"Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints." Philemon 1:7 NIV
Lately, comfort enters my home almost every day in neat little envelopes. Rectangular card stock covered with beautiful artwork and carefully penned verses spill out and into my heart.
But it's not the poet's words that linger, but rather the sender's.
I read their handwritten notes behind closed doors and their words refresh me. They're not poetic or fancy, but always sincere and thoughtful. They allow me those free-flowing emotions and tears or all-knowing smiles with private rememberances of my loved one. Mostly, they affirm me. Their written words reassure that I'm loved, I'm not alone and "everything will be okay."
And seeing those words penned in personal ink? It encourages this heart because I love affirming words.
Gary Chapman taught me this years ago in his book, The 5 Love Languages. Did you know we all have a favorite love language? According to Chapman, we do. We either feel most loved through: words of affirmation (spoken or written), acts of service (like doing the dishes or laundry), receiving gifts, quality time or physical touch.
Knowing our love language and those of our family members' helps improve how we interact with one another. For instance, knowing my husband feels most loved by physical touch, I now hug him after an argument rather than just apologizing with words. While I'm just fine with an apology (affirming words), he needs my touch.
Love languages, shown appropriately, work in all types of relationships. Jesus taught us that the second greatest commandment is to love one another as we love ourselves; not that we love each other the way we feel most loved, but the way they feel most loved. That takes effort and thought and knowing, but it's not impossible.
Soon, I'll tuck your greeting cards and lovely notes inside a cardboard box and when my parched heart needs refreshment I'll drink your words again.
How can you encourage someone today?