Monday, January 17, 2011

Encourage One Another

It was such a dark night in my soul.  The years have blurred the details of it somewhat, but never in a lifetime will I forget that darkness, or the cold that accompanied it.   

How & when that dreadful stretch unfolded are details that aren't really necessary for this particular reflection.  What is important, is how one woman (an unbeliever) lit a fire that kept my soul's Winter at bay and Spring's hope alive.  Her name is Georgia, and she is the face I envision whenever I see or hear the word encourage.

Merriam tells us that it means:

1a : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : hearten b : to attempt to persuade : urge
2:    to spur on : stimulate 
3:    to give help or patronage to
Georgia had been through horrendous losses in her life.  Her husband and two of her three children had been swept from life, and her arms in a devastating plane crash just years before she & I met.  When it came to pain and to living out life on pain's heels, Georgia had street cred with me.  She knew of what she spoke.
So what did she give me that is so invaluable to me even today?  These words:  I believe in you.
Oh, she said a lot of other things too, though nothing I can remember today.  For whatever reason, her encouragement was all I needed to cling to that knot I'd tied in the end of my proverbial rope.  Georgia said I was capable of hanging on so, by-gum, I would!
What simple words:  I believe in you.  What power they wield.  What possibilities they inspire.  What encouragement they impart.
By the way:  I believe in YOU!
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration,
encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.
And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11

Therefore encourage one another with these
words (about the Lord's return).  
1 Thessalonians 4:18

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep (dead),
we may live together with him.
Therefore encourage one another and
build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.   
1Thessalonians 5:10-11

I long to see you so that I may impart to you
some spiritual gift to make you strong—
that is, that you and I may
be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 
Romans 1:11-12

... encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,”
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  
Hebrews 3:12-13


Debbie said...

It is often the ones who have experienced great losses who can become the best encouragers to others. As you say about Georgia, "she knew of what she spoke".

You have been an encourager to me Kathleen. I thank you for that. I'm so glad to have met you through blogging and even in real life. I miss you though.

Blessings and love,

Rita said...

Kathleen, you are one of those that are called an "encourager." It is a gift, one to be treasured. Not all people can be encouragers. Thank you for your encouragement.

Yolanda said...

Absolutely beautiful just like YOU!


Beth E. said...

What a different world we would have if we all lived by these verses you shared!

Thank you for always being such a great encouragement to ME, Kathleen.


Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

the gift of encouragement is one that i desire! I so want to be an ecnourager and am praying for the Lord to anoint me so!

You ARE an encourager my friend and I praise God for you!

Rose said...

It's amazing how sometimes just two or three simple words can cause defining moments in our lives. We don't need to be great orator's we just need to let those who are hurting know that we care. God bless the "Georgia's" of the world.

Rebecca said...

Ah, yes! And that is one of the ministries (encouragement) that is to take place when we gather - Hebrews 10:25.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

We all need a Georgia... especially on those dark nights... especially a Georgia who has pressed through her own dark night and lived to tell about it.

Thanks for being a Georgia to me.


Sonja said...

You are so right. The 'Georgia's' help us to know that it's going to be okay. What a blessing she was to you during that time, and what pain she had lived through... no wonder her encouragement had such clout.

You, my friend, are an encourager on these pages, to me and so many others.


Debbie said...

I LOVE LOVE this post....Many times when I think I don't have the wisdom many do, or I don't have the education, or I don't have the means to help I have thought to myself I CAN encourage them to do all they are meant to do. Maybe my job is to only try to encourage others to do what it is meant for them to do. I have never really thought about it the way you put it here. Thanks for the encouragement! Your soo right, the Lord knows everybody needs a Georgia! HUGS

Saleslady371 said...

This is how I feel about you, Kathleen! Thank you for investing in my life.


Loren said...

Oh Kathleen! You are one who not only reads the Word but is a DOER of the Word! I am so thankful for your Wisdom and Encouragement and your Belief in me is such a gift. One that I cherish and thank the Lord for!!

Just a little something from Judy said...

I found this to be true in life, what you just expressed so beautifully in this post. I love this post! If I had a soap box, this would be proclaimed. I believe "encouragement" is one of the most needed gifts today, and often given by those who at one time so desperately needed it themselves. You...are one of those dear people. I know from first hand experience. Thank God for sharing Georgia with you when you needed it most. Well written and the verses were so comforting.

Terri Tiffany said...

You are that woman to me. You have encouraged me this entire past year and have again now with my current situation. Blessings for being that person in my life to tell me to hang on.

Sheryl said...

I have just spent the better part of an hour reading back through our emails. Some as comments on each other's blog, some just reaching out! We have been friends since 2009? How is that possible. I was brought to tears many times when I realized that YOU believed in me...thank you!

Dakota said...

Hey, I just came across your blog by doing a bit of blog-surfing, and I'm glad I did! I've added myself as your newest follower, and I hope you'll check out my Christian devotional site as well:

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Those who have traveled the hard road before us are the ones so seasoned to give us that encouraging nudge.
Those who learned what courage is all about are the ones who extend the best encouragement.
Thanks for sharing your encouraging reminds us all that the ashes at our feet might be the thing that encourages another in their journey.
God uses it all...doesn't He?

Merana Leigh said...

It's amazing what those simple words "I believe in you" or "I believe you can do it" mean. And equally amazing what withholding those words can do to someone's spirit. Beautiful post. Thank you ~ Merana

christy rose said...

"I Believe in You!!" Powerful words indeed!! I love all the Scriptures that you included in this post. How appropriate they fit in helping us to see how important it is to encourage one another in the Lord!! I love to encourage others!! Today, you have encouraged me!! Thanks Kathleen!!:)

RCUBEs said...

Your God-given wisdom always encourage my faith...Thank you and glory be to God! "I believe in you..." So short and simple.....Yet leaves a lasting print. Just like God's Word. Short but truly penetrates deep inside...God bless.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kathleen -

You reminded me of a woman I met at GriefShare. As I trembled, she put her arm around me and told me how brave I was to come out so soon after my husband's death.

Her words were like honey to my soul and started the healing process.

Susan :)

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

I believe in you! You encourage me. Praise God! Thank You, Yahweh!

Karen Lange said...

Very encouraging. :) Thank you.

SoulDragon said...

Just love this - and all written by my namesake! Very encouraging, uplifting and warm. Vow to return very often - please share my humble blog as well - just got back into it, and have found some amazing blessings in the way of friends...
The Bible AND C S Lewis! Great and inspirational ideas!
the other Kathleen :)


Encouragement is so very important. We are never more like Jesus than when we are encouraging others and giving them hope to face tomorrow. And guess what? It doesn't cost anything to be an encourager! :-)


Cheryl Barker said...

We've all been there. Wintertime in the soul. I posted a poem about that very thing as my midweek post. I pray it gives someone just the encouragement they need.

By the way, love the little Snoopy and Woodstock cartoon. What a sweet picture of friendship :)

Pamela said...

I believe in you...beautiful words. My prayer is that people see "encouragement" when they think of me. It's certainly something I'm passionate about--sheltering others.