Chronic Encouragement

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One thing that I have learned from living this life of chronic illness is that it is a life that needs chronic encouragement.

It's a difficult, challenging life.  I'm not sure that is acknowledged as much as it could be.

It's hard to be on this path.

I have often felt like we need a cheerleading section beside us, encouraging us onward - telling us things will be ok - that we can deal with all that put in our path.

Sometimes, it is people who are further down the path than we are.  The ones waving us forward and telling us we can make it.  One person who comes to mind is Joni Erickson Tada. We look to her and realize that if she can overcome such tremendous obstacles, we can too.  She gives us hope.

Sometimes, our cheerleaders are those who are walking with us.  They reach out a hand to pick us up, when we falter.  They put an arm around our shoulder when it seems to hard to go on.  They help us laugh at inside jokes that those who don't face our challenges might not understand.  Our humor can seem a bit ... well, using a catch phrase from a support group I belong to - twisted. We need to laugh.

Sometimes our cheerleaders are those who have a heart for what we are going through.  They try to pave the way and make things a bit smoother.  They start support groups, call us on the phone, or just make themselves available to take us to the next doctor's appointment.

And then there is the encouragement that God has put in place for us in His word.  There are times when we are alone and discouraged.  We find ourselves in a place where we feel alone and tired - and perhaps afraid.

It is during those times that God speaks to me the loudest.

Today, I found these words waiting for me:

But now. thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. Isaiah 43: 1-2

Today (Sunday) is my husband's wake.  Tomorrow the funeral itself.

These days feel like deep, deep waters and fiery trials.  Yet God promises I will not be consumed.  

God continually reminds us that we are His.

He knows us.

He calls us by name.

Listen for His voice today.  Whether it comes through those around you, a song on the radio, or from His word, His encouragement will find you.

And if you have no one else around you to encourage you, if you cannot hear His voice today, and you feel He is far, far away, I earnestly pray that you can see and hear God in the words you read here. God has not let me down - ever.  Even in the worst of times, He has carried me through.  And I'm no more special in His eyes than you.

He knows you.

He calls you by name.

He cares.

Amen and amen

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