Why I encourage
Always thrust ahead
As my life thrusts forward, I reflect on how I keep it moving in that direction. Times when I got stuck, couldn’t move because of melancholy or paralyzing indecision, I thrust myself forward by focusing on someone else. I reached out and gave those around me what I needed most. I encouraged them. I did this in hopes that it would be reciprocated. I didn’t need it to come from them. I certainly didn’t expect it to come from them, I knew them. But even better than that, I knew God. I believed that if I thrust forward in obedience, in caring for my fellow man, in other words, following a rubric learned in Sunday School: JOY-Jesus, others, yourself, God would surely give me what I needed.
My earliest memories are of profound sadness in my home. Not to say that my family is not a great group of people, just the experiences of life overwhelmed the vast majority of them. The perpetual sadness was passed down or along to all who came along. The house could be rather lively in the daytime, but once the sun set, so did outlooks. At the tender age of ten, I recognized this condition was prevalent and consuming. I began to seek places to be alone. I enjoyed my own company. I filled my time with books, exploring all that my mind could consume about the world that I had yet to see. Family could be gloomy, but I yearned to be transported.
I participated in my first play at church at ten years old. My mother enjoyed it and talked about it quite a bit. I saw that when she talked about the play, she smiled. I loved her smile and vowed to make her smile more often. In my books, laughter made people smile. It lifted their spirits and they would hold their hands near their hearts like that moment was a true treasure. My mother needed more, deserved more treasures like this. If I could bring this into this household regularly, getting through to adulthood would be that much easier. I certainly needed easier.
I actually read up on laughter. Laughter gives a person a momentary lift. That lift is derived from them being encouraged. I can do that I vowed. I need it so I’ll give it to them and God will give it to me. I began to write short stories that I could do skits from. I began to learn every line of every commercial and then do them in the grocery store aisle when I would see the products. Watching my mother break out into smiles and hearing her infectious laugh encouraged me to do it more. At home, we had a raised brick fireplace in our living-room. My sisters and I performed there for our parents. Great fun. Quite contagious actually. The mood in the household was like a ray of sunshine. Much needed.
Once off to college, I sought the same climate. It was almost an uncontrollable compulsion to make those around me laugh and enjoy themselves. Nearly two decades of gloom and doom surrounding me was too much. Be positive around me or keep it moving. As my relationship with Christ matured, I understood my purpose, and that in learning how to lift the spirits of those around me was a gift. I loved encouraging people. It helped them and fueled me. Just letting someone know that they’re on the right track can be enough. Some need quite a bit more and others need very little, but we all need encouragement. God began to bring people into my life who encouraged me. I became a mother. I knew what I wanted for my children. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. The daunting realization of that did cause melancholy at times, but God is able. Through those very scriptures, songs and stories that I used to encourage others, Christ encouraged me.
My goodness, the first three decades after my mother died, I felt leg swiped constantly by life. But looking at the precious faces of the three children God entrusted to me, I continually thrust myself forward. The rubric of JOY learned as a child was my tool belt day in and day out. I honor the gift of encouragement. I’m sensitive to the many opportunities I get to use it. Knowing that I’m His is all the encouragement I could ever need.
I began to encourage to help others, I continue to encourage to please God.