pile-of-lettersI have a gift, or so I have been told. Mine is to encourage and uplift people through cards and letters – the written word. Not a text or an email, not ethereal words on a screen. But something tangible; something you can hold in your hand, read and re-read to your heart’s content. Something stable, permanent…a message so timeless you can save it to bring out on days when you need a reminder someone cares. I don’t think of this letter writing as much of a gift since I’ve been doing it almost my entire life. Little did I know that what I started doing in grammar school would become a signature talent.

The moment I discovered this gift is still crystal clear. I was probably eleven at the time and I felt this energy inside of me bursting forth. The understanding of knowing I was beloved by God was growing – beating strong in my heart. Since God is love, I desperately wanted to share His love with someone. But not to just anyone; no, my message had to touch a heart that was broken, because even though I was young, I’d experienced the sorrow of the brokenhearted. With childlike innocence, I wanted someone else to know, like I was just beginning to realize, that God loves unconditionally, that our value is measured solely by Him and not how the world may treat us.

And so on that summer’s day, I gathered some stationery, sat on the picnic bench on our patio and wrote a letter to a soldier fighting half a world away in the jungle, far from family and friends, who needed someone to shout over the bullets, “You are beloved of God. He sees you. You are not alone. He is love, so every day you are surrounded by Love.”

When we become a Christian, each of us is given a spiritual gift. It may be creative like mine, or a teaching gift, maybe shepherding one. We dishonor God when we fail to utilize those gifts, to sharpen them by pouring them out to His children.

Sometimes the pain in my life rose to the point where putting pen to paper became difficult; when I bitterly thought I needed the words more than the recipient of my message. But I learned during those dark times that God uses our pain and our brokenness to rescue others and in the process, Heaven bends down and gently, tenderly rescues us.

Whatever your gifts are, God placed them in you so you would experience God’s unlimited goodness. His unending love encourages you to give away every bit of what you have received. When you do, He will give you more…infinitely more. Ephesians 3:20 says, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. (NIV)

I’ve learned when I’m discouraged and afraid, when I who loves words finds the pain so sharp the words don’t come; if I remain obedient to Him and use my gift, He multiplies my attempts and fills me with more hope. Hear it from me, one whose heart has known the agony of brokenness: if I do not ignore His gift, He will always fill me with His goodness when I use it.

If your pain is stopping you from using your gift, embrace your brokenness. Let it make you brave. There isn’t a loss on earth that can ever rob you of the riches our Lord has saved for you in Him. Then, in faith, in obedience, step out and use your gift. Honor the giver by sharpening and sharing it. Pour it out on the world and experience Him filling you up again with His love.

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