Therefore, Encourage

Yesterday, I met one of my friends from college at a coffee shop and talked about writing. Talking with her has been such a privilege because for years now, I have considered her one of the most talented writers I know. Throughout my graduate work, she was this ever-shining beacon of faith amidst the cynicism that often accompanies a secular university. We don't even know each other that well, but I have always looked up to her.

Recently, after taking several years away from writing, she's felt God calling her back to the craft in a new way. I sat there listening as she explained what a cool thing it's been to watch God use her education training in a direction she never would've expected. She's been coming up with all these article ideas left and right, and the more she writes, the more that comes to her mind.

As she continued to tell me about her journey, I felt myself getting excited, because I can see what's ahead of her. I can imagine and envision things she's yet to even imagine or dream.

I often feel this way about Angie Dicken, my critique partner. You may think I'm biased because I adore her, but I promise I'm being fair! She really is as great of a writer as I make her sound. Side note, you can find here blog here if you're interested: . So Angie writes historical romance, and she has this ability to intricately weave cultures. She also is mind-boggling good at constructing the story world so that you as the reader just want to jump right in to the setting alongside the characters. Because she writes something more unique, she hasn't had as easy of a sell as some others who fit the formula mold. But the thing is, I see God's hand all over her writing, and mark my words, she is going to make it BIG someday because her skills and voice are unmatched. When I'm reading Angie's writing, even her first drafts, I am always floored by how beautiful her prose is, and I wish she could see how truly talented she really is.

Do any of you subscribe to Bible Gateway's verse of the day? Well, the verse today was 1 Thessalonians 5:11. It says, "So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing."

Aren't the effects of community and encouragement amazing? I look at my own writing, and how far a little bit of encouragement or kindness has taken me, especially when spoken from someone I look up to. And then it dawned on me--what if I have the power, the ability, to uplift other people in the same way?

What if I can see a vision in other people's lives that they can't see in themselves? And if that's the case, what am I going to do about it?

So as you go about your day today, I pray you feel the encouragement of others who God has put alongside you in this journey. Maybe you see amazing fruit coming out of someone's life. Speak words of vision into them, because chances are they don't see the same thing in themselves.

Do you have any people in your life who this applies to? How have you been affected and encouraged by community? What can we do to foster an environment of encouragement?


  1. There are so many who have encouraged me in life. It was especially needed when I was working full time and pursuing my master's. Yikes, that was a crazy time.

    And I've been encouraged in the writing community too. There have been so many who unexpectedly came beside me and told me to keep going, who talked me off a ledge.

  2. Encouragement is such a powerful thing, and I think you're so right, Ashley. We don't see the potential or the good in ourselves nearly as clearly as we can see it in someone else.

  3. Ashley, I say this from the bottom of my heart, you are one of the biggest encouragers in my life...not just the writing life...but in my life. I am so thankful that we found each other on the loop, you have truly had a huge hand in my writing. Can't wait to see what God has in store for your journey!!!

  4. Lindsay, I bet that WAS a crazy time! I had a hard enough time staying motivated at school when I was working part time. It's amazing what those night classes will do to a person!

  5. Janet, I've been thinking about this concept more and more over the past day... it really is amazing how limited our views of ourselves can be, but how unlimited our views of others often is. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  6. Angie, you are so precious! I feel the exact same way about you. I was just thinking yesterday what a great friend you are in my life. :)

  7. Ashley,
    I subscribe to Bible Gateway & love receiving a scripture each day. Yes, there are those who have given me much encouragement over the years in many areas, child rearing, missions, quilting, my walk with God to name a few. Everyone needs a Barnabus in their life. It has always been my desire to be an encourager to those within my sphere, my husband, children, friends and even strangers we meet.

    Last week while at the grocery store check-out, the clerk apologized several times for being slow. He said it was his first day. I told him to take his time, that everyone had a 'first day.' When he handed me my receipt he said, "You have been the best customer I've had all day. You really made my day!" That encouraged me because as believers, we so want for others to see Jesus in us. Ashley, you are a continual encouragement to me and to those around you. You really do spread sunshine:) Although I'm not a professional writer, I enjoyed reading your blog. You have so much to give to others, and I know that God will use you and your gifts beyond your imagination!

  8. Thank you, Mrs. Linda! You are such an encouragement in my life and in my family's lives. We love and appreciate you so much! :)