taking heart

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I know I've said this here before, but I have to say it again. Encouragement means "to give courage." Lately, I've been wrestling with a lot of fear; I'm blogging to keep myself going, to "get back on the horse," if you will, to keep my writing flowing. It may not be particularly deep, or make a lot of sense to anybody but me, but I write because I need to right now, to look my fear in the face and say, "hello, I'm still living, see?"

But something else has been happening lately, besides my fear-fighting. I've gotten a lot of encouragement. Specific, targeted encouragement that says "don't be afraid, God is using you in my life." As a words-of-affirmation person, I can't begin to describe how deep this goes for me. I've wanted to be a gift, and all my life, I've felt as though I am "too much" or "too little." The women who have offered this to me have really given me courage in a time when I have been floundering a bit. Their words have strengthened my heart and reminded me that it is okay to press on.

I want to share the words they have given me that have brought tears and hope and courage to me:

Today, in an email exchange, Laura wrote, "what you write is such as blessing to others. I have been thinking about one of your posts for weeks and weeks--it was about where to draw the line between loving and admiring and working with the beauty the Lord has made without making it all an idol...at least that's what I took away from it. And I definitely needed to read that specific message, and I'm surely not the only one. Really, really good stuff. I don't remember the last time a blog has made me think for literally weeks. So remember that blogging about your deepest, in-self days may at the time feel strange or like too much to you, but know that your writing has an incredible, sanctifying effect on others."

Early last week, I received two comments from Amber on the same post: "Yes! Yes! Yes! I love this. I struggle with bowing to my blog, and there is only one remedy for that... Oh. I forgot to tell you that Emily just bragged and bragged on you. I loved you immediately..." And she emailed me the other day with a wonderful poem she had written about Hosea and what God had shown her about Himself.

Emily, who was bragging on me, posted a lovely directive over to my blog - this gal who is quite noticed in the blogosphere took time to notice me, and loved what I had to say here!

My new Internet friend Alison wrote a similar post after an email exchange we had a few weeks ago, an exchange that left me really worried that I'd overdone it. In a recent email she wrote, "I can't tell you how much your blog and comments on mine have meant to me...I've never befriended anyone who has been as honest as you have been in [regard to relationship with God]. God has seemed to have let us both wander in the wilderness a bit, but what a blessing to find a companion there."

My blog friend Danielle also emailed in response to a letter I had written to her about a rather hasty post of mine that led tothis post, "When I read your words--the words that I questioned--I was concerned because I wasn't sure how to take it. At first I didn't want to respond, because I hate to question anyone in some sort of "confrontation-like" way. Because I couldn't say it in person, where you could hear the inflection of my voice, where I could explain myself. Because I don't "know" you in person and we've not even known each other long via the internet. Because I didn't want to assume anything about what you were saying and take it the "wrong" way. But, God really stirred in my heart that I really needed to say something. I wanted to write in as gracious a way possibly, not knowing your heart or even what you meant to say, only how it appeared to me. Even in doing so, I was afraid you'd be offended. Thank you for not being offended and attempting to hear what I was trying to say. I know God will truly use a heart as humble as yours! It is an example to me. I hope I will be just as humble when someone questions what I have to say..."

And my friend Lynette wrote to me, "Seriously, it is just amazing how people can interpret something you write, into something you didn't write at all. I've come to the conclusion that no matter how careful I am in wording what I want to say, people basically only read what they want to read; they only see what they want to see, they only look for what they are looking for. When that is Christ and His Life, that is wonderful!!! But when they are wanting to justify something, that is a different matter.

Before I even saw your email this morning, Father gave me a parable of this so I suspect He wants me to share it with ya ;-) When I came downstairs this morning I went straight to the blinds in the front room to open them (can't stand dark rooms, gotta let the light in ;-) I looked outside at the blue sky and at a new light on the garage that our landlord installed yesterday then I went into the kitchen. As I was getting a cup of tea the thought came, "Is the snow and ice out the front melted yet?" And y'know, although I had looked out the front just a few minutes before, I didn't know the answer because I hadn't seen it; I hadn't been looking at the ground. I had only seen what I was looking for!!!!

It seemed crazy to me that I could have looked out on that whole scene and yet not remember whether the snow had gone or not, simply because I wasn't looking for it! Even though my eyes would have seen it, the brain didn't register it (scary thought ;-) and it is exactly the same with spiritual things.

There have been more; these are just some of the words that have been playing again and again through my heart lately. These women are all women of God who have reached into my world and deeply, deeply encouraged me, and I am so grateful for them, for Him in them, for how He has placed them in my life - whether through a comment, a post, an email, a conversation - I am so blessed, and I have been so encouraged. I know it sounds like I'm just tooting my own horn here, but I mean to toot theirs - you can see from these words how lovely these women are, reaching outside of themselves to touch my life!

So what about you? What has encouraged you recently? I'd love to hear, to see what else God is doing! Has someone offered you encouragement lately to press on? What did they say?

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)


Esther said...

So nice to have that written. I still feel so new to this blogging community, but I am constantly in awe of the people I have met so far. The realness, the compassion, the support...
So many other places on the internet people hide behind their screens as they strike out with judgement and anger, but my experience with the women I have met blogging (including you,my dear) has been so...to borrow your word...encouraging. And instead of hiding they share their souls.

emily said...

I am beginning to feel so at home over here. I hope that is okay with you. The Proverb you listed at the end of this post brought instant tears to my eyes. I'm still not sure why. I'm sure I'll be thinking on that this morning. Apples of gold, indeed.

dancebythelight said...

Kelly, this is an encouragement to read today. I'm very weary. And tonight I'm meeting with my best friend to discuss how to make our relationship more open and deep, yet at the same time I feel a bit hurt over the circumstances. I've actually kept in my mind your humble and gracious response as something to hold up to me as an example as to how to respond in the situation. Thanks!

ashley said...

I visit your blog quite often. It seems that I am lead here when I am having a really hard day. Your words bring hope, joy, laughter, and even tears when they are needed. Reading your blog helps me know that I am not alone in my struggle and that if its ok for you not to be perfect maybe God thinks its ok for me not to be perfect also. Thanks for being so real. It is much needed in a world so full of shows.

Connie said...

I was so encouraged by a reminder given to me, that I created a post on my blog using the words: "Are you worried about your future? Those who worry do not know how safe they are with God. They take matters into their own hands and remove themselves from God protection to do things their own way because they are motivated by fear and not faith. Those who put their faith and trust in God do not worry because they know Him." Those thoughts reminded me of what I need most to do - trust God. Keep my faith in Him! As we all do that we will find what we each need to keep going.

Angela Klocke said...

Just when you begin to feel alone, like you're the only one, someone shares... Thank you!

elk said...

thank you for sharing this day..my encouragement comes from the students that i teach music to...they are preschool age and hold nothing back live life with spontaneity which lifts me up each day ~ pure gold

jakk said...

What encourages me is the blank canvas that we are blessed with each new day. Another chance to put fingertips to keyboard and be the instrument through which what needs to be written is shared with the world.

Happy Love Thursday to you!

Bonggamom said...

What nice words... my encouragement to blog comes from comments that nice people leave from all over :)

iMother2.0 said...

what a beautiful post...what encourages me is my little gir's sleepy smile :)

Alison said...

Oh, friend, I just love your heart. It's a blessing to *know* you. Thank you for your kind words about our friendship.:)

Post a Comment

Talk to me, if you like.