Two Letters; Two Hearts

Before social media, my junior high friends and I used to write each other old-fashioned notes using lined paper and pencils—the kind they make from real trees! I still have some of those notes, so I’m going to share two of them with you today: the first from 6th or 7th grade and the second from college.

As you read these notes, look for the fruit (did their words build someone up or tear someone down) as well as the root behind the fruit of their words (what’s obviously in these girls’ hearts).

Exhibit #1


Will you go with me to talk to Megan? I want to tell her why we won’t tell her why we’re mad (because she’ll tell her mom and then we’ll get in trouble).

Other reasons:

  • Her clothes are ugly.
  • She lies.
  • She flirts (and denies it).
  • She thinks she is awesome.
  • She brags about her grades.
  • She brags about her brothers.
  • She brags about the ugly cars they have.
  • She said she has only gotten spanked once.
  • She thinks she is cool because she has a silver trumpet.
  • She tells her mom everything.
  • She copies us.
  • She thinks she is talented at running, drawing, and school work.
  • She thinks she is pretty.
  • She thinks she is cool because her dad is the preacher.
  • She thinks she is a good babysitter.
  • She thinks everyone likes her.
  • She thinks she is a tomboy (pink, teddy bears, mama’s girl, likes dresses).
  • She thinks she has a perfect life.

Oh yeah, when her mom asked what was wrong she said, “Are you jealous of Megan because of something she has or can do or does?” I stood there thinking, Yeah right!!

I’m kinda scared too because she’ll tell her mom, and then her mom will tell my mom, and I’ll get in trouble!


PS: Write back.

Exhibit #2

10 Things I Love About Paula

10. She delights in simple pleasures.
9. She gives great advice.
8. Her iron will when it comes to resisting sugar. 😉
7. She loves people.
6. She makes me laugh.
5. Her curiosity about people and life.
4. She’s my sister Resident Assistant.
3. Her beautiful smile.
2. She gives great back rubs.
1. Her boast and confidence is in Christ.

How about it? Did exhibit 1 and 2 build up or tear someone down? What can you tell about the writers’ hearts based only on their words?

And, more importantly . . . are your words more like exhibit 1 or exhibit 2? Maybe you say, I would never write a letter like Kelly wrote. But before you let yourself off the hook too quickly, take this twenty-question quiz from Mary Kassian.

Then, write someone a note (yes, on real paper from actual trees!) with the goal of building them up. Let me know you did so below by Friday, October 3 for a chance to win one of two copies of Mary’s Bible study Conversation Peace in our Freebie Friday giveaway.

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

  • * Requests or gives personal information such as email address, address, or phone number.
  • * Attacks other readers.
  • * Uses vulgar or profane language.
  • Kayla

    I know that this is off topic but I was wondering if there is a True Women’s conference every year because I cant go this year but would like to try and go next year.

    • phendricks

      Hey, Kayla,

      We host the True Woman Conference every two years, so the next one will be in 2016. Maybe you can catch the LIVE stream this year on It’s free!


      • Kayla

        Ok thank you! I will watch off the live stream. 🙂

        • phendricks

          Great, Kayla!

  • Chelsea

    Hey! I have a off-topic question too (guess this is just the day for that, huh? 😉 ) I was wondering if you could tell me, or write a blog post, about how to know if you’re called to singleness as 1 Corinthians 7 talks about. I’ve been struggling with this a lot. It’s like I want to get married, but then sometimes I have these waves of doubt when I feel like I may be called to be single. How do you know? If you could let me know that’d be great! Thanks! 🙂

    • phendricks

      Great question, Chelsea! Adding it to my writing list. More soon. 🙂

      • Chelsea

        Thanks! I’ll be looking forward to it! 🙂

  • Paula, great post! 🙂 How I use my words is an area that I really struggle with and I am praying for the Lord to transform that part of my heart. I have been wanting to write to a particular friend, Danielle, for a while. She is my sister in the faith. We talked on the phone last night, but didn’t get a chance to pray together like we usually do. I’m looking forward to pulling out some of my fancy stationary (old fashioned, but I love it 🙂 ) and writing down a prayer to send her!

