Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

My Facebook status the day after my dad woke up and began speaking again in the hospital:

This is going to sound melodramatic, but do me a favor: give your dad a huge, long squeeze. Tell him you love him. Have a long conversation with him, just to hear his voice. Today I’m crying and grateful because my dad couldn’t stay awake even a minute yesterday, and couldn’t say anything more than two words. I went to sleep praying that God would just allow me the opportunity to have a conversation with Him today. He answered that prayer. Things are getting better, so thank you for all the prayers! But if this has taught me anything, it’s that life is fragile. The little things-like hearing your dad speak-are the big things.”

 Life can change in a heartbeat. In a late night call or a down economy. In a ferocious storm or a devastating diagnosis. In a divorce, a death, or even in the very midst of our every-day lives.

So many times in life tragedy hits our blind spot, and we never realize it’s coming until we hear the crunch of metal and recognize we’ve collided with it.

It’s then we learn the fragility of life. But it’s also when we learn to treasure time as well.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve written and re-written this blog post. I feel as though the message is such an important one, and it’s been burning in my heart to share for quite a while now. I can never say it the right way, so I finally decided to share it anyway. This may be messy and not the most well-written piece, but maybe that’s sort of fortuitous. Because life is sometimes messy, and it doesn’t always look good or make sense on paper either.

Some of it started with the wildfires. As I watched the wildfires in Colorado take in a matter of minutes what others had spent years building, the injustice of it all shot through my heart like an arrow.

Fire doesn’t play favorites. It doesn’t care how greatly we treasure something, nor how closely we guard it. I heard the phrase over and over again as I watched the news, “You never think it’ll happen to you.”

I really began to learn the lesson when my dad went into the hospital. The day before my dad landed in the back of an ambulance, I could have never imagined him unable to stay awake for even a full minute or say more than two words.

But here’s the thing: none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. We’re only given today.

It’s a terrifying feeling when you realize just how fragile life really is, am I right? Suddenly the whole world feels about as safe as an abandoned alleyway.

It’s one of the most painful lessons to learn. Fire burns mercilessly and leaves scars. But it also teaches us a very important lesson we wouldn’t learn any other way.

Though we may consider something as sacred and untouchable, nothing in this life is truly sacred and untouchable except for the Lord Almighty.

That’s not necessarily a comforting thought. It may not seem like the price we pay to receive that revelation is worth it. But there is deep comfort in knowing the truth: though life can change on a whim, the Bible tells us the unfailing love of God never changes.

Maybe you know what it feels like to have something burn. Or maybe you live in fear of a coming fire. Either way, if we stare into the fire too long, it can begin to look hopeless. It stings the eyes and scorches the soul.

But dear one, listen to me: our hope is not in this world. Our hope is in Him.

He came to deliver and rescue you from the fire. Not only that, loved one-He came to walk with you through the fire: “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2.)

Whoever or wherever you are today, please know I am praying for you. Please know I care for you and whatever fiery trial you may be going through.

But also know this: you can meet with the Savior today. In the very middle of your pain. In the very middle of the fire. And when you do, He will have healing for your hurts. Peace for your pain. And He will have love to wash over your fear.

How do I know? Because like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, He was with me in the fire, too:

So touched by God’s abundant love, mercy, and grace. A week ago today my dad couldn’t even get a straw to his mouth, let alone stay awake for a few seconds. Circumstances said he should have died, gone into a coma, had a seizure, or suffered brain damage. But God said otherwise. Today he defied the odds and walked into church to praise his God, raising the same hands that could barely move last week. The same voice that couldn’t say more than two words, and the mind that kept shutting down. I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds like a miracle to me. He is all deserving of praise!

(My Facebook status a week after the first.)

I Hear Ya: Please share how I can pray for you today, or about a time when God delivered you from a fiery trial, and let’s lift up and encourage one another today!


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…One day, my parents and I decided to go ATV riding near our home. It was a trail I hadn’t taken before, so I rode with my dad on the back of his ATV. It was a pleasant drive, and I was enjoying the beautiful day.

We’d been riding for at least an hour when we crested a hill and came into a small valley. My dad slowed, and I looked around him to find out why. I gasped and shrank back at what I saw.

sheep and lambTo read more, please visit http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/devotions/veldboom-shepherd.aspx, where I am extremely humbled and excited to have my article “A Shepherd’s Rescue” appearing as the daily devotional. Thank you so much for your support!

