START HERE

Today’s Truth

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up… (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV).

Friend to Friend

Encouragement is a gift that Paul says we should bring to every relationship. To “encourage” someone is to deposit courage in them. The words “build up” mean “to build a house.”

The idea is to build up other believers like you would build up a house. And that building begins at home.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (I Thessalonians 5:11, NIV).

I remember that night well. It was so many years ago, but it seems like yesterday. And what a crazy day it had been! Probably a day like many of yours.

I was a young mom with two small children. My husband was the youth pastor of a large church. Almost every night was filled with church and youth activities of some kind. My schedule was to the point of ridiculous, but this particular day had been crazier than most.

I was counting the minutes until my husband came walking through the front door. I needed help.

The phone rang. “Honey, I won’t be able to make it home before church tonight,” Dan said. He sounded so tired that I could not muster up one ounce of anger. Instead, I shifted into overdrive – snatching both kids off of the backyard swing – plopping them in the bathtub for a quick rinse, impatiently shoving little arms and legs into clean clothes and spooning food into little mouths before firmly depositing both kids in their car seats. Off we went to church for the third night in a row.

At a stop sign, I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw two miserably silent children, tears streaming down their sad little faces. I heard His voice, “Mary, who is your audience?” My heart broke. I suddenly realized that I was running the race of life for the wrong audience that day. Turning the car around, I headed home.

“Hey, guys! Want to put on your pajamas, make some cookies and watch a movie with me?” Cheers and clapping erupted from the back seat as tears gave way to smiling faces. It has been many years, but I still remember that precious night of ministry.

Women are so busy. As believers, we delight in finding creative ways to touch hearts and bring them to Christ.

But I wonder how many of us miss the hungry hearts that greet us each morning across the breakfast table or wait for us to come home each night.

Do we overlook a child’s silent longing love that is spelled “t-i-m-e?”

Do we miss the opportunity to encourage a weary husband?

When was the last time you gave your parents a hug and thanked them for everything they have done for you over the years?

Do your grandparents know how valuable their legacy of love and wisdom is to you?

We make the erroneous assumption that the people in our lives know how we feel about them. Do they? And even if they do know, wouldn’t it be great to tell them again?

It is so easy to lose focus and scramble priorities. We get so busy doing good things and miss one of the highest things God created us to do – family.

Family is the perfect framing for God’s highest work, the litmus test for authentic service, and our greatest opportunity to meet needs in His name.

I am amazed that we can stand in silence, watching homes, marriages and families disintegrate before our very eyes.

Silence is agreement.

It is time for us, as women of God, to boldly stand against anyone and anything that undermines our marriage or threatens the solidarity of our family.

Family matters to God. It should matter to us as well.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for the family You have given me. Please grant me the wisdom to know how I can best serve them in Your Name. Show me how to love and disciple each member of my family and lead them to become Your fully devoted followers.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read the following verse. Identify the family member who needs the truth contained in this verse? Now make a plan to do something about it!

Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

More from the Girlfriends

We must make the choice to search for God’s handprints every day. Mary’s Joy Journal will help guide you to a place of contentment and joy.

Need prayer? Email our Prayer Team Director, Ginger Meador at gjmeador@comcast.net. Our prayer team would love to pray for you!

© 2021 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.

One Response to “Looking for the Handprints of God”

  1. Carol says:

    Thank you, Mary for this posting, this am
    I needed to read this….God and I, are working on this issue for myself!
    My bad habit is multi-tasking; it takes away my attention and “chair time” with God. I’m learning that meditation and prayer time, for me, is something that doesn’t come easily. I’m so grateful God sees my intentions and knows my heart.
    Thank you, and blessings in your continuing work.

Leave a Reply

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8