Standing in my boyfriend’s kitchen, I looked to see what time it was. Panic rushed over me when I realized I had five minutes to get home for curfew, and two many miles between his house and mine to make it. Mom had said if I missed curfew again, she would ground me for a month.
I ran to my car and raced the clock to get home. Hands gripping the steering wheel, I came to a familiar curve going a little too fast. The roads were slick from an earlier rain, and I turned to the right to avoid crossing the yellow line. My small car spun out of control before hitting a ditch and flipping. The sound of crashing glass and metal filled the air as my car tumbled over and over in slow motion.
Within ten minutes, police and paramedics arrived and found my car lying on its side with the driver’s side crushed, the windshield partially shattered and the rest of it completely gone. I was no longer in the car. Paramedics searched the field where my car had landed, but my body was nowhere to be found.
I had forced the passenger door open, climbed out and ran to the highway to flag down a car and got a ride back to my boyfriend’s house where his parents drove me to the hospital. My mom met us there. Walking through the sliding glass doors of the ER, a police officer greeted her and then described the accident as well as the damage to my car.
It was completely totaled. Miraculously, my life was not.
I remember my mom walking into the room where I was, taking my hand and telling me, “It’s a miracle you are alive. God must have a plan for your life because He spared it tonight.”
Evidence of the accident was minimal, only a few bruises across my forehead and nose.
Evidence of God’s hand was clear. I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt yet I wasn’t thrown through the windshield, and although there were several two-liter glass coke bottles in my backseat, none of them hit me.
Not a Christian at the time, I don’t know what I believed about God, but I wanted to believe my mom’s words, “God must have a plan for your life.”
What my mom didn’t know is that months later, I would enter into a long battle with clinical depression. Over time, my heart became familiar with feelings of despair, fear, self-doubt, and hopelessness. Living under the weight of feeling worthless, I contemplated suicide but as I considered taking steps towards ending my life, my mom’s words echoed in my thoughts. Looking back, I can see how God used my mom’s words to convince me He had a purpose for me and had determined my life was worth living.
The course of a life can be changed forever by words of encouragement.
Perhaps there are words you need to hear today — words that remind your heart that you matter, words that whisper the powerful promises of God’s heart toward you:
- “. . . you are a chosen [woman], a royal priesthood, a holy [daughter], God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
- “Do not fear, for [He has] redeemed you; [He has] summoned you by name; you are [His].” Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)
- “For [you] are God’s masterpiece. He has created [you] anew in Christ Jesus, so [you] can do the good things He planned for [you] long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
- “In all these things [you] are more than [a] conqueror through Him who loved [you].” Romans 8:37 (NIV)
Oh, that we would read and believe these words! Let them encourage those weary places in our hearts, our minds, and our souls that need to be reminded we are loved and our lives really do matter. And then, can we take these words and give some away? Because maybe, just maybe, these are the very words someone’s weary heart needs to hear today.
The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
Isaiah 50:4 (NIV)
Let’s do this together. Can you think of a friend, co-worker or someone in your family you could encourage with a note, a text, an email or phone call sharing a few words to let them know how much they mean to you? In the comments, share their name and what you’d tell them, and then be sure to schedule a time to follow through with them this week!
The course of a life can be changed forever by words of encouragement. -@ReneeSwope: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Like you I contemplated suicide due to clinical anxiety and depression, but God had a purpose for me too! I am so thankful for my friend Claire who continually offered me words of encouragement and God’s love when I felt sure that I was disappointing God (depression talking). She prayed with me and for me through some pretty rough times and never judged. She praised with me when my life came into an even keel and continues to share God’s love for me even though now we live many miles apart. Yes, I need to speak encouragement into her heart today. Thank you for the gentle nudge!! And Praise that you survived that accident….your words have been a true blessing to me (and many others) here!!
Renee Swope says
And we are so grateful for your friend Claire, too!! Can’t imagine this world, and our sweet inCourage community without you Bev!! I pray your words of encouragement will be a sweet blessing to her today. I know your words and presence are a gift to me every time I read them!
