Yvonne and I do not have framed degrees on our walls or “capital Letters” behind our names. We write from experience. Our goal is to prayerfully help someone who might be facing difficulty or challenges that we ourselves have faced.
Recently, the gospel music industry that I am associated with, held their annual convention in Pigeon Forge, TN. It’s a week long series of concerts, showcases and fellowship.
I had to perform Saturday night on the Mainstage, so Yvonne and I attended the two final nights and it gave us some time to visit with several people. We felt encouraged as many shared how we have helped and encouraged them in their walk with Christ. Many spoke of how we have challenged them in their marriage relationships.
Was it a coincidence that we were able to see that particular couple that night? Was it by “happen stance” that those who have been encouraged by our ministry sought us out to encourage US? No, I believe it was by divine appointment. God knew what the next few days would hold for us and we would need it.
See, later on that weekend, the enemy tried to bring Yvonne and I back to a emotional and spiritual place that we lived in for a long time. A place of defeat and discouragement. A place of guilt and shame.
However, God once again came to our rescue. He sent godly friends at different times to confirm His calling on our lives. We left knowing that the enemy was defeated and we weren’t going to allow him any place in our heart. His mind games are brutal but God’s word is more powerful. We stand on His Truth.
So many times we find ourselves being encouraged by someone and we fail to thank them. My Dad used to say “Give flowers while they can enjoy them.” That is so true.
I’m so grateful that those friends who spoke encouragement to us followed the Holy Spirit’s promptings because we needed it.
We all need words of affirmation from time to time….We need to “Pay It Forward.”
While at this convention, we also had the opportunity to share with a wonderful couple of how God was using THEM to help us. The Dad/Husband’s example of “dating his daughter” inspired me to take our youngest daughter Bailey on “Daddy/Daughter Date Night.” His posts on social media about loving his wife and children have inspired me. I was able to share with him that he inspires me to be a better Dad and husband. I wanted to give him “flowers while he could enjoy them.”
Just “paying it forward.”
Last week was filled with highs and lows for my husband and I. We experienced everything from fun, excitement, laughter with genuine friends and couple quiet time to hurt of our own and compassion for others through a family’s loss of a loved one. To say it was an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement. The following is the highlight reel.
Last week, at NQC, we had a couple go out of their way to encourage us. They shared how our posts gave them courage and strength to fight for their marriage. I had never met them as a couple before that night. They will never know the wheels they set in motion or how their kind words gave us the strength we would need in the upcoming days.
We later had a conversation with another couple who had inspired us. In that moment, I thought I need to tell this couple how their own posts had encouraged our family. You see, this father takes his daughter on regular dates and posts the pictures on Facebook. Bryan now takes Bailey (our youngest daughter) on dates because he found encouragement from this father taking his daughter on dates. Bailey loves their dates and it has become a regular occurrence in our household. The point is to let people know you are touched by what they share or what they do. You will never know that you sharing it with them may be God’s way of encouraging them through you.
You see, after convention we were put in a situation to be reminded of the people we used to be. There are those who look at us and only see our past, our mistakes or our failures. They are not willing to accept that we are no longer those people even with evidence to show different. In some cases they will go out of their way or literally go out a side door and around the building to keep from acknowledging that we have changed, recovered or survived our past. That is painful. It is actually excruciating to my spirit. To have someone preach forgiveness and not practice it themselves is also quite hard to witness. Whether man forgives and extends grace or not will not stop my God from forgiving and extending grace. He sees the situation and he WILL send people to affirm who you are today and the direction or path you are on.
That is what happened to us. It started with the kind words of a couple at NQC and continued through the next few days. For every heartache, God sent individuals to remind us we are on the right path. Not only are we on the right path but with the right partner. These people spoke encouragement which was specific to the open wounds we were feeling. I feel sure none of these people knew the discouragement that had been thrown upon us or that their exact words spoke truth against our adversity. Their words were unexpected, genuine and not necessary. Yet, they spoke them. It came from people who didn’t have to tell us such pointed encouragement. I believe because they were truly devoted Christians , they listened. They listened to that prompting of the Holy Spirit they felt and acted upon it. They had courage. Often it takes courage to randomly speak words to someone that you may not be sure as to the purpose or the depth of it’s meaning.
I’ve made mistakes. I’ve given people reasons to judge me or ridicule me. Those choices were made a decade ago. Let me repeat that….. a decade ago. I’m sure some of you have experienced the same type of situation. Whether you’ve been reminded of your past or you’ve been the one who has had a feeling you should tell another person something positive and not been sure the reason.
I want to encourage you to act on that small voice you hear or that positive thought you’ve had about someone and TELL them. There is a reason someone is on your heart, a reason someone else’s actions have encouraged you. That reason may be God wants to use you for a specific need that person has or will have in the future. Count it as an honor to be part of God’s plan to encourage someone. There is a saying “to give flowers to the living” (as an encourager has said to me recently) and it couldn’t be more true. Kind words can breathe hope into a troubled mind, bring renewed purpose to a person’s life or simply mend a hurting heart.
Who encourages you? It could be a Pastor, mentor or a couple that encourages you in your marriage, life or marriage.
We suggest that you send them an email, card in the mail or message. Thank them specifically for their encouragement.
Philippians 1:3 “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.”
Job 16:5 “But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.”
Take a few moments during your prayer time and Pray specifically for THEIR walk with Christ, their marriage and ministry.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Keep encouraging and challenging others to strive to live for Christ. Bless others to grow in their marriages and strengthening families.
Keep paying it forward.
The Hutsons 2014