In this age of technology, especially social media, I believe there is a lost art that could make a tremendous difference in the lives of those around us. Thankfully Jonathan and I have the tremendous blessing of serving with a congregation that still embraces the art of writing cards. Regardless of what discouragement, frustration, exhaustion, or doubt we may have been feeling, when we see a card from our brethren in the mail it evaporates and leaves peace and humility in its wake. While we also appreciate e-mails and Facebook messages, etc., there is just nothing like opening up a note that someone has taken the time to purchase/write, address and put into the mail.
Over the last several years I have created a “blessing box” for myself. If I were a crafty and creative woman this would be a cute little decorated box, but I’m not so it’s just an ugly brown cardboard box that makes me smile every time I see it. This box is where I keep my treasures, those priceless cards from my family and brethren. No matter how bad of a day I am having, it is impossible to not feel encouraged, uplifted, and loved as I look through my box and remember the blessings (people!) God has put in my life.
While I highly recommend encouraging your brethren every time you see them (always try to leave people happier than you found them!), unfortunately positive experiences don’t last as long as negative ones. What I mean by that, is that when you are feeling down and discouraged it becomes very hard to remember positive things people have said to you with any conviction. The beautiful thing about cards is that they are a permanent reminder, if you keep them every time you read those beautiful words you are reminded of the love you felt the day it came in the mail. What a blessing to give to our brethren!
For those of you who are crafty (not me!) you can make your cards even more special by creating them yourself with a Cricut, scrapbooking supplies, or even plain paper and paints. If you are a talented writer, take a few extra minutes and write a special poem to cheer up a sister who is battling cancer or another ailment. If nothing else, take just a second and write down one thing you appreciate about the person, or that makes them special. Nothing makes an impact like knowing that someone appreciates you or thinks you are special!
Another benefit of writing cards is that you can do it any time. With keeping track of four little ones, I can’t even count the times we have been on our way home from worship and I’ve thought, “Oh no! I really meant to speak to so-and-so!” It’s not that my intentions weren’t sincere, it was simply that worship can be a little chaotic at times: there are children to keep track of, visitors to meet, business such as devotionals, ladies classes, Bible classes, etc. that needs to be taken care of, etc. Our time at worship services is very limited, and it’s almost impossible to visit with everyone that we would like to, but we have the whole week to send a card to someone we missed at services on Sunday, someone who has been ill, someone who has been discouraged, or especially the shut-ins and those in the nursing homes.
Sending cards is also something that just about anyone can do. Anymore cards can be purchased very inexpensively at stores like the DollarTree (they sell packages of 8 blank cards for $1.00!). I know that stamps can be expensive, but there are several alternatives for that also: you could certainly take the cards to worship and hand-deliver them, some congregations have mailboxes for their members you could place them in, or if you are on a very fixed budget, oftentimes elderships are even willing to purchase the stamps for you. My sweet grandpa was an elder in the Lord’s church for several decades, until he had to step down for health reasons. After that, he began visiting the brethren almost daily, until his health would no longer allow him to do so. From there, he began writing cards. Every week for the rest of his life, until the very end when his hands would no longer cooperate and he began making phone calls instead, he wrote cards to encourage his brethren. What a blessing and example! This is truly a ministry that anyone can do from anywhere.
A final suggestion for your card ministry is to not forget the visitors! Most congregations will have some method of keeping track of visitors, attendance cards, etc. Ask your elders or church secretary if your congregation has one in place, and if not offer to start one! I have seen personal, sincere cards from brethren result in the baptism and salvation of a soul more than once. It can be overwhelming to visit a new congregation, so overwhelming that oftentimes not much will stand out or be remembered in the visitor’s mind, but receiving a mailbox full of sincere cards from the brethren the next week, that they won’t forget! What a simple, convenient way to reach out to a lost soul!
Sisters, in this technology-run society, it is all too easy to forget the simple, meaningful things we can do to encourage each other. All it takes is a little time, a little thought, and a very little money, to be a lasting encouragement to someone who needs you. I leave you with the words of Paul, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11. God bless you all.
Written By: Lacy Crowell
Lacy Crowell is the Let It Overflow Editor for Come Fill Your Cup. She & her husband, Jonathan worship with the Jefferson St. church of Christ in Hobbs, NM where he serves as the Associate/Family Minister. They are blessed with four precious children which Lacy has the privilege of homeschooling. Lacy is a graduate of the Bear Valley Bible Institute and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development from Amridge University.