Michele Morin says
Going this minute for a card, a pen, and a stamp. Great action step, Renee! I needed a push!
Renee Swope says
Praying right now, Michele, for the recipients of your kindness, your words, and your love!! You are a blessing!!
Emily B. says
I sent those verses on an email chain I send out called ‘Encouraging Statements’. Thanks for the encouragement today! Yes, God definitely had a plan for your life, and this is part of it! You are a blessing.
Renee Swope says
Oh I love that Emily!! Thank you for multiplying God’s goodness and love with me today. I am praying there will be a huge ripple effect as those promises are sent out from you and then on again and again!! You are a blessing too!!
Beth Williams says
Everyone at some point in life can use encouraging words. We all go through trials & seasons of difficulty. I sent my pastor’s wife some encouraging words yesterday. It was just what she needed. Also put three friends, Jeanne/Jan & Donna on prayer list. They are going through tough times at work, home, medically, etc. I know my hubby can use some reassuring words to spur him on. Everyone on this Earth has a purpose. God didn’t/doesn’t make mistakes. He has plans for us all. Sure there may be times we feel like we useless & life has no meaning. Hang on long enough & someone somewhere will need your warm smile, hug, or words of affirmation. I have also sent via words via my actions to my in-laws. I have been cooking for them since FIL got diagnosed with Stage III bladder cancer. We are all needed & wanted. Praising God for your life & words today Renee.
Renee Swope says
Beth, sounds like you are investing your time and your words in beautiful ways. Yes, we are all needed and wanted but few of us really know it or believe it. And you are letting God use YOU to make sure those around you know it!! You inspire me!!!
You are a blessing you are his masterpiece! He does have a plan for your life and seeing mine unfold is awe inspiring and humbling at the same time. God bless you and thank for the reminder of Gods love and plan for us with the verses you shared today.
Renee Swope says
You are so welcome Jas!! Thank you for your words of encouragement to me. I pray the words He gave me to share today will sink deep down into your heart, mind and soul today. And if anything happens to make you feel less than, I pray God will remind you of His love, favor, and delight in you – again and again!
Diane Thiel says
Timing is your strength Lord… this means more to me than you know. My husband in his pain encourages me and God encourages me to let go of hurts the baggage that taught me to press closer to Him. My husband has a purpose and I pray I can encourage him as God softens our hearts. Gods blessings sisters.
Renee Swope says
Praying for you Diane, and for your husband. Lord, use the words You gave me to share today to speak hope, love, grace and redemption into Diane and her husband’s hearts, bringing them both closer to You and each other. In Jesus name, amen.
Jan McMinn says
Thank you for sharing this beautiful encourgement ❤️ today. I too suffer with clinical depression and so grateful for my life in Christ!
Renee Swope says
Jan, I’m praying for you today, asking Jesus to bring you more sweet reminders of His love for you.
Remember this:: “How you feel is not who you are. Who you are is based on how God feels about you, and the fact that you belong to HIM. YOU are HIS daughter, Holy and dearly loved, cherished and chosen, a delight to your Heavenly Daddy.” ~ from my 2018 journal, truth He’s been telling me on the hard days.
So glad He made sure that you saw His love note to you (in my post) today! ~ Renee
I can think of a family, that needs this to hear these words. I try and space out my references to God with them as they can get confrontational, or they take it as conviction and that makes them cower back into their lives of disfunction and insecurity. I have just started praying about how I can live these people and how I can speak HIS words of life into them. Right now, it is a slow start…but I am making an effort…and taking the Holy Spirit up on what he asks me to do as I am prompted. I know God has a plan for this family…as they are so far from him and could really use his love and grace and they do need him in their lives…so I pray for them. I just sent a text last week….I will send another one in a week or so. How do you love people like this who are so insecure that they almost cower when you speak to them or if you say something that is truth and convicting, they take offense…I want to speak words of life into these people….I just am not sure if there are Gods words of life that I can speak without them knowing it is from him…as I know God can work that way too…he will
Work on your heart and say things to you when you don’t even know it. Any words of wisdom?
