The Power of Encouragement

Originally published Tuesday, 27 May 2014.

It reflected from the sparkle in her smiling eyes.

It sprang out from the bounce in her step.

It swayed with the highlights in her shoulder-length bob.

It sang from the notes of her contagious laughter.

She drank it in with her extra large Diet Coke every morning, and it poured forth with her every word.

The power of encouragement.

She was our high school Varsity tennis coach,

and we loved her.

She made us who we were, as a team.

She motivated us, bonded us, unified us.

She knew the power of encouragement, and she used it well.

She was our coach,

and we loved her.

A ball of energy, her enthusiasm overflowed into each one of us.

She radiated vibrancy, and we couldn’t help but strive for excellence because of it.

Between games, she would call us to the fence for a pep talk.

Whether we were ahead or behind, her tone was full of gusto and vivacity.  With her perfectly manicured nails clasping the rungs of the fence, she would tell us what we needed to hear.

“That girl’s backhand is weak.  Hit it deep, back in the corner pocket.  Make them run.  Make them tired.  You got this.”

She put the fire in our hearts, the love of the game in the soles of our feet.

We played to win.

We played for the love.

We played for her.

She knew the power of encouragement, and she used it well.

Her memory has spurred me on to seek out that same power of encouragement.

To use it well.

To go beyond motivating a player in a tennis match, and strive to motivate and encourage sisters in the faith.  To build up those who are weary and aching from the constant onslaught of life’s baseline backhands, volleys at the net, and in-between overhead shots.

To remind my spiritual teammates that even when our opponent serves up an ace, we can still recover.  We may lose the game or even the set, but if we are in Christ, we have already won the match.  He has already claimed the victory.

To encourage others to see the grace we have been given.

The grace that leads to hope.

“… that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3, ESV).

This post was written in conjunction with an (in)courage Community Group link-up, on the prompt, ‘The Power of Encouragement.’  To read more posts on the same theme, or to participate in the link-up, click here

Final photo credit: Alans1948, edited.