Tag Archives: encouragement

The Holy Spirit: Why you can’t plan your day around your eye makeup

Putting on my makeup last Sunday, I chose from my two options of mascara and opted for regular, as opposed to waterproof. Yes, I have to present “my three boys” with their diplomas after teaching them six years, but I will be able to keep my tears under control. I won’t be saddened by the fact that I will be moving to a new church after this Sunday, will I? I feel I’ve already grieved that loss, and now feel I am just growing my extended family.

As I drive to church, I am so proud that I am going to make it on time for once. I will have time to have all six teachers sign the diplomas before I present them to the students. I even had time this morning to plan a few words of encouragement for the teachers and students. No one will even remember this is my last day, and I will get to leave quietly without any embarrassing acknowledgements.

Whew! The service is over. I made it through without black streaks of mascara rolling down my cheeks. Then the part-time minister decides to pray a closing prayer. While everyone’s heads were bowed, the minister paused, “If you have an encouraging word to share with someone, please feel free to share it with them.” Immediately his wife took the microphone and turned to me to share her words of encouragement as I transition to a new church family. I thanked her and started to reach for my purse, and then one after another got up and took the microphone and shared their encouraging words with me.

It turns out that just because you wear regular mascara, doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit isn’t going to come and woo you into tears. Last Sunday I was sent out to grow my church family, to grow as a disciple and a Christ-follower, and to develop community in my community. It feels so good to know that my existing church family is behind me all the way.

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Too Blessed to be Stressed

When asked on his 90th birthday how he stays so youthful, he replied, “Too blessed to be stressed!” Walking down the hall, he announced, “I’m too blessed to be stressed!” Talking to patients, he explains, “You’re too blessed to be stressed.” I’ve never seen a man smile so much, and continue, with persistence, to proclaim his gratitude to God.

I met him at my workplace, a Bay Area cancer center, where an organization called Phil’s Friends visited to distribute care packages to the patients. This lovely, young man of 90 years came along with his granddaughter to help distribute the packages. As we were getting ready to distribute them we piled into a small meeting room to stage everything and to open with a prayer and a few handshakes. What we didn’t expect to get was a beautiful gospel song sung by our new 90-year-old friend, a former preacher and gospel singer/songwriter.

Phil’s Friends distributed many care packages at the cancer center today, but I think the most important thing they delivered was the gift of hope through their conversations, their smiles, and even a few gospel hymns. As I peaked into one woman’s room after her visit from Phil’s Friends, I saw a peace that passes understanding settling into a restful and joyful smile as if all her worry had been washed away. She had been reminded that she was blessed.

If we never stop proclaiming that we are “too blessed to be stressed” as if it is the very breath that brings us life, we don’t give the enemy the opportunity to steal our joy. And when we are not strong enough to proclaim it, may we be surrounded by friends that remind us of our blessings even in our weakest moments. We will not all live to be 90, but we can keep reminding ourselves that we are favored every moment until our last breath.

There are many ways you can give hope to others. Start by speaking hope into the lives of your friends and family. Soon you will find, not only are you too blessed to be stressed, you are also too blessed not to share it with the grocery store cashier, your coworkers, the world.

What’s in a Year?

Do you dread the end of the year knowing that you have only accomplished so much? Perhaps it seems you’ve taken a huge step backward and the end of the year is simply a reminder of that. In my current position I mentor and supervise about twenty UC students in volunteer positions at the hospital. Recently a student told me that she hates for the year to end when she has accomplished so little. I was shocked. How could a pre-med student feel this way?

To console her, I explained that being a student automatically sets you up to accomplish so much in a semester, not to mention a year. I asked her to reflect on all her academic achievements, and then try to remember small personal goals she’s met. She just giggled, so I told her some of the things I was counting as even small feats for the year. I paid off my student loans. That was a big one, but there were also small ones, like waking up earlier to have quiet time in the morning. She seemed to start feeling better, so I brought another volunteer in on the conversation. Soon we were all looking forward to the coming year. If we were able to make so many strides this year, imagine what’s to come.

One of the challenges of becoming an adult, is that we are responsible for our actions or lack thereof. It is easy to become stagnant and a person of habit, but there is life outside the daily routine and even accomplishment within the routine. I challenge you to look back on your day and recognize those times you could have been defeated but you weren’t, times that you overcame, you pushed yourself a little harder. Now imagine all the other ways that strength can move you forward into the coming year.

If you still feel like you have accomplished little, think about the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” If no one else believes in you at least know that God is rooting for you, and he is your strength and your might to stand up to the things that hold you back.

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