3 things have happened this weekend that inspired me to write this post, and I’m going to go through them out of order so it makes more sense. So, the first thing that happened second: this morning at church, Pastor Kevin was delivering a message on the topic of the current series our church is in, Change A Life. He talked about how about 4 years into starting 12Stone, he was ready to quit and leave Georgia; he went up to Michigan, told his old friend, Wayne, the troubles he was facing and told him he was exhausted and not willing to continue with his church plans in Georgia. This friend, rather than telling PK “sure, go ahead and quit,” gave him some advice. To supplement the story, PK showed a video of a clip of an interview with Wayne, where he talked about that piece of advice he gave PK. His words were, “If you’re losing faith, borrow mine.” In the clip, Wayne talks about how he didn’t even remember saying that to PK until PK later reminded him. He didn’t realize how powerful his words were and how much of an impact they would make at all. (That whole teaching can be found here, with the story I just talked about around minute 37.)
The second thing that happened first: yesterday while I was at work, I stumbled across my wonderful friend Mandi in the middle of her shopping trip. She’s been to the Dominican Republic multiple times and we were on the same trip together last year, so we were just having a little chat about our upcoming trip to the DR this summer. Since I’m going on a longer-term trip this year, she was asking me if I knew specifically what I would be doing, and we got to talking about that. I also got to telling her how I haven’t mailed out support letters yet and my reasons why/how stressed I am, etc. And she stood there and listened and then gave me some of world’s best encouragement, probably without even realizing how truly impacting her words were.
The third: as most of the world knows, my first summer (2011) in the Dominican Republic was a truly life-changing experience for me; last summer, during one of our nights on the beach, I shared part of my story with a small group of girls as to specifically why that trip had such an impact on me, and afterward, one of them told me she was dealing through a very similar situation (I actually wrote about that here). Later that night, I wrote her a quick little note to share some Bible verses that I had memorized within the year that I used whenever I need a reminder to let go and trust in God’s plan, hoping that they would maybe be encouraging to her. And today, almost a year later, that friend posted a picture of that little paper that she still has and looks to. Albeit, most of the note is not my own words — but are they ever really our own words?
So, I’m sharing all three of those stories to say: we never really know what kind of impact our words are going to have on someone, do we? Something that we say in passing to someone could stick out to them for the rest of their life. And that’s both the good and the bad — so be mindful with your words. But also, just taking the time to listen to someone and give them even a small piece of advice can make all the difference in their world without you really knowing it. After Wayne’s words to PK, he returned to Georgia and to 12Stone and now our church is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. After Mandi’s words to me, I was motivated to come home, sit down and actually get to work on writing my support letter — my burden lifted. And a note I wrote to Avery that I only hoped might encourage her, she has kept on her bulletin board. Kind words are powerful. Share them.