Encouragement Through God’s Grace

almonds-300x200.jpgTraveling and spending time with family and friends along the way is a big part of our lives in this present age and stage. It can be a challenge to be consistent with optimal habits and lifestyle choices as we do so, particularly in regard to diet and exercise. We have a 12-volt cooler, and we try to take along wholesome food options, which saves us money, time, and the unwanted pounds that can easily accumulate from the fast-food choices that beckon in most localities. So, the desire and the attempt to consume what is nutritious is high on our priority list, at least most of the time.
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay.
In line with my nutrition efforts, most of the family calls me the Salad Queen (though my granddaughter, Josie would claim that the title belongs to her). My breakfast choices are also well-known as my regular routine is to eat half a grapefruit and some almonds every morning. Because they are usually not available at hotels and they are not among the most affordable fare for those people with whom we will be staying, I like to just bring them along. One morning on my recent visit to my daughter’s, my six-year-old granddaughter, Hannah, engaged me in conversation about these eating habits. Hannah: “Nonnie, why do you eat grapefruit and almonds every day?” Me: “Well, Hannah, because they are healthy.” Hannah touches my face and further asks, “Then why are your cheeks so squishy?” Taken a bit aback by this and trying to give a somewhat humorous reply, I quickly said, “Because I’m old,” to which Hannah just as quickly and knowingly responded, “Oh yeah!” Well, I certainly opened the door for the honest, yet likely unintentional jab.
As cute and innocent as Hannah’s conversation with me was, truly, life can be filled with some real quips, zingers, and judgments that leave us feeling inadequate, less-than, and not up to the standards we believe are in place, most particularly those we impose on ourselves. Sometimes, such as in my example of the stark reality of growing older, the impressions others may have of us are not something over which we have much control. But there may be times when we make a mistake or somehow contribute to an inadvertently bad result. In either case, we are more likely than not our own worst critics, and our self-assessment is unforgiving. But it is even more upsetting when we believe, for whatever reason, that others hold a negative opinion of us or our actions. Such thoughts and feelings can quickly spiral into something that is difficult to overcome and can leave us in a helpless and hopeless state.
As many are already in the beginning of another school year or on the verge of classes starting again, it might be a really good time to check where we are emotionally, physically, and spiritually so that we can take all our concerns and inadequacies to the Lord, put our best foot forward, and make a fresh start. It is especially good to heed the words found in 2 Corinthians 12:9, something that I contemplate often and consider to be my life verse: “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (from the ESV Bible). The writer of that verse, the apostle Paul, was so confident in the Lord’s willingness and ability to cover our shortcomings, real or imagined, that he further wrote, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10, ESV). This is also a good time to talk with your children about the hurtful things people may say or do and the way they might judge themselves in a harsh manner. It will, of course, need to be an age-appropriate discussion. Be their greatest encourager, but also help them to realize that God sees them with gracious eyes, loves them for who and where they are, and cares deeply about all their concerns. Pray for them, pray with them, and teach them to pray when they feel overwhelmed, inadequate, or misunderstood. IMG_1933-300x225.jpgLead them to the One to whom they can turn in any circumstance and for any need.

As for me, I am aware that there is no way I can put the brakes on in regard to aging save for God calling me to my heavenly home. I can share with Hannah the Bible verse that says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Proverbs 16:31, ESV). This can help both of us rest in the beautiful fact that growing old is actually a great blessing from the Lord, “squishy cheeks” and all!
Subscribe to our free bi-monthly eNewsletter
This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Solve : *
27 × 17 =


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.