Sunday, September 30, 2018

Encouragement: Lessons learned

Encouragement: Lessons learned about being a mom, a teacher, a wife, and a Christian.  A post from Maidservants Of Christ
“You did it! Whooo!!!!  Great job!!”

Exclamation marks are the new early morning refrain at my house.  At the end of the summer I took a new job with VIPKid**.  I get up at about 4:40 and teach English to kids in China from 5-8.  I love it.

These kids have a lot to teach me.  One of the first lessons was a lesson in courage.  If you remember your high school Spanish class, you’ll remember that there is no stage fright to match the stage fright of speaking in a second language.  And if you think that is bad, standing in front of a classroom full of people who struggle just like you, imagine being 5 and forced to sit in front of a video camera and speak a second lanaguge to a native speaker for 25 minutes at a time.  Yikes.

As a teacher, my job is to be encouraging.  To literally give courage to the children on the other side of the screen.  That means that when they fail, I have to make it ok. I can’t for a moment let them persist in their errors and yet I have to make it possible for them to not freeze in fear of making a mistake.  I have to calm the wild ones and draw out the shy ones. And I have to help them to talk to a complete stranger in a language that is brand new to them. I have to rejoice at their successes no matter how small and help them correct their mistakes no matter how often.  As much as I am a teacher, I am a coach, a cheerleader, and an encourager.

I have to admit to you, my readers that all this work has made me a little ashamed.  

Why?  Because after trying so hard and learning so much about being a great encourager, I realize I have really dropped the ball on encouragment in other aspects of my life.

My husband for instance has stretched out into several new roles in the community this last year.  He teaches a “practical fatherhood” class at our local pregnancy crisis center, and he is starting to do church services at our local county lock-up.  All of this on top of hours of other community volunteer work. I need to look him in the eye more often and say, “What a blessing you are to our whole town!  Great job!”

My older daughter is off to college.  She is balancing 17 hours, Tae Kwon Do, learning to be independent, and doing church on her own for the first time.  When she rides her bike home from church on Wednesday night in the dark, I need to say, “Hey you are amazing! When everyone else is watching Netflix, you are going out of your way to learn about God.  Great job!”

My younger daughter is a homeschooler.  And let me tell you it is very easy to focus on the fails. Twenty-seven problems right.  That’s fine. Three problems wrong? Let’s focus on getting those right. I am not saying I don't have correct her, help her, and be sure she understands.  But she doesn't get half as many, “Way to go!” “Good job!” And “I knew you could do it” as she needs.

This isn’t a mom problem or a wife problem.  This is a theological problem. You see as much as I need to be an encourager in my family, and in my job, I am commanded to be an encourager among my sisters and brothers.

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (I Thessalonians 5:14).

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

So what’s the take away?  We all need courage, more than we possess.  Life is hard. Self-denial, not being a friend of the world, and fighting sin--all that is harder still.  And how do we gain the persistence, the courage, the willingness to try again? From the encouragement of our sisters and brothers.  

Be an encourager today!

**Are you interested in my new job? They are constantly hiring.  Email me at and I’ll tell you everything you need to know. Or check it out yourself here.

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