Encourage Blog2023-04-28T16:33:25+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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Encouragement for the Weary Mom

KATIE POLSKI|CONTRIBUTOR Just a few days ago, I picked up my phone to facetime my oldest. I looked at my reflection in the phone as I waited for my daughter to answer and noticed how tired I looked. “Does my face always look this exhausted?”  I asked my daughter when she answered the call. “Mom,” she said, “you look like you always do.” I suppose it should be no surprise that the daily grind begins to show itself physically. Work, grad school, and other responsibilities certainly make me look forward to laying my head on the pillow each night. But where I feel the greatest weariness, at times, is in mothering. Being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs the Lord has given me, but it has also been the most wearing. From infancy on, a mother regularly plays the role of referee, chauffeur, counselor, comforter, guider, provider, educator, prayer warrior, discipliner, and the list runs on. It’s no wonder motherhood can make us to feel worn down and inadequate. There are many days that I just don’t feel up for the job of being a mom. And thank the Lord for this. Gratitude For Our Insufficiencies Why be grateful for my inadequacy? Because if my children always obey, if I always feel like supermom, then I would have no reason to cling daily to the cross. Without coming to the end of my rope, I would stand in my supposed self-sufficiency rather than recognize the necessity of Jesus’ grace...

On Commencement

STEPHANIE HUBACH|CONTRIBUTOR When my sons were little, they loved to watch the Walt Disney Davy Crockett movies. In one of their favorite scenes,  Davy Crockett and the local bully—Bigfoot Mason—have a disagreement that leads to a fist fight. The drama opens with each of them spitting on their open palms (remember—I have boys!), clenching their fists, and then cautiously circling around the room—never taking their eyes off each other, declaring “Rough and tumble! No holds barred!” Whenever I’d hear little voices loudly announce, “Rough and tumble!” in our house, I knew that some faux fighting was about to commence. When Graduation Signifies the Beginning Just like a Davy Crockett vs. Bigfoot Mason fist fight, academic commencement ceremonies are often preceded with an announcement. Maybe your family is in the midst of sending out graduation announcements right now—letting the world know that your son or daughter is about to set off on new endeavors. Whoever named graduation ceremonies a “commencement” had to be an optimist, as the word means “beginnings.” It sets our sights on the horizon—what is to come, all that is unknown (in the best and most adventuresome way), and all that might be. The very concept of commencement is brimming with opportunities. When Graduation Signifies the End If you are a parent of a graduate, however, your feelings are likely more muddled than pure opportunistic optimism. For the opening of a new time is also, inevitably, the closing of another. It is an ending—a time of “lasts.” Senior year—in high school or college—is a year of “we will not pass this way again.” The last band concert. The last play. The last football game. The last prom...

Caregiving with Compassion and Respect: Learning from Jesus

ELIZABETH TURNAGE|CONTRIBUTOR When my dad’s cancer spread to his bones, and he became at risk for falls, my brother and I acted quickly. Out of concern for his safety, we helped him move from the home where he had lived alone for the past twenty years into a comfortable assisted living facility. My dad often half-jokingly referred to the assisted living facility as “Shawshank,” after the prison in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.” To an introvert who had lived alone since his divorce forty-five years before, being suddenly surrounded by so many people probably did feel like imprisonment. Caring with Compassion and Respect Our story with my dad reveals a common caregiver struggle. As caregivers, we seek the safety of our loved one, and in so doing, we sometimes ignore or minimize their desires. In our commitment to safety, we can also make the mistake of treating adults as if they were children, unable to make wise decisions for themselves. Even when dementia or disease prevents our loved ones from thinking clearly, we still must care for them with compassion and respect. To learn how to navigate this challenging terrain, we must remain centered in Christ’s compassion. Learning from Christ’s Compassion As he cared for people, Christ showed compassion by looking at and for people, by asking good questions and listening to the answers, and by gently pointing people to the hope they had in him...

Motherhood: A Chrysalis to Flight

MARIA CURREY|CONTRIBUTOR Much of motherhood is wisdom taking flight in hindsight. Prayer was the cocooning to my firstborn’s arrival—praying to get it right, to raise our baby in all the ways God desires. I remember driving home alone one evening, anticipating the arrival of this sweet child. At a tender twenty-two, my spirit sought answers, assured success, wisdom, and grace for this little heartbeat within. The comforting protection of God’s Presence filled my prayers, but in a different way from which I yearned. “Father, please help us to guide and raise this little one’s heart,” I cried. With clarity, my mind’s ear heard, “Maria, you two are just the shepherds of this baby. I am this little one’s Father and always will be. This heartbeat belongs to Me.” It was 1988. We didn’t know who was growing within, a girl or a boy, dark-haired like Daddy, blue-eyed like Mommy? We were soon to tumble head over heels in love. Our precious firstborn, a little girl, was born to us on a blistering hot August day. In a dramatically miraculous entry, saved from the clutches of near tragedy, I met her after an emergency c-section. Her expressions so like her Daddy’s, her little eyes searching my face, her ears tuned to my voice, her coos the sweetest melody; oh, to cocoon her in protected peace! Growth in a Chrysalis However, life in Christ is not a cocoon but a chrysalis. No butterfly takes wing without a complex and even painful transformation. So, it is with parenting. God, as the infinite Father and Creator, designed delicate creatures to symbolize much what our own children experience while becoming the next generation—a becoming like Him that will not be finished this side of heaven. Next came our second child, a towheaded, blue-eyed boy, who was as inquisitive as he was quick on his feet. Two and a half years later came the youngest, another son, whom we call our man of mirth. All three different and yet inescapably a mixture of us and God’s masterful design. Born into a military family, these three each have their own birthplaces as unique as their personalities, a full country triangle represented: a Washingtonian, New Yorker, and North Carolinian.  The chrysalis of each involved years of development, regular challenges faced from babies to toddlers, preschool to elementary, hormonally charged middle school into high school interests, with faith more greatly formed and owned, college choices made, and life then continuing beyond.  Each place we moved posed challenges, our oldest experiencing thirteen schools in her twelve years prior to college. Different homes and military installations, friends who came and went, many whom they left with tears and promises to keep in touch. What shaped, molded, and made their wings stronger? Mostly the hard places, the walls which their wings pushed against to eventually fly...

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