It’s starting to look springy around here. The dogwoods and redbuds are beginning to bloom. On Sunday, we took a drive after church and I kept pointing out the dogwoods and our 6yo would say, "Where? WHERE?" When he finally realized what I was talking about, he said he was tired of my constant discussion about flowering trees and he didn’t want me to say that word anymore. So, leave it to Emilee and Ryan to say, "Oh…look…there’s a DOG next to…some…WOOD!"
Everything looks so much better in the spring. It inspires me to go outside and pick-up the trash laying around, even if it isn’t ours. It encourages me to rake and mow and repair things. When the Lord starts to spiff up the place, then I want to join in. And when I join in, it’s a funny thing what happens. When I’m outside, others start to come outside. When I’m washing my car, every kid in the neighborhood wants to hang around and help…especially if it means spraying the hose at their sister. When the neighbors are out cleaning and helping, I want to be out cleaning and helping, but the same principal works in reverse. When people are fussing and arguing, it puts everyone on edge. Check out this blog article: Encouraging Discouragement.
We know that kindness and encouragement are the best choice, but it’s so easy to slip into discouragement. I was discouraged in my heart yesterday, but by the end of the day, I was laughing. We are blessed to have children that love each other. They’re fun and funny and they won’t let a discouraged heart go to bed without hugs and a kind word…or several very funny words. Cross words are quickly forgiven. Peace is the goal…but it seems like unrest is always waiting to pounce.
So, how can we be prepared? Practice, practice, practice. I read a story, or perhaps heard it in sermon, about a concert pianist who had been captured and held for years as a prisoner of war. When he was finally released, he returned to the concert circuit within a matter of months. He explained that while in prison, he never stopped practicing, even without an instrument on which to practice.
A great bible study today would be to look up all instances in scripture where we are told to encourage others, to practice righteousness and goodness and faithfulness….and observe how what you practice impacts others.