Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Encouragement is a Powerful Thing

Did you know that encouragement can literally change the course of a person's day or even week? How could something as simple as a card really have any effect on anyone?

In our world filled with technology and information that connects us to others more quickly and easily, we have less human personal contact than ever before. We can send texts messages, emails, Tweets, IMs, and not know much more about a person than their screen name.

But taking a moment to handpick a card, to write a message and sign your name, allows the receiver know how much your care. Often you will find a card that says exactly what you wanted and needed to say, and what the other person needed to hear.

I have a box of all of the cards and letters I have received over the years. During times of discouragement and loss I have taken them out and reread the messages that others sent to me. Often that has been enough to spur me to keep fighting the good faith.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (Gal 6:9 &10)

Is there someone in your life who could use some encouragement today? I know just the place to find beautiful, uplifting cards for any occasion! Below are two links to DaySpring Cards, where you will find beautiful cards and gifts that will allow you to send be God's hands extended to someone in need.

I personally have been so excited to be able to send these beautiful cards to my friends and family. Receiving one of these lovely cards is like getting a warm hug through the mail!

Hope you enjoy! Be an encouragement to someone today! "So encourage each other, and build each other up, just as you are already doing...." 1 Thess. 5:11

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Bright Blessings card pack from DaySpring to review for {in}courage. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rejection is Whispering

Rejection is whispering at my door.

This has been my enduring thought over the last few weeks. Have you ever been in the middle of a fierce battle, and one thought keeps replaying in your mind like a broken record?

Several months ago I read a blog post by Lysa TyrKeurst entitled, “The Root of Mt Rot”. The post talked about how we all have a root issue that motivates us to react to situations, often without us even understanding why we reacted in the way we did.

I mentally stated what my root issue was, and left it at that. But a couple of weeks ago, God gently reminded me of the post, and showed me what my real issue is, and always has been: fear of rejection.

Rejection has been the motivation to stay quiet when I should have spoken up. Rejection has been the noose that has tied me to relationships that needed to be severed. Rejection has kept me in positions of leadership and ministry that God was calling me away from. Rejection has prodded me to do and say things that are no longer in character for me. Can you relate?

The past four months have been a time for dealing with the root of my rot, rejection. People I have loved and ministered to have rejected e, gossiped about me, and delighted in my seeming defeat. People I have respected and seen as mentors and ministry leaders have chosen to believe lies, instead of clarifying facts, or simply choosing to not be involved in gossip. I have watched my girls get hurt and rejected by adults who really wanted to hurt my husband and me, and chose to use them to accomplish the deed.

This has been a time of soul searching, or crying out to God, of being silent in His Presence. It has been a time of asking Him to show me the things I have used as bricks to erect a wall of protection around myself, and to give Him each brick, no matter how much it hurt to remove.

Anyone who tells you that it doesn’t hurt to follow Christ is trying to sell you something. Please don’t misunderstand; following Him wholeheartedly is the only stable, restorative, life-giving choice I could make, but it hurts to die to myself, my pride, my anger, my fear, my rejection. Some of these issues have been such a part of me for so long that I no longer see them as sins. They have become “issues” instead.

But these “issues” have placed static between me and the voice of the Holy Spirit, and that is not acceptable. I have no choice but to accept where I am right now in my finances, in my employment, and in my ministry, but I choose whether I am there in joy or discontentment.

Starting over is difficult—we have sown seeds here that we wanted to see bear fruit. But starting over can also be exciting and exhilarating! However, it is my choice: I can grumble and complain, or I can embrace the process, and ask God to give me true joy in the journey.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:2-5)

It struck me that this time of trial has stretched me: my faith, my trust in God, my willingness to love and forgive, my obedience. He is creating a new wineskin to hold the new wine He is getting ready to pour into me (see Matt. 9:16-17), and I’m preparing myself to receive it.

What about you, friend? Is there a reoccurring theme in your life that God is trying to point out? Are there “issues” that you won’t deal with, even though you know they are sin? Don’t put off what you know God is asking you to do—no matter how much you think it is going to hurt. These short-lived trials pale in comparison to what God will give you in exchange. (2 Cor. 4:17) You can trust Him to keep His promises to you, and I can trust Him to keep His promises to me.

This isn’t for the weak or faint-hearted, but it is worth it!

In pursuit of zoe,