By Nancy J. Farrier
I once had someone ask me this question – “If you could be any person from the Bible besides Jesus Christ, who would you want to be?”
You might think this is a difficult question, but I didn’t have to think long. My reply, “I would be Barnabas.” Why? Well, in Acts 4:36, we read that Joses, or Joseph, was renamed, Barnabas, by the disciples. Barnabas is translated “Son of Encouragement.”
Wow. Joses was such a natural at saying or doing the very thing to lift someone’s spirits that they renamed him to reflect his gift. I loved the idea of being able to bring a smile to someone’s face, or chase away their gloom with a little boost in their day. I try to live that out, not by flattering, or being fake, but by genuine love and caring of others.
When my four daughters were younger, early teens to preschool age, we took a trip from Arizona to Indiana to visit my parents. Vacations are often fraught with stress. I love my kids, but keeping track of the four girls could wear me out. Making sure everyone had their needs met exhausted me and sometimes I felt I failed as a mother. Especially as a godly mother.
On our flight home, my husband and I sat with our youngest between us and the older three were in the seats behind us. I hoped the girls wouldn’t bother people. They weren’t rowdy, but they would talk and laugh together, or sing songs. Were they too noisy? Did they disturb those around them? All these concerns ran through my mind during the flight. By the time we landed, I just wanted off the plane and to get home.
As we waited to depart the plane, the man seated across from my girls paused by my seat and told me how much he appreciated them. Then he handed me some folded papers and asked me to look at it later before disappearing down the aisle. Since we were busy exiting and getting our bags, I put the papers in my pocket.
On the two hour drive to our house, I pulled the papers from my pocket and read his note. Exhaustion fled. I teared up at his hand-written note that took up two pages. I have no idea who this man was, but I have kept his letter and when I came across it during my recent move, I decided to share his words with you. This total stranger blessed me so much at a time when I needed the encouragement.
I just wanted to let you know that your daughters have been a blessing to me. Let me explain. I often feel that I am not doing anything of significance for the Lord. His response to me is always, “Nothing is more significant than to raise my children to walk in His love and reflect His glory.” Your girls have affirmed the significance of this truth to me. As soon as I saw them they reminded me of 1 Peter 3.
- Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without a word by the behavior of their wives,
- When they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
- Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…
- Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
- For in this way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.
Without a word, your daughters have been radiating the Lord’s beauty and glory. Keep up the excellent work!
I also wanted to encourage you to continue to pray for their future mates. My three children are a few years older than yours, and we have had the joy of seeing the beginning of our son’s courtship It is such a blessing to know that this is the young lady we have been praying for all these years. I am certain there are three Godly young men being prepared for your daughters!
Continue in His Grace,
Your brother in Christ
These words from a stranger have meant much to me. I know I often fail as a mother, but I love my children more than I can express. His words are a treasure to me.
Just as he listened to the nudge of the Holy Spirit and wrote this letter to me, I hope to do likewise to those I meet. It is my hope that I can share a smile, or an uplifting word that will help someone else walk with a lighter step, or lift their heart to God when they need Him. I would like to be a daughter of encouragement.