The blessing that I do want to share with you is the encouragement others have been to me. The Lord has used the kindness of his people to bring about true thanksgiving in my heart. As a mom it is easy to get lost in the trees of training my children. How many times have I told them to do X or respond to situations in a God honoring manner only to see them fail again or need another reminder? Many prayers (and sadly worries) have been expressed, many books have been read, and in-depth conversations with Mark and other moms seeking to be the mom I aught to be and knowing I fall so short. Those close up trees are overwhelming and it seems we will never make it through the forest on the right path.
The Lord recently used the encouragement of others at church to help me to see the big picture, "the forest." Genuine compliments pointing out the strengths of my boys and encouraging me as a mom. I have seen those strengths in my boys, but I focus so hard on working out the kinks, that I forget to appreciate and notice God's work in molding these young men. I don't think the people expressing these words knew how significant they were to me, but their thoughtful comments helped me to take a step back and be reminded of the progress. My boys really are listening and maturing. They are not perfect, none of us are, but they are growing and learning and embracing our beliefs and world view. I won't bog you down with the specifics for the reasons I stated above, but with the encouragement of others I have been able to see those specific blessings and thank God for them. This encouragement helps me to keep working toward the goal and not give up.
Not everyone is in the parenting stage of life, but we all have struggles and are striving to better ourselves in some area of life. Just like God used several individuals to encourage me as a mom, I want to encourage others as they go through the trees of life. We all need encouragement to keep striving and not give up. I have often appreciated things in others, observed growth, or learned from their example and never told them. They blessed me and I failed to bless them by a word of encouragement. I want to strive to be an encourager to others the way I have been encouraged. No, I don't want to flatter people with empty praise. We can all see through that and it doesn't reap benefits. But a specific, thoughtful word can do wonders to lift a spirit or encourage someone to keep striving in the midst of the uncertainties of life. You never know what a thoughtful word may do to bless someone.
Proverbs 25:11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.