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As a long-time lover of words, I was glad to get fresh revelation today regarding a favorite word: encourage.  There are other words more fun to actually say, like “bombastic” and “persnickety,” but I love what “encourage” means.

This word pondering came about because I am thinking about several friends who are facing hurt – some with weary hearts, some with bewilderment, some with anger, some with all of those.  My heart’s first impulse is a desire to encourage them.

encourage one anotherSince I was thinking of blogging about it, as it turns out I am doing right now, I looked the word up on dictionary.com and thesaurus.com.  The prefix of the word, the “en” part, causes the rest of the word to mean “to cause to be in a place, position, or state.”  Like the word “enthrone” means to put someone/something on a throne, etc. When we encourage someone we are urging them, hopefully causing them to stand in a place of courage.  The definition of “encourage” is to inspire with courage, spirit or confidence.

When we’re facing uncertainty, hurt, unwelcome change, or even a dream that has crashed to the floor and shattered, we have an opportunity to learn and grow.  However, that is not usually the first thing that comes to mind in difficulty, to say the least.  Sometimes we won’t move from where we stand or see something good God has for us unless what we are clenching in our little hands is taken away or falls apart.

In those times, we need courage to keep looking ahead, confidence to keep trusting God.  Our faint spirits need refreshing, heavy hearts need lifting.

You and I have the ability to help one another into a place of courage!

So, to my friends who are weighed down today, hurting or feeling low:

I want to remind you God sees you and your circumstance. He loves you and is near, whether you feel him there right now or not.

I want you to know you are not alone.  You matter, your feelings matter, and I’m here to listen if you need me to.

I want you to remember that God is working things out for good.  He’s ahead of you making the way for you.  He’s got plans and big dreams for you and they’re good.

If you don’t feel cheerful that’s okay, I can be quiet with you.  If you don’t feel like singing it’s alright, your song will come back or God will give you a new one.

I want you to keep in mind that although we get injured in this battle of life, the final outcome is already secured for us.  God wins.  So you win.

I want you to know, deep in your heart of hearts, that you are loved.

I pray God washes over you with his peace and light so that your eyes shine brightly again, heart full of hope.

I say and hope and pray all of this to encourage you.

Encourage each other and give each other strength…  I Thessalonians 5:11

When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.  Isaiah 43:2

I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39