Do you ever wish a kind, gentle Christian woman would hold your hand and help you figure out how to be a blessing to others? Titus 2:4 lays out the model for such a relationship: “By looking at [older women], the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives (MSG).”
In her latest book, Listen, Love, Repeat: Others-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World, Karen Ehman steps into that much-needed mentor role. With a sincere kindness of heart and gentle speech, she shows us how to be an extraordinary blessing in an ordinary world.
Lessons from Listen, Love, Repeat
Notice heart drops.
A heart drop is “when a person, either directly or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or her heart” (Karen Ehman). It is a necessary skill in the art of blessing. We find heart drops by living alert, listening closely, and recognizing the emotional and physical needs of others. Jesus is our example. He met the needs of the person standing in front of Him. Instead of considering them a distraction, he uncovered their need and met it. As he met their needs, he captured their heart.
Showing love can be the avenue God uses for someone to begin a relationship with him—due in part to our words, deeds, and shared possessions. (Karen Ehman)
Simple is enough.
Blessing others doesn’t require big gestures. I think of women in my life who make a huge impact through simple acts of service—meeting me for coffee and mom-talk, bringing dinner during a stressful time, watching my kids so I can go to the doctor alone, sending a thoughtful card in the mail. Throughout the book, Karen offers practical tips for simple blessings. She says, “Even simple acts of service and offerings of time can have a monumental effect in the life of another.”
Acknowledge essential people.
Every day we encounter essential people—those who help make our life run smoothly. “Each person in his or her role demonstrates some aspect of God’s character and his care for us” (Karen Ehman). Recognize their impact on your life with generous “thank you’s” and small acts of kindness. Send a thank you card to your child’s teacher. Learn the names of your librarian, your barista, and your mailman. One of my favorite things to do is to ask my checkout clerk what her favorite candy bar is and buy it for her.
Walk with someone in their suffering.
Cancer. Death. A wayward child. There are so many times when “I’m praying for you” doesn’t seem like enough. Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep” (ESV). What if we took this verse literally and entered into someone’s suffering?
We need to push past our comfortable life and climb into the skin of others who are grieving, so we know best how to minister to them. We need to go with them to their mournful place. (Karen Ehman)
We can provide practical assistance like cooking a meal or driving someone to an appointment. Emotional support comes in the form of listening (without giving advice) and acknowledging their grief. This may cost us time and cause our heart to break, but it is a tangible way to show others the love of Christ.
Live a life of welcome.
Welcome others into your home without concern for your home’s “lived in” look. Invite your kids’ friends over, and make them feel like a part of your family. Notice single moms, the elderly man at the market, the kid sitting alone on the sidelines. Model Jesus by loving the unlovable. Maintaining a welcoming spirit with our own family may be the hardest since we let all the ugly hang out at home. As my sweet friend Wendy says, “Treat your children like guests in your home.”
When we live with an open-door policy, remembering that what we have comes from God himself, we will be more willing to share our time and possessions with others. (Karen Ehman)
Listen, Love, Repeat wasn’t preachy or impractical. Karen never suggests extreme measures in order to become ministers of the gospel. Nothing in her book is beyond any of our capabilities. She writes as if she is speaking wisdom to us over coffee. We can be an extraordinary blessing in our ordinary world by listening for heart drops and sharing the love of Christ with those right in front of us.We can be an extraordinary blessing in an ordinary world. #listenloverepeatClick To Tweet
Do you want to learn more about hearing heart drops? Sign up for Karen’s free five-day heart drop challenge here. Listen, Love, Repeat: Others-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World is available for preorder now and will be on bookstore shelves on November 15th.
#FridayFive Link Up
We are blessed to be a blessing. Share your thoughts on blessings in the comments or link up a post by clicking on the blue button below. Once you read Listen, Love, Repeat, I’d love to hear your takeaways, too! Share those thoughts as well.
Our final #FridayFive in October is such an important one. Be it discouragement from the state of our nation or the distractions of our busy lives, we could all use some help keeping our eyes on God. Come back next week and be encouraged!
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