Last week I turned 50. It was certainly surreal as usually I like being home and staying behind the scenes, but this year, I had plans to actually celebrate in public. I still plan to do that, because once it is safe to do so, there will be so much more to celebrate than a birthday. I’ve learned a lot in this season. How about you?
One of the things I had planned was I asked people who have crossed paths with me that if I had any kind of positive impact, would they let me know? My thinking was I’ve learned through nearly losing our baby years ago, and losing my dad and in-laws that we are not guaranteed tomorrow. I’d rather encourage people now while I can, and while those people can hear it. I felt the same about receiving letters from others.
For me, words of affirmation is my love language and the author life is lonely. With nearly grown kids and a husband who is often in meetings, there are days it’s me and the dog staring at each other. As a woman who prays behind the scenes, there are many times I receive communications from women in a hard place asking for my time and prayer. But in that, my circle where I share my hurts and requests is small. There are times it’s hard. I hoped that by receiving notes from others I would have a record of impact that would see me through those tough times.
I was blown away. The document where I copied and pasted everything is seven pages long and nearly 4,000 words. I thought perhaps most would come from family and they would focus on writing.
I was wrong.
It was from friends both in that small circle and those I have prayed for over the years. Although my writing was mentioned, by far I realized the biggest way others thought of me was through my faith and ability to believe God and pray.
My husband, normally not one to write, shared ways his life was transformed that I never knew. After 23 years it’s easy to fall into a routine where you talk about work, dinner, church, kids. Superficial and rote. To discover these things and discuss them has taken us to a new place in marriage. To know the depth of his love, I don’t have words. I told him I could have only received his response and it would have been enough. Yet to have him, the kids, and so many others chime in, it truly has blessed me.
I’ve seen on Facebook since we’ve been home as a nation a challenge that asks people to share what that person means to them. I think it’s a challenge worth participating in. Go ahead and lift others up. Encourage others to share a way you’ve made a positive difference in their lives. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and the way God has used you, and I believe it will even direct your steps for this season and beyond.Julie Arduini
Honestly, I didn’t think I’d need to read those words for awhile. But hearing that this stay-in-place mandate, which is wisdom, is going to last another month, it’s a hit to my mental health. Today’s a day the walls are closing in a little. Overall we are so, so blessed, but I struggle like anyone. I’m glad I have words of affirmation on top of Bible studies and prayer to carry me through.
I’d love to hear what you learn about yourself. You have so much going for you!