Words of Encouragement

Encourage

In the past couple years of work, I have been changed in a way I do not like.  It would not be respectful – nor godly – to share all the details publicly.  I will say that in my desire to be submissive and follow the direction given to me, I have become much less me and much more another’s creation.  I am working through that reality right now.  In doing so, I came across my basket of encouraging notes from a few years ago – all sent to me from members of our church family.  I have no desire to exhibit pride in posting these.  What I want to do is emphasize the importance of encouragement.  Whether you have the opportunity to give it (do it!) — or you are blessed to receive it…realize how crucial it is to building a sense of community.

Maybe you are down right now.  Maybe your focus is on your self – on all the things you don’t understand or are having a hard time walking through.  These notes may be uplifting to you as they were to me.

It is good to encourage one another.  For those of us who walk with Christ – it is commanded.  Take a look around you… there is probably someone every day to whom you could give a smile, a hello, a compliment, a thank you.

Many of these notes are from six and seven years ago – but they are fresh encouragement to me TODAY as I read them again.  There is no expiration date on encouragement.

I hope that you enjoy reading them; and that you are encouraged too.  Maybe this will also encourage you to reach out more readily to those around you.

  • I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all your encouraging words since you have come on board as secretary.  I have been feeling so discouraged the last few weeks since finding our one more family is leaving our church, but you are making us (me and others I have talked with) feel like we are a family and we need to focus on what is real and that is God and his truth and his presence here in our midst, and that no matter what, if we are the last ones standing God will be right here with us.  keep up the great work for the Lord.  Many are being blessed because of it.
  • Thanks Jocelyn!  I believe that Westminster is very fortunate to have you in the office!
  • I have just now at 8:00 pm read the Friday Fish Special.  You are so gifted and I am so blessed to be the recipient of your writing.  I did lol so many times during the email.  I just loved it.  You have a definite way with words and you can be tactful yet so truthful about many issues which are burdening the body of Christ at WPCA.  I pray that God wold continue the great work in you and that the words continue to flow.
  • Hope your day before Friday goes well!  I hope that you will continue to send us yoru daily emails.  It is good to hear from you daily!  
  • I really enjoy your daily emails!  Keep up the good work!
  • Thanks, Jocelyn for all yoor hard work – and I personally like your emails – I think you should save them and print them out — they’ll be like a journal for you to look back over later and remember all the crazy things that went on at WPCA!  
  • I hope you will continue your daily report.  I really look forward to them each day.
  • I was almost disappointed when I saw that it was all “official news” out of the office today, then I scrolled down further and was satisfied!  Thanks for your words of encouragement and reminders of God’s love through your emails.  
  • I think you have the potential to be Butler/Westminster’s answer to Jan Karon!  I like your new format – all of it.  
  • I look forward to your email every night.  You are very good at writing like it is!
  • I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate and get a kick out of your emails.
  • I so enjoy reading your emails….you can feel your enthusiasm!
  • Reading your email this morning taught me a lot–or I should say reminded me of a lot.   I wanted to write and say thank you for your godly attitude toward some of the criticism you have received.  While I was reading your message, my first thought was “why are people so negative and have to criticize people for every little thing??!?! …But seeing your attitude toward it and how well you took it in humility was very convicting and inspiring to me!  thanks for sharing how God is working in and through you.  I am one who does NOT take any criticism well, even when I can tell it’s totally from a loving person who has my best in mind.  So now I can think of you and your response the next time that happens to me. …Keep shining in HIS glory!  I love you…
  • To be honest..I’ve really appreciated the transparency and openness of your e-mails.  Thank you.  With every seriousness I can muster…these are two qualities I’ve seen lacking in our church (and myself in so much of my walk) and it’s absolutely necessary as authentic followers of Jesus.  I don’t know if any of that makes sense…But, Thank you for your  e-mails, your humor, and the way you serve our church!
  • I look forward to your daily emails and sometimes they are the only bright spot in a really busy day.  I appreciate your sense of humor, your devotion to the Lord, and the way you combine them both.  Keep em coming!!
  • Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your love of Jesus and the energy and light you bring to our church family.  I don’t know you very well, but have admired you from a distance for some time.  You have encouraged me personally, intentionally and directly multiple times since I stared coming to Westminster about five years ago, and even more than that, I have been ministered to by your amazing children again and again.  So, mostly, I respect you through (your children), believing strongly that your wise and gentle guidance has surely played a part in their becoming the kind of teenagers I hope mine will be some day. :)  I want to learn that from you, so anytime you feel like sharing, I’m up for listening.  And since I’ve already demonstrated that I’ll ask questions if I’m confused about something, hopefully you know you can trust me, too.  :)  Thanks so much for your hard work.  Have a great day.
  • When I have had a long, yucky day….your emails have reminded me of God’s love for me and how HE is in control even though I want to be :). They have uplifted a weary soul!!!!!  I appreciate your service.
  • Well, your e-mail struck a chord with me.  The puritanical, judgmental and provincial continue to thrive in the bowels of Presbyterianism.  How unfortunate.  You are so right; handling criticism with grace and then turning your direction over to the Lord is the only way to go.  As I age, I am paying more attention to the small joys: the smiles on the choir’s face when they look to (the director) to start the anthem, the little lady that gets really dolled up to celebrate her hour with God on Sunday morning, the baby sleeping peacefully in the pew in front of me, the passion in the hands of those at the keyboard, and your daily messages.  We have the speed of instant delivery, a moment captured, an heart seeking and we have the option to delete if we so choose.  What’s not to love about it all? 
  • I back from the desert and read your e-mail and cried too.  Sometimes the criticism is so very hard to take, but other times, the Lord helps us to immediately process it and file it away!  You have been sharing your very soul with us in your e-mails and that leaves you open and vulnerable – something we all should be with each other.  I commend you on that!  One thing that I often… tell myself was that yes, I made mistakes all the time, but if anybody took the time to look, they would see that I did so many more things right!  And with excellence!!  Try to remember that as you go along!  You are doing a great job and it is an overwhelming job at times because the expectations are high and the needs are so very deep.  My prayers are with you!
