I have been blessed with a request from Tom to put my computer in hand and place another writing on his blog site (aTimeinLife.wordpress.com). I thought about it and came up, with the Lord’s help, this totally true and believable story that took place years ago and still is a number 1 project in my life.
On August 5th, 2004, 17 years ago, almost to the day, my best friend was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. A group of us were upset by this news and began searching for ways to pull together to see where she needed help the most. One day as I was thinking about her plight, I was praying for an idea to present to her that she would enjoy and be pleased with and that would take her mind off the shocking diagnosis. I asked the Lord for a unique and different idea to present to her during this difficult time of her life.
During these days, those closest to her, supplied our friend with time, food, laughter, rides, etc. As I was sharing this information with my cousin one day, she brought a project to my attention. She and a friend of hers had started doing Encouragement Baskets for those individuals who were trying to wrap their minds around news they had received from their medical professional about an illness, a family member, or they, themselves, were facing. During this time my cousin and her friend came up with the idea of Encouragement Baskets to distribute to those people being given news of an illness or a disturbing situation.
An Encouragement Basket is described as the following: Items purchased, wrapped, a Bible verse pertaining to the item written and taped to the outside of the item. Each wrapped present, regardless of price, will represent the Bible verse written on its outside.
As I was getting my first basket, for my friend, ready, I wrote a poem to attach to the top of the basket of presents that explains the idea behind the wrapped items:
An “Encouragement Basket” for you today,
Just a few words to help, along the way.
You have 2 choices from which to choose,
Whichever you take, you can’t possibly lose.
Number 1, you can open all these at one time.
Number 2, wait until you’re down and need an
It’s up to you, as to what you do
Just remember they will cheer, when you are blue!
They are from the heart and some from my hand,
I’m letting you know you’re the best in the land.
There’s love and respect concealed in this array,
Hoping they bring encouragement to you each day!!
In short, the person who has received the basket can open every gift included at one time or one a day, or one when they are feeling down and need a lift. It’s their choice.
An Encouragement Basket could contain 25 – 30 presents to be opened for one month. WOW, you say, 30 presents?? But, here’s the good fact about the present: The Price!! Here are some examples:
1. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew thy praise. (Psalm 51:15 KJV)
Wrapped package: Lip Gloss
2. For thou will light my candle: the Lord my God will enlightened my darkness. (Psalm 18:28 KJV)
Wrapped package: A candle or flashlight
3. But, his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26 KJV)
Wrapped package: A salt shaker
4. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25 KJV)
Wrapped package: A wooden or porcelain cross
Each present for each verse is left up to the researcher’s imagination.
Each gift is not purchased with an extra high price tag, but, one that is easy on the purchaser’s pocket book! I have made the $1.00 stores the place I shop the most. I have started to stockpile lots of gifts to be able to wrap and place a Bible verse on if I am in a hurry to get a basket done!
After all scriptures are placed on the correct, individual gift package, all gifts are placed in a basket to be delivered to the recipient. If there are too many gifts for one basket, place the balance of the gifts in a second basket!
You will be surprised how these baskets have such an effect on people who are depressed, have been diagnosed with a disease, or had a family member being diagnosed. The uplifting feeling from opening these presents brings a new atmosphere to the lives of the friend or loved one.
The awareness as the basket maker is wonderful as you are putting this basket together, but, 10 times better as you watch your friend become overwhelmed by the love placed into the piece of work done for them.
If you know someone who has just been given some altering news, get busy and begin the structure of An Encouragement Basket. You will not regret one ounce of the time spent putting it together!
Just ask my friend, 17 years later, how she felt when she received hers. She has not forgotten the basket or the items included. I thank the Lord she helped me with the last one we just did!!!
Good Luck on your project!!!!!
Author – Nancy Steele Frazier – 2021
Nancy, I thank you for sharing your thoughts about one of your many ministries, ENCOURAGEMENT BASKETS, on my blog. More importantly, I thank you for providing the heartfelt inspiration and encouragement to help others in such a nice way. You are truly a blessing unto others!
I hope Nancy has inspired each of you to want to help those you know who are in need or facing difficult moments in life. You can be a blessing to them by giving someone in need an Encouragement Basket or something similar!
Tom Tatum – Author – 2021
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