Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Why of Encouragement

Its early morning and I'm not dressed yet.  The phone rings while I'm taking stock of last night's dishes piled in the sink, coloring books and crayons scattered all over the living room, and several hooligans running about in underwear and tangled hair, shouting for breakfast.  Its easy to feel defeated today before the day has even begun.

I answer the phone and, as if by magic, something changes.  Because someone on the other end encourages.

I don't do well with compliments.  I'm never sure how to respond.  Who, me?  I'm shyly scuffing my toes and casting eyes down as the words roll over me.  "We're proud of you.  We are thankful for you.  You are doing a beautiful job.  You are a wonderful Mother."

A thousand thoughts rush to the forefront of my mind - " I yelled at my daughter for no reason this morning.  I sent my kids to bed in a huff last night.  Have you seen my kitchen?  My bathrooms are a disgrace and I hardly smiled at my husband last night.  I'm not who you say I am."

Why is it so hard to accept encouragement?

Ah, there it is, the answer that steals so much from us: perfectionism.  That little lie that snakes its way into many a mother's mindset.  "Other mothers have cleaner houses.  They speak sweetly to their kids.  They cherish and serve their husbands.  They have perfect lives."

Somehow we slurp down every lie and ask for more.

The only way to combat lies is with truth.  And here it is, mamas:

You are doing a beautiful job.  No, I didn't say perfect.  I didn't say spotless.  I didn't say sinless.  I said beautiful.  Broken, messy people can be beautiful, and the way that you try, try and try again, that is beautiful.

Every day that you wake up in the midst of your mess and resolve, every day that you try, and yes even every day that you fail, your heavenly Father is proud of you.  Think of how proud you are of your littles when they try, and even when they stumble and fall amidst their attempts.

You are a wonderful mother.  You love your children more than yourself.  You are being remade into a better person because of the sacrificial love you have for these precious gifts you've been given.  And that makes you wonderful.

Compliments and encouragement, they are not for the perfect among us...because who among us is perfect?

Motherhood is historically "thankless."  Small people are not always great at making us feel validated and appreciated, and even harried husbands coming home to the giant task of family, they can even forget at times.

Encourage one another.  I see what other mamas do, because I do the same.  I see how hard it is.  If there is some way that I can encourage another in the way I have been encouraged, I know that it will bolster her, give her strength and hope in this daily battle we call life.

That's why we should encourage.  Not because we are perfect, but because we are not.

1 Thessalonians 4:18 NIV

"Therefore, encourage each other..."

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  1. Oh this has greatly touched me this morning!.. Thank-you.. I really enjoy reading your blog. As a homeschooling mom to 4 kids I certainly tend to do many battles with myself about what I am not doing or how I did not do it well!!! Thankful for HIS grace that is new to us each and every day!

  2. The way you write is amazing. Thank you for this!

  3. Carrie @

    Hi, Lydia! Youre right on...we dont need encouragement because we are perfect but because we arent! We need strength because we are weak and hope because we lack faith. Beautiful post.

  4. Lovely! Thanks for the encouraging and wise words. I cannot tell you how many of my mornings look exactly like you described in your first paragraph! I hope you have a great day!

  5. So true! Something hard to learn and hard to share.

  6. Hey, this post encouraged me! I don't take compliments well, and this was kind of wake up call.

  7. You hit the nail on the head, Lydia. We moms are better at giving encouragement than receiving it. Thanks for your words. I needed to hear them today! (And I'm glad David featured you at THC!)

  8. Encouragement lifts us like nothing else. Love your perspective. Broken beauty is lovely not perfect......

  9. Beautiful.

    Not only is your theme beautiful, but your writing, and your heart, as well.

  10. And Lydia, here's some encouragement for you! An applause to all the homeschoolin' moms out there! We only homeschooled for two years, but it was enough for me to know how much effort, time, sweat, and love my wife poured into working way harder than I do. Yeah, our house was a mess (it still gets that way even though our kids are back in public school), but you couldn't have said it better. And a messy house just means that it's well lived in. :) Very nice post.


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