Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

You’re Not the Only Person in the World

Sometimes I can forget that I’m not the only person in the world. Yes, of course I know I’m not the only person, but sometimes I can get caught up in thinking I’m the only person in my world. The only person who matters, who has problems, aches, pains and worries.

Today I want to be reminded that I am not the only person in the world.

I just heard some horrible news. A family in my community just lost their 15 year-old son. He was killed in a car accident last night with his older brother who is still in surgery as I type this. My heart goes out to this family and all the people this young man impacted while he was on the earth.

I was complaining about a headache this morning, but learning this news brings things into perspective. I’m not the only person in the world. There are other people hurting and wounded who need support and someone to talk to. When we take the focus off ourselves and start paying attention to others around us our problems might not seem so big.

Today I don’t want to think about myself. I want to reach out to those who need encouragement and hope.

I encourage you to do the same.

I’m not the only person in the world.

Neither are you.

Everybody Wants to go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die

Everybody wants to go to heave, but nobody wants to die.

Except my grandma. No, really. That wasn’t a joke. My grandma wants to die.

We had a family gathering the other day and my mom had the unfortunate task of telling my grandma, who we call Nanny, that one of her close friends passed away. My Nanny cried at this news. About five years ago she lost her husband to cancer. She’s since been remarried, but ever since she suffered a stroke about two years ago, she’s wanted to go on and be with the Lord. The news of her friend’s passing brought a strange emotion. Jealousy.

How strange to be jealous of someone who died. My family and I wonder why doesn’t God just give her what she wants and let her go and be with those she’s lost, but clearly He is not done with her yet.

Which got me thinking. She still has purpose. And if you’re alive right now, so do you and so do I.

Too often people can wander through life without a purpose, but it’s not because they don’t have one, it’s because they haven’t discovered what that purpose is.

For my grandma, her purpose is to be a prayer warrior for her family. With 11 great grandchildren, (almost 12), and 12 grand children, plus her own two daughters and their husbands, she has more than enough reason to continue the battle through prayer. A small reminder of this the other night brought a new found confidence in what God has called her to do.

So what about you? Do you know your purpose? Are you living it out the best way you know how or are the weeks and months and years passing by without it being fulfilled?

If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life. –Warren

Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast

Last week we took some vacation time and headed up to Colorado. There’s nothing quite like the crisp cool air and the mountain range scenery that puts you right at ease. There’s also nothing quite like a 17 mile hike–remind me next time that when I go on vacation, I need to actually go on vacation. But that’s a whole other blog post.

Cody, our friend Troy, my brother Jacob and I embarked on the trail early one morning. The air was cool and I was wearing a jacket, but it didn’t take but five minutes of walking up steep ravines with a 30 pound pack on my back to work up a good sweat. The jacket came off and I settled in for who knew how long!

After about two and a half hours of walking I was getting pretty tired. I was at the back of the group, a good two to three minutes behind the leaders. Cody of course stayed with me and as we were walking up a rather steep climb he said something that stuck with me.

“Take your time. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Interesting. As I made it up the mountain and around the winding trails I thought about how true that phrase is for life. For someone who tends to always do things fast, it was a great reminder for me that slowing down and making sure each step counts, is actually a better way to live than trying to rush through everything. I drew a parallel to almost anything I could think of that people deal with in life and this phrase fit them all perfectly.

Training for some big race? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. You have to work up to your goal over time. You can’t just run as fast as you can and expect to condition yourself.

Single and wising you weren’t? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. You can’t just start dating the first guy or girl that comes along because you don’t want to be alone. Take it slow and figure out who you are first.

Writing a book? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. Writing is a process of discovery. If you try to rush into it you may miss something vital to your story.

Parenting a toddler? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. You’re probably not going to see the fruit of your labor right at the beginning, but over time, with lots of hard work, prayer and probably tears, as you commit your children to God you will see what they will become. I’m not a parent, but I am a daughter.

Waiting for a job? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. Listening to God’s direction and being patient is the only way to make it through this seemingly dry spot in your life. It might also be the time when God is trying to do the most in your heart as you trust Him with the next step.

Dissatisfied with your life? Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast. Like me on the mountain trail, we have to make sure every step counts. Don’t fall for the quick gimmicks. Nothing in life worth anything happens fast. Put in the hard work, follow God’s direction and overtime you will walk into your purpose.

What about you in your current stage of life? Do you need to adopt the motto that Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast? You never know how it might help you make it up the mountain of your life and come to the other side to the beautiful view that awaits you.

