Several years ago, I felt the unmistakable calling from God to become an encourager. At first, I thought that to be an odd idea because I’m easily discouraged; in fact, I had struggled through a three-year depression in the late 1990’s. But then it occurred to me that who else would be better suited to give encouragement than someone who knows the pains of discouragement and the loneliness of depression.
My ministry of encouragement began with blank greeting cards in which I’d write a short message of cheer.
Then in 2004, it expanded into storytelling. December 2004, I wrote and told my first “Aunt Shirley” story for my home church. After that, invitations to speak started coming in from other churches, nursing homes, seniors’ homes, ladies church groups and retreats, and even an invitation by a small charity to speak to children in Mexico.
A couple of years ago, I felt God calling me to take another step and further my ministry of encouragement by becoming a counsellor. What a huge step! But I dived into courses to up-grade my Lay Pastoral Counsellor’s certificate.
It’s been one learning step after the other toward growth and experience. There have been many days that I’ve wondered what am I doing; I’m in over my head with these courses. But I know that when God calls, He’ll provide all that is needed to carry out His calling. He has placed in my heart a desire to lift up the discouraged and downtrodden; to walk beside those who are walking through the shadow of the valley of death. I’ve been called to encourage.