"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 the assembling of ourselves 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
One morning, in our small group Bible study, a sweet mom came in feeling so overwhelmed with her children that when we showed just a little tiny bit of interest and sympathy for her, she burst out sobbing. Choking the words out, she told us what an awful mother she was. We all shook our heads knowing this wasn't true--and as the story spilled out, we found she hasn't gotten any sleep for several days as she has a small baby, plus three other children under seven. No wonder she was falling apart! She is tired and weary. She has had no help or relief in the past weeks, and just needed some love and prayer. I was so very happy she came to our group that day, because the Lord was just waiting to encourage her through lots of others. What if she had not come? She would not have felt the fellowship of the Lord, His love, His words of encouragement, or His direction--because the sweet mom would have been alone and as a person alone, we become especially vulnerable targets for Satan's arrows of defeat and discouragement.
I remember once when we had just moved to a new city and I was feeling quite alone, a lady at the check out stand of a grocery store very kindly and unexpectedly asked how I was doing. She said, "You look like you just need to know someone cares." Well, I didn't even know that I was close to tears, but her kindness brought them to my eyes immediately. She gave me a hug, I gathered my many bags and headed to the car. That kind woman became an angel to me, as it was such a blessing just to know that someone in the world cared!
We all need sympathy, love, help, and encouraging words. We all feel inadequate at times, and just knowing we are not alone is so important. I have also realized lately that all of us moms who are believers have the Holy Spirit working in us, and He drives us to want to be involved in ministry. What we can tend to forget is that the ministry of being God's voice, words, hands, touch, and help to those who are in our personal lives could be the ministry He wants to use us in today! Some moms are great at meals, some are practical, some are encouragers. But all of us who decide to initiate life-giving to those around us--including our children--can be the difference between them being faithful and having hope, or instead giving up or giving in to despair. I see this especially in young twenty-somethings; when they feel alone, they are most tempted to give up their hope and foundations.
Perhaps its the common trait of not getting enough sleep that makes this also true of young moms! That is why I am so committed to starting small groups all over the world, to give grace and strength to those who are called to ideals. It is in praying for one another and loving one another that we will build community and love and friendship.
Think for a moment about who you know, who might be especially in need of encouragement today, and consider how you might offer that encouragment. (Hint: it may be someone or several someones in your own home!)