When You're The One Who Needs The Encouragement

That middle-of-the-week day was anything but middle-of-the-road. My heart was about as dark as the severe-weather storm-sky looked. And I felt about as useless as the "g" in lasagna. Nothing was really wrong, it was just that kind of day.

As the skies opened up with thunder and torrential rains, I finally let the tears fall, too.

When you're used to providing the encouragement and motivation, what do you do when you're the one who needs encouraging?

Does admitting that you need encouragement mean that you've failed? Aren't you supposed to be the strong one, the motivated one, the one whose smile warms hearts and whose words spark something in other people?

No. It only means that you're a normal, typical human woman who desperately needs God.

Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in the righteousness.
And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to swell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. Psalm 143:1-4

Sound vaguely familiar? David's words, spoken in a moment of distress, echo my own. The winds and rain swirl around me, and all I really want is the peace and comfort that only the One who calmed the seas can give.

Reading these words reminds me that I'm not alone, that I'm never alone. Digging into the Scriptures, I find so many people who fully relied on God in difficult times. Page after page, story after story, I read about moments of fear, anger and loneliness. But they were just that - moments in time when things seemed dark. They didn't last forever because our loving Father won't leave us without light for very long.

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hand.
I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirtieth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah
Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Psalm 143:5-9

Through prayer and fasting, I can ask for the encouragement and comfort that I need. God knows my heart, but He also loves to hear my voice. I can ask others to pray for me all I want, but image the intimacy of asking my heavenly Father Himself to lift me up. He delights in me, and He wants to give me the desires of my heart. Today that might just be strength and endurance, and tomorrow it will be something new.

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: the spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake, bring my soul out of trouble.
And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant. Psalm 143:10-12

In the end, it's not about me. It's about what God has done, is doing and has planned to do. That's where my encouragement comes from. That's where the joy and the peace and the comfort come from. I'm not in control and I don't have to be. That's not my job - that's God's.

My feelings and my outside circumstances change frequently, but the Lord never will.

And that encourages me.

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