Flushing the Toilet, and Other Things We Take For Granted

There’s a water main line break in our little corner of Northwest Oklahoma City. Some neighborhoods have no water pressure, some have absolutely no water at all. Cody and I are sort of in the middle of no water and a little water. ToiletLet’s just say that sometimes the toilet will flush.

It just got me thinking how often we take simple things for granted. Especially in our American culture we expect certain things, like running water, but we forget that in other parts of the world, this is not the norm for them. It really makes me thankful to realize where God placed me on this earth.

Gratitude is the last Forgotten Virtue Craig Groeschel will be speaking about this weekend. And I think it is quite appropriate for Memorial Day Weekend, where we realize we often take our freedom for granted as well.

So today, I’m thankful. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude as it always should be. I have a roof over my head, food on the table, running water (for the most part), freedom, a husband who loves me and a family who supports me. I have a Heavenly Father who puts up with my crap and always gives me grace. What more could I ask for, what more could I want?

Let today be a reminder to not take our lives for granted. Let us be thankful for everything, including toilets that flush.

Need a Little Swirl?

This story is always a good reminder to not let myself become stagnant.coffee

The low rumble of the coffee shop slowly brought my mind to focus. I’d been reading at my table at Barnes and Noble for a while and picked up my cup of cafe mocha.  I noticed, as I took a drink, that most of the good stuff had settled at the bottom of my cup.  So I gently swirled it hoping the motion would wake the dormant spices that make the drink taste so good.

I drank again and noticed an immense difference.  A sweeter, richer, more potent sip excited my taste buds, causing my mind to think…

How often do I let my “spice” settle at the bottom?  Sometimes I allow the busyness of life to settle my passion, making me less effective.  I need a little swirl.  A little something to shake me up when sitting too long has caused me to become complacent.

But will I recognize this swirl for what it is?  Or will I complain that it’s just another suffering I have to walk through, trying not to get too shaken up, when that was the point in the first place…

What do you think?

Laceration-Fest

Ladies, we have a problem. I’ve never really noticed it before, but lately it has become increasingly evident that this problem is indeed something that needs to change. This problem mostly arrises when women get around other women. You probably think you’ve guessed what the problem is: tearing each other down. You wouldn’t be too far from the truth, but the problem I notice more is not that we tear each other down (not to each other’s faces at least) but that we tear ourselves down. Negativity

I was at a women’s luncheon the other day where about 35 women sat at round tables to get to know each other. I had my listening ears on and what I picked up only confirms my estimation of this growing problem.

You know how it goes. You’re talking about exercising and one women makes a joke: “Oh, these thunder thighs haven’t seen the broad side of a gym in months!” Or you give a lady a complement on her blouse and she comes back with: “Oh, it’s so old, I don’t even know why I wear it anymore.” “It’s a wonder my family hasn’t admitted me to the insane asylum.” “You don’t want to hear me sing!” “Oh, I’m horrible at that!” I’m sure you could add a few of your own. Maybe you’ve already said something negative about yourself today.

You might think these small conundrums are nothing to consider, “that’s just how women are,” you might say. But what puzzles me is how we got to this place. Why is it that any majority of our interaction with one another can turn into a Laceration-Fest, as if we’re trying to one up each other with our own cut downs. Does it make us feel good to say negative things about ourselves? Do we hope the other person will come back with a complement, defusing the negativity we just bathed ourselves in?

What’s more frightening is that usually what comes out of our mouth has already planted it’s seed in our minds. Do we really feel this way about ourselves? Are we constantly entertaining negative self-talk as we go about our day?

I want to challenge us, ladies. Put on your observation glasses and take a look at your interactions today. Do you speak negatively about yourself? Even if it’s just in jest? What about your inner self-talk? Is it positive? Does it make you feel good about who you are and who God has created you to be?

It’s time we fight back to “just the way women are” and make a new name for ourselves. It’s time we put down the negative knife words and become women of encouragement, women of life-giving words not only to those around us, but often more importantly to the woman in the mirror.

Do You Know Someone Who Has Reached Their Dream?

Do you know someone who has reached their dream? I do. Her name is Katie Mansour, and she is my sister. Katie

At an early age, (not even 13 years old) she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. My grandpa, who we affectionately called “Popabob” was ill with cancer and it was little 12 year old Katie who stayed by his side through the whole ordeal. His illness didn’t scare her, instead it developed in her a passion for care. She stood right next to the nurse every time his medication was given, and even got to administer it by herself a time or two. She slept on the floor by his bed at night just in case he might need anything. From that moment on, she knew: She was going to be a nurse.

