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Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 17 of 31-I didn’t know my own strength (I am an Encourager)


 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34 (NIV)

“Lord, if someone should see me, 
please let it be that I was caught 
in the act of doing Your Will.”
This time. I think I got it right.
This will come as a surprise to some of my sister-dreamers. As part of a recent exercise to identify core strengths, I prayerfully considered the things at which I excel. (I spend a lot of time living in my head). Immediately, two attributes from the list came to mind; calm, and resourceful. The last 90 days have been among the most difficult in my life; and I channeled the wisdom of the British Ministry of Information during the Second World War…Keep Calm and Carry On.  I am calm in times of great distress, and resourceful; I know how to get things done. I also identified fierce, but only when defined as “showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity.”  That might have been the only one I got right. 

You see, the mistake I made was to consider with my head. I listened to my best internal publicity on my best day. I am calm in times of great distress. I have been blessed to establish a remarkable network, I have the resources to find, share, uncover, research, etc., as necessary. What I didn’t do was look to the people who see me being me all the time, to consider what I reflect to them most consistently when I am engaged in the regular act of being myself.  I am an Encourager.

I should have known better. Since September, I’ve been part of a team of women who volunteered to (in)courage. (okay, so I’m a little slow…). I volunteered. I signed up. I raised my hand. I’ve spent every morning since happily writing and seeking out scripture, images, and words of encouragement to support my happy band as they make their way through each day. I looked back at email exchanges with friends, and noticed a thread…

I was thanking a friend and mentor for being a resource (see, that’s where I got that grand idea…) and this was her response, “You do so much encouraging yourself - it would be difficult not to do the same.
From a girlfriend whom I don’t get to see as often anymore…” I know that God had a hand in our meeting because my life would not have been the same had I never meet you.”
I even wrote a personal mission statement that should’ve given me a clue…
My Mad Libs Mission Statement a la Holley Gerth
I believe God has created and called me to fall down, sometimes really hard, so friends, family, complete strangers and friends I haven't met yet might appreciate the Grace God gives me (Grace available to anyone) to get up, over and over, through my life and my writing. To get up, no matter how hard it seems; no matter how often it happens. Laughing as I rise, praising Him for His Goodness.

My form of encouraging isn’t the one I see so many wonderful women (particularly those I’ve recently come to know) express; gracefully, elegantly, quietly filled to overflowing with the peace that passes all understanding. That’s not my style, and perhaps that’s why I didn’t see it at first. I didn’t know my own strength.

I didn’t see at first that laughing at yourself, and encouraging others to laugh with you, and at themselves as well as a way to learn the lesson IS indeed a form of encouragement. MY method of encouragement is the milk coming out of the nose laughing variety. It comes in giggles and pokes. Often, I haven’t the patience to be patience. In the midst of it all, my encouraging voice is the one that says, “Get up! Get over it! Get back in there.” I scream “Fight on” because that is what I’d want someone to say in encouraging me. I appreciate other forms of encouragement, and I respect them greatly. However, for those of us who might do it, or need it done another way, this is for you.

I didn’t know my own strength. I didn’t see that what some might call tough love is still love. Still encouraging. You see, when I love you, when you are part of my community, I’m the one in the back giggling, a little silly, but as earnest as they come. I am an encourager….I just didn’t know my own strength.

Here’s the lesson. Get out of your own head; you’re not that smart (none of us are). What do people say about you? What do you consistently, intentionally do, whether people are paying attention? That is who you are. I pray it is someone you can be proud of. I don’t know who else might be watching, but my prayer is always, “Lord, if someone should see me, please let it be that I was caught in the act of doing Your Will.”

This time. I think I got it right.


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