The longer I am a wife and mother, the more I realize just what a thankless job this is.  The demands of a husband and small children have a way of wearing me down.  It’s not that I never hear thank you or receive a compliment, but the bulk of what I do goes unnoticed and unappreciated.  Please don’t misunderstand me – I am not a narcissistic diva.  I don’t need praise at every turn.  Most of the time, I don’t even notice the lack of exhortation in my life.  Between keeping up with the kids, the house, the bills, my husband, church commitments, extended family, piano students, and occasionally even hygiene, who has time to keep track of their accolades?  It’s on days like this, however, that I realize I might be a little more desperate for encouragement than I thought.

After a long day at home with the babes, my husband arrived home with a stack of mail.  He tossed the stack on the counter, as I was making dinner and I glanced over to see what was in the pile… LARGE envelopes!!  Large envelopes meant either invitations or cards!  “Cards?  Could they be birthday cards??  Oh, I hope so!” I thought as I eagerly tore open the envelope.  “Oh, it was a birthday card!  How wonderful!  Who could it be from??” I contemplated as I opened it.  It was from “Chad”…our insurance agent.  In years past I have been slightly annoyed by cards from insurance companies, dentist offices, etc.  But not today.  Today, I was truly touched by “Chad’s” thoughtfulness.  As generic and impersonal as a card from an agency may be, it felt good to have something positive with my name on it.  That’s when I knew it had been a rough day!

It’s not that I don’t have wonderful friends and family that support me.  I am so blessed to have a network of people that I know love me unconditionally and would stand with me through anything!  In fact, some dear friends just took me out for my birthday on Saturday.  I know I am loved.  It’s just that in this season of life, everyday monotonies wear me down faster than I can be filled up.

Lately, I have been trying to encourage others when they come to mind.  If I think of something that I like about someone or something positive that I remember about a friend, I have been trying to make sure I let them know before the thought fades.  After today I realize just how important this is. 

Whether it’s a boss with unrealistic expectations, family members that miss the opportunity to show affection, or the whines of little ones, life wears all of us down.   We ALL need encouragement and we can ALL give encouragement.  I urge you to make encouragement a priority in your life.  Be intentional.  Make a phone call.  Send an email, a text, a card, flowers… anonymously!  Ooo -that one would be real fun!  Create a culture where encouragement is the norm.  You never know what kind of an impact you might make with just a few kind words.