Valentine Follow-Up

  • Feb. 18, 2014
  • #8297

Valentine’s Day just passed, and many families have been encouraged by you!

Valentine Follow-Up

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a Heart for the Disabled report!

Thank you, thank you, and thank you again! Most likely, you’ll recall that last month remember I asked you to join me in writing Valentines and notes of encouragement to five special-needs families? Well, guess what! You guys, you friends really raised the bar. We broke all past records for our Heart for the Disabled week – we received boxes and boxes of cards, letters, poems, crayon drawings, stuffed animals and gift cards to everything from Wal-Mart to McDonalds. We were able to bundle up all the cards and gifts and overnight each package to each family last week and all the packages arrived safely and on time for Valentine's Day. And now we’re beginning to get emails and phone calls and thank you notes from these five special-needs families – and each one has been effusive in their gratitude to you. One mother wrote (and I mean it was least 20 times) thank you, thank you, thank you. These families opened up their boxes and poured your letters and gifts onto their living room floor and spread everything out so they could read one encouraging card after the next.

I can’t begin to describe how your words and the scriptures and hymns and prayers that you offered really bolstered their weary hearts. Because living with a severe disability day-in, day-out and dealing non-stop 24/7 with the medical routines and equipment it is so tiring, so wearing. But you, you really came through. You, my friend, have the gift of encouragement. And it got me to thinking.

For some people, encouraging others comes naturally. And, oh, do I admire people who always know what to say, when to say it, and where and what to do. But in reality, not all of us are natural encouragers. Like, what do you say to a couple who just gave birth to a child with multiple disabilities? Or what do you say to your friend in your church who just learned that she has multiple sclerosis? So many of us become frozen with fear and we end up saying nothing. Or at best, we direct these hurting people to the so-called ‘experts’ in our churches who, we think, are better equipped or better skilled to respond. But II Corinthians chapter 1, verse 4 says, “… that we can comfort those in any trouble [did you hear that? It says any trouble] with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

So, the biblical reality is that we can learn how to encourage. We can learn how to encourage and comfort those in any trouble. In fact, God can teach us. Isaiah chapter 50 says, "The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens my ear to listen like one being taught." Don’t you love that? God says He will give you His words to sustain those around you — those who are hurting, needing hope, or full of fear. The more you read His Word, the more you’ll have an instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary. Luke chapter 12, verse 12 even says that “… the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

So once again, thank you for participating in our Heart for the Disabled outreach. You who wrote in provided so much encouragement and comfort. The Holy Spirit definitely taught you what to say in those notes and cards. So keep it up, friend. Just look around today: there are so many people waiting around you—people that are thirsty and hungry for a word of encouragement. And through Christ, you can add richness and meaning to their tired and broken lives. All it takes is an attentive ear to the all-time great Encourager, the Lord Jesus Himself.

© Joni and Friends


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