Tag Archives: Encouragement

Flashback Friday 7

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Flashback Friday 7

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Flashback Friday.  I’ve recently met several deadlines and enjoyed a few big events, and now find myself in a bit of blissful reprieve for a few short weeks before we jump into the holiday season. So I thought I’d take some time to schedule some Flashback Friday posts.

Today’s post is the very first column I ever wrote.  I showed it to my editor, Sue Hite, at the Chester County Independent and asked for feedback. I thought it was funny, encouraging, and meaningful, but what would Sue think? I sweated it out until she told me to run it on the Obits/Religion page as the first installment of my own weekly column.

Reading it back today, I still think it’s funny, encouraging, and meaningful. I wrote this the year I turned 30. Twenty years later, I’m balancing on the brink of celebrating the half century mark of my life on this planet.

Guess what…

I’m still making the same mistakes.

I think I’m making them a lot less often, and with a lot more grace and style, though.  But  those wayward Israelites still annoy me.

Not My Virtue

Patience is a virtue. It’s just not one of mine. Of course, life has written a daily lesson plan directed at teaching me, but I don’t have the patience to learn.

Last year I decided to read the Bible cover-to-cover, however, I lost patience with those thick-skulled Israelites. Moses must have been sure he was leading a group of toddlers. He had to be exhausted after a day of repeating,

“I told you not to build a golden calf!”

“No, you can’t have chocolate chip cookies, you’ll just have to be satisfied with manna from heaven!”

or “No, we can’t go back to Egypt. They want to kill you!”

“And so do I,” he must have whispered under his breath. His ears probably were burning from 40 years of hearing, “Moses, are we there yet?”

I became so disgusted with God’s chosen people. They just never got it. They made the same mistakes over and over. God punished them, and they did it again. They were brought out of slavery, famine, and the slaughtering of their children. Instead of praising God for His mercies, they turned their backs to him. Rather than publishing the first edition of 101 Ways to Serve Manna, they threw up their hands and said, “We can’t stand another day of freedom and free food falling from the sky, we’re going back!”

The Israelites had their every need provided, but they had no patience for the inconveniences they faced along the way.

Of course, I had to go and have an epiphany – bright, flashing lights and arrows pointing to my head. If the story of my life is ever written, years from now someone may read it and exclaim, “The moron! She kept making the same mistakes.”

The Lord has allowed me enormous blessings, but I stumble over the small stuff and scream in impatient tantrums. I’m still not a virtuous woman in the area of patience, but now instead of shouting, “I can’t take it anymore,” I pray, “Lord, let me learn from the Israelites.”

The Gift of Encouragement

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The Gift of Encouragement

There is a girl. Her name is … 

Denise.

She told me a few weeks ago that she misses my blog posts. Then she said that she is NOT a writer – that if she were to write something it would start, “There is a girl. Her name is…” She thought she was being self-deprecating and proving she can’t write. Instead, she was being an encouragement to me, as usual.

I’ve been struggling with frustration. Frustration about my plans being changed by the decisions of others. Frustrations about my weakness in sticking with a life change for better health. Frustration with a seemingly never ending sinus infection, work stresses, missing my boys, writer’s block…

So when I saw Denise at church this morning, I ended up spilling my litany of woes. She listened, empathized, shared her own struggles, told me she drew inspiration from me in areas she sees strength, hugged me and invited me to sit with her in church. After the service, she wished me a blessed week and said she loves me. I arrived at church this morning tired, running late, and feeling a bit fragile. Denise’s love and encouragement inspired me to change my perspective. She is a true blessing in my life.

Today was a yucky, rainy, snowy, cold day. It would have been so easy to stay home and vegetate, but I didn’t, thankfully. Denise wasn’t my only encourager today. I had a number of uplifting conversations with long-time friends, as well as a moment when our associate pastor took time to pray with me before I slipped into Community Group nearly 40 minutes late.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT) reminds us of the importance of community: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…”

We were made to be in relationship with others. While we need time alone to process, regroup, refresh, etc., we need others in our lives who will love and encourage us. Rather than going into another work week feeling depleted, I’m heading into this Monday emotionally refreshed. Sometimes it’s easier to feel sorry for ourselves, or to embrace the “misery loves company” mentality and surround ourselves with negative people. But as we start a new week, I’d like to challenge you to reread Hebrews 10:24-25 and think of ways to motivate one another. I’d love to hear from you. Please share how someone encouraged you recently, or how you showed love or did a good work.