work.
3. Your mailman.
The mailman is pretty significant in our house. When my two year old hears him coming, we open the front door just to wave and watch him go by. He sees us almost everyday as we watch him go by. Next time you go to the store, buy an extra bag of candy and leave it in the mail box for him. He has somewhat of a monotonous job, and he may enjoy the variety.
4. Your pastor.
I have heard over and over again that serving full time in ministry can be very very difficult and exhausting. I put crazy high expectations on my pastors. As I was listening in church a couple weeks ago, I thought to myself how my pastor has to have his ‘A’ game on every single Sunday. I think that’s hard. Some days at home I don’t make it out of my pajamas. I can’t imagine feeling like I want to stay in my pajamas, but instead I have to go preach a well thought out sermon to a couple hundred people. Maybe he would appreciate an encouragement card thanking him for his service.
5. Your child’s teacher.
Being a teacher is another one of those jobs where you have to put on your best every single day. Wouldn’t that be wearisome quickly? Especially when you are in charge of twenty or thirty kids for six or seven hours a day. I can’t imagine. How about sending a gift card with your child to school tomorrow? I think their teacher would appreciate it.
6. A family who recently experienced a death.
I have been fortunate enough to live a life where the only deaths I have experienced in the family were somewhat expected and partly due to old age. I have learned, though, that losing a loved one is not easy. I have also learned that sometimes words are best left unsaid when someone dies. Use your best discernment when writing an encouragement card to those who are mourning, but don’t hesitate to show some form of ‘I’m thinking and praying for you’ encouragement.
7. A family who recently had a baby.
With a six month old in the house, I think about this often. I try to give small gifts or gift cards to families who have recently had a baby. Unless you have one of those stellar eight hour sleepers right out of the womb, life is a bit trying at times with a little one. Consider giving a gift card to a local restaurant. Taking care of a newborn and figuring out dinner is sometimes more than a mom can handle in one day.
8. An elderly couple or widow (er) in the nursing home.
I ran across this article the other day about raising children who serve others. This was a great reminder that our kids can serve too. I have gathered that those in nursing homes or assisted living homes enjoy the variety and company of others. Don’t forget about your grandparents either. Take some art projects or play some music for these dear people in our lives.
9. A serviceman or service woman.
Veterans Day. Memorial Day. The 4th of July. Any time these holidays come around, why not take some time to bake some cookies or make a meal for someone who has served in the Armed Forces? I think I underestimate the time, sacrifice, and effort servicemen and servicewomen have given.
10. A family or couple who recently received some hard news.
I have been through some difficult times in life, but I can honestly say I haven’t been through anything that has blown me off my feet. I know that day will likely come, though, before I leave this life. I know plenty of others right now who are going through trials in life, and I like to think that some simple words in a card of ‘I’m praying for you’ bring them encouragement.
What about you? Who do you find yourself sending encouragement cards to on a regular basis?