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Enduring, Impactful Encouragement

mother and daughter with matching scripture memory temporary tattoos. Wooden table with red clay mug.

I JUST WEPT AT THE SHEER CUMULATIVE IMPACT OF GOD'S PEOPLE IN THE LIFE OF THIS ONE MAN.

THEREFORE ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER AND BUILD EACH OTHER UP, JUST AS IN FACT YOU ARE DOING.  - 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11

 

I cry in church.   

I don’t mean to do it. I actually try not to do it. It’s kind of embarrassing... infinitely more so for my kids than for me. Yup. I’m that cringey mom who cries in church. But the truth is, I just can’t help myself. There are things that happen in that building that fill me with deep, overflowing emotion. When I join with other believers in songs of wonder and praise, when I hear God’s unfailing, sacrificial love unfolded in the sermon, quite simply, when I’m brought to the throne of my Savior, I am undone. And it doesn’t matter who sees it, because God is there with me; I can do nothing else but worship and weep. Every. Single. Time.    

This past Sunday was no different.   

Our church held an ordination service for one of our own people, Pastor Del. It was the celebration and affirmation of years of service, learning, and faithfulness. And people from all over the timeline of Del’s life participated in the service, testifying about his kindness, love, and service to Christ. It was incredible. And right at the end of the service, Del got up and spoke. Do you know what he chose to talk about on this momentous occasion? He talked about people. He laid brick upon brick of the ordinary faithfulness of so many people in his life. He thanked those who had counseled him, prayed for him, affirmed and pastored him, formed his thinking, and loved him fully. He was the living, breathing testimony of their combined seemingly insignificant acts of faithfulness in his life. And as the names kept coming, I just wept at the cumulative work of God through so many people. It was so beautiful.    

 

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That service inspired me to think about all the people who have built into me.    

I think of people who’ve spoken truth to me when I was believing lies, people who’ve loved me when I was frankly unlovable, people who’ve walked with me through thick and thin. I think of my grandma’s olive green fridge covered in school picture reminders of each grandchild she prayed for, including me. I think of my ancient great grandma who gave angry, rebellious teenage Natalie a Bible anyway. I think of Janette, who bought me coffee and answered all of my snarky questions with the patient grace I surely didn’t deserve. I think of Melody, whose belief in me and affirmation of my gifts gave me courage to step out and write words that others would actually read. I think of Vera, who works with me daily to help people memorize God’s Word. There are so many others who have taught me Gospel truth, held me up in prayer, held my feet to the fire, and held my hand on this journey. They have built me up brick by brick into the person I am today, and I am indebted to their enduring work in my life.    

What about you?   

Who has done this for you? Who are the people who have built into you? And how have you built into the lives of the people around you, laying brick on top of brick of ordinary faithfulness? How have you built up the church one brick at a time? This is the great work of the church, the glorious unseen building that will one day be revealed. God is calling us to encourage, to equip, to teach, to uphold, to pray, to work together in our words and actions to create something beautiful in one another, something that should make us weep at its beauty and glory.

What is one small brick of encouragement that you can lay in another person’s life today?

Thanks for reading,

Natalie Abbott Bio

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