Lessons From My 20s: Encouragement Lasts

Here I am with Jady. My biggest encourager.

I used to blow encouragements off. I hated when everyone went around & encouraged each other. It seemed so insincere. Of course, they are saying something nice. You are making them say something to me. I didn't listen to what people said. Or I thought I didn't.
I listened when it was close friends or family. I'm thankful that my family encourages me pretty much every day. They say the sweetest things & I am beyond blessed by their words. Over the past few years there have been some hard places personally. Suddenly I found myself getting hungry for someone, anyone, to tell me something they see in me. I was dying for encouragement. 
 I have learned that what people say really does matter. Their words wedge themselves into my mind & I recall them when I need some wind in my sails. Encouragement isn't sappy, it is powerful. It charges my spirit and reminds me that what I am doing & who I am matters. I matter. 
Here are three of my favorite encouragements I have ever gotten:
"You are a queen among women & of admirable conversation." - a member of a short term team I led.
"You are lionhearted. I can see it in you." - Ben Loring
"Joan of Arc. Something about you reminds me of Joan of Arc. Your passion could rally armies." - a girl in my dorm freshman year.
These aren't people super close to me. But I remember their words. It reminds me that what I say matters. Even when I think people aren't listening to what I am saying, my encouragements plant themselves in their hearts. 
I've learned that encouragement isn't some flowery, feel-good thing. It gives power to people. Encouragement matters.