This photo was taken one beautiful, spring-y Sunday last month. We piled into cars after church and headed to a park where the back of the truck was laden with simple sandwiches, big bags of potato chips, a watermelon hacked into juicy slices, and gooey chocolate chip cookies. I declined the guys’ invitation to play a big round of disc golf, but quickly jogged over later to join the game of soccer that was going down when I pedaled in from a bike ride. One of the biggest, best side-blessings of having (all) brothers has been their stellar friends. They may endlessly tease me, but I know they have my back and I’m seriously so grateful for them + their sharpening encouragement. I’m constantly reminded of how we as sisters have such huge potential to either impact their lives in either a encouraging or discouraging way. Here’s a brainstorm of 5 ways to enrich their lives + be a blessing today >>
1: Speak life-giving words & don’t stab them in the back.
Be genuine – don’t lie – but as much as possible, use your words to sharpen/encourage instead of criticize/tear down. It sounds silly, but sometimes I forget that kind thoughts need to be spoken in order to be heard. Cheer them on (literally: when they’re serving on your v-ball team, “go____! you got this!”), speak genuinely kind things, build them up behind their backs instead of spreading rumors. Stand up for them like you would your own brothers. Ask good questions & actually listen to their responses. Try to remember as many of their little favorites & interests (anything from their favorite ice cream to their work to their current sports schedule). Ask with humility how we can better encourage them and prayerfully listen & work on it. If you think something’s funny, laugh. Encouraging, speak it. Be quick to apologize and willing to forgive.
2: Make treats.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: hungry, growing boys thrive on food and lots of it! Learn their favorites. Good, hearty staples like meat (shredded bbq chicken is one of my brothers’ faves) and mashed potatoes are often a good idea. Favorite treats of mine to make when the guys are over or to send with them to a Bible study/birthday include: soft pretzel bites, gooey brownies, cookie dough pretzel bites, and pretzel/cheese sticks, to name a few. A handful of other ideas can be found at Outnumbered’s page on Pinterest.
3: Pray for them.
Pray for these growing men (stay tuned for a post with one of my favorite Psalms to look at while praying for them!) and the decisions they’re currently facing.
4: Follow hard after Jesus.
By God’s grace, exude what it means to live as a godly girl. It will bless them beyond measure to realize there are still girls out there seeking God and not giving up. Just live your life as unto the Lord. We can’t do this apart from Him (John 15), so ask Him for grace & strength to genuinely love as He does. Also, crazy to think about, but the girls you’re blessing + discipling + pouring into could one day be the wives of your brothers-in-Christ & they’ll be grateful for any encouragement you can pour into their lives, too.
5: Encourage any glimmer of kindness & ask for help.
If he chooses to walk back to the campsite with a tired kiddo instead of continuing the trail-running adventure, thank him for it. When the pack of guys surprises you with blueberry pancakes, a berry smoothie, and breakfast burritos (true story!), express enthusiasm even if the kitchen is a wreck. If you notice that he pitches in to help clean up even when everyone else has scattered to play, scribble some kindness. If there’s an opportunity to give him leadership, like asking if he’d like to number off the teams or explain the rules, go for it. Or if he’s already trying to organize a game of volleyball or tackle a service project, leap on board with support and really try hard not to criticize his way of doing it. Or he may really appreciate ideas + input, yet we can still offer it with a light grasp that he can totally take or leave the suggestions. If they need more players, join in!
Recently in the craziness of unpacking at a camp weekend, I accidentally crushed my glasses. After fiddling with them for a little while and making close to zero progress on my own, I headed to the carpetball tables where I asked a younger like-brother if he could give a shot at fixing them. With hands calloused enough to do construction skills and gentle enough to have a kiddo on his shoulders giggling with joy, he quickly had the pieces worked into place (WAY faster than I ever could) and I was grateful to see more clearly on the drive home haha! 🙂
// Please leave a comment with additional ideas! Girls, what are some ideas for encouraging brothers’ friends? Any favorite recipe ideas? Guys, what’s something a sister-in-Christ does that especially blesses you? We’d absolutely love to hear!
[Elizabeth is a second generation sister-with-all-brothers. 4 of her favorite things to do with her brother bears include turning up the music loud in the car, playing soccer/volleyball together, late-night ice cream runs, and muddy outdoor adventures.]