Words of Affirmation

2 comments Written on February 2nd, 2016     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Rev. Cathy Kaminski is the lead pastor at Trinity Community Church in Cincinnati, OH. She hasn’t always been a Covenanter, but is now thankful to call the ECC home. Fueled by lots of coffee, Cathy enjoys writing, reading, and being in the community.

cathy kaminski affirmation (1)It’s safe to assume that we all know the power in affirmation. The most basic definition is emotional support or encouragement. Ever had a bad day? How does a positive word change that? Ever feel discouraged? What happens when someone intentionally tells you how you are exceeding? These words breathe life into a weary soul.

But affirmation is more than that. Words of support and encouragement can mean the difference between persevering and giving up. They can empower us, but their absence can debilitate us. When we fail to recognize their power, we miss opportunities to love those around us and we can also be tempted to lose sight of our own calling.

Think about it this way: journey with me back to a time of traperkeepers and sharpened pencils. Middle school. We loved it…well, perhaps not. After all, the emotional pendulum swing of our adolescence hinged on the acceptance or rejection of our peers. One negative word could catapult us into an orbit of social stigmatism. Or conversely something as simple as an invitation to a lunch table could set you on a course towards popularity. Maybe I’m making this too simple, but I can’t help but see the tremendous influence of the people in our world. Not only on the direction of our lives, but our own levels of confidence.

This principle does not change as we get older, but it does look differently. In my own life words of affirmation put me on a path towards God’s calling. I did not have a strong conviction for women in ministry. I had more doubt than I like to admit. Yet voices from my community opened my eyes to God. Voices that encouraged my leadership. Support that fueled my obedience to service. Words of truth that empowered me to be the person God created me to be.

In the same way, at a later season in life, absence of affirmation sent me on a downward spiral of fear and questioning. I almost walked away from ministry because of the lack of support and encouragement. How could I have such little faith? I don’t think that was it. We NEED support from our community. We are not meant to live lives of obedience alone. And we don’t just need these voices, we need to BE these voices to others.

When the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica about building one another up, this is more than encouragement, (1 Thessalonians 5). It is a charge! To be the church we must build one another up as indeed we are already doing. We must see the power in our words and actions and seek to speak truth that empowers those around us. We must see the words of criticism that cut and seek to be voices that heal. Voices that encourage. Voices that point others towards Christ. For this is all of our calls, our privilege, our duty. To speak love and mercy and equip others for lives of service. So go ahead, invite someone to your lunch table. See what happens!

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2 comments “Words of Affirmation”

Greetings Cathy,

Thanks so much for these helpful reminders on words of affirmation!  There are so many ways that I can grow in this area.  Appreciate the encouragement.

In Christ,
Michelle Sanchez
Executive Minister of Make and Deepen Disciples

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Thanks Cathy for the reminder of the power of words. I seek to be an encourager that speaks the truth in love so others might be affirmed in their walk in ways that build confidence and courage. I have been encouraged to remain faithful no matter how tough the road becomes. May others also have those who can encourage them to stay faithful for the long haul of ministry. What a gift our words can be to others.

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