“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

Long before I learned to write, I had been classified as having the gift of encouragement–that ability to know what to say or what not to say to someone in need of a lift. I call them God-moments–those times when you feel the nudge and hear a scripture or encouraging word in your head. It pops out of your mouth as natural as breathing. The person responds either with tears, because she/he recognized it as a Word from God or a smile because she/he knew someone cared.

When age begins to slow you down and you can no longer volunteer for youth activities or follow your grandchildren up the waterslide, you wonder what you can do to keep from vegetating on the sofa. My husband retired early and we had travelled a few years before I discovered my true passion–writing Christian Romance.

You’ve heard the saying, “What goes around, comes around!” Thank goodness, because I recently needed a good dose of encouragement. My first novel, By the Sea, was published in February. After seven years filled with hours of writing, editing and proposing, I had finally realized my dream. My spirit soared for a few weeks, but then, as I’m sometimes prone to do, I regressed. Discouragement raised its ugly head and invaded my mind with worry: I should have started marketing months ago. All these people say they love the book so why don’t I have more reviews? How did that one error escape all those edits? The what if’s and should have’s sent me downward. The encourager needed an encouraging word.

Isn’t God good? Amid questioning and insecurity, He filled my day with a bushel of encouragement. During prayer meeting that morning, a friend prayed a word that let me know God understood. Then, on my way to Costco, God reminded me, again, to “trust him.” When I got out of the car, I ran into two friends from my Life Group, both bubbly and glad to see me.

One friend handed me a notecard. I thanked her and dropped it in my purse for later. While waiting in line to pay for my purchases, I decided to read my friend’s note. What an uplifting gift! With her permission, I have printed a few excerpts from her encouraging words:

I have just now finished reading By the Sea, and my first words were, “This is so good!!” followed by a prayer from the depths of my heart: “Lord, please give her many, many more books, and time to write them all!” Right away I want to read it over again from beginning to end.

Just a few initial thoughts to share with you . . .. You have expressions in here (the book) that took my breath away–expressions with depth and wisdom and pure joy which drew me ever more deeply into the story.

The underlying, comforting, theme is watching their individual discovery of God’s part throughout the whole drama. His loving care and concern shown by Alex foreshadowed for me the Lord Himself. The “Good Shepherd” always cares in very personal ways to bring His children through, each step of the way. And, how He reveals Himself in this (book) causes me to love Him even more.

This account of one man’s “journey” is obviously easy for most readers, at one point or another, to identify with. I couldn’t help but root for them as “real” characters facing a “real” and difficult life challenge.

P.S. I feel blessed for having read By the Sea, and can easily see this book one day being made into a dynamic movie. 

As you can see, my friend’s aspirations for me are high. What encouraged me more than anything was her spiritual insight. My friend saw the spiritual truths hidden within the drama of the story, my purpose in writing from the beginning. Regardless if I publish another book, I know God gave me that day of encouragement.

Do you also need a shot of encouragement–a word fitly spoken? More importantly, are your eyes and ears open to see the discouragement and sadness in others? The next person you meet today just might be your opportunity to offer that encouraging word God has placed in your heart–like apples of gold in pictures of silver. 




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