Notes of Encouragement
I carry them with me – a collection of cards, hand-written letters, notes. Their edges are worn but that makes them even more familiar, even more mine. Just knowing they are in my pocketbook gives me comfort.
Each of these bits of correspondence reflects some hard aspect of the last several months, some indication as to why writing here on this blog has been too big, too encompassing, too enormous.
“Just had it on my heart to encourage you in your current walk of life…We have learned that living in the comfort zone is not what we are called to…God will honor the desires of your heart as you are involved in ministry for Him…At times you may feel a sense of loneliness and isolation because of what you are doing. You may find yourself looking at other families and envying their ‘normalcy’. But always go back and remind yourself of why you are doing this and try to keep the Big Picture in place. God has called us to be faithful, not necessarily ‘successful’ as the world sees things. Remember there’s a group of book tea ladies who are praying for you….This is a tough ministry but God calls us to difficult tasks where we learn to lean more on Him.” From a mom who knows what it is to have older children from hard places join her family in adoption
“…I will pray for you and the situation, that it will take a turn for the better…” From a mom who has been there, and still is, and who leans on Jesus
“…This latest faith venture and “answer to prayer” is BIG and we thank you for sharing some of the struggles. I awoke last night thinking of you and just sensed God saying “Pray!” I wanted you to know I will do just that, pray, pray, pray. We’ll be thinking of your entire family as well as Dominique and trust that God will make perfect His Strength in your weakness…His Grace is sufficient! Press on, Donna-Jean, with your high calling in Christ Jesus!” From a pastor’s wife who wrote this months ago, and still prays – and reminded me of that just the other day with a hug in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store
“Thank you for speaking to us at the homeschool ladies’ brunch a couple of Saturdays ago…Like most ladies in the room, we are also in the midst of a ‘difficult story’ and the applications you brought from Psalm 46 were perfectly suited to my heart…It was helpful to hear of some of your present struggles and I’ve sought to pray for you and your family and will continue to do so…” From ‘your fellow pilgrim on the way to the Celestial City’
“I often wait to send sympathy cards to remind you that there are still people out there thinking of you and praying for you. After each of my parents died, life was a buzz with many well-wishers but then there were many long days later when I wondered did anyone remember…I am praying for you and yours and remembering the life of an amazing woman who loved our Lord! I have found faith, the passing of time, and many happy memories to be a great comfort and healer when there is a loss so dear. May God bless you all with peace, comfort, and strength in the coming days.” From a beloved friend, after the going to heaven of Bill’s mom, three days before Christmas. Our friend also shared these Scriptures:
“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:12
“Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee, yea I wll help thee, yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10
“We have lost a wonderful, caring gentleman. May our loving Father keep you in His care through these difficult times.” From a sister in Christ in our church, after my uncle (whose life has been extensively intertwined with ours) suddenly went home to be with the Lord in January
“Your friendship blesses me every day…” From a friend whose sacrificial and tangible love for me astounds me, and gets me through these hard times
“God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour,
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain,
God is His own Interpreter
And He will make it plain.”
Hymn by William Cowper, shared by a friend