A few minutes ago, I received an email from one of the pastors at the church where I worship here in California. It's his weekly note of encouragement for the congregation and it's always something I take a few minutes to read, no matter how busy my day might be.
Today, I'm even more grateful than usual that I took a few moments to stop and read. Our pastor is the dearest man — he wears his heart on his sleeve, proudly and always. Right now, he's undergoing treatment for a scary illness, one that we are certain he will overcome. Yet, it's been a fraught time for our community who loves him dearly, and for his remarkable wife, Nikki.
I wanted to share his words of encouragement with you on this Valentine's Day.
Driving through the canyon the other day, Nikki quietly said, “Jay, I love you.” It had so come from her heart, I have thought about those words over and over. How much they meant to me. How encouraging they were. How comforted I felt. You know, it doesn’t take much to make someone feel great. Just a, “You’re the best,” or, “Did I ever tell you what a remarkable person I think you are?”
I was at the Sawdust [an annual arts festival here in the Southern California town where we both live] the other day and one of the staff members walked by and simply touched my shoulder. It meant the world to me because what she was saying was “I’m thinking of you during your treatment.” Isn’t it something? What a word, a touch, a glance, a smile can do for us. You and I have the power to change someone’s day. And so I am going to challenge you, on this Valentine’s Day, to not only tell family members you love them, but also others whom you care for.
In a world where people are beat up and put down, God gives us the ability to completely turn negativity, criticism and rude opinions around. “Encourage one another and build each other up,” says 1 Thessalonians 5;11. That is one of the most significant verses in all the Bible because when we do this it sets off a chain reaction of blessing.” You become the voice of God’s mercy and grace in the lives of others.
So here’s my message to you this week.“You are the beloved of God, every single one of you reading this letter, so very precious in God’s sight, so immensely loved by Him. God sings over you, even dances over you at times. And at night God often whispers to us that we are His own, that He has called us by Name. Be encouraged everyone, you were loved by God yesterday, you are loved by Him today, and you will be loved by Him forever and ever.
Take the time to tell someone you care, whether it's in words or in deeds today. You can never say, "I love you," too often or too late.
Happy Valentine's Day everybody.
You are loved.
Cathleen Falsani is Web Editor and Director of New Media for Sojourners. She is the author of four nonfiction books, including the memoir Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace, and her latest, BELIEBER!: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber. Follow Cathleen on Twitter @GodGrrl