The Difference Encouragement Makes (Guest Post by Wendy van Eyck)

encourageddiscourageToday I’m delighted to welcome back my good friend and great writer Wendy van Eyck as a guest poster, sharing a personal story on a theme close to my heart, encouragement. Wendy is a writer and communicator from South Africa, and also guest posted for me last year.

I have written for her blog, which I would recommend to all of you. There’s more info about Wendy below, in the meantime, here’s her post: 

When I was in my teens I got into the habit of using a lot of mean words.

They were my weapons against a world that I didn’t think accepted me or liked me. My main target for this was my younger brother.

I loved to call my brother stupid.

Not the meanest word out there. But words don’t have to be in order to hurt and break and damage another persons soul.

I would call my brother stupid at any opportunity:


  • If he broke a glass by mistake: STUPID.
  • If he chose to wear a blue t-shirt: STUPID
  • If I didn’t like the way he beat me at tennis: STUPID


It didn’t really matter if he did something bad, neutral or good. There was only oneoutcome to anything he did: STUPID.

Needless to say my brother and I didn’t have the best relationship then.

There aren’t a lot of people who like people who insult and belittle them all the time.

I don’t really know exactly what happened but I do know that one day something changed. I remember it as God speaking to me – but maybe it was an adult I knew – planting a thought that I was ruining our relationship because I never said nice things to him.

Whatever actually happened something got through to me and I decided that I would try to say nice things to him, and about him, and see what happened.

I remember the first time I tried we were playing tennis and I tried to compliment him every other ball or so. Just simple stuff that other people probably wouldn’t find a stretch like, “Good ball” and “Nice shot!”

It may have been a small step but it helped me start a habit of encouragement that I could carry over the next time we played tennis. Then I started to try and encourage him in other areas instead of telling him he looked stupid in a blue shirt I told him that it went great with his eyes.

Yes, I was stealing other peoples’ compliments but it didn’t matter because I was learning to encourage rather than to break down.

Before I knew it I didn’t think of him as stupid anymore.  We got along better, we became friends, and now I can’t imagine I not being his biggest advocate.

I want to encourage and challenge you today – you can do this. I did it.

It is humanly possible to learn to be encouraging, to become someone who doesn’t hurt others with their words.

Don’t give up on yourself! There is something you must always remember:

You are kinder than you believe, more encouraging than you know. (you can tweet that here)

And more inspiring than you think.


wendy_biggerWendy van Eyck is a writer, idea generator and TV producer. She writes about how much Jesus likes (really likes) you at  A born & bred South African she lives in Johannesburg where she runs a TV station and lives with her husband in a house that would look nicer if they didn’t spend all their spare cash on trips to unexplored countries. She would love you to connect with her on Facebook  and Twitter .

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  1. Joy Lenton on February 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    What a wonderful ‘wake up’ moment you had that set you on the path of encouragement and helped to heal the relationship with your brother. Once we see the results of being light and grace in another person’s life, the more we are encouraged to keep building one another up instead of tearing down with our words, expressions, manner and behaviour. The marvellous plus side of being an encourager is that we truly affirm and believe the best of each other and want God’s best for their lives too.  God also affirms us in the process as we learn and grow through its application. Thanks for sharing your story, Wendy. Plenty to reflect on and learn from here! 🙂

    • James Prescott on February 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      Thanks for your comment Joy. You’re absolutely right. Always encouraging and supportive as ever, thanks again Joy.

  2. James Prescott on February 17, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Wendy, this is a great post. Encouragement is so important, and this is an amazing example of how much of a difference it makes. Thanks for being wiling to share this with us, really appreciate it. Thanks so much Wendy & hope you can guest post here again.

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