  • It took me quite a long time to realize, at most to a small degree, that whatever comes my way, whether criticism from those around me or the regret of criticizing someone else, that ultimately the grace of Christ puts everything in the proper perspective.  And it is to Him we go, even moment by moment, for the strength to endure, for daily “foot washing”, and to renew the hope we often forget.  Remember the grace afforded to you by Christ, and do likewise to be gracious to all whether in word or deed.  As far as accountability toes, to whom must you answer?  Ultimately to the King.  We are encouraged by scripture to bear each other’s burdens, and to encourage one another to good works, and to love one another.  Where, then, can criticism dwell, but outside of these?  Who is the stronger or weaker brother, the one who criticized, or the one who recognizes the grace of Christ?  …anyway, don’t worry about those who may not “like” you…because what matters is that there are those who love you…and they are the ones who matter most.
  • From one daughter of the King to another – May you outlast the gossips & grumpies – I especially love that you have tattoos & I have a tendency to speak in “French” on occasion, too.  <3
  • …many thanks for the insightful daily messages.  I esp. enjoyed the thoughts from Rachel Carson today – the beauty and promise of spring is so lovely – another indication of God’s unending faithfulness.  You should be saving all this an put it in a book – maybe you could retire.
  • Thank you for exceeding my expectations!
  • I love the energy you bring to the Staff.  Let’s face the facts, we are in the communications business.  Our Lord’s great commission was to communicate the gospel.  I like to make sure we have the tools to communicate clearly.  Keep up the daily updates, I enjoy your writing style.
  • How do you do it?  I’m always in complete awe and admiration when reading your emails.  I really am.  I want to be at the point in my faith that you are.  I want to be able to say here’ show I’m struggling and this is why I shouldn’t be because God is so good.  So thank you very much for your email.  You have no idea how encouraging it is to me.
  • Thanks again for the daily insights, thoughts, devotions, etc.  I always look forward to your e-mails.
  • You do not know me but I read your news letters.  My sister sends your letters to me and I really enjoy reading them.  Maybe if and when I never get to visit her we can meet.  
  • Keep up the good work and thanks for the encouragement.  Your e-mails are fun and up-lifting.  I hope you are having more good days than bad, but I know that desk you sit at has the hot seat and some days must feel like you are an easy target.  Keep ducking and dodging – we appreciate you and your willingness to serve.  ([my daughter] loves you too and wishes she could be part of your family – asked me if there was a way to be an in-law without marriage)
  • It was nice to meet you Sunday.  I enjoy reading your church e-mails.  I truly am enjoying going to this church.  And the showing of personal faith is far more than at my last church.  I believe that this is one of the most important things that a church family needs to do.  
  • I just finished reading your email and I want to thank you for your testimony of the witnessing of God’s love through acts of service in our midst at WPCA.  It was so nice to hear of the service hearts of all that were mentioned.  it is good to hear the communication of your heart.  You may not realize this but I think it is a real vital part of the ministry needed at WPCA.  It does keep us better informed and communication is absolutely needed not only in our midst but in all aspects of our lives.  It is also a real testimony to how we need to live our the love of Christ.  It will help our body to heal and grow.  So I thank you for your courage and openness and honesty and love and compassion.  You make a difference by what you do and say.  You are a joy!
  • Having you in the church office is surely great.
  • You are so thoughtful!  I really appreciate your thinking of – and doing – so many “little” thoughtful and family bonding things!!  I am glad your are a part of my family — Thanks for all of your encouragement — and thanks too for being so vulnerable with sharing the things that are on your heart!!
  • You have definitely been a messenger of encouragement to me during one of the most difficult times in my life.  …I was really discouraged and at the end of my own strength.  You lifted my spirits so many times and made me feel cherished by God.  Thank you.
  • Thanks for all you do!  I pray you have a great week!
  • I haven’t had an opportunity to thank you in person for your encouraging words.  I can’t tell you how much those words encouraged me.  You know how very long and hard we prayed for children but let me tell you it isn’t easy caring for three very small children so close in age.  Being a full time Mommy and wife is exhausting so having people like yourself encourage me is so refreshing!!!!!
  • I appreciate who God has made you to be.  Love you girl!
  • I just wanted to say thank you for the devotional you sent out on Friday, called “Heavenly Affirmation”.  My Mom had to make a very important decision on Friday, concerning my step father.  Just like Satan does, he was making her doubt her decision, even though many were telling her she was doing the right thing.  I didn’t get to read my e-mails until Saturday, after talking my mom through her decision and reassuring her she was right in what she decided.  Well, I hung up and read that e-mail and I could have screamed for joy because  I felt that was a letter from god to my Mom.  Of course, I called her immediately and read that to her and she just cried and thanked God for giving her this Heavenly Affirmation.  I hope this encourages you as much as it did my Mom and me.  Keep up the great work you are doing and may God Bless you in return.
  • Thank you so much for using your gifts to serve at Westminster.  You are exactly the one to be at this helm during this transition.  (Isn’t it funny how the church secretary is sometimes more at the helm than the pastor?)  I appreciate your love for others (esp. children!).  Your no-nonsense attitude, your determination to seek the Lord and your willingness to share your life with others.  I so admire your children and your relationship with them.  You are a daily encouragement to me.
  • Thanks for all you do for us.  Just to let you know, I look forward to coming home from work and reading your emails.  Your personal messages are sometimes funny, uplifting, right to the point, informative, etc., but always heartfelt.  Thank you!
  • I would like to commend the office staff for the excellent job they are doing.  The bulletins are well-done and easy to follow.  I feel very well informed by the daily emails that keep me up-to-date on all the happenings in the church and with our people.  I take joy in seeing God’s gifts to his children being used for his kingdom.
  • You always know just what to say to make all of us feel better about what we are going through.  We are so blessed to have such a wonderful example to turn to for help and encouragement.  Take care and may God Bless you for all that you do.
  • What a wonderful example of an outstanding children’s sermon you presented today!  Thank you for the effort and time toward making the lesson interesting and effective!  I really think your lesson is the BEST we have had at our church.  Looking at your audience with a visual item together with a good tone of voice make a successful teaching time.  Thanks for your leadership.
  • I want to thank you for all of your notes, encouragement and kinds words over the summer.  YOU are the inspiration.  I admire so much about you.  I thank God for you…
  • Just wanted to say thank you for all you do with such heartfelt desire to do it well.  I appreciate your balance and ability to help me think through things well.  You are a precious part of the ministry we all do.  We wouldn’t do it well without your ministry to us.  Thank you for faithfully letting the Lord work through you.
  • We love you!