I’m so proud to tell everyone that yesterday, my sister, took her last test in nursing school. She is now a nursing school graduate. One more test to pass her boards and she will be an official Registered Nurse. Of course, with or without the title, she’s always been one to us.

You might not think it is a huge accomplishment–sure lots of people are nurses. But from where I sit, not many people know what they want to be when they are 12 years old, and then do everything in their power to make sure that dream comes true. For nine years she thought of nothing else, dedicating herself to the study of nursing, applying for nursing internships as a high school student, and making a 4.0 through college. She wanted it. She made it happen. To me, that is the biggest accomplishment I could ever imagine.

Congratulations, Katie. May we all be inspired by your drive, dedication, passion and desire to see your dream come true.

I Need this Today

Sometimes it’s necessary to encourage yourself. I need to encourage myself today, and perhaps you needed it to.

“I don’t feel beautiful today…” I am enthralled with your beauty… Honor Me with it! (Prov. 11:45)

“Can I really face another week?” I will be with you, every step of the way. (Joshua 3:7)

“I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.” I will fight for you. (Deut. 1:30)

“I feel distant from God.” Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

“I am a mess.” I will take you by the hand… (Isaiah 42:6)

“I’m a failure.” You are more than a conqueror in My Name. (Romans 8:37)

“I don’t know where I am going.” Live by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7)

“I don’t know how this is going to work.” I will make all things work. (Romans 8:28)

Sometimes it’s important to be reminded of truth. Don’t let today go by without reminding yourself that God is in control. Hope you are encouraged today.

Confessions of a People-Pleaser

No one wants to admit they are a people-pleaser. The hyphenated word brings such negative connotations, like having no spinning platesbackbone, not thinking for yourself, or being a doormat, allowing everyone to walk over you.  But I’m a pretty opinionated person, I think for myself quite well, and don’t bend over and let others walk on me–but I realized I was still trying to please people.

I realized I was living in this state of mind after reading this familiar verse: Gal. 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

I had read this verse a hundred times. It’s even underlined in my Bible. Every time I would read it, I would think, “Oh, yeah, those people who try to please others… they have no idea!” and then one day I realized… I’m “those people.”

I think the reason I tend to be a people-pleaser is because my personality type is one that says “people are the priority.” I’m passionate about meeting people, connecting people, watching people figure out who they are, that sometimes I try to control situations where people are present. (which is often in my line of work.) Whether it be a life group I lead, the adult leaders at SWITCH, someone I’m mentoring/counseling–I want so badly for people to be pleased with whatever situation they are in, that inevitably, I become a people-pleaser. The pressure of pleasing people was like spinning hundreds of plates and not letting one of them fall. Why did I feel like I was responsible?

But recently, I realized a simple truth: Making sure people are pleased is not my job!

I’m not in control of their reactions. I can’t sway them one way or the other. If someone doesn’t like the way things are going it’s not my fault–nor should I take it personally, thinking “if I had just done more I could have made them like things”… (All of this makes sense to me in my brain… sorry if you don’t understand, but getting it out is good therapy.)

Realizing this truth has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I would say I probably enjoy my job more because I’ve learned how to just be myself and not worry about trying to control others. I would say I’m becoming more of who I really am, unhindered by the the pressure of trying to please everyone. I’ve been freed, and life on the other side of people-pleasing is pleasantly care-free.

Thanks for letting me talk that out. I feel better now. What about you? Do you find yourself trying to please people? Share your thoughts.

The #1 Weapon for Everyone

Now the truth has been revealed. Encouragement is a woman’s #1 weapon. This weapon is so powerful and brings such effect on those we use it on.

I don’t want to leave this conversation without first reminding ourselves that encouragement is not just giving out complements. It’s not just making someone feel good about themselves. To think of encouragement in those terms would demean this powerful gift. When you encourage, you may have to challenge, speak firmly, point out faults, or push someone in a direction that may be uncomfortable.

When we encourage, we are not focusing on ourselves, but other people. This causes others to want to be around us, because they know any time spent with you will be encouraging, uplifting, challenging and joyful. When you become a woman of encouragement, you become a woman of charisma, possessing the power to influence anyone you might encounter.

For some of us this ability to encourage comes naturally, for others we may have to work at it. Wherever you find yourself in your journey to becoming a woman of encouragement, allow me to cause courage in you. There is nothing more powerful than the encouraging words of a woman. Remember, you have the ability, the duty, to cause courage in those around you. You have been given this awesome calling as a women. Let’s not let it go to waste.

Who do you need to encourage today? It may be you, your husband, your children a friend or family member… do not let today go by without speaking a word of encouragement.

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