ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
“Therefore, encourage one another, and build each other up… Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else” (1 Thessalonians 5:11,15, NIV).
When all else fails in my parenting, my life, or a problem our son is having that just seems resistant to change; I come back to this Truth. I then remember that this Truth is not a “when all else fails” answer, but contained in it is the solution and beginning to Peace in my life. It is the nature of my Father, Savior, and Comforter. When I can receive His nature for myself, I am able to live it out towards the world around me.
See, contained in this Truth is forgiveness, mercy, grace to overcome what holds me back, and freedom to not focus on the condition of myself or others, whether my responsibility or not. Instead, I can receive encouragement to continue to grow into looking like my heavenly Daddy, right here and now; and I can release encouragement to others the grace to do the same. I can focus on Him—learning how He responds, how He thinks, how He loves—and through this I am transformed.
When you get the privilege to become a parent, you get the awesome experience to realize that not everyone is like you, not even your child! I can laugh at this, because from the very first months of having our son, we realized that we were going to need to RELY on the Holy Spirit to lead us in leading him. No matter how many methods, solutions, books, or angles I have used to get our son to conform to our image, it hasn’t worked. My husband and I have learned to be soooo thankful to God for this, because He is even using our child to powerfully transform us.
Whether through our son’s spirit that just won’t fit our mold, or through the moments where in teaching our son we realize Father God is really teaching us (which is all the time), my husband and I get to be transformed as we realize we must look to God. We are still growing through the leading and encouragement of the Holy Spirit through each season and life experience we encounter, and we get to appreciate and value that our son is, too. If we allow him to learn and grow through the opportunities that he is facing today at 7 years old, when he is older, he will be better equipped and empowered for the opportunities that he will face then. Hopefully, through our encouragement and example in these early years, he will also receive and value the encouragement, grace, and mercy of the Holy Spirit when he is older.
So, how do we allow our son to learn and grow through those 7-year-old opportunities that will one day equip him for a life of transformation and being led by the Spirit? Encouragement. Simple, isn’t it? However, if we’re honest, it’s not always easy. That’s how first things become last resorts, as I mentioned earlier. This is when we come to the end of ourselves—all our knowledge, coping mechanisms, principles, and…force. Square pegs just won’t be crammed into round holes, and they weren’t designed to. However, they are designed to fit together with all of the other pieces of the body, to build God’s Kingdom. Once we understand the difference, and realize even as parents we only have one piece of the blueprint, we are released to encourage one another to become a part of the design of the beautiful body of Christ—whatever that may look like right now. “…Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand…” (Jeremiah 18:6, NIV). We are all His beautiful workmanship, even in the sculpting.
When we understand that our identity, and therefore the identity of those around us, is already complete and good in Him who designed us, we can trust the Potter to sculpt us all. Our responsibility then gets to be encouraging, building-up, and blessing what He has and is doing in us. Instead of fault finding through fault focus (whether good intentioned or not), or trying to force the outcome of ourselves or others, we instead submit to the Potter. We can receive encouragement for ourselves and those we love through the reading and proclaiming of God’s Word (His commitment to us), through His example in the testimonies of what He has done already, and through communion with His Spirit by trusting Him day by day. Instead of, “How can I fix myself, situation, or those I love?” we can ask Holy Spirit, “How would You have me encourage, love, and be a blessing right now?” Then we get to partner with God to build His Kingdom, that is found inside of each one of us.
If you find yourself running out of solutions with your child, or if you can relate at all to our story, begin to remind yourself and your child that our God has richly blessed us in Jesus to be a blessing to the world around us. Begin to appreciate the identity within you and your child as a child of God, and in what our Creator has specifically designed in us. Then, begin to encourage yourself and your child through God’s commitment in His Word, what He has already done, and what we all get to do—we are all richly blessed in Christ Jesus to be a blessing to the world around us.
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