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THE POWER OF AN ENCOURAGING WORD

Despite the fact that my youngest daughter, Ashley was born with life-threatening heart problems necessitating several heart surgeries before the first grade, she always managed to stay positive. That is until a doctor visit threatened to sink both our spirits.

Ashley was having some girl issues so we had to move from our wonderful pediatrician to a new doctor. New doctors posed a challenge because they had so many questions about all of Ashley’s issues and her many procedures. We were down for that and even for the doctor-like grunts and groans. But this lady couldn’t stop herself from commenting on all of my daughter’s scars and marks.

 “Wow, this is a real mess. You have some real scars here. I don’t think anything can be done for all of these.”

As if that wasn’t bad enough, she felt compelled to share her observations about Ashley’s luck in life.

“You’ve been dealt a real hand! This is going to be a challenging lot to deal with.”

 Normally, I am very protective of my kids, and I would have stepped in to silence the discouragement, but this professional’s lack of professionality was so hard to believe, it left me speechless! I knew that all of these thoughts had passed through my daughter’s mind at one point or another, but she had worked hard to dismiss them and focus on the positives she had in life. Now it was all being shoved in her face.

 Before the exam was finished, Ash and I looked at each other as if to say, “Let’s bolt.” Before “Dr. Sunshine” could tune up again, Ashley was dressed, and we were out the door.

We sat wordlessly in the car as we drove into town, me feeling such deep pain for my daughter and her, afraid to open her mouth lest a flood of disappointment, anger, and frustration would spew out threaten to drown us both.

 

“I need to stop at the drugstore for a minute,” I broke the silence. “Want to come with me?” Ashley was always up for a visit to the makeup counter.  Not wanting to push my luck, I rushed through the store and caught up with my forlorn child in the checkout line.

 

Just as the lady behind the counter she punched in my last item, she looked up at Ashley.

 “Is this your daughter?” she asked looking at me. Before I could answer, she burst out with, “She is just beautiful. Look at those big blue eyes. I bet you are so proud of her?” the kind-hearted cashier offered.

 “There aren’t words to describe how proud I am of her,” came my response.

 Ashley already had a tiny tear forming in her eye as we walked out to the car.

“I am proud of my beautiful daughter,” I told her as again as we drove home. Ashley had a good cry, and after we found another doctor we were able to discuss and even laugh about our experience.

That kind clerk had no way of knowing how significant her encouraging words were that day. But she taught me to share uplifting words whenever possible because you never how the difference they can make in someone’s downcast day.

Proverbs 12:25, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up,” NLT.

 

 

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