Friends, I’ve got another wonder woman to introduce you to in our Finding More series. As we dig for more when life hands us less you’re going to love my friend Amy Brietmann. Like me she has a thing for boots – cowboy, knee high, ankle, you name it, she loves them. As you read on you’ll see what that’s not the only reason I love Amy. If you wondering if you can reach out and love others despite being exhausted and overwhelmed, read on, read on.
I remember walking slowing down the short steep driveway to my mailbox in the early spring. The year was 1998. I lived in a blue house on the cul de sac. That walk was often the only one I would make in a day.
Four months of chemotherapy treatments for the ovarian cancer that had loomed inside me and mustering any extra energy to care for my daughter, born prematurely completely wore me out. Physically, yes, but spiritually as well.
Even though spring buds were beginning to bloom it was a deep winter in my soul.
Life was exhausting. And lonely. It seemed like groundhog day: the iv’s, medicine, side effects, midnight feedings
The walk to the mailbox was the highlight of my day.
Every afternoon I would pull the black metal handle open and peer inside, hopeful. Some days there was nothing but a grocery store circular or a pile of bills. But often that spring a cheerful letter, a collection of cd’s from an old college friend, and even a magazine would make me smile. Written words of encouragement sustained me.
These were the days before smartphones, before texting was even an option. Good old-fashioned phone calls and a penned cursive became my respite.
I recall crying once, right there on my white front porch. I had opened a small pink notecard from a dear friend’s grandmother. I had never met this dear woman but my friend had shared my cancer diagnosis and battle with her. She felt compelled to write to me.
It was one of the sweetest things I had ever experienced: a woman in Wisconsin reaching across the miles and into my darkest season with a scripture, a word of prayer, a small note that pierced joy straight into my heart.
I felt seen. And known.
There is power in real words. Loopy cursive you can pass your fingers over, read, and re-read, letting them soak into your soul. Even when they come from a stranger. Maybe especially when they come from a stranger. The hand of God writes those kinds of letters.
Words remind us of who we are. They can often un-write the lies the enemy tries to make us believe.Words remind us of who we are. @AmyBrietmann Click To Tweet
All these years later, my crazy curly hair has grown back and I still treasure written notes. Boxes and boxes of them line the attic. I can’t seem to bear the thought of releasing the scribbled stories from my children over the years or the letters my grandmother wrote me from her pine kitchen table in Iowa.
I keep a little scrap of paper on my desk where my son had scrolled in his 6-year old handwriting: “Mom is Beautiful.” He had torn it from his coloring book and brought it to me, an offering.
I made a commitment in 2018 and it’s one I pray sticks.
One love letter a day. A note of encouragement to someone each afternoon in 2018.
Old fashioned cursive letters tucked in an envelope and the investment in a real stamp. It seemed a bit daunting at first but then I realized: How could we possibly run out of people to mail a note to?
A pastor, a long-lost friend, our physician, even our mailman. And maybe closer to home, what would it look like if I jotted a note and put it in our teenager’s lunchbox or on my spouse’s pillow?
Join me in this month of LOVE?
Love letters, big and small can reach far and wide. A jotted “thank you” or “I’m thinking of you” can impact a day, and a life. Shared words can create community across the miles, bring a smile, a tear, a knowing nod. They can whisper: “Yes, I see you.”
I pray I don’t get numb to the value of words. That I don’t fall back into the laziness of only texting feelings or the scrolling through stories.I pray I don’t get numb to the value of words. @AmyBrietmann Click To Tweet
I want reach out to someone with real, written words and even an old-fashioned phone call.
That’s what our Savior did, after all. He spoke the world into being and then gave us His words as reminders.
Hey, it’s Niki here, wasn’t that great?
Have you been on the end of a note of encouragement when life’s a bear with a hangover? What did it mean to you?
For so long I believed the myth of costly kindness, the myth that any act of love worth giving would send me over the edge when I was already struggling to survive. Surely I couldn’t help others when I hardly had enough energy to make a cup of tea. Writing a note, a real physical note with a stamp that goes in the post and not through cyberspace is such a great way to love others without draining your own tank. I’m going to go and write a note right now. Won’t you join me?
Amy’s name means be•loved: dearly loved : dear to the heart. She’s on a quest to believe it.
Ovarian cancer refocused her faith when she was 29. She has never been the same, and for that she is grateful.
Amy is the Co-Founder of The Lydia Project. This is where God wove her story of cancer into a ministry. Hundreds of Lydia volunteers now serve thousands of women and their families each year, providing spiritual, emotional, and financial support.
Amy writes on her website BelovedInBlueJeans.com and her first co authored book “A God Of All Seasons” released in August, 2017. She has also written for The High Calling, (In)Courage, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and as a guest columnist with The Columbia County News Times.
Amy now works with clients, assisting with storytelling, strategy and marketing as the owner of Blue Jean Communications. She also speak at conferences and retreats on a variety of topics.
Amy lives in Augusta, Georgia, with her husband of nearly 25 years. They have two young adult children and way too many pets.
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