Encourage Blog2022-11-02T23:58:37+00:00

Encourage-[en-kur-ij] to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.

The enCourage Blog is weekly dose of encouragement in a world that is often filled with bad news. We offer life-giving entries each Monday and Thursday written by gifted women from across our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). You can subscribe below to have them delivered to your inbox. With hundreds of blog pieces, you can search on a variety of topics in the search bar above to read and share with friends. Christina Fox, a gifted author, serves as our enCourage General Editor. If you are interested in submitting a piece, you can contact her at cfox@pcanet.org.

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Caregiving as a Calling and Ministry

MARISSA BONDURANT|GUEST If Jesus visited your church this week, which ministry team would he sign up for? This is a hypothetical scenario, but I think Jesus would sign up for the ministry of caregiving. When you hear the word “caregiver” you might think of a trained professional like a home health worker or a nurse. However, the dictionary definition is much broader. A caregiver is described as anyone who regularly looks after or cares for a child, an elderly, or a disabled person. National surveys estimate that 40% of adults in the United States are caring for an adult and/or a child with unique health needs1,2. For this article, I skimmed the book of Mark and counted thirteen stories of Jesus healing individuals, and three separate accounts of Jesus healing entire crowds. If we know God has a heart for caregiving, and we know that 40% of our church members are caregivers, the question to ask is: are we treating caregiving as a ministry? As caregivers, do we see ourselves as having been called into this role? And as churches, are we training, equipping, and supporting one another in this mission field? In this caregiving series, Elizabeth Turnage and I want to help start some of these conversations. We will do that by shining a light on some of the lesser discussed aspects of caregiving. Things like anticipatory grief, giving dignity to a sick or dying loved one, and the difference between whining and biblically complaining...

Moms: Seize the Opportunities God Provides

HEATHER MILITO|GUEST As a homeschooling mother of three, it is hard for me to find much time for anything, including showers and moments of solitude. This season sometimes seems grueling and repetitive with the day-to-day tasks of child rearing, teaching, cleaning, and feeding. Where is there time in this madness to sit and reflect on the Lord’s goodness? An Unexpected Opportunity During the early stages of motherhood, I was overwhelmed by all my motherly duties. I did not know how to fit in my time with the Lord and find this so-called “peace” that He gives. As far as I could see, the peace that was given was tucked away at night when the kids were finally asleep and I, too, was drifting off with a closing-day prayer. I felt overwhelmed as I started the daily cycle again when my children woke up sometimes as early as 4:30!  The steady rhythm of my children waking up early for a feeding, or a snuggle, trained my biological clock so that this time in the morning could instead be time with the Lord. At first, I was frustrated that my body would wake up at 4:30 and stay awake, but now I see it as an opportunity to find the quiet time my soul yearned for early in my mothering years. The time that I have in the morning before starting the day is precious. I sit with a cup of coffee in my hand and my Bible in my lap and enjoy time with my Heavenly Father. It has become an essential part of my day. As I grow in my knowledge of Christ, it urges me to want to know him all the more. My mind often drifts to Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” “And to walk humbly with your God.” What a high calling God has for each of His adopted children. As His children, we are called to yearn and seek after Him.  I cannot know what goodness is, what justice is, what kindness is, and who God is unless I intentionally give my time, my activities, and my best to Him...

Supporting Your Pastor’s Wife

LEAH JONES|GUEST I watched as a green inchworm crawled up the arm of the preacher’s suit during the middle of his sermon. I could hear the whispers in the pews around me as people speculated as to how the situation might end. But before the worm could make its way inside his suit and wreak even more havoc, I calmly walked up to the pulpit, brushed the small disruptive insect off the pastor’s sleeve, and returned to my seat. Anyone could have done what I did. We all knew he wouldn’t mind a momentary disruption to avoid disaster. But not everyone felt it was their job to help. I knew the job was mine alone. I was the pastor’s wife. A Unique Role A pastor’s wife faces tricky situations, most of which don’t involve inchworms. She has unspoken expectations placed upon her and few people with whom she can have transparent conversation. The women who serve in this vital role don’t have the typical avenues of care or companionship other women may take for granted, not because they don’t have friends or parishioners who love them; rather, because the calling to the role of “pastor’s wife” is layered with relational complexity...

Eight Benefits of a Bible Reading Plan

SARAH IVILL|CONTRIBUTOR There is no other time of year that Bible reading plans are more recommended than the month of January. With the new year, we are encouraged to begin new routines that will bring new growth, especially spiritual growth. But oftentimes the focus is on the logistics of the plan. For example, you can choose a chronological plan, a New Testament plan, the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible plan, the 52 week Bible reading plan, or the 5 day Bible reading program, among several others. Plans are good because they ensure we read the whole counsel of God, not just a few parts here and there, which inevitably leads to skewed doctrine. But instead of focusing on the different kinds of plans, I want to focus on the overall benefits of a Bible reading plan. In other words, why bother to choose a plan at all? Let me suggest eight reasons. First, God’s Word “is perfect, reviving the soul” (Ps. 19:7a). We don’t have to look any further for refreshment as we walk in the wilderness of this world. Scripture is our sole sustenance. If we don’t daily revive our soul in Scripture, we will begin to wilt spiritually... 

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