Yesterday, Gail, one of my friends at Bible Study, paid a visit to someone I had made a card for a few weeks ago who is battling cancer. She told me that when she got there, she saw that my card was on display as a continual encouragement to the lady who had received it. When I heard that, I was just blown away. I'm so glad Gail called and told me that because I know people like to receive cards, but never realized just how much it can mean to someone.
Here are a few suggestions in making cards more meaningful:
1. Make it timely. A quick response to someone in need underscores your care and concern. If you didn't hear right away, you could start with "I just heard..."
2. Keep it simple. It doesn't have to be a long letter. In fact, based on my own experience, it's easier to "digest" a brief expression at a time when it's hard to concentrate. This is one case where less is more.
3. Be Yourself. No need to be eloquent, just be personal. If you knew the person who died, for instance, mention something positive that you'll remember about them, even if it's just their smile.
4. End with something encouraging. I usually include a short Bible verse and the assurance that I'll be keeping them in prayer, if appropriate to the person. Otherwise, you could say that you'll be thinking of them. BTW, if I use a Bible verse, I always put it on the front of the card so that when it's standing up on display the verse is visible.
I hope this helps take some of the apprehension out of sending words of encouragement!