(a portion of A Lady Writing, by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665-1666)
When Nothing Else Will Do, Give the Word
This seems a particularly difficult several years of pain and suffering for so many I know and love, and now my beloved sister-in-love is battling cancer of the liver. Sometimes I am at a complete loss as to how to come along side, weep with and encourage friends and family over the many miles that separate us.
Loss of a child, severe post-partum depression, debilitating disease, loss of a wife or husband, broken relationships or divorce. How can one be a truly meaningful encouragement? A store-bought ‘Get Well’ or ‘Thinking of You’ card (or even a hand- written note) is fine, but I want to minister on a deeper level when there is so much heartache. So I have fretted about how to show my love.
But the Lord reminded me of a way! When I was asked to be a part of celebrating a dear friend’s 40th birthday by giving her ’40 of something’, I decided to make 40 little individual Scripture notes ~ specifically for her ~ out of bright scrap-booking papers that I had on hand.
They certainly weren’t as refined as Vermeer’s 17th century style, but decidedly cheery. I asked my friend to keep them by her bedside, and upon waking open one every morning for 40 days, and she loved it.
So now I can take that little gift idea and use it to come alongside others. There are so many advantages to this:
1.) To do this, we must spend time in prayer for that friend and ask for the right verses to write.
2.) Writing down each individual scripture helps us, the writer, memorize them.
3.) We worship God when we ascribe worth to His Word.
4.) For the recipient, meditating on the Word of God is powerful like nothing else in this world! God can and will use His Word to comfort, bring joy in the midst of great heartache, and directly address their very need.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4: 12
I can tuck them into an envelope with a note of encouragement and know they will tend to their spirits as no human words could. It takes little time in light of their real value, so I can send a 7 or 8 ever week or two.
Yesterday as the spitting drizzle and cold winds chilled my fingers and cheeks, I whispered a silent prayer to our dear Lord and sent the envelope off in the mail to my dear brother and sister-in-love 1800 miles away. I was strangely warmed knowing that God’s eternal Word could do what I could not.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth… so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire…” ~Isaiah 55: 10a, 11
Nothing will do but the very Word of God!
All you need is pretty paper cut into strips (for ease in cutting, mostly I used papers that had visible lines to follow in the pattern). The average size I cut was approximately 3″ wide and 5 1/2″ long. After a while I got the hang of cutting some narrower and some wider and making sure the scripture length fit the space.
“Weep with those who weep” ~Romans 12: 15b
“More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”
~ John Donne
Thanks for reading!