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Posts Tagged ‘#encouragement’

One of the best things in my life have been those people who are a step ahead of me.

Talking to those married a few years, when we were newlyweds. Chatting with dog owners, when we were considering adding a dog to our household (who am I kidding … when I was considering adding a dog to our household). Getting parenting advice at various stages prior to our kids entering those stages.

To glean, not just from books, but from real life people, who have been deep in the trenches of life is to have found gold.

Recently, as I sat with a gem of a woman, who is a wife, a mom, grandmother and fellow follower of Christ, I asked her what she sees her role to be, as a mom to her adult kids.

She barely paused,

“encourager”

So, I came home and looked at the Bible to find uses of the word encourage in its pages.

If I were to say who I think is the best example of an encourager in the Word of God, I would have to say it is Paul. As he spoke and wrote to the various churches, encouragement is frequently on his lips.

His example of encourager is not one of Pollyanna, sugar-coated, I have plans that won’t harm you sort of encourager. His example is that of cheering others on, even though he is in prison. Caring for and sustaining the churches with his words.

He encouraged whether they were on track or they forgot to board the train.

There is no way to explain how significantly he was motivated to encourage these churches, except to say that he loved …

he loved God and he loved those who God had given him to lead in how to follow the example of Jesus.

It is no different for us, who have children … adult or littles.

But for those of us with adult children, our role is different. With young children (still under our roof) we are teaching, correcting, nurturing, looking after basic needs, etc. But, when they move out to form lives independent of ours, we no longer direct them, for that is what independence is about (though, we do cherish their returns and sharing of their lives adventures with us).

We are to be encouragers … as I write those words, I flashback to when I was their ages. Those twenty-something years are exciting ones, years of trying new things, establishing who you want to be, the direction you want to go. They are years of confusion and self doubt too.

Lets face it, at any age of adulthood (or any age of life) we need cheerleaders, encouragers, someone in our courts who we know will be there … whether we are winning … or losing.

Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, says :

“Therefore encourage one another 
and build each other up …”

Thanks friend, for encouraging me to be an encourager to my adult kids.

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This is the time in the year, in this annual season,

when you are tired, my child.

I see it on your face, hear it in your voice …

you carry it on your shoulders.

Your shoulders …

they were what I noticed first when you were born.

They were unlike those of your sisters.

I remember marvelling at how straight and strong they appeared.

You were a long anticipated gift from God.

Each day of your pre-birth life prayed over … for the next day was not guaranteed.

Each movement was cherished.

Your birth, peaceful and unhurried.

unhurried … you have, from your beginnings, had your own timeline.

Then you burst into this life with robust cries, fists clenched and man shoulders to boot.

You were embraced, kissed, held (and had your eyes poked by your adoring sisters).

A boy born to three motherers and a father … who were so thankful to have you with us.

Your heart is soft. Your shoulders are strong.

As a child you played with little figures of super heros, watched their movies and shows, dressed as them at Halloween. You have grown into one who is bothered, grieved by injustice.

You want to make right the wrongs. You desire to fix broken pieces. You yearn to be personally involved in seeking justice. Your eye is ever on the ideal, what is best.

This is who you are, in the most natural way.

May you use these gifts of strength and gentleness in your whole life. May you seek to find where God can best use this combination of strengths in our world.

Know that you have been loved since your very beginnings.

Don’t ever forget the gift that you already are to so many.

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

It occurred to me recently that we tell our children their stories when they are littles, curled up in the safety of our laps, but maybe … just maybe, they need to hear their stories even more when they are grown, but still in need of the security and encouragement of their own coming into existence. Maybe a glimpse of their past will give strength for their future. Or, as fellow blogger, Carolyn Collar, says, maybe “God can help us find new meanings to old stories.

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Once upon a time …

that is how fairy tales begin …

and they end with a perfectly tied up bow, with the assurance that they all lived happily ever after.

Leaving the reader with a contented sigh.

My dear, your story very much started with a once upon a time beginning … kind of.

As our second, first pregnancy, your beginnings were shrouded in fear … but they were also blanketed in anticipation, hope and desire for your life to be part of ours.

From the first moment we were aware of your presence, we prayed for you (realistically, that began well before any knitting needles were picked up (Psalm 139:13)).

Though there were warning signs that elevated our fears and brought us to our knees, as I look back now, I see you were quite comfortable in your own little womb. Perhaps it was the aquatic environment, the warmth, the ability to set your own schedule.

When you emerged you did so with a loud battle cry, alerting us to your presence, which filled us with such relief and thankfulness that overflowed from our hearts down our cheeks.

You are a life striver, a life saver … I think this is why your life has been one of helping others.

From teaching swimming to littles who were fearful of getting their toes wet, to helping those whose life is in danger because of substance addictions, you have spurred others to strive.

