I had finished speaking and was making my exit stage left when the coordinator of the Gals and Pals event called me back on stage.  I wondered what she had in mind … and what she had tucked inside the shiny gold gift bag she carried. What she said left me speechless which is not normally an easy thing to do.

The event had been booked a year in advance and during the months that followed I learned her husband was undergoing treatments for a serious challenge with cancer. In turn I shared with her the challenge of change in my own health which now included an ongoing need for a monthly, six-hour infusion to bolster my compromised immune system. We had talked and prayed for one another on a regular basis and were rather close by the time we met in person.

A hush fell over the audience as she explained. “Penny, we have something here we want to give you. It’s not something you would ever really want to have, but we pray that, as you use it, it will be a comfort knowing you are literally covered in prayer.”  She reached into the bag and lifted a beautiful, handmade quilt crafted by the Mission Quilting Group of First Baptist Church, Crystal River, Florida that included this beautiful poem:

Sewing Seeds of Love

by Franki

“We give this little quilt to you

for comfort and for joy.

Please know that as we worked on it

God’s blessing was employed.

Our prayer for you in every stitch

is each and every day

Will bring His special blessings

For your good health as we pray.”

The following week I carried my quilt to the hospital and was kept especially warm in both body and soul as I underwent my treatment. What completely surprised me was the unexpected bounce of encouragement the quilt gave the nurses.

Day after day these skilled and professional caregivers administer specialty drugs and treatments to male and female patients, young and old.  Some of their patients are fighting battles they will not win and that knowledge often weighs heavily on their hearts.  When I shared the story of the quilt and how they too had been prayed for with every stitch, eyes glistened with tears of thankful encouragement and smiles broadened on every face.  As each nurse dropped by to see the quilt, I recalled reading “encouragement” described as being the transfusion of courage from one who has it to one who doesn’t.

Pastor David Jeremiah explains this beautifully in his book, The Power of Encouragement in a personal paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.  “I want you to know how blessed I am by the God of all encouragement who encourages us so that we in turn can encourage others with the encouragement whereby we ourselves have been encouraged.”  http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/

Encouragement is like a pebble thrown in the water.  While there is always an immediate impact, the ripples continue indefinitely…   This week give someone a bounce of encouragement.  It doesn’t have to be a handmade quilt.  It can be as simple as a kind word, a written note or an arm around someone’s shoulder.  Who knows what will happen? You could start something that will never end…

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