    • phendricks

      Dear Becca,

      What a treat. Danielle will love it!

      Thanks so much for not just reading about building someone else up–but doing something about it. 🙂



  • Alyssa

    I will be writing a letter to a friend or two soon! I still love the old-fashioned way of talking as well. Great way to share God’s love to others!

    • phendricks

      Sweet, Alyssa!

  • Brooklyn Mikinzie

    Thank you for this! You have encouraged me to write a letter to my little sister. Our relationship isn’t as strong as I’d like for it to be, so maybe this can boost things in the right direction.

    • phendricks

      Way to go, Brooklyn! One of my biggest regrets is the way I used to treat/talk to my little sister. Today she’s one of my best friends ever. You won’t regret loving your little sister, even when she currently seems annoying!

  • Gabbey

    Thank you for this post! I took the quiz and realized I need to reallly work on my words. So, I wrote a letter to my best friend Deana. The reason I wrote it to her is, because we had an argument that tore us into two different ways. The argument was my fault, because I just wanted to be right in the end game. Hopefully this will help our relationship.

    • phendricks

      Dear Gabbey,

      I’m so proud of you for humbling yourself. Way to go! Praying that God restores your friendship.

      Grateful for you,


  • Unenceba Rakale

    Thank you for the post, I am guilty of using words that hurt, and I was challenged to check my words, as well as meditate on the Word. I wrote a letter to my best friend of 10 years, it was necessary because I had been a bit careless with our relationship and we needed mending.

    • phendricks

      I am so encouraged to hear that, Unenceba. Praying for your friendship now.

  • Heidi

    I wrote to my sister. She is 15 and just got glasses. She was glad to get them because she was having really bad headaches and trouble seeing the board, but once she had them she had ordinary fears about how she looked. I wrote a note telling her she was beautiful. She’s God’s daughter, and no matter what people say, she is handcrafted specially by the King, and she is beautiful.

  • Amber

    This was a ministry that our pastor’s daughter had…and this past week was the anniversary of her death. She was 16 and took her own life but it is an amazing thing to do!! I’ve written some of these notes to various friends over the years, paper isn’t strange to me, I have 2 actual penpals that live in different states. I love to write!! Great post!

    • phendricks

      I’m so sorry to hear about your pastor’s daughter, Amber.

  • Cristina

    This brings me back to elementary. I remember me and my friends had made up a “cough language” which was basically different coughs had different meanings. 1x you’re pretty
    2x you’re annoying
    3x you’re mean
    so on and so on! I look back at it now and I feel as if we put more negative comments than positive ones. It was a really silly and immature thing to do. Now I admit that instead of coughing, I roll my eyes or make different facial expressions to express how I feel. It is a bad habit and most of the time I don’t even realize I do this. I am definitely trying to get better and break this habit!

    • phendricks

      Wow, Christina, That’s insightful of you to realize there are still ways you do the same thing today–just in a different package. Stay tuned for one more message on the heart next week!

    • phendricks

      Wow, Christina, That’s insightful of you to realize there are still ways you do the same thing today–just in a different package. Stay tuned for one more message on the heart next week!

  • Rebecca

    I wrote a note to my younger sister who is at that insecure 11-year-old who-am-I stage. Thanks for the encouragement to do so!

  • karli

    I wrote a note to my mom apologizing for how I had acted that day and encouraging her even tho we all had had a really rough day! =(

  • I wrote a note to my Pastor’s wife who is a real encouragement to me.

  • Olivia Chambers

    Wow, this post really hit hard. To be honest I would never right a letter or tell my friend anything like the first letter, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it. I think that my thoughts need to be checked just as much as my words are. When we think about the bad things abut people or the things we don’t like about them it puts bitterness and hatred into our hearts. And eventually that bitterness may show through in our words like in n Mathew 15:18 or through our lives or our “fruit” in Mathew 12:33.