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As I held the small angel ornaments in my hands, ready to purchase them, tears came to my eyes even as a smile touched my lips. I fingered the pretty white lace, and breathed in the words the angels held in their embrace: love, and joy. Yes, I had love. And I had joy, for I was loved.

But let me rewind a little bit. One morning last December in my prayer time I felt as if God were asking me to focus on “love” and “joy.” Love and joy? I thought, crinkling my brow. Could you be more specific, God? That’s kind of general.

If only I knew then how specific He could get.

A few days after that, I came across a blog post about the widespread phenomenon of the “one word for 2012” campaign. Basically, instead of concentrating on a huge resolutions list for the new year, participants were asked to consider focusing on just one word for 2012. They could do this through prayer, journaling, and just by asking God how He would have them apply that word throughout daily life.

The idea intrigued me, and I decided I, too, would focus on one word for 2012. As I mulled on it, my conversation with God a few days earlier came back to me. Focus on love and joy. Could those be the words God wanted me to concentrate on for 2012? I hoped not. They were two very broad terms. Besides, they were just that: two. I needed one word.

A week later found my mom and I at a craft fair. In the first room we entered, a woman selling lace angel ornaments caught our eye. As we ventured nearer, I felt a gentle tugging in my spirit to pay attention. Curious, I tried to listen closely to what God was trying to tell me. But instead of my ears, it was my eyes God used.

Looking up, one angel stood out from among the many. Love, I read. That would have been enough to make me wonder, but then I felt another gentle urging to keep looking. I swept my gaze to the side, and immediately recognized what I was supposed to see: joy, said another angel. I couldn’t believe it.

That was at least two months ago, but the words “love” and “joy” have kept resurfacing everywhere I go. And I’m not a bit surprised.

You see, I serve a God who takes joy out of the little things. Who never overlooks the smallest detail or tiniest trouble. Who orders and plans and organizes our steps. He is a God of greatness, yes-but He is also a God of the still, the small, the silent.

Psalm 37:23 says, “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (NLT.)

Every detail? Yes. Even the smallest: a single tear wetting the pillow; a snowflake drifting from the skies of heaven; the lace in an angel’s skirt.

No one is ever too insignificant for Him to notice. No problem too small for Him to care. Knowing He delights in and takes care of every little detail in our lives, we can rest easy and without fear.

I love that God delights in the details and in the small things. But even more-I love that God finds delight in the details of my small life.

I Hear Ya: In what small ways has God shown that He delights in the details of your life recently or in the past? What one word would you choose for 2012?

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I See Courage in You

A woman who made a mistake,

Gave your body away, feeling like your heart will break.

So many dreams, plans you had in store,

But decide for your baby a chance at so much more.

Pressure from friends, “Just get an abortion,”

But choosing instead life and adoption.

Nothing left, you say you’re through,

But I see something called courage in you.


An alcoholic drowning life away,

Gets on his knees to pray.

Ashamed and disgusted with the man in the reflection,

Begging God to pardon this transgression.

Inadequate, and clumsy in life’s dance,

He decides again to give AA a chance.

Nothing left, you say you’re through,

But I see something called courage in you.


The singer tries just one more audition,

The producer says, “We’ll give you a listen.”

The rejection comes, they slam the door,

And the singer says, “I’ll try once more.”

Nothing left, you say you’re through,

But I see something called courage in you.


A shepherd boy playing his harp and singing,

Spending his days with sheep, and with his older brothers in the evening.

God said, “You may feel small and insignificant,

But to Goliath, you will be sent.

You may be doubtful this is true,

But I see something called courage in you.”


You may feel small, weak and afraid,

But on Jesus your burden has eternally been laid.

For courage is having fear, yet acting anyway,

And if I could, this would be my prayer for you today:

That after everything and all that you’ve been through,

You’ll see it all-the courage that I see in you.


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On Friday of last week, I was getting ready to drive but feeling really unmotivated. I just wasn’t looking forward to driving and was really dragging my feet. I was dreading getting out there. A little while before we headed out, I received a package. The address looked unfamiliar to me, so I couldn’t imagine what it was or who it was from. Upon opening it, I realized it was from a dear friend of mine.

This image came from etsy.com

Inside was a little golden box. Curious, I carefully lifted the lid. Inside, I was surprised to find a beautiful key chain my friend had sent to encourage me.

Fingering each little charm on the key chain, the tears came to my eyes. A cross. An antique key and spoon. A bead angel complete with halo. The words “wonderful” and “beautiful.”

