“Week 6: Task #5. Send postcards to five friends.”
That was the assignment.
That’s where it all began.
Well, sort of. Intentionally reaching out to encourage loved ones or to let them know they were on my mind and ask how I could pray for them had been a regular habit for several years. But usually only by text.
This assignment from Julia Cameron, in her book “The Artist’s Way” inspired a new and creative way to do that. Since I’d recently started dabbling in watercolors, I decided to take her challenge a step further. Instead of purchasing premade postcards, I bought some 4X6 watercolor postcard blanks.
Then, I asked God for the five people I would paint for. On each card, I painted something simple and added a verse or word of encouragement. They weren’t perfect, nothing you’d hang in an art gallery. But they didn’t have to be. They were meant only to offer a moment of delight and encouragement.
A feather for my best friend, a writer. A teacup for my coworker on her birthday, and a heart for my mom. Not knowing who the other two recipients would be, I posted on Facebook a photo of the three paintings along with an explanation of what I was doing. If anyone wanted one, they could comment, and the first two to respond would receive a card.
Now, I paint four or five at a time and keep them in my purse until God shows me who to give them to. A sweet lady at church, a stranger in a restaurant, a friend at lunch. Though I paint them not knowing who they’re for, it seems they always speak the right word of encouragement to the right person at the right time. “A word fitly spoken,” as Proverbs calls it in chapter 25.
One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 10:24. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” (ESV). The Passion Translations puts it this way, “Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.”
Before you say “I’m not creative, I can’t paint,” may I encourage you? When considering what you have to offer the world, know two things.
- The simplest place to look is within yourself. What encourages you? What makes you feel loved, seen, known? What do you already enjoy doing?
- Grand gestures, extravagant gifts, and heroic sacrifices aren’t required. Start with what you have, where you are. A kind word, a smile, a short text. We all have those to offer.
In the gospels, Jesus tells the parable of the mustard seed. He said that though it is the smallest seed, when planted, it becomes the largest plant in the garden. In fact, it grows into a tree for birds to perch in. When we offer even the smallest gesture of love to another, we’re watering the seeds of love in our own life. Each act sowing in us a desire to do it again.
About the Author:
Rose Jordan is the Christian communicator and creative behind Beneath The Fig Tree. She and her husband, Brandon, have been married for almost 28 years and have one son, 27. Her favorite God assignment is coming alongside women and helping them cultivate a devotional life they absolutely love so they finally experience the tangible, meaningful relationship with God they were created for!
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