Friday, May 23, 2014

What encouragement looks like...


When the automatic hospital doors slid open and I walked inside it was as if I'd walked into another world.  No news from the outside world seemed to penetrate the hospital walls.  The summer-like record breaking temperatures outdoors didn't matter.  Every role I'm labeled by except for "Mama" and "Nana" fell away.  I knew two things.  My daughter had preclampsia.  My grandson was going to be born over five weeks early.  

It was two weeks ago tomorrow that I walked through the doors of that hospital.  I watched as my daughter labored for twenty four hours, then frustratingly ended up having to have a caesarean.  I saw my tiny but perfect grandson fresh from the safety of his mama's womb.  I saw my son-in-law rejoice in the birth of his son and grieve the death of his father all in the same week.  I saw my daughter accept the fact that her husband had to fly across the country and bury his father, while she stayed behind with her son.  I saw my two oldest grandkids grieve the death of their papa, while trying to adjust to having a new baby brother and having their mama in the hospital and their daddy far away  Finally, I drove my daughter and her new son home from the hospital and saw them and my son-in-law and their two oldest children all together again in their own home.

Through all of these highs and lows, these blessings and difficulties, an army of people were praying. Some of them are knit together with us by blood, some of them close friends and church family, some of them we've never laid eyes on face to face, known only to us through social media.  

Love and encouragement poured in through texts and Facebook messages and blog comments and phone calls and cards sent the old-fashioned way.  Church family filled my daughter's freezer with meals and men from the church mowed their grass and weeded their flowerbeds.  A friend cleaned their house and caught up on their laundry and organized things that were left undone when my daughter gave birth with an unfinished list of "things to do before the baby is born".  

This is what encouragement looks like.  It's prayer support and encouraging notes and rolling up your sleeves to do someone else's laundry while, at home, your own laundry basket is full to overflowing. It's cooking an extra lasagna for someone else's freezer and offering to pick their kids up from school or take them to baseball practice.  It's rejoicing with those who are rejoicing and mourning with those who mourn and choosing to focus on someone else and what they're going through instead of on yourself.  It's not always convenient and it's not always acknowledged, but it is always life giving.  God created us to be a channel of His love and if there's no practical way that we're doing that then we're just a stagnant pond instead of a river of living water.

Our family has been the recipients of an abundance of encouragement these past two weeks.  We are all so very grateful.  At the same time, I'm keenly aware that to whom much is given, much is required.  I want to be aware and alert and willing to do the same for someone else.

still following,

     






at 3-D Lessons for Life






Scripture and Snapshot



SUNDAY STILLNESS

And happily linking with Lisha Epperson "Give Me Grace"


37 comments:

  1. I think we learn as much or more from receiving as we do by giving. So glad your family's been feeling the love.

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    1. It was such a blessing to us all to receive so much support. I think our kid's really felt loved on, which they needed in this difficult time.

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  2. Rejoicing with you over the evidence of God's kindness and mercy to His children!

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    1. We are so grateful as well, Marty!

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  3. I agree with Brandee. All of the people who pitched in to help out were probably more blessed than your family was. I am so happy to hear that your family is all together at home. God is good.

    "Only during the few years of this life are we given the privilege of servicing each other and Christ....We shall have Heaven forever, but only a short time for service her, and therefore we mustn't waste the opportunity." Sadhu Sundar Singh

    Debbi

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  4. Elizabeth, it's wonderful to hear about the encouragement your family received! This is the way God designed His body, the church, to function. Praising God, also, for your healthy new grandson! May the joy and blessings continue as you become God's channel of blessings to others.

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    1. We are so overflowing with how much God has blessed us and watched over us during these weeks, (and how good people have been to us!)

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  5. Oh Elizabeth. God is good. So good to hear all the loving, giving & help you & your family has been receiving. You my friend have given of yourself in so many ways so I have read about so this is your time of receiving. God bless you & your lovely family & we are still in prayer for all of you. Hugs

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    1. Thank you so much, Carol. You bless me.

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  6. How lovely, Elizabeth, to see and be part of God's family in action. Blessings and hugs, Chris xx

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    1. It has been such a blessing, Chris.

