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Let's face it.

Sometimes, this walk, this life, can feel very... lonely. Unappreciated. Unnoticed. Unimportant.

This Fall, I'm challenging you to be an encouragement. To stand beside, to say "well done," to notice. To extend a kind word, a small note, a token, an "I've been there," or a "What you're doing is difficult."

The people of the Cross? Let's be an encouragement. Let's be about lifting others up.


The people often overlooked in our lives (in my life)? Those who serve me.


There are so many people in my life who I neglect to thank, neglect to appreciate. And they do so much for me, for my family, in practical and spiritual ways.

Think about it for just a moment- who are those servants in your life? You know your people better than I do, and there are probably some differences, but this is my list:

Pastors and those in Ministry

There every Sunday, praying for us, guiding us spiritually, and always willing and ready to connect and pour into us- into our marriage, our leadership abilities, our lives in the community... pastors are pretty great people- and ours have really made a difference to my family.

Try dropping a note, sending a thank-you e-mail, making a call just to say that your pastor is appreciated.

The same goes for those in ministry- Christian camp employees, missionaries, people who work in crisis pregnancy centers, food bank staff... think about all the places nearby that serve people in need, and try to encourage them.

Children's Ministry/Nursery Workers

We don't have children, so these folks don't really "serve" us in this part of our lives, but they DO make it possible for some of the Bible studies and small groups I've been involved in to meet. I'm also a believer that children in the church are an important part of my church family, and those who care for the little ones are vital.

Smile and say thank you, offer to take a shift so someone can use the bathroom, bring coffee to the nursery (bring coffee to the nursery!),  write a note, or send a card.

Doctors, Dentists, Medical Staff

I've been so blessed to have some majorly awesome medical staff. Seriously, awesome.

Sending a thank you card, a note, a letter of recommendation (fancy) to those people who keep you healthy will brighten their day and encourage them in their work.

Consider sending a couple of gift cards for a local coffee shop, or send a little office decoration to the receptionist who always treats you so well.

You might also, as Christmas gets closer, consider sending a Christmas card to your medical or dental office (just make sure those pearly whites are showing in the picture for your dentist!)

Post Office Delivery People, Sanitation Workers, Firefighters, Police Officers, etc.

These folks keep our lives running smoothly and safely, and yet, how many of us actually know their names (I don't) or say thank you (I don't)?

Drop a little extra note in the mailbox, send a pizza gift card to the fire station, have your kids draw a picture and send that to the office. Make a plate of cookies, or a gift baggie with popcorn.


Maybe this can mean your literal sister, but I'm really getting at sisters in Christ and other women (maybe ones not yet in the circle of believers) in your community.

Sometimes, all it takes is a quick hug, a call just to say hi and I care. Sometimes it's an invitation to coffee, or a compliment, or saying, "Hey, you you're doing a good job."

Maybe you send a note, or pop a gift card into her diaper bag (sneaky).

Sometimes it's just being a listening ear and saying, "Oh, that's hard. I'm sorry. That sucks," and giving a hug. It may not seem like much, but it really makes a huge difference.


Oh yeah, we're going there.

Have you ever seen someone and wished you could do something to encourage them?

I have. Like the mom in Walmart with three littles, or the guy you saw helping an older lady to her car, or the really nice cashier (and that's just in one store).

It doesn't take a long time to offer a little comment of encouragement.

"You have a beautiful family."
"That was so kind of you- thank you for inspiring me."
"Your smile brightened my day. Thank you for being so cheerful." 

Personally, I get a little... tongue tied. A little shy. So maybe I'll start by dropping a note or a little card, and work my way up to... you know... actually saying things. I've got a couple weeks to practice.


I wouldn't just give you (and myself) a challenge and leave you (and myself) hangin'.

Here are some resources to help spark some ideas and give you the tools to be successful in this challenge. For you.

Roy Lessin - Ministry Appreciation - Meet Me in the Meadow - 12 Boxed Cards

I thought these cards were so beautiful- perfect for pastors or church staff.

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I thought this card has such a powerful message- "When children see the love of God in you, they know the God of love is real." So great for nursery workers, Sunday school teachers... and so cute.

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DaySpring has these really awesome e-cards that you can send quickly and easily-- you can see them all here. There were too many awesome choices for me to pick just a couple to show you- so many would be a blessing or an encouragement. You can send them over Facebook, Twitter, e-mail... it's pretty cool.

And they're free. So, no excuses.

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The Fringe Hours - Encouragement - 6 Assorted Premium Cards

These are just so beautiful, and the sentiments are so right-on. Love these cards. Love 'em. And, the assortment includes cards that would work to encourage different people at different times.

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Karen Kingsbury - Mug, Plaque, and Mini Notepad Gift Set

For a little something extra, I think these little gifts are just so pretty (and, since I'm a cheapskate, I'd probably divvy it up into three separate gifts- people will still be encouraged just the same).

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For a really quick encouragement, you can print out these graphics (free printables!). I'm thinking to put a couple in my purse for some stealth encouragement on the fly- especially when I'm feeling tongue-tied.

Click on the images to make them larger, then "save image as," and then print 'em.

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Because I'm still new at this whole encouragement thing (which is why I'm trying to challenge myself and get better at it!), I need you guys, too.

What have you been most encouraged by?

What's your favorite way to encourage those around you?

How did you complete this challenge?

The ENCOURAGE challenge will be live until November 20-- and then we'll be shifting gears and blessing others in another way-- stay tuned!

(All commentators will be added to a drawing to win a prize at the end of this challenge series!!)


  1. I am encouraged by my church lady friends. They seem to always be focused on the well being of others. Sending physical mail is my thing in this age of technology. Don't get me wrong, I text too, but an occasional note means a lot doesn't it. And praying. Today I'm sending one to a friend who will have a foot amputated in a couple weeks. I can't imagine the emotional stress she must be going through.

    1. Oh my! That would certainly be a hard thing- I can't imagine. I'll add your friend to my prayer list, Jeannie.

      I'm totally with you- sometimes physical mail is so needed- I like the tangible stuff- it means so much more somehow!

  2. This is such a wonderful idea! I usually go out of my way to thank employees when I'm out and about at stores for doing their jobs well and speaking kindly. I've actually been considering going online to a bunch of places I frequent and giving them positive reviews on Google or maybe even yelp. I know that is something very tangible that will help the businesses.

  3. Thank you for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

  4. I find that acknowledgment of time, effort, and thoughtfulness people give is very encouraging, both to others and to myself. Whether it's a comment, card, quick email, or something else, being recognized can make all the difference.