Beginning…again

I recently had a conversation with my 21-year-old baby boy, Joel.  He is at a place in his life where he is contemplating a lot.  We had a good talk as I delivered him back to Grove City College last night.  One of the things I told him was that, at 47 years of age, I am still asking life questions.

Life is full of beginnings.  The photo I posted is very near the beginning of my relationship with my husband, Mark.  It was 30 years ago this summer that we began dating.  Amazing how time flies.

I began life as his wife in December of 1984.  Then I started life in a new town, new job, new church.

In January of 1987, I began to learn what it was to be a mother when my first son, John, was born.

As all you parents know – that opened up a whole new world of daily beginnings.  Just when I thought I’d mastered some parenting skill (pottytraining) a new challenge would rear it’s ugly head.

Now that my three children are grown (25, 23 and 21)…I continue to begin again.  I never really thought about the truth that when your hands-on parenting is done…the job is not over.  Oh, no….  Now, it’s just in a different format – more distant with a lot more quiet observing – but continuing nonetheless.

I have had the opportunity to learn to be a mother in law to my son-in-law and daughter-in-law.  Mother-In-Law jokes have been big through the annals of time.  It takes a lot of thought and intentionality to overcome those stereotypes!

And NOW… my first grandson, Luke, is about to be born to my middle child, Olivia.  I will begin as Grammie when I look into his eyes.

It is unfortunate and yet necessary that I am also experiencing perimenopause.  That is a whole ‘nother blog.  Oy.

I think it takes the first 40+ years of life just to realize that there will always be changes.  Nothing is ever totally mastered and, even if it was, by that time you don’t need it anymore.  As I look over the above list, I have to say, “No wonder I’m so tired!”.