I am sharing a letter sent to me today that was so encouraging, & I believe it will be to others as well, as some of you are facing trials of your own & these uplifting words apply to you, too.
What was written in this note is written from the perspective of the Bible & from personal experience & so the words are very valuable.
Along with that, though, the action of this letter is valuable because this dear friend took the time & effort to write it out & send it. Too many times, it's too easy to be so busy in our own worlds that we neglect the encouragement & spiritual or emotional nourishment those around us need.
I know it's not usually out of a lack of caring for others that people get lost in their own worlds. I know that for myself, I think that I will have more time later, so I will put something off, & then the next thing I know, I've forgotten about the need or my good intentions. Or, I don't notice what others need because they look like they are doing fine, & I am consumed with my own stress. That is not how I want to live, though. I am encouraged by this friend to take the time to care for people. I used to do so more, and I still have the desire to, but I've realized that I have let busy-ness really crowd out time for others. I didn't even realize how much I've let that happen.
While my children, husband & family may be my first responsibility to encourage and serve, I should also be doing the same for the family of God. Plus, I need to example to my children how to be watching out for those around them. We need to be cheering for them & picking them up when they are kicked down. We need to notice when people are tired or discouraged. We need to notice that it can be people with smiles on their faces in their perseverence, but inside they are struggling in even being able to serve God or be a light to others or just get through their day because they are weary and need a friend to come alongside them & remind them of the value of their life and what they share. I believe that it is possible that we as Christians focus on the seemingly more desperate needs of the world so often, that we are walking right past each other & not recognizing the weary in our own family.
To an extent, I had even backed off encouraging others because some people don't seem to want or need it and then I feel ridiculous, - so it's better to be cautious, I have felt. But, maybe it would be better to feel foolish occasionally and know that I am not neglecting anyone God put in my path, rather than overlook someone who could use encouraging words or acts of service in my fear. I'm glad my friend didn't hesitate to take the time for me! -----
We still pray for you guys and with some urgency...like the way we have been praying for...... We do know what it feels like to be living with overwhelming stress and our worst period of it was when we were exactly your age and our kids were about the age of yours. I don't know how God decides to make changes in our situation, but sometimes He lets it get to feeling like it is over our heads.
However in Isa. 43:2 it says..."When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you." This may have been written to Israel, but many times in my life I have heard the voice of God whisper it in my ears. And my answer to Him stayed.... I didn't understand the "why" and learned to not ask the questions. So much is beyond us until we are with Him . Job 19:25,26 and Job 13:15
In your pain, God is writing a story with your lives as a family and He is using you in the midst of these depressing circumstances to impact many lives...some you will never know about. They are wondering how you manage to get out of bed every morning, how you smile, how you love each other, how you open your doors to many lonely teen boys who are friends of your sons, how Allyson smiles and brightens any room she enters. They wonder Who is it that you sing about in the middle of lots of trouble
Meantime God is carrying you through this...like the picture of where the footprints stop...because He is carrying you. Job cried out to God in His misery. But at the end, He said that the way He knew God at the end of the trial was WAY DIFFERENT from his faithful following of his Creator in his earlier days................
Love you guys so much, Joyce