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  7. Just beautiful watching the body of Christ at work--and your penned thoughts about it--thank you--

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    1. I have been so blessed through seeing my kids loved on and blessed and taken care of during this time!

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  8. What a roller coaster ride, Elizabeth! So thankful that everyone is home. I pray that your grandson's arrival will somehow comfort your son-in-law in his loss, especially knowing that death is not the end. God's timing is perfect. Enjoy your new grandson!

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    1. It has been a roller coaster ride! I think life will get more "normal" now.

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  9. I love the way God sends encouragement in ways we never dream possible. Wlhat a blessing to give - and a blessing to allow others to give to you!
    ~Adrienne~

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    1. We have been so blessed and are so very grateful for it all!

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  10. Oh Elizabeth...what an amazing story. You all must be exhausted. Sometimes life hits from all directions, all at once. Praise the Lord for His strong and sure support, and for giving us the blessing of each other. Encouragement is like tossing a pebble into a pond - the ripples of goodness just go on and on.

    My condolences to your son-in-law and his family in the loss of his father. But my happiest congrats to the newest member of the family. May Mom and son continue to thrive and strengthen.

    GOD BLESS!

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  11. What a witness to God's love, mercy & grace in all of your lives. All of you have definitely been lifted up in prayers. Your words are a testimony to how amazing & faithful our Heavenly Father is & continues to be. Wishing all of you continued blessings in your lives.
    God Bless~

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  12. Your post today was more courageous that you might realize. It takes courage to be vulnerable and realize that we cannot control everything. It takes courage to ask for and welcome help. It takes courage to face each day, but thankfully we do not face each day alone. I'll be looking forward to lots more pictures of your new grandson and stories of your family blessed in every way.

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  13. To God be glory! Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable place in your life. Oh the hope that is in our God! I am grateful for your willingness to allow God to use you in a mighty way. By sharing, you have given a great testimony! Praying you and your family are richl blessed.

    Have a wonderful weekend ♥

    ~Sherri

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  14. Hi Elizabeth, I'm a new visitor from Still Saturday. I am so thankful your daughter and grandson are doing well, and the family is safely settled in together again. You're right, hospitals have a way of shutting everything else out. Thankful for the blessed encouragement of friends and family.

    I too run a Friday link-up called Blessing Counters Link-up. I would love to have you come over and join the party. Many blessings to you. You have a new follower!

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  15. It makes the news when churches and individual Christians fail. It's so good to read about the times the body of Christ gets it right.

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  16. Elizabeth, this is beautiful in so many ways... your grandson, your daughter, what community and encouragement look like with hands and feet and words and prayers. And also the aching juxtaposition of life, sometimes, the grieving and the celebrating, hand in hand. This does not often feel beautiful, but there is a thread of grace through it that bears its own strength and beauty. I pray blessings over you and your family, and thank you, for these words and for stopping in at my place.

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  18. What a wonderful story of reaching, touching, knowing hands used by God. I can't imagine what people do without Him and people who obey His call. I have had the honor of visiting you from The Weekend Brew. I am richer for knowing you.

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  19. What a precious story, and such a beautiful picture of God's goodness and love.

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  20. I love, love, love when the Body acts like it. May blessings continue to pour out on your family during this time of transition. Praying for you and your dear ones.

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  21. Hello Elizabeth,
    I am encouraged by your words while in our own major changes and new normals. Yes, plural. so many and all at once. Reading your words filled my soul to see God's goodness as we process through.

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  22. And I'm grateful for the happiness and grateful for your stepping in and doing so much for your daughter's situation and pouring the grief for your son-in-law's father's death at the same time. SO much on your plate, through your love and encouragement and consistently serving the Lord. Thank you.

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  23. Congratulations Elizabeth! - and what a beautiful out-pouring of God's love! Simply beautiful!

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  24. I am following you from the newest "Give me grace". And thanking you for linking to Sunday Stillness.
    Congratulations.
    We are awaiting the arrival of our new granddaughter due on June 8th. Grandma is going over to be ready and a helper with our grandson.
    Blessings to you,
    Janis

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  25. That is a beautiful picture of encouragement. You are blessed indeed.

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