Friday, March 13, 2009

 The gift inside of the brown and green box

Encouragement can present itself in so many different forms. About 8 years ago I read, "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. It made a big impact on me. It showed me how I need to be careful not to transfer my preferences for how I am best encouraged onto other people. It challenged me to seek and discover what speaks to those in my life who I am trying to encourage in the best possible way for them to be uplifted.
Through my studying of this book I came to a concrete conclusion that my primary love language is words of affirmation.
Some people respond primarily to touch.
Others to gifts.
Still others are in their element when you are doing an act of service for them, such as making them a meal, doing their dishes, or taking care of their kids.
Quality time is a love language that many people I know crave. I would say this one is a close second for me. Spending time doing things together. Interacting. Just being.
But always, words stood out to me as being the primary catalyst of love relayed to me. I love words.
Dave knows that writing me a note before he leaves for work in the morning will often give me the encouragement needed for the potential struggles of the day that lies ahead.
I recently received a special gift that brought a unique joy to my heart. I feel pretty dorky admitting this, but it kind of made my month - maybe even year. (Shhh- don't tell any one) :)
The Mom2mom group that I am a part of at our church got together and decorated small boxes which were then used to collect little notes of encouragement for each of us. There are 15 of us. We each wrote a note for every one in the group.
When I brought my little brown and green box home, lifted the lid, and began exploring the contents (like an over caffienated child), what I felt was hard to describe. It wasn't just about reading nice things about myself (but really, who doesn't love that?). It was more than a sweet affirmation from ladies who have become very important in my life. It was as if God himself was quietly whispering in my ear, "I am still working to accomplish wonderful things in your life. Do you see it? This process of making you in my image is underway. Even when you don't feel it. "
I immediately began noticing some very similar character qualities being bestowed upon me in note after note. At first I wondered if I had the wrong box. Then I wondered if perhaps there had been a conspiracy to have every one write some qualities they thought were the opposite of what I actually posses. I smiled at that thought. Although it would be funny, I knew each one had written their notes at different times (A few of us around 10 pm Wednesday night to be prepared for a 9:15 am Mom's group Thursday morning). I knew that each note had been lovingly created individually.
So, I allowed the words of my friends to really sink in. This was truly how they saw me. I admire and respect these women, so to disregard their words to me would be unfair to them. I still struggle to see the correlation between myself and some of the desirable traits being assigned to me on the pages of those notes. Some were things I had been praying that God would develop in me. Some are areas I know he has been working on in me. Others were things I admired in other people, but wrote off as not attainable by me.
Things that not that long ago seemed very foreign in my life.
Have you ever thought about the impact you could have on the people around you? Have you considered that by learning what speaks love and encouragement into their life you could possibly turn it around? You could change some one's perspective and help point them to the one who is perfecting them.
It did for me.
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Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Wendi, that was beautiful. I am a huge believer in the love languages making a big difference in our relationships. And mine is exactly the same (big surprise, huh??) - words of affirmation followed by quality time.

So glad that God used these friends to encourage you, Wendi - I know they said just what you needed to hear...and I know they told the TRUTH. So hear it and take it to heart, and let yourself see the beautiful person, inside and out, that we all see.

Noah and Ryders Mommy said...

How sweet! I would love to read the Five Love Languages. I have read the Five Love Languages of Children and I have to say, that I believe I am in the same boat as you and can be highly encuraged with words of affirmation as well! Being together and spending quality time together is probably and almost a tie!

We have that in common my friend!
It doesn't surprise me that these women had so many sweet and nice things to say about you, regardless of the image you have of yourself...I don't know you at all on a personal level, but can already see that you are a very beautiful and sweet soul and such a huge blessing to me, and just know that I too, am so grateful to have you as a blogger friend!!!

Loves to you Wendi:D

Mel said...

What an incredible gift!!!! Hooray for such an incredible idea.

Heather of the EO said...

This is such a beautiful idea. And I love how it made you feel. People speaking truth over it and you taking the time to really accept it.

This was such a good reminder to me to take the time to say all the lovely things I think about the people around me. I don't know why we don't say them more often...

Lily said...

What a wonderful gift! I may use this idea for our ladies' group (if you don't mind.) We all need a bit of encouragement, don't we?

Elizabeth said...

That book has had a huge impact on my marriage, and it's helped me understand myself so much better. My primary love language is gifts, but I was in denial for years about that b/c I thought it made me materialistic. Instead, I've learned why gifts speak to me, and I've realized that quality time is just as strong of a love language for me.

Your box and the words inside sound wonderful. I can hear how God has used it in your life. Isn't it amazing that oftentimes others see us so differently than we see ourselves? I think that's a good lesson for us all!

Debbie said...

What a fabulous gift and I'm glad you are taking their words to heart.

Mariel said...

We did a post on that book too on my blog! Love it! Great post. You'll have to come stop by, its

Lindsay said...

wow. I'm wiping away tears, because it is not often enough that we {take to heart} that which is true... and truly believe it!

I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you via blog world and although I don't know what the messages said, I can tell you that I would love to add one to that box of yours.

In fact ... I think I'll send you an email tonight ... you print it out, and you'll have one more. :)

Blessings Wendi!

** loved this part **
Have you ever thought about the impact you could have on the people around you?