You have literally helped the same ones who have spat in your face, called you horrible names and threatened your life.

Life saving has become part of you, whether in the swimming pool, having to call social services when parent’s drug abuses are endangering their children, or while administering Narcan in the McDonald’s drive thru.

The thing is … the life saver often gives their all to helping others … leaving little resources for themselves.

And … maybe it is time to direct your life saving skills and strengths back toward yourself.

After years of health struggles, that continue still today, you are rather beat up and bruised. Rather worn and wounded.

You’ve heard that often used metaphor “put on your own mask first before assisting others.”

Girl, it is the time to catch your breath, to inhale the life-preserving oxygen that is central to our human creation.

Breathe deeply.

For you have been so loved, so wanted … you were our own once upon a time,

since before your first breath.

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

It occurred to me recently that we tell our children their stories when they are littles, curled up in the safety of our laps, but maybe … just maybe, they need to hear their stories even more when they are grown, but still in need of the security and encouragement of their own coming into existence. Maybe a glimpse of their past will give strength for their future. Or, as fellow blogger, Carolyn Collar, says, maybe “God can help us find new meanings to old stories.

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Hey you, who I love, let me tell you a story …

a love story,

your story.

The thing is, I have held on to it, as though it is my story, and mine alone.

Then, in the middle of the night, like a whisper that screams loudly into one’s heart,

I knew that I had to give it back to you.

That you needed to hear it, with your heart.

That you needed to own it, possess it,

as your own.

It is the story of you.

The dream you were, the battles fought for your presence in our life, this life, your life.

The sadness, the sorrow, the struggles that came before you …

those heartaches that led us to you.

I recalled our first awareness of your presence, our excitement, hope and fears.

I shared that almost right after that, shadows fell,

the fight was on!

We fought, I fought,

YOU fought.

From the moment you had a physical presence your determination and perseverance were already obvious.

Then, on your very first birthday, you were born, silent and still. No rosy cheeks, no loud warrior cries.

We thought this was the end of your beginning.

But, you are a fierce force and your cries rose to fill the room, our hearts.

Your pre-birth struggle to live, your first year of adjusting to life on the outside …

those were the building blocks of your greatest strengths.

You have, from a young age, had an uncanny ability to feel the sadness in others, to see people only through the lens of human, to comfort and fight for those who cannot do so themselves.

You offer gentleness to others.

Now I ask you to apply that gentleness to yourself. That you fight for you. That you see yourself only through the lens of being human.

Remember that you were and are, a highly anticipated gift, that you have so much to offer this world, that today is just one day, but “tomorrow is always fresh” (LMM).

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

It occurred to me recently that we tell our children their stories when they are littles, curled up in the safety of our laps, but maybe … just maybe, they need to hear their stories even more when they are grown, but still in need of the security and encouragement of their own coming into existence. Maybe a glimpse of their past will give strength for their future. Or, as fellow blogger, Carolyn Collar, says, maybe “God can help us find new meanings to old stories.

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Produce is ripening. The days are dry and hot. The sun still high in the sky … but we now begin to really notice it is setting earlier in the evening.

This mid summer, this quarter season signifies the beginning of harvesting.

Harvesting … the taking or bringing in of the fruits of our labor.

I have begun harvesting my tomatoes daily. Little cherry tomatoes, ripe and round and delicious for salads. The Romas, a perfect balance of sweet taste, firmness and more flesh than seeds. I am anticipating thick slices atop mayo on artisan wheat bread … maybe even today.

For weeks, months even, I have anticipated the harvest of these fruits. Gardening in our newer, smaller digs, in pots, has not been as successful as gardening in the past. Yet, these plants are full of growing, healthy, ripening fruit for weeks to come.

I think that mid summer harvesting is a plot of God. I think this is his way of reminding us to keep our eyes on the prize of the present. While we are harvesting and tasting the fruits ripening before our eyes we are present in this very moment. This is what it is to not just be content, but know it too.

Pause for a moment.

Close your eyes.

Breath in deeply, slowly.

Exhale, slowly and completely.

Now, let your mind search for fruit in your life. The fullness of seeds which have been planted deep into the dark of the soil. Seeds that have been watered, fed, cared for. Dry, lifeless seeds that have sprouted, grown tall, with leaves, flowers and now the fruit is ripening … the fruit of your labor … the fruit of faithfulness to the Master Gardener.

What is he showing you?

What is he reminding you?

He is faithful. The seeds planted in him will grow.

they. will. grow.

See that fruit!

Don’t get discouraged, dear soul, when the ground seems dry and absent of life. He is in the dark, dry places with you. This midsummer harvest, today, is to encourage you in the winter times, when the days are dark and lifeless. For today bask in the sunshine of the harvest, let it’s delights seep into your soul, know the joy of this contentment.

“And another angel … cried … Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.”
-Revelation 14:18

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