I for one am grateful that you were spared that day to go on to good things as the Lord had planned for you. Thank-you for sharing your story with us. There’s a few people that came to mind who could use some encouraging words today.
Have a blessed, hope filled day all,
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,”plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope , and a future.”
Renee Swope says
Thank you so much for leaving such a thoughtful note. Writing this post made me so grateful for God’s mercy and grace.
Michelle Nettles says
Thank you so much for sharing your story!! My son is having a hard time with depression & doubting his faith. I believe this soo much (that God has a plan for our lives) & have shared this with him. But that scripture tho is such a wonderful bonus to have during this time. Saving this for reference!!
Renee Swope says
Michelle, thank you so much for sharing this so I can pray for your son and for you. Depression and doubt are real, and heavy and hard. I’d love to send you some a list of truths I created for the hard days when I need easy access to God’s thoughts towards me, to replace my own self-defeating critical thoughts. I’ll add a link here to it once I save it as a PDF.
Teresa Hardymon says
Thanks for your encouragement today! I’ve been thinking lately that I need to start sending cards of encouragement to others – I guess your challenge today is confirmation that I need to put action behind my thoughts. I can think of several in my church and family that could use a little extra love sent their way.
Renee Swope says
I love how God confirms those nudges in our hearts. Love that you are taking action now :)!!
Becky Beresford says
Thank you so much Renee for sharing these beautiful truths that meet us in the hard, dark places. I have a dear friend who has really been struggling with depression for years. I’ve struggled somewhat as well, especially after having my babies. I absolutely LOVE these precious verses. They speak life and purpose into every soul. Sending this to her…
Thank you for being brave and sharing your story full of God’s love and redemption.
All of His best to you,
This was an amazing post! May God continue to bless you. Thank you for sharing your story. I myself struggled with depression and know exactly what that darkness feels like. Your words of encouragement are exactly what I needed to hear. I’m gonna print out one of the passages you posted and frame it. Blessing to you again. XO
So many are struggling and really trying to live life through the pain and heartache, but it’s so hard.
When it feels like everything dark is closing in, I hope we see the Light that’s greater than the darkness we feel surrounded in.
Trying to come out of such darkness is never easy, but I remember a dear friend telling me those words: “God must have a plan for your life.” She told me this two days after I was released from a mental health hospital. Just days earlier I had felt buried deep beneath the dark, beyond hope. I had purposefully harmed myself in an attempt to escape the madness of the world I was living in… it was a cry for help. I was overwhelmed with pressure. All I wanted to do was start over. I am thankful God used someone during that emotional time to remind me of the truth I needed to hear. I was pointed back to His Light that’s surrounding me above the darkness.
In spite of the real and messy struggle we’re living in, it’s true that we are here for a reason, our lives matter, God’s not done writing our stories, and He’s planning on using us to make a positive impact in the lives of others. So, let’s fight even when it feels like no one sees and no one knows. God sees and He knows. He will lead us on in His strength to endure life’s battles because that’s His purpose for each of us.
Brooke Frick says
So good and so true. Thank you for sharing this encouragement. We often forget just how powerful words can truly be, and how they can change the course of a life–so it’s so important to speak life into others. Love this! 🙂
Nancy Ruegg says
Thank you for the important reminder, Renee: “The course of a life can be changed forever by words of encouragement.” May not a day go by that I don’t offer a compliment, a word of hope, or an uplift to someone!
Thank you for sharing. I have a daughter who has tried for several years to commit suicide and who still has depression. I do believe God has a special plan for her life.
Thank you for the reminder for me to tell her how much she is loved and that she’s Gods beloved daughter even though she hasn’t come to realise that. I continue to pray for her always having hope and trust and faith.
Renee, Thank You for this reminder. I truly needed to hear this at this moment. That is the infamous line, “what is my purpose here”. I think we all wonder about this and wonder if there is a greater purpose for us being here. I know God definitely have a purpose for all of us even when we feel as if our very presences is meaningless.