Could she have sent it at a better time? My heart warmed at the thoughtfulness my friend had shown me. She’d taken time out of her day just to think of something to encourage me. And what a perfect gift! Something I could take with me on drives and remember I was not alone. I had God and my friend on my side.

It was amazing what one little gift of kindness like that could do. After receiving the key chain, I couldn’t wait to go driving! I felt re-energized and ready to face the roads. I had the new key chain to try out, after all! More than that, the key chain was visible proof someone out there was pulling for me and wanting me to succeed. I wasn’t alone in my fear. Knowing that, I felt strengthened.

The drive was all town driving and went really well. It seemed like everyone and their mother was out, but when I started getting stressed, I just glanced at my new key chain for a quick dose of courage.

That same week, I also received a really encouraging card from another friend. She’d even included two little pull-out cards with comforting Bible verses on them. Once more, I found myself touched beyond words. Who am I to be blessed with such friends?

I’m still not sure I can answer that.

It’s been a trying journey sometimes, facing my fears. Hard at times. Rewarding at others. Always scary. But there’s something I’m beginning to realize: I am never alone in my fear. Never once has my God abandoned me or left me in my fear. He’s always been with me in the fire, and will always be present to deliver me:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.'” (Isaiah 43:1-2.)

He’s also blessed me with friends who love and care for me-who aren’t interested in judging me, but in simply being there for me. That’s a gift I do not take lightly.

For all of my readers, for every one of you who have prayed for me or left behind your encouraging comments, I thank you. With your love and support behind me and pushing me forward, it’s not hard for me to believe I can win this. Your love and friendship continually strengthens me.

Today, I don’t look at what I don’t have, but what I do. And what I have is you.

Fear Tip: Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed,” and Proverbs 16:24 says, “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” In need of refreshment? Try encouraging someone else today. Something as simple as a kind word or a small gift can mean the world to someone. When you’re thinking about someone else’s problem, it’s hard to think about your own.

P.S. How can I be a friend to you today? Is there anything I can pray about for you or any way I can encourage you?

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Fear is a lie. 2 Timothy 1:7 says: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (NLT.) This verse states that God does not speak in the language of fear. But the devil does. And the devil speaks in the language of lies: “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44.)

How do we combat fear? With truth. And where do we find truth? In God’s Word. Jesus Himself used Scripture to fend off the devil when he was tempted by him in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1-11.) If you don’t have God’s Word in you, you’re nothing more than a white flag waving in surrender. As useless as a man on the battlefield without a weapon.

My church once handed out bookmarks with some common fears and corresponding Bible verses speaking to those fears. I found it immensely helpful, and thought I’d recreate that bookmark for you all here. I encourage you to type these up and place them somewhere where you can be reminded of God’s truth constantly. If you don’t find your fear on this list, find a verse that does and bring it forefront to your mind whenever the devil tries to bring up that fear again.

Here are some common fears you can apply truth to using God’s Word:

1) God is mad at me.

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor repay us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:8.)

2) The economy is never going to turn around.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9.)

3) I am always going to be lonely.

“…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20.)

4) Our marriage is never going to get any better.

Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26.)

5) We are always going to be poor.

“The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless those who fear the Lord, both great and lowly.” (Psalm 115:12-13.)

6) God can’t forgive what I’ve done.

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9.)

7) I hate my body and there is nothing I can do about it.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:13-14.)

8. God couldn’t love me.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39.)

9) I’ll never find anyone to marry.

“God places the lonely in families.” (Psalm 68:6.)

10) I am a huge disappointment to God.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)

11) I can’t change because I’ve been this way too long.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13.)

12) My kids are just going to get in trouble and rebel like I did.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6.)

13) All the good paying jobs are gone.

“The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.” (Genesis 39:2-4.)

14) I shouldn’t try new things because I’ll probably just fail.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6.)

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Sometimes, we all need a shot of courage. A dose of encouragement. A reminder we’re not alone, and a bit of hope.

That’s what my Shots of Courage will be here for. Short as they may be, they’re here to give you a shot of courage to face your week ahead. They’re here to do what I wish I could do in person: to wrap my arms around you, and tell you not to give up. Know that with every post I write, I’m thinking about and praying for you, dear reader.

As my first Shot of Courage, I chose a song by one of my favorite groups. I love the sound of Casting Crown’s music, but I also find their lyrics to be very profound. While writing the post To Ride a Horse, I thought of this song. See if you can find out why!

Remember, no matter what you’re facing, to listen to the Voice of Truth.

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