This is Kristen. She has the gift of encouragement. I love this about her.
Robin and I have been making an impromptu list this week of encouraging women in our lives. We’ve discovered that there is one woman in every place we’ve lived who seems to have a specific mission to brighten the world around her – Tara in Vancouver, Mona Lee in Searcy, Kay in Kigali and Kristen in Sherman. All of these women have taken us under their wing in some way or another and have brought a lot of peace into our lives.
Part of the stress involved in bouncing between cultures is the unintentional “I am an island” mentality. It hurts too much when people don’t ask the “right” questions about our “other” life (whether in the US or Africa) so we pretend like we only want to talk about things happening in the moment. We fall into the habit of treating our life as our own private experience that is shared between us like an inside joke.
However, there is something about an encouraging personality that invites confidence. An encourager doesn’t even have to ask the right question. They simply say “how are you?” with the right attitude and it all comes pouring out – happiness over news from home, frustration with culture, uncertainty about the future or gratitude for the chance to talk. It’s funny how a five minute conversation can really improve a day and can really ease a transition time.
I know that not everyone can be an encourager (and I would probably get sick of it if they were), but I have a deep appreciation for those that come into my life. Thank you.