Celebrating others when I’m in a busy season does not come naturally to me. It’s really easy to get self-focused and think what’s happening in my life is too big to take time for someone else. I cringe just admitting that, but my actions remind me it’s true no matter how embarrassing it is to say it out loud.
My twin sister, Natalie has always been really good at celebrating other people in their season (even if it’s a season she wanted to be in for herself) and my friend Breanna has been unknowingly encouraging me to be more thoughtful as I witness her own thoughtfulness.
If you’re like me though, I hope this post will be helpful!
And if you’re like Natalie or Breanna, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some of your best tips for celebrating someone well.
This time of year is when celebrations start ramping up for all kinds of reasons so I thought it would be fun to share a few people and ways to encourage those people in this season.
I am including a prayer to pray over them, a quick way to encourage them, and a gift idea!
As the graduation invitations start rolling in, take a minute to really think about what it’s like to embark on the next phase of life. Whether it’s college, an internship, starting a business or getting a full-time job, there is so much newness! This can be such a crossroads for many in their faith journey. How can we encourage them as they step into it?
A PRAYER: Father God, I pray for ________. I thank you that you formed them, knit them together and knew that their journey would take them right here. I pray for your hand to go before ______. May they know beyond a shadow of doubt that you are good and real in their life. Show them yourself clearly in this next season and surround them with people who will encourage them to stand boldly for you. May the work they do be glorifying to your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A WAY TO ENCOURAGE: Send them a prayer and words that speak to their true identity. The next season may be one of those being questioned. Their faith will most certainly be tested. Surrounding them with truth could be the greatest blessing.
A GIFT: Grab our Teen Prayer Journal and include a note that you’ll be praying for this next adventure. Find out the coolest dinner spots in their new town and get them a gift card for it. If the circumstances fit, introduce them to someone like a campus minister or organization that can encourage them in their faith.
As a former wedding planner, I got to walk through the engagement season with many many brides. I definitely agree with many other planners that part of my job is playing a counselor. Tensions are high, so much pressure is placed on this one day, and to top it off, two people who arrived here are about to merge lives and that takes no small amount of compromise and selflessness.
A PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for ________ and her fiance _______. I pray Father, that you will be glorified in their love story. I pray, Lord, that as the wedding draws near, their eyes will be fixed on you. We know the mountains in our life can be a spot that we take for granted our time with you. I pray ____ and ____ will defy those odds and draw closer to you in this season. And that all the world will know you better as they witness their love for each other and for you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A WAY TO ENCOURAGE: Ask about the details. Often the friends and family have a much smaller capacity to talk about the details if they’ve been hearing about them for a year. 😉 Share in her excitement and don’t feel the need to make sure she knows how hard marriage is! We often have a habit of wanting to squash any naive joy and make sure they know it’s not all wedding dresses and cake. Instead, encourage her in this next phase of life highlighting God’s wonderful design for it.
A GIFT: For the most part, stick with the registry. Unless of course, you wanted to gift a gold brick. 😜There are some very thoughtful personalized gift ideas that people love, but I think we are much too inclined to think what we want to give is the exception to the rule. Sure, they want items from their registry but they don’t know about my world famous ______. They’ll love it! Many times, when a couple is starting from scratch, they’re just hoping to get towels or utensils to eat with! The cool thing about registries today is that many have items prioritized (like who needs a casserole dish before you need actual plates to eat off?) so see what’s important to them and get that!
After writing an entire book that was first inspired by the negative conversations about motherhood that I heard once I announced I was pregnant, I think this is a group that desperately needs our encouragement! Yes, motherhood will be hard, but how many moms-to-be don’t know that. And yes, they may even be a little naive because you can’t truly know what to expect until it happens but do they need to hear every discouraging story? We fail soon-to-be mommas when we constantly feel the need to warn them of what they are getting into. Trust the Holy Spirit to prepare them. This doesn’t mean we pretend like everything is perfect, but I think we’re sooooo far past that actually happening, I feel like it’s more important to simply say, let’s encourage those soon-t0-be mommas on the journey they are about to embark on.
