I recently confessed to a friend that I was in a dark place. Something I felt God called me to wasn’t going as I expected.
In fact, if you looked at the results of my efforts from a worldly perspective, you might even categorize it as a failure.
I admitted I had thought about quitting.
She listened well, we chatted a bit more, and I went on with my day.
The next week, the conversation already buried in my memory, I opened my mailbox to find a postcard from my friend.
I smiled as I read her words of encouragement.
My heart lifted, and a bit of hope snuck back in.
Isn’t that the way of the Holy Spirit?
The Spirit speaks to us just when we need it most and in ways we don’t see coming.
In this case, He spoke through the words of my friend.
That postcard came unexpectedly and reminded me of God’s presence in my life.
The words of another person were used by God to love me at the moment I needed it most.
Obeying God’s prompting to encourage others doesn’t have to be complicated.
I’ve tucked a couple of postcards into the back of my Bible.
When I come across a verse that reminds me of someone in my life, I pull out the postcard and jot it down along with a personal note.
You might also just keep alert for the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Lauren, a ministry of mail advocate, explained she sends mail to “whoever God puts on [her] heart.”
Diane also uses mail as her personal ministry and said, “Sometimes the Lord will lay a name on my heart and I just try to follow that lead.”
Don’t be worried about what to write–the Holy Spirit can help with that, too.
Your note doesn’t have to be long or complicated to make an impact in the life of another.
The act of being remembered with a handwritten note is a gift in itself.
You might write, “I thought this verse would be comforting to you,” or “You and your family continue to be in my prayers.”
Sometimes I’ll write out the words of my prayer for a person.
Trust the Spirit even when you feel unsure about what you’ve written.
“I once wrote this lady a card,” Lauren said. “It felt overly mushy. I wanted to tell her to throw it away and not read it. She got it the day she left an abusive relationship. And she said, ‘I just needed that.’”
Lauren didn’t know that woman’s situation, but Jesus knew.
He understood exactly what she needed to hear and when she needed to hear it.
In another instance, Lauren gave a written card to a young widow in her Bible study that she didn’t know well.
The next week the widow shared that the day she received her note was the same day as her wedding anniversary–and she almost hadn’t attended the Bible study because of her grief.
Our faithfulness in responding to the Holy Spirit’s prompting is powerful!
We shouldn’t ignore these nudges.
“If you like to send mail, I would recommend just starting!” Diane said. “That’s really the hardest step. We all have the ‘I should really send so-and-so a note’ thoughts, but it’s the action part that we get stuck on.”
Ready to start your own ministry of mail?
Five Ways to Start Your Ministry of Mail
1 – Have a willing heart.
All the stories you’ve read in this article involve obedience to the quiet prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Partnering with the Spirit in the ministry of mail is the best way to make sure your handwritten note has the most impact.
God knows people and their situations more deeply and intimately than we ever will.
Relying on His direction is what makes your ministry of mail holy work.
2 – Purchase cards or postcards.
I favor designs that have Scripture incorporated in the artwork.
Choosing cards and postcards with Scripture allows the recipient to hear directly from God’s Word.
3 – Collect addresses.
In today’s digital era, we don’t often have addresses saved or even know them in the first place.
You can do a little Internet sleuthing with the help of Google, access a church directory, or ask the person directly.
4 – Have stamps on hand.
The United States Post Office continually releases new stamp designs that are beautiful.
If you’ve defaulted to using the standard flag designs, you might consider expanding your options to spruce up an envelope.
Don’t forget that postcard stamps are less expensive than first-class stamps.
If you plan to send postcards, buy a sheet of these to have cheaper, more exact postage.
If swinging by the post office is a hassle, order stamps online to be delivered to your home for a small fee.
5 – Carve out a daily or weekly time to write a note.
While the idea of having a ministry of mail sounds appealing, making it happen can be a challenge.
Consider making a special ritual out of writing notes, perhaps even adding it to your Bible reading time.
You might also set aside a specific time to work on mail. I enjoy writing notes of encouragement on my sabbath.
Add writing notes to your waiting times.
Depending on your stage of life, you may have pockets of time to utilize for writing notes:
- school pickup line,
- children’s sports practice or music lessons, or
- the waiting room in a doctor’s office.
Make good use of those minutes by having a few cards and a nice pen stashed in a purse.
God’s Timing in the Ministry of Mail
In the ministry of mail, delays aren’t failures.
Sometimes a postcard or card sits on my kitchen counter for a few days while I look up the address or find a stamp.
Or I might forget to bring it to the mailbox.
This delay used to cause me guilt until I realized it might be part of God’s timing.
How often do we think something is late when it’s really right on time?
The Bible is full of God-ordained waiting:
- Abraham and Sarah for a promised child,
- Joseph released from prison, and
- the followers of Jesus for what was next after His death.
In all those stories, God had a bigger vision and a reason for their waiting.
Release any anxiety about timing and toss the card in the mail.
A Ministry of Mail Can Build Community
Paul reminds us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Rm 12:15 NIV.) Sending mail allows us to do just that.
Acknowledging sorrows, celebrating joys, and praying through it all brings us into closer relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We can choose to invest in their lives through the ministry of mail and use our words to love them well.
It’s a choice you won’t regret.
Want help getting started? Here is a free download with 40 affirmations perfect for writing on postcards!
Amanda Bridle is the artist behind Power and Peace Design, a small business offering bright, colorful, and modern Bible verse stationery. An advocate for the ministry of mail, Amanda offers card writing workshops and shares writing prompts and tips on Instagram and Facebook. Amanda lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, three children, and an orange tabby.