Sunday, June 28, 2009

Blessings of Encouragement

Many of you asked me to report on how my first meeting at my home went on Saturday. I’d sent out initiations to the ladies in my Bible Fellowship class asking if they wanted to be encouraged and be an encourager.

I’m happy to say five ladies attended with several more communicating to me their desire to come to the next one but because of prior commitments, couldn’t come this time.

Since I’m all about the keeping it real, and goals—I made up a bunch of questions, typed them on slips of paper and passed them around. Each person took one and read it aloud, answered and then asked the question of someone else.

I called it my Icebreaker. It certainly did.

So many people keep their thoughts and lives bundled so deeply inside that those around haven’t a clue to their needs. They call it being strong or private, or socially polite.

I call it being fearful.

I hope my writing shares more than just words. I hope it offers people a deeper look into who I am and hopefully into the character of God.

As a Christian writer, we shouldn’t be afraid to put it out there—and I don’t mean the in-your-face kind of preaching—but the kind that is honest and real.

How are you keeping your writing real? And when you do, how have you been blessed?


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I agree with you. How can people get to know us if we don't open our hearts to them?

I'm so glad the Bible Study went well. The questions were a great idea! Any chance you can give us some sample questions?

Susan :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Congratulations. So glad the meeting went well! Hope there are many more to come.

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

Glad it went well. The Lord put you in a good position to do it. I may try something similar for my age group/Sunday School Class. Keep me posted. I will check in to get info if I copy you. :>)

ginny said...

Sometimes I open up too much! There is nothing that feels better than to reveal yourself to someone who actually cares what you are saying and how you are feeling.

Andrea said...

As I share what is on my heart many have responded b/c they too have struggled or are struggling with the same issues.

Blessings, andrea

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I'm so glad it went well, Terri. I know you'll be a major blessing to all who attend.

Keeping it real?--well I try to incorporate my fears and concerns through the stories I write. It's scary at times to think one day these stories might be published, but I'm growing and learning from writing them so perhaps they'll help others face their own fears and concerns too.

Sassy Granny ... said...

Yes, yes, yes! It's all about authenticity.

Years ago I made the conscious decision to be vulnerable - transparent - especially when to do so would be an inspiration to others, or grant another pemission to do likewise. 98% of the time it has blessed me so richly, for in authenticity the roots of friendship sink deep.

Of the remaining 2% ... well, there are just some people that'll thump you no matter what. And being transparent & vulnerable would appear to be their open invitation for such.

98 versus 2? No contest! Gimme real any day.


Cindy said...

It makes me so happy you're meeting went well. There is so much good that can come from keeping it real, even if it's scary. Even if it's hard. Being genuine and sincere is the most productive and true way to reach people.

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh Tiffany, I'm so glad that you had a good turn out and could share with each other in a real way. That's so hard even among close friends. People often hide behind masks and have a hard time sharing.

Beth in NC said...

I'm glad it went well!

I am always real. If anything, I fear I might expose others who are an integral part of my life. For instance, I wrote a post about my Mom the other day -- had a bunch of comments from others, then decided to remove it because I didn't want o uncover her or dishonor her.

Bless you tonight!

Stonefox said...

Terri, that is great! Five is an awesome start. You are so right about the need to be real. We are all human and we all go without shaving out legs just admit it! :) Keep challenging us to write real.

Greg C said...

I am glad the Bible study went well. I am always afraid of stepping on someone's toes so I sometimes don't write what I really want to. Lots of times I write something and then let it set for a while to think about what I wrote. Many times I come back and re-edit to soften things up a bit. Is this normal?

Jessica said...

What a good ice breaker! :-) I hope you get to do another meeting, it sounds wonderful.

Keeping it real...I hope I do that. We'll see, I guess.

Lin said...

honesty is what it's all about and not living a facade. i would call it integrity in all you do. sounds like a wonderful support group for you and those in the group....

Melissa Marsh said...

What a neat way to get to know other people. I'm so glad you had a blessed time.

Chelle Sandell said...

So glad that it went well! I think it's alot easier to open up to our online friends than it is in person.

giddymomof6 said...

LOL! Since my Jane Austen series is mostly a collection of real life instances, I think I've been very blessed for sharing them

Congrats on your turn out! This is so awesome that you're doing this! Jenni

Yolanda said...

Great thoughts and this beats with my heart. I want to be real and while doing so, am very vulnerable. I desire others to be real as well.....lovingly, Yolanda

Rose Mary said...

I love the idea of your 'ice-breaker'. I'm glad it went well for you.

I try to portray my characters with the kind of feelings and doubts that all of us experience. I don't enjoy reading Christian books that have a main character that seems too perfect. It's just not real.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I've seen this technique work person. It's a good one. I, particularly am kinda shy in a group. (Maybe fearful, not sure about that.) The situation is worse if there's someone in the group can I say this...uh, not shy. When I encounter this, I tend to just let that person do the talking. It's not unusual for me to leave this kind of a setting having said nothing or next to it. So, good job on hand-holding for folks like me. We secretly appreciate it.

Best regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Alleluiabelle said...

My Dear Friend Terri,

I have to be real. I speak from my heart and what I've experienced in my life and how I feel. I couldn't be any other way or I would be in an uncomfortable position, one of uneasiness and one that just was not who I am.

Yes, be real. It's the only way to go through life.

Love you,

Deborah said...

I agree....when we express what's our heart we often find others who are going through something similar...and often they become our closest friends.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I am so glad that you had a good turn out! I will continue to pray that this will be just the source of accountability, honesty and fellowship you and these other sisters are looking for.


Michaéle said...

Oh heavens, I believe my writing is TOO open. In fact, the more I have opened up about my recent struggles with anxiety, the less readership I have had.

But I haven't let that stop me and I just keep blathering on about my personal struggles in the hope that a woman out there reading will think "I thought I was the only one" and will perhaps feel comforted that she is not.

Nancy said...

I agree we shouldn't be afraid to "put it out there." If we don't, how will anyone benefit from it? We may step on toes, but sometimes that's what needs to be done. What a lovely idea - a group of encouragers. I'm sure it made God smile.

Kay the Encourager said...

I love the ministry of encouragement. I think that is the single most important thing we can do for others…and it’s alot more than just words. It's reaching out to those who are struggling or wanting to be encouragers, just like you are doing. Please check out my blog for more encouragement info and add to your blogroll if you feel led. Thank you!

How to encourage

Let me know how the 'encouraging meetings' go!

LisaShaw said...

I thank God ladies came and more will come. The Lord is using you and your home and the gifts He's placed within you to bless so many others.

That's beautiful!