It had been a normal day. As I trudged up the dark stairs to bed early that night there was nothing to indicate that before I went to sleep the day would become memorable. Light streamed down the hall from the boys' room where the evening's activity and chatter was still progressing. Pushing open the door to the bedroom I shared with my sisters, I found it dark and still. As I stepped into the room there was a movement on the upper bunk near the dresser and in the diffused light from the hall I could make out one of the little girls sitting up in bed. The eagerness in her voice belied the fact that she was not going to sleep. "Sarah, there's a card on your bed! Mom put it there!" "Really," I replied. It wasn't often I got mail. Turning from the dresser I walked between her bed and mine and switched on the floor lamp at their heads. An envelope leaned against my pillow, plain and white with my name written across it. Eagerly I picked it up and sat down, leaning towards the light as I opened the envelope. The card I drew out had a lovely painting of columbine, and inside Mom's neat handwriting covered both sides and went onto the back. "Why," I wondered, "did Mom write to me?" She never had before. Beginning to read, my questioning turned to pleasure as she wrote of some unique qualities that were maturing in my life and that made me special to her and others. I felt close to her in that moment as she shared her thoughts with me through the written page. As she went on to relate her great affection for me, my emotions welled suddenly up, chocking my throat. The card blurred before me so that I could hardly read on, of her hopes for me in Christ Jesus and her counsel to me for the future. I already knew she cared deeply for me, but to have it written with her very own hand meant more to me than I ever could have imagined. "Is it very sad?" From above me a little voice broke in on my thoughts. "No" I managed to whisper, wiping away the tears, "it's not sad at all."

When you want to send a card to someone it would be easiest and quickest to simply reach into the card drawer, find a card with an appropriate message for the occasion, sign your name at the bottom and send it on its way. No need to worry about what to say, just let the card writer say something creatively rhythmic and pretty. And indeed, the recipient of the lovely poetry will be glad that you have thought of her. However, you have told them nothing more than that. You have input nothing significant into their lives, you have given them nothing to truly appreciate, enjoy or glean wisdom from, in fact, you could have been a total stranger and given them nothing less than you have. If you desire to do anything more than let them know you were thinking of them, you must write the note yourself. A handwritten note tells the person that you care enough to spend your precious, much sought after time to write to them, that they are more important to you than all the other urgent necessities that are clamoring for your attention, that there is something very specific that you want them, as an individual, to know, and it gives you a chance to share personal news, wisdom and counsel for a situation you know them to be in, the working of God in your life and anything else that you know will bless, strengthen, encourage or delight that particular individual. The very fact that you wrote, let alone the particulars of what was written, tells the recipient that you love and care for them, that you want them to be a part of your life, that they are special and important to you. Aren't those all things that you love to hear from others? We all crave for the acceptance and approval of others, but why should we expect to receive such if we ourselves are not reaching out in the same way to others. Written notes can vary widely, from telling your aunt the family news, to thanking an acquaintance for his help, to sharing the struggles and victories of your heart with a deep friend. Each card you write has its place, each is especially designed for the one it is sent to and each takes a little bit of your love to those for whom you care.

I closed the card tenderly. "Oh God, what a mother you have given me!" I swallowed hard and tried to blink away the tears that brimmed in my eyes. "I am such a fortunate girl. How can I ever be discontent when you have given me so much?" Turning off the light I moved to the window to be more alone with my emotions. Wonder and thanksgiving filled my heart and unspeakable joy made me want to sing through my tears. Mom's life was busy but she noticed things in my life, she had hopes and prayers for me and she had shared them! Opening my dresser, I tucked the card safely away. I would read it again later and I would treasure it all my life. What a memorable day.

In order for the cards we write to be meaningful and cherished we must be specific in what we write. A vague and meaningless card leaves the reader with vague and uncertain feelings. A note that tells clearly of specific things, gives the reader something to hang onto even after they have put it down. There is a reason why you wrote. Make sure they know what it is. You must be willing to share from your heart if the card is to be something your loved ones will cherish and read again and again. It must carry something of lasting value, something that meets a need in that person's life. Not every card is intended to become a keepsake as mine was. For every situation you must judge what is needed, what will bless that person at this time. But if you take the time to write a personal note, it will be received with joy and thankfulness by the one whom you desire to bless. Let us make it our ambition to be a blessing to others.

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