I’ve been to many funerals where I’ve wondered if the family spoke words of adoration over their loved one while they were still living.
Sadly, we often wait until someone is gone to speak praise about them. Oh, we might write encouraging notes, or say “I love you” or “I’m proud of you!”
But how often do we push pause and speak paragraphs of praise over those we love the most?
When my mother no longer knew me, or even her own name due to Alzheimer’s, I was speaking blessing over her one day. I told her what an amazing mother she had been: filling our home with her joyful singing, delicious meals, and compassionate love. She looked at me with a blank expression and said, “that sounds wonderful,” not knowing I was talking about her! Thankfully, I spoke much praise over my mother while she was still living and able to understand, but I wish I had done it more often than not.
My husband would tell you that his favorite birthday gift ever was when our family shared what he meant to us. Months before, our nest had emptied quickly when our two daughters got married just three months apart and moved hundreds of miles away.
Christie and Kelly Skyped their dad on his birthday and began to speak blessings over the father they adored. They thanked him for how hard he’d worked to save money for their college and weddings. They reminisced about their daddy-daughter dates where he’d take them hiking, four-wheeling, or dirt biking through our mountains. Both talked about how they knew what to look for in a husband because of how their dad treated them while they were growing up.
We all cried happy tears together as we celebrated the man we love so dearly, and when the call was over my Rick said, “best gift ever” on his fifty-seventh birthday.
What if we started a movement where we choose to speak blessing or praise over at least one person every day?
. . . over a husband who works so hard to provide for his family.
. . . over an elderly parent nearing the end of her life.
. . . over a single dad, telling him he is a good, good father.
Let’s take time to tell a middle-aged grandma she’s beautiful and a little girl that she’s brave. Marvel at a child’s artwork and a teen’s poetry.
And let’s not just praise those we know and love. What if we speak blessing . . .
. . . over a waitress who is busy serving too many tables.
. . . over a mom grocery shopping with three toddlers in tow.
. . . over a homeless person playing an instrument to earn some coins.
. . . over a pastor or priest who teaches every Sunday.
. . . over a teacher, crossing guard, or bus driver, thanking them for their service.
I wish I had given the gift of speaking blessing over my family and others more often over the years. But I’m grateful for the aha of Rick’s fifty-seventh birthday and hope to never forget.
Let’s start a praise talk movement together!
What about you . . . I’d love to hear ways you’ve found to speak blessings and praise over others. Or let me know how you plan to do that soon!
Judy I absolutely love this idea! Thanks for the encouragement!
Yay! Thank you for sharing, Myrna!
Judy, I love this idea, and I hope to take it to heart by starting with you! it’s not surprising you would write this beautiful blog. Since I’ve known you, you have spoken words of affirmation over me many, many times, also over the women of our church, and even their children. God bless your encouraging heart!
Oh, Sandy, I’m so grateful you feel that way. You are amazing and have blessed my life ever since I first met you!
Wise words! One of the best pieces of advice my mom gave me when I became a mom was, ” your children will become who you tell them they are”. I think that concept transfers to every relationship! My favorite
part of birthdays, and mother days is when my family goes around and affirms me. I always remember and reflect on what they say!
Love the ideas you’ve shared, Stefanie!
Thanks you for this important reminder, Judy! “Words are powerful; take them seriously” (Mt. 12:37 MSG).
So true, Karen!
When it’s someone’s birthday we all gather around them and sing Happy Birthday then each one gives praises about that person. How they’ve touched their life. Whatever the praise it’s to encourage them. It’s very humbling when it’s your birthday.
This spoke volumes over me. Like you my precious dad had Alzheimer’s and one day I told him he was a great father and honorable man and he responded “yes”. Often sadly he was not blessed with encouragement but more of what he did not do right. If I could set back the hands of time I would speak more blessings over my parents. Your post encourages me to speak more blessings over others both close and strangers as we do not know their story and love is the medicine for the heart. Thank you dear friend.
So glad, dear Vicki!
Thank you, Judy, for a wonderful reminder that we should be speaking blessing into each other’s lives on a daily basis. It should be on everyone’s “to do” list every day, find someone to encourage with kind words of praise!
Cheryl, Thank you!
I love this and it’s something I’ve been trying to be more intentional about practicing. I really believe that it’s not just the people we are blessing who are given a gift. We are transformed and shaped by thinking well of others and recognizing them. .
So true, Bethany!
What an encouraging post, Judy! I’m convicted to offer more words of praise and blessing to every person in my life, inside and outside my home. Far too often my words bark instructions or focus on complaints. But I want each person I interact with to walk away encouraged and blessed for having shared that moment with me. Even if it is just passing in the parking lot, I can offer a smile and say, “Hello.”
Thanks, Sabra! I can relate to focusing more on complaints than speaking praise. But thankfully we’re still growing in this, right?
My husband and I pray aloud over our sons and over one another every night. We thank God for specific talents and characteristics we see in one another. It’s amazing how hearing a spouse pray helps the heart. And our boys love for us to pray over them and call out their gifts. It’s so special to me. Love your words. Thanks for sharing. ❤️
Jennifer, What an amazing legacy you’re giving to your sons! And such a blessing to have your husband praying blessing over you!
One of the most meaningful moments of my life was when my family was gathered around Daddy’s ICU bed. He had made the decision not to have any extraordinary life-saving measures taken to keep his heart going. One-by-one, my brothers and I told Daddy all the great and small blessings he had brought into our lives. I ended my praise with “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” He blew me a kiss. That was was 19 years ago, but that kiss still lives in my heart today.
Thank you for urging us to praise our loved ones and those we don’t know. Indeed, let’s start a praise movement.
Oh, Karen, What a beautiful story to hear and one that is so encouraging to my heart as my dad’s health continues to fade. And what a gift you had to spend that time with him!
I LOVE this Judy! And always have thought the same thing. When my grandfather passed away, I wished that we had created the slideshow for him to see before he passed. And this is exactly what I hope we can do with the older generation. I think they would feel so very loved before we send them off.
I so agree, dear Isabel. What a wonderful idea to create those celebration of life slide shows and videos while older loved ones are still with us! I love your heart for the “older generation”– which I will join before too long!