Happy 1st Monday (of the month which ushers in spring, I might add!) from Dianne Neal Matthews. Last month I loved Jeanette’s post about sharing in the joys of fellow writers’ successes. It reminded me of a lesson that God taught me several years ago, when I was at one of the lowest points of my life.
Family and personal problems weighed me down until I felt numb. Prayers and support from friends and our small group members kept me going, but I felt so useless, unfit for ministry—like I had nothing to offer anyone. Even though I had been making little progress in writing, I still attended my usual spring conference. During the three-hour drive, I poured out my heart to God. I told him how tired I was of being so needy, always the one needing prayer. “Lord,” I begged, “please just let me be
a blessing to somebody this week.”
During registration I met a young woman who shared her amazement at how God had orchestrated her attendance. Even though
she had just started her teaching career, the public school principal gave her time off to go to the Christian conference and even obtained funding to cover her expenses. Early the next morning, we chatted again and I explained how the sign-up sheets worked. Each time I saw her, I asked how things were going. After we spoke on the fourth day, she started to walk away, then hesitated. “I just want you to know what a blessing you’ve been to me this week,” she beamed. “Every time I had a question, you were there. Each time I felt unsure or confused, I turned around and there you were.”
I don’t recall how my manuscript evaluation or editor appointments turned out that year. But I remember that surge of warmth from seeing how God had answered my prayer, that gratitude that I had met someone’s need for encouragement. As Kathi Macias might say, I felt the joy of “beyond-me living”.
Proverbs 11:25 says that “those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (NLT). What a privilege to be able to lift up another person’s spirit. But God designed encouragement to be a two-way power surge. I wish I could remember that every day, especially those times I get so focused on what I lack or need in my personal life or my writing career. Sometimes when I feel like I need encouragement, what I really need is to encourage somebody else.