As this month came to a close, I took some time to look back at my calendar and journal. As I walked through the month, I was reminded once again of the power and mystery of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of affirmation.
A few notable times this month, I received a text, e-mail, or written note that affirmed the work of my ministry. More than the usual and welcome kind words of thanks, words of affirmation have a power and a specificity as well as a degree of surprise. Often a phrase such as “several months ago you said…” marks the start of an affirmation with a specific and meaningful outcome to follow. Interestingly, I generally struggle to recall the specifics of the conversation. This is the surprise that generates part of the mystery of this particular ministry.
The other part of the mystery is the recognition in myself that I needed encouragement and affirmation. It is only in recognizing one of these affirmations that I can see my own need. I sometimes recognize my own doubt or uncertainty while at other times I see opportunity and purpose that I may have otherwise missed.
In fact, I am only aware of the ministry of affirmation in its reception. While I hope that at times the Holy Spirit uses me to provide affirmation for others, there is also humility in knowing that this ministry often remains a secret to those who are called to speak affirmation to others.
As we come to this season of harvest and gratitude, I invite you to be aware of the ways that the Holy Spirit is using others to encourage and affirm you and your ministry. I also invite you to listen for the ways that the Holy Spirit may be calling you to encourage and affirm others.