A PRAYER: Lord, thank you for _____ and her little one. I pray that as she journeys through pregnancy, that you will sustain her. I pray you would surround her with a village that lifts her up and encourages her on the hard days. I pray that as she faces a new set of challenges, you will remind her that in her weakness, she is strong because of Christ. And Lord, may she find immense joy in motherhood and may others witness it and know that what is different about her isn’t a better-sleeping baby, more help or easier circumstances. Her joy is in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A WAY TO ENCOURAGE: Send a text and ask her how she’s feeling. Don’t feel the need to share the scary details of your labor. If it’s the first trimester and everything makes her nauseous, offer to let her pick the restaurant. If she’s already got a toddler, offer to take them for an hour or two so she can rest. If you’ve got kids like I do, it is fairly easy to throw one more kid in the mix temporarily. 💪
A GIFT: Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday! Yes, I know the title is a little scary to send but she hasn’t been a mom yet so you aren’t calling her out! My sister read this book before kids and it is sooo much easier to learn these truths about how the world is lying to us about motherhood before we have kids! Put a funny card with it and let her know that on the days she wants to escape motherhood, she can escape the world’s definition of it and experience God’s abundant motherhood instead.
Moms need encouragement. So often, what they do each day doesn’t get any praise. You can feel like you’re constantly doing it wrong. I was talking to some friends the other day about how kind it is to hear an older woman say “You’re doing a good job!” when your toddler is melting down in a store.
A PRAYER: Lord, I pray for _____ that you would overwhelm her with your presence. We know we need you, God. We know we sin. But motherhood can sure bring out the reminder of both really quickly. Will you remind ____ that she is safe in your arms? That you are her strength. That the future of her children is in your hands. That anything can be redeemed by you because you are a God of redemption. Bring her peace in moments when she wants to yell and joy in moments when she wants to feel a victim to hard circumstances. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A WAY TO ENCOURAGE: Offer to take a picture of her and her family on Mother’s Day. Better yet, help her plan an outfit! Ask her what she’s wearing and if she wants an opinion. This feels silly, but as a mom who does the majority of the photo-taking, being in a photo with my girls each Mother’s Day is one of my favorite things. I usually wish I dressed cuter or fixed my hair but I LOVE watching them get older and reflecting back on past Mother’s Days!
I feel like it’s a running joke that Dads really don’t get to do what they want on Father’s Day. It’s usually decided for them or they maybe don’t verbalize as us moms may.
A PRAYER: Father, thank you so much for ________. The work they do can go unseen, but you see it, Lord. Give us eyes to see the sacrifice and hard work that ____ puts into our family each day. And may we not be stingy in sharing words of praise. In a world that constantly wants to belittle dads, I pray you would use ______ in amazing ways for your kingdom and our home. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A WAY TO ENCOURAGE: Ask Dad what he wants to do for Father’s Day. And actually do it. That’s the tweet.
A GIFT: Did you know we have Men’s Prayer Journals? Grab one for the dad in your life.
FRIEND IN A SEASON OF WAITING
There will be friends who wish they were getting to celebrate something special this season. I will make a big disclaimer and say PLEASE do not go up to anyone who is single, not graduating like they hoped or currently trying to conceive and assume they are grieving. Nothing can be more hurtful than having other people imply that we SHOULD be grieving when we are not. BUT if you know a friend is struggling a bit as their best friend gets married, or prepares for a baby, show up for them! Let them know their pain isn’t forgotten.
A PRAYER: Father, you are the God who sees ______. You are not late but often it can feel like that. Would you wrap ______ up in your arms? Would she feel your comfort and love so thick in this season that her present circumstances induce more joy than she could have ever imagined? Would you send people who are gracious and kind to love her well? Send a little victory that lets her know her faith in you is 100% worth it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A WAY TO ENCOURAGE: Send an actual card in the mail. If you threw your phone across the room, go pick it up and hear me out! 😉 This app Felt makes it possible to do FROM YOUR PHONE. It’s still personalized with your handwritten note but those steps that take only a few minutes but seem impossible in a busy season are gone.
A GIFT: Signature Prayer Journal. This is one of our more expensive journals ($28-35) but that’s one reason I’m suggesting it. Sometimes in a season of waiting, we assume it means we have to wait to enjoy things in life. When I was in high school, I remember reading in a book about singleness, to break out the nice dishes! There was this assumption that you got the fine china when you got married and until then, you’d just have to settle for paper or plastic! Yikes, right?? Let them know they are worth it just as they are and don’t need a big reason to celebrate them.
There you have it! Six people to encourage in this season! Think of your friends, maybe scroll through text messages or Facebook and see who is in one of these seasons and jot down how you will love on them over the next month or two! We have no idea the impact of a simple text or thoughtful gift!