We all need a little encouragement now and then. It’s tough at times going through life with difficulties that come our way. Encouragement comes early in life when we are getting up on all fours and hear our parents encourage us to move our knees and hands in a forward direction. We finally learn how to get up on our two legs and hear our mom say with a clap of the hands, “Come here honey,” and “Great job Johnny” as we take our first step and then the next and the next.
Encouragement comes in many forms and primarily comes from our mothers and fathers as we grow and develop into adulthood. When we leave the nest, encouragement becomes less and less frequent and we have to depend upon ourselves for affirmation. The mantle of encouragement is transferred to us as we begin to raise children and seek to encourage our children the way we were encouraged.
Problems in life that come our way have a tendency to redirect our focus onto the problem rather than focus on the positive things in life. I ran across a person who in the midst of problems had a different perspective this last week. This person over the last couple of years has had reason not to be a person of encouragement. She had to quit driving at 96 because she could no longer see clearly and accidentally ran into another vehicle as she was backing up from a parking place. She loved to read, but her cataracts prevented her from reading a book in a week like she had done in the past. She moved into an independent living community and left her house she had lived in for over 60 years. A broken pelvis stopped her from walking 2+ miles/day and had to overcome the overmedication problem in the hospital before she could move back into her assisted living apartment. She got back to walking 2+ miles/day when she fell again and broke her hip and had to have a hip replacement and do rehab all over again. As she was getting back on her feet, she turned her hip in such a way that it was dislocated again and started the rehab all over again with a brace on her knee to prevent dislocation again.
I was walking with her down the hospital corridor with her brace on when we passed a young man 35-40 in the hall walking in the opposite direction. Out of her mouth came this statement to the young man. “You are doing really well walking today. Keep it up!!!” A 98-year-old woman dealing with her own problems and out of her mouth came words of encouragement. A true encourager. It’s only when we get our eyes off our own problems can we truly look at life and others and seek to encourage them on their journeys.
On this journey, I was truly encouraged by my Mom and want to be just like her. It means that today I need to get my eyes off my circumstances and focus on the steps that God has for me to take today and hopefully encourage others on their path.