Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Discouragement and encouragement...

Today was "one of those days"...

The last few days have been full of emotional and physical ups and downs. All of us are feeling spiritual warfare, discouragement, and overall we're just drained. 

Yesterday, it was just the little things that were bothering/annoying me. Things that in "normal" life wouldn't bother me. 

For example: the water pressure.  The water on our compound comes out piping hot from the pipes. It's wonderful! Especially when you want to do dishes or take a shower and don't want to wait for the water to heat up. However, sometimes the water pressure goes crazy and starts blasting out of the pipes or is reduced to a slow trickle. I've been scalded more times in the last 2 1/2 weeks then I have in the last 2 1/2 years! I was standing there doing dishes and all of the sudden the water kicked in and I was sprayed with boiling water. Normally, I would just say "ouch", turn off the hot water, and continue with what I was doing. Yesterday, it was all piling up and I couldn't resist but tally it all up in my mind. First, it was a whiny baby that has decided to be picky about what side he nurses on, a washing machine that we don't have access to and a pile of laundry a mile high, hot water scalding me, a headache, hand washing cloth diapers, a discouraging meeting with our boss, and then finally deciding to make beans for dinner only to discover the sack was infested with little beetles. It wasn't the laundry, or the water, or the beetles, it was another person's words that had me feel overwhelmed. 

We were told that we were no longer allowed to use the internet for purposes other than those pertaining to the farm. We are only allowed to SKYPE our families for 5 minutes a day. Wow, no internet, no tv, no radio, no cell phones, no cars, no washing machine, and very little communication with our family back home??? Talk about feeling isolated. I'm not a baby and I didn't come from a huge house, my own car, or tons of money. I came from a studio apartment, no dishwasher, no garbage disposal, single family income, not even a kitchen table, but I loved it. Because I had community. I had my friends and my family. I had encouragement. One person gave us all lectures throughout the last week almost on a daily basis. Discouraging words about our parenting, our relationships, our style of living, our spiritual maturity, and our circumstances. All of it was assumption and all of it was wrong. 

Feeling defeated I went over to my sister's house and we just talked. She made us iced coffees and we just sat around laughing and talking. It was what I needed. I needed community, I needed family, I needed her empathy. After I left her house I turned on some music and read my Bible. I just sat there thinking about the day and the things that had happened throughout the week. In that moment I was reminded how much words affect you. We've all heard it a million times! But it's SO true. One person was able to completely discourage and isolate 6 adults with just a few thoughtless words. This blog isn't intended to harp on that individual, but rather it was a reminder to me to choose words that are uplifting and bring encouragement. A little verse can change someone's entire life. Simple words like "thinking about you today" can be all you need to make it through. 

Often, Satan uses my brother's suicide to ruin my day or discredit the person God has made me. My mind will wander back to the day he died. Why didn't I just tell him I loved him? Why didn't I tell him how much fun I had that day playing on the computer with him? Why didn't I thank him for being a great brother? Maybe that would have changed everything... Man, my words could have given my parents the chance to see all of their children get married and have babies! But, there's nothing I can do to change that now. Thankfully, glory to God, I can change tomorrow and today! I struggle so badly with feeling insecure about encouraging people. I find myself noticing God's character in others and I want to tell them I see and appreciate that quality. Sometimes I just want to tell that stranger that she is so beautiful or she's doing a great job with her kids. But I don't. I chicken out. I feel too embarrassed. This is a reminder to ALL of us to share those loving words! Be empathetic. It will always be appreciated! Tell that single mom she's doing a great job raising her children. Encourage those newly weds that marriage is tough but God is there. Tell those new parents that they WILL get sleep eventually. Remind that graduate they'll find a job, or that retiree that they still have worth without a career. 

Please Lord, help me to remember the words that others have given me that gave me strength to persevere. Thank you for those people! Thank you for my mom encouraging me to stay strong and for her empathy for my situation! Thank you for grace. Thank you for a new day. Thank you for forgiving me when I discourage others. Thank you for providing me with opportunities to ask for forgiveness from the people I've hurt. Thank you for your Word.  A Word that will not return void. A Word that is a refreshing spring. Thank you for life. Thank you for this lesson. Thank you for today.

P.S- In case you were wondering... we ate the beans with the beetles. I just rinsed them really well and thanked God for any extra protein! lol


  1. Carolyn,
    what an incredibly humble, honest and candid view of a wonderful woman of God! Thank you so much for sharing your "gut." What an encouragement it was for me to read this. Thank you...
    My name is Deb Samson and I am Barb Hendrickson's sister. I live in Idaho and I have been hearing all about your journey. I want you to know that I have all of your names and have added you all to my daily prayer list. Even Idaho has great prayer warriors!@!@!@!@ I greatly admire you and your sister for hearing God's voice and leaving all you have known for a life of the unknowns in Africa. I will be following your blog and keeping in touch...
    May you be filled with peace that passes every bit of human understanding...and may you find joy in all of your new discoveries!
    Much love in Christ...deb :)

  2. It doesnt matter where we go or where we live communication is so hard + the Enemy delights to have us hurt one another. I used to think that Eph 4:19 was just a verse about foul language but its about the power of our words + we should choose them carefully so " everything we say should be good + helpful, so your words can be an encouragement to those who hear them."
    Love you

  3. Hi Carolyn,
    I re-read this blog entry this AM. Although I don't have trouble encouraging others now, it did not come without first disobeying the Holy Spirit at a very specific time in my life. Many years ago, a local pastor was going up to the mountains in a sheep camper to spend time with God and pray for a revelation for his life and the life of his church. It was 6:30 AM and I was getting a pop before heading to work at the hospital. When I was in the store, the Holy Spirit clearly told me to tell the pastor (Rick) that I would pray for him for the next 30 days. I didn't obey. I truly don't know why because that was a pretty benign request. As I drove away, I could see him pull out in my rear view mirror and even then the prompting was to catch up with him to tell him I would pray. Well, my disobedience haunted me BUT I did pray. A couple of months after the fact, I saw this pastor again in the community and the Spirit said "tell him you prayed." AGAIN...after much prompting, I disobeyed. In December of that year, as dave and I were celebrating our anniversary with dinner out with friends, you'll never guess who was sitting right across from me?? YEP... Pastor Rick. Not alone but with a group of 8!!! The Spirit spoke again and said "tell him you prayed and ask him to forgive you for your disobedience in not telling him in the first place!!" Well, I did exactly as the Spirit commanded. I cried, he was very humbled and I learned a huge lesson! When Holy Spirit prompts so blatantly...I had better obey the first time!! I tell you this to encourage you that you will know when He says "MOVE" in order to bless and encourage another. And the more you obey, the easier the voice is to hear. I have literally stopped many pregnant women in grocery stores, or parking lots to tell them how gorgeous they look and what a blessing that they chose LIFE!!! I have never been turned away...always they have expressed such gratitude because they feel fat and ugly! Sooooo...sweet thing...you be bold in the area of encouragement and kind words! God will heap blessings of joy, peace and encouragement to others as you serve in this way. I would love to know you and someday may get the opportunity!
    Peace and Joy in Christ today...deb :)