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Pink Cadillacs and Encouraging Words

As Mary Kay Ash put it, "what you believe, you can achieve." Spread the word.

Michelle Adams became an author thanks to encouragement.

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time! (Proverbs 15:23, NLT)

Recently, I was on the faculty of the Indiana Faith & Writers Conference, and as I sat in one of the main sessions, the keynote speaker used one of my favorite Mary Kay Ash quotes: “Don't limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.”

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As the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics (who awarded her top salespeople with pink Cadillacs), she knew what she was talking about.

Michelle Adams, a published author today!The minute the speaker quoted her, I couldn’t help but think back on the journey that had brought me to that conference on that day to serve as a writing expert.

If it hadn’t been for the encouraging words of one teacher, speaking his own version of that Mary Kay Ash quote to me, I would never have been on the faculty of any writers conference.

Mary Kay Ash may have been the first one who spoke those words, but they could have been credited to Mr. Ralston at Parkview Elementary in 1987.

When I was a senior in high school, I already knew that I wanted to pursue writing as a career.

Writing had basically chosen me when I was only 7 years old, but since that life-changing revelation, I’d been bombarded by guidance counselors and career planners who all urged me to have “a back-up plan” in case the writing thing didn’t work out.

I’d never even considered a different career path, so I was very confused and worried. After much thought, I decided teaching would be my “back-up plan,” and I signed up for a cadet teaching class through my high school.

This meant that every morning, I would serve as a teacher’s helper for my favorite 6th grade teacher, Mr. Ralston. Morning after morning, I showed up in Mr. Ralston’s classroom and graded papers for him.

Sometimes, I even presented a lesson or two. It was fun, and the students seemed to like me, so I was surprised when it came time for my evaluation. Mr. Ralston looked me right in the eyes and asked, “Do you really want to teach?”

“Had I really been that transparent?” I thought.

“Don’t misunderstand. You’ll do fine in teaching,” he continued. “But, is your heart really in it?”

“Not really,” I admitted. “I want to write. I want to write news stories and fiction and poetry and so much more…but I’ve been told it’s tough to make it as a writer so I thought maybe I would teach and then use my summers off to pursue writing.”

As I shared with Mr. Ralston my hopes, dreams and carefully plotted-out back-up plan, he smiled and said, “Why are you preparing to fail with this back-up plan? If you want to be a writer, go for it! Pursue writing!”

Mr. Ralston’s encouragement to follow my dreams was the little nudge I needed to help me push past my fears of not making it as a writer and simply, “Go for it!”

No, Mr. Ralston didn’t drive a pink Cadillac but his words put me back in the driver’s seat headed toward my destiny–the plan that God had for me–to be a writer.

That’s what an encouraging word will do when spoken in love in due season–that’s what the Word of God says, So, let’s try and be like Mr. Ralston and speak that word of encouragement at just the right time and make a difference in someone’s life today. Wearing pink is optional…

Pray this with me:

Father, help me not to miss out on even one opportunity to speak a word of encouragement into someone’s life today. And, Lord, I want to thank you for placing people in my life who have encouraged me and nudged me as I move toward the calling you have on my life.

I pray that you especially bless those people today, Lord, and let them know that they truly are making a difference. In the Mighty Name of Your Son Jesus, Amen.

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