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Posts Tagged ‘#encourageoneanother’

Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 7.17.04 AMIt’s graduation season and that means that social media is abuzz with images of nicely dressed graduates and their families, all smiling for the camera … but we don’t show the images of doors slamming, threats made if marks don’t improve, or the student incapable of lifting their head after their face, their body, have been ridiculed on said social media, by one of their grad class.

We share our opinions on politics, saving the earth, and pipelines, yet fail to write our government officials of our concerns, drinking our smoothies and coffee in take out cups and driving petroleum-needy vehicles while using everyday products from make-up to purses to cameras to toothpaste … all made with petroleum.

We shower people with well wishes and greetings with we get notification of their birthday … even if we haven’t had any interaction since their last birthday.

We take images of our food, made at home or ordered in a restaurant that are picture perfect enough to create the mouth-watering effects that advertising companies aim for.

We post images of families, couples, besties all smiling and creating an image of joy, unity, health and perfection.

We document our travels, near and far, indications of our joy of life.

We post selfies of our smiling faces, alone, with friends, family, our pet.

We post quotes and images of people we agree with, yet fail to connect with people who love us … in real life.

We ‘like’ and comment on the posts of ‘friends’, yet find ourselves tongue-tied when we see those people in ‘real life’.

Though these public documentations of moments in our lives are lovely, in and of themselves, we all know that they are only a glimpse into a moment in time, not necessarily every moment in time.

These public posts are images but not necessarily reality.

This past week there were two famous people who died, at their own hands, driven by a mind that was (we presume) biochemically not healthy.

On my social media feeds I read quotes by individuals close to both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain which indicated that recent interactions with them left them with the impression that they were happy, in a good space …

more fake news.

That which is seen is not always true. 

There are invisible things, feelings, thoughts, which can seep into one’s mind and muddle the soul. Those who have experienced the reality of such darkness know that words do not help others understand … it is only being there, sitting in the smothering shadows  that brings true compassion. It is only in sitting in those dark shadows with the suffering, that wisdom and comes.

In the past number of months, during a season of heartache in our family (and that has affected our entire family), we have been blessed by numerous private interactions, messages, cards, prayers and more. These have kept us afloat. Though sometimes it has seemed that only our nose is on the surface, drowning has been prevented. These individuals have sat with us in the dark shadows, encouraged us with their private concern and care.

May we all be gentle with each other, may we all be kind. May we not just ask, “how are you?” but “how are you, really?” May we not presume that because they seem happy and healthy, that is reality. For we are all dealing with the struggles of life.

“Therefore encourage one another
and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

 

 

 

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I sat in my vehicle, fatigued and elated, after the graduation ceremony for my son and his peers, and opened the envelope that was addressed … to me.

As I opened the card (to the left) I read the unexpected, encouraging words, from one mom to another. And the floodgates opened.

Although this day had been one of joy, pride and celebration, the week had been one of self doubt, regrets, and feelings of parental failure. And we all have those times, don’t we?

The words in this note card fed my momma heart. They nurtured my soul. They gave me reason to lift my head.

Really what they did was remind me that I am human. Sometimes I blow it, as a parent. Sometimes I get it right. Don’t we all live with this reality?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 reminds us,

encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.” 

This little card, written by another momma, did that for me. This small token, it’s greatest value is not only in the words, but the fact that she made the effort to encourage.

Not only did it encourage me, but it also reminded me that I need to encourage others. Don’t we all need that?

So, thank-you friend, fellow mom who is travelling this unpredictable, windy road called parenting. You have encouraged me and your kind act fed my momma soul.

 

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A while back a teen shared with me some words that, obviously, hurt to her core.

She shared with me that someone said to her, “you don’t appear to want to be here. Did your parents make you come here? Are you even a Christian?”

Now, I don’t know if she is an active follower of Christ, nor do I know if her presence was by her choice, or that of her parents. I do know that her actions are not what I am responsible for, but my responses to her, are how I speak of Christ to her.

I mulled over her words for a bit, then pulled her aside, and got more direct with her than I usually would … for I felt I needed to do some restorative action in her life.

I told her I was sorry for what had been said to her. I also assured her that God loves her, as she is, not as she should be. Just as he loves the person who said those things to her, just as he loves me. Then I told her what we all need to be reminded of,

that she, that we, are good enough for God. We cannot do anything, but it is he who loves us, who makes us enough …

She smiled, through tear-filled eyes, and said thanks.

I told her that if she ever hears that message again, making her feel like she is not good enough for Christ, to remember my words to her. That there is no amount of mess in her life that God cannot love us through.

And I found a quiet corner, and I sobbed. For I felt as though I had just tried to save a life.

People all around us are dying.

They are the walking wounded, stumbling thorough life. They have been fed the message that they cannot dip their toes into the sandals of their Creator, until they have been purified of every flaw and sin.

They need the great physician, but they have been told that he won’t see them until they say and do the right things … until they are healthy.

Not long ago, fellow Christ followers, if was you and I who were staggering to Christ for treatment. Let us be open doors to the injured, the struggling, the bleeding.

“Jesus said to them,
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Mark 2:17

 

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As I glanced up the washroom door, I could see graffiti.

“Seriously, are people really that bored?” was my initial thought … then I looked more closely.

When I read what had been written there (in the image above), a smile began to form across my face.

Then I wondered,

how many other females have read that sentence and smiled as well?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 declares,

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

Though I would not necessarily encourage the defacing of other’s property, it was delightful to see that the author of this graffiti understood the power of encouraging words, even to unknown recipients.

In a time when it seems that everything from social media, to the news, to water cooler conversation is negative in character, may we all be reminded that the power of our words is great, and that encouragement is a better way.

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