My son carried two cards to our mailbox today: one for Sister Nat, a sweet lady at church who’s experienced great healing with an experimental cancer treatment; the other for Mr. Harold, an older gentleman who works in the office of the church where the kids and I go for classes one day a week.

I often type prayer requests on my phone to remind me of those who need a card in the mail: I hope you feel better soon. I’m sorry for your loss. You have not been forgotten. But in spite of good intentions, sometimes they’re never written.

It took Mr. Harold to make me stop and ask: Who might need my words today?

Mr. Harold has quietly battled cancer while sitting behind his desk at the church. One January morning when he wasn’t there, we learned he’d suffered a stroke. Tests revealed a malignant brain tumor from a second, more aggressive cancer, which leaves him with a life expectancy of three months to a year; partially blind and unable to walk; and haunted by the question:

Did my life have an impact?

According to Mr. Harold’s wife, what he needs most are encouraging stories of how he positively influenced the lives of others. Don’t you need that, too? I do.

I knew I would never forget it if I let our busy schedule get in the way of writing a card before it was too late. My 18-year-old son wrote a separate note, telling Mr. Harold how much he enjoyed the afternoon when they sat outside and played guitar together.

The Bible tells us to “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (Romans 12:15) The first is easier, but the second is just as necessary.

My husband used to comment if one of the ladies at church had a nice new haircut or dress (don’t worry, no jealousy here) and I finally told him, “Don’t tell me. Tell them. We all need to hear this.” Give sincere compliments when given the opportunity. 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up . . .” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Is there someone that you should write or call? A friend who could use a word of encouragement? A post that you haven’t written because it’s difficult, but you know it would help others?

We need your words.

by Dawn Camp, My Home Sweet Home

  • Kimberly

    My own need for validation and encouragement often eclipses my desire to pass a good word on to others. Today, I will look for ways to bless someone with my words. Thanks so much for reminding me of this:)

    • Cynthia

      It takes real humility to admit that. I think there are many, many ladies like that. I try to compliment people often, and they always seem so surprised. That seems sort of sad to me…

      Truth be told, though, I relish receiving compliments as well, but they aren’t often forthcoming. But in complimenting others, I find great joy!

    • Dawn Camp

      Kimberly, I think Cynthia has a good word here. Blessings to you both today!

  • Grace

    Yes, an excellent reminder! Thank you!

  • Dawn Camp

    Mr. Harold passed away last week. I’m thankful we took the small amount of time it took to make one moment a bit happier for him or his wife.

  • Karen

    Sending cards is one of my favorite things. I realized the power of them after my brother passed a way a few years ago and for several weeks I received them occasionally in the mail. They blessed me so much that I committed to blessing others. For Christmas and birthdays, I ask my family to replenish my card box.

    For lent this year, I didn’t give up anything, instead I asked God each day (almost) who might need some words of blessing and encouragement. I LOVED the names God brought to me!

    • Dawn Camp

      Karen, I asked a couple of friend yesterday if they thought people would think it was funny if I started giving boxed cards as gifts.

  • Lesley

    Last summer two of my friends were doing short-term missions together. I was much closer to one of the girls, and the other was shocked to see a letter in the mail for her as well. I love sending words of encouragement to people, because it really does build people up and make them want to show the same kindness to others.

    • Dawn Camp

      Lesley, I think you’re so right—encouragement is contagious.

  • Amanda Jones

    I often find that when I feel down or discouraged, if I take a minute to send a note to someone else, it instantly lifts my spirits. Your love language doesn’t need to be Words of Affirmation for an encouraging note to make you day (or week/month/year!). :)

    • Kristen Strong

      That’s a great point, Amanda.

    • Dawn Camp

      Give the words you need to hear yourself. So true!

  • Bev Duncan@ Walking Well With God

    My daughter teases me that the ladies at Hallmark know me by my first name. Before my dad passed away he encouraged me (a writer) to never forget the lost art of letter writing. How right he was. A word or encouragement in note or letter form goes a long way to be a balm to a hurting or struggling soul. Now I’m pleased to say that the ladies at Hallmark know my daughter by her first name lol. Writing notes is a legacy we can leave to our children to further bless others.

