"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's Snow Easy

Wow! After last night, I was hoping that today would be a little easier. But, today began with snow. Not sunshine and snow. Clouds and snow.  That freezing white stuff that causes traffic to stop, fingers to go numb and turns windows to ice. It was 68 degrees just three days ago, but it’s been freezing ever since. Welcome to Northwest Ohio. As I meandered into work today, navigating the slush and traffic, I realized that the snow, sunken skies and clouds were interfering with my happy. It was replacing my normal 'la tee da' with a 'ho hum drum.'

When I finally made it to my desk, heels and all, colleague after colleague griped about the weather.  I was too. Griping, that is. Inside. I mean, it’s Easter in 2 ½ weeks, and it’s snowing. Uggh.  That is…until I began to realize that my Wednesday momentum was being chased away by a few clouds and flurries. That I was allowing my happy to be determined by the weather. And…..I determined not to let that happen. I determined to be happy despite the weather. Despite my current circumstances. Despite the fact that I didn’t get much sleep because my youngest accidentally sprayed police strength mace in the house last night, causing itching skin, irritated eyes and throats, and freezing cold (because we had to open the windows for a few hours). Despite the fact that it is scheduled to snow tomorrow. Again.

I have determined to not be ruled by my circumstance. To be an encourager rather than a discourager, an upper and not a downer. To be a ‘glass half full’ kind of girl and not the other way around. An optimist. To find a way to enjoy that cold white stuff. “That crummy weather,” vs “God’s beautiful display of white.” “Traffic was at a standstill,” vs “I had extra time to pray on my way to work this morning.” “It seems like Monday,” vs “It’s Wednesday, and that means just two more days until the weekend.”

I just read that encouragers are fierce, brave, generous, savvy, undaunted, gifted, zealous, courageous, healing, creative, bold and confident. WOW! I’d love to say I am all of those things, but I can’t honestly claim so.  Although I definitely have the gift of encouragement, I fall short in the bravery and undaunted departments. Let’s face it, I fall short in the majority of these departments. I mean, I am a single parent of three. Raising teenagers and twenty somethings who are no longer homeschooled, but now attend a very public, large University. Sole breadwinner navigating life in this current economy and political climate. Confidante. Friend. Provider. Hmmm. Uplifter. And yes, Encourager.

Lord, please show me how You see me. Through Your eyes. How I am an encourager. How I am not always one step forward and two steps backwards. Through Your eyes, Jesus. Through Your eyes. Let me see and experience Your creation as You created me to. Through Your eyes. To see and experience my life. The lives of others. Through Your eyes. To be who You have called me to be. Through Your eyes.

And I sit. Quietly. Reflectively. As He reminds me I have a 19 year daughter who just endured an excrutiating medical procedure yesterday, and I heard nary a wimper from her. I remember, she’s an extension of me, and I am blessed. I look at the handwritten note above my desk, from my then 20 year old daughter, which says, “Mom, I love you! I really do. (hearts) Joy,” and remember I am loved. I listen to my 17 year old son constantly asking me questions about the Word of God. Searching. Seeking Truth. And I am encouraged.

He reminds me I am fierce when I am defending the lives of the unborn. When I hug a young, unwed mother and encourage her in her decision to place her child for adoption or to keep it. When I am politically incorrect and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. I am fierce.

That I am brave when I post things on Facebook that I wouldn’t ordinarily say, but that definitely need to be said or made known. When I stand for justice in the face of backlash. When I defend the broken at the risk of becoming broken myself. And although I may not ‘feel’ brave, I am because He has not only made me so, but has called me to be.

That He has made me generous. Not just in material goods and finances, but in spirit. In joy. In encouragement. With my time. In helping others. In sharing. And I smile. 

That I am savvy. Sitting in the silence when words are not necessary. Speaking when words are. Hugging and holding when that’s all that a person needs. Ahhh. Savvy. I like that one.

Undaunted. He reminds me that I focus on His Word. His Truth. And I do not waver. I will not waver. That I KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He will. That He does. And I sigh in comfort.

That I am zealous. In this world of insults and injuries, I love unconditionally. I covet His love and give it to others. I want others to experience what I do. To love as I am loved. To know Him as I do.

Courageous. When push comes to shove, I ‘get ‘er done.’ Regardless. I totally shun criticism and just do it. Throwing political correctness to the wind. Gently stepping on a few toes and leading others towards truth and righteousness. Dealing with those who choose to stomp on my courage, relying on the One who displayed the ultimate courage.

A healer. Hmmmm. I know I have been healed countless times by the Creator, but me? A healer? Then, He reminds me that I massage wounds by speaking Truth and Life into the hearts and lives of the hurting. Of the broken. Of the disadvantaged. Of the discouraged. Healing.

Creative. Even though I am an Accountant, with a Type A personality, creativity rocks. By creatively encouraging, and speaking words into someone’s soul that she needs and longs to hear, I guess I am creative. By reaching into her world and helping her devise a help, there’s creativity in action.  

And bold. I love boldness in it’s righteous form. Bold for God. Using my megaphone to celebrate our unsung heroes. The homeless who actually go to work every day. The student who is paying his entire way through school. Alone. The widow who volunteers in her community. The child with a learning disorder who struggles daily. The military. The single moms. The unwed, pregnant girls, who are opting to have their children. Boldness!

And confidence. I know this world has sharp edges. That it can hurt. That it can be unbearable. I know there are homeless and broken virtually everywhere. I also know the One who gives me hope. Who has all of the answers needed to combat those sharp edges. Who everyone needs to know.

     OK.  In and of myself, I can't honestly say that I am any of these things. Not a one. But in Christ, I am absolutely all of these things. And many more. I am sure you are, too. Especially if you are an encourager, like me. If there's one thing I've learned in my 50 years, other than change is about as inevitable as death and taxes, is when I encourage someone, we both feel better. The world becomes a better place. I am living out my testimony. The Great Commission. And that's always a good thing.

     So, go ahead. Encourage someone today. Be fierce. Be brave and generous. Be savvy. Stay undaunted. Use your giftings. Be zealous and courageous. Heal in the name of Jesus. Be creative and bold. And. Be. Confident. In Jesus' Name.

Be blessed today, and thanks for stopping by, Shari


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