Today, though, it finally hit me. I was thinking about a Skype conversation I'd had with my friend Kezia last week. I met Kezia while we were volunteers at a baby home in Tanzania two years ago. I had mentioned to her that I'd had the opportunity to meet another former volunteer at a youth conference over New Year's. The other volunteer had mentioned to me that my comments on her blog had really encouraged her during her time overseas last year. When I relayed that story to Kezia, she told me that on her latest visit to Tanzania this past summer, three of the volunteers who were still there had said similar things about my comments to them on their blogs or on Facebook. I was surprised. It was such a little thing I had done. Just read their blogs - which I did eagerly to find out how the babies and children that I loved were doing - and left comments every once in awhile. Not even on every post, but just every so often, when I had something to say. I've been thinking about this exchange for the past week and today it came to me as I was tidying up the bathroom. My spiritual gift could be, might be, is (?) encouragement to others.
Maybe God has given me the gift of listening to others, empathizing with them or for their situation, and responding in ways that give them encouragement. Could it be this simple? Typing a short note on Facebook, writing a quick e-mail, leaving a comment on somebody's blog, doesn't feel like much to me. But maybe, just maybe, it feels like a lot to them. I pondered this for awhile this afternoon, and right in the middle of my pondering I saw that my mum had posted a few new blog posts on our church blog. The last one shocked me. A message straight into my heart. A message to love, care for, and encourage other people. I don't think for one minute that all these occurrences this past week and month were pure happenstance. I think God's been working, slowly nudging me to realize that maybe my words count, that my words matter, that my words can make a difference for people around me. Maybe my spiritual gift is music, maybe it's writing, maybe it's encouragement. Or maybe it's a combination of all three, a perfect blend that God created and has always intended just for me.