    • Dawn Camp

      Bev, that’s an awesome legacy you’re leaving your daughter. Your father was a wise man. :)

  • dale carroll-coleman

    I love this!! How sweet your words touched me this morning and how wise you are to encourage your husband to share in this way. I feel the same conviction to share with others. Our words have power to crush or boldly bless.
    Your words blessed many today. Rejoice in that :).

    • Dawn Camp

      Thank you, Dale!

  • Kristen Strong

    “Give sincere compliments when given the opportunity.”

    Preach it, sister.

    I love you, Dawn. xo

    • Dawn Camp

      I just thought of the exact opposite of this—Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, who studies and practices compliments in advance—and it made me giggle. :)

  • Kate

    So timely.

    Thanks to your encouragement – I sat down and wrote those two cards I’ve been meaning to send.

    One to a friend who has finally welcomed a baby. It’s been a long, hard journey to motherhood for her.

    The other to a family I don’t know – who is struggling and hurting over their 12 year old boy having a brain tumor.

    Such pain in the world. The least we can do is let the Spirit be a balm through our words. Yes.

    Kate :)

    • Dawn Camp

      Kate, you just made my day. Thank you!

  • Lisa

    This is such a great reminder. Cards, thoughts, kind words are so uplifting and helpful to others. It is a balm to my soul and to others.

  • tanya @ truthinweakness

    when a dear friend of mine was battling cancer, i felt so helpless as to what to say, even how to pray. and my self-imposed pressure to craft a perfect response sadly stifled me from offering any response at all, at times. God convicted me of that, & i apologized to Him and to her. told her that i didn’t want to over-think my responses any more, but that i wanted to reach out without inhibition and trust Him to love on her through me.

    fast fwd a couple years and i found myself in my own health crisis . . . fully realizing the value of that constant support & encouragement *regardless* of the specific words . . . no, i don’t remember the specific things most people said in their cards & e-mails to me, but i remember that they said them. and how encouraging it was to have them speak love to my soul.

    thanks so much for sharing this tender nudge, dawn.


    • SarahJane

      Oh Tanya,
      I hear you on this one! I have actually carried a card around in my Bible for over a year because I was so anxious about having gotten the words wrong. That card ended up undelivered, and that woman ended up leaving the church as well (hopefully an unrelated event). It’s so hard to express “weeping with those who weep” in words, but I don’t ever want to fall into the trap of meaningless (and sometimes harmful) Christian cliches. Your comment encourages me to let go of the pressure of getting it “right” and to just step up and love.

    • Dawn Camp

      Tanya, thank you so much for your wise words from both sides: the giver and the receiver.

  • Sherri Len

    Your husband is a gem. I hope you tell him so.

    • Dawn Camp

      Yes, ma’am, I will. (and he is)

  • Becky

    Earlier this week I actually took the time to sit down and write cards to two people that had been on my heart for weeks. The first was a very dear friend. The second was a gal that was new to our mommy group and had only come a couple times because her son’s health issues.

    I “sacrificed” 15 minutes of my precious hour break while all 3 kiddos were sleeping to pen two notes of encouragement, telling these sweet women that I was thinking about them and am for them! The very next day (fast postal service around here!) my friend texted me that it was the sweetest card she had ever received, and my new mommy acquaintance emailed me that my card completely blessed and brightened her day.

    I LOVE to encourage my friends. (Let’s face it…I also love to BE encouraged!) But yes, busyness, laziness, or procrastination could have made me put such a simple act of love off for another day…or no day at all. But taking a few moments to bless someone else was in turn a blessing to me as well. Yah, God, for creating us to live in community and lift up one another…when we know someone needs it or “just because.”

    • Dawn Camp

      Yay, Becky! That kind of response will keep you writing, huh? :)

  • Jen

    I really needed this, thank you. One of my goals for this year was to start sending cards. It’s harder to stick with it and follow through. I have two that have been sitting for weeks, that need to go out. I’ll make a point to get to it, tomorrow. One of which the person doesn’t know me. It’s my friend’s mother-in-laws who is receiving treatment for cancer…her third diagnoses. She is a widow. I just want her to feel less alone, when she gets the card.

  • Linda Neal

    I just read the comment about my dear husband..Harold Neal. It has made my day so much easier. I miss him so much and I want to try to help others with the time I have
    left on this earth. Please let me know how I can be a part of your mission…Thanks

    • Dawn Camp

      Miss Linda, I’m so happy to hear this. It means a lot to me that these words would comfort you. We miss Mr. Harold. I’m praying for you.