Encouraging Your Children In Faith

May 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

by Chris Thomas

 

“…that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith, yours and mine.”  Romans 1:12

 

    When I was invited to write a column of spiritual encouragement for parents and families, I spent time remembering how I have received encouragement.  I remember David, my husband, standing by my side, holding my hand, his eyes twinkling above the surgical mask as each of our three children were born by c-section.  I remember my mom giving Andrew, our oldest, and Catherine, our youngest, their first baths in the bathroom sink and showing me how to hold this wet, slippery baby and still test the warmth of the water with an elbow.  I remember a time when David couldn’t get home, so a dear friend, Cathy, took me to the hospital and held my hand through the testing and diagnosis of appendicitis.  She kept close by and reassured me, sometimes with words, always with her presence.

    When have you been encouraged by a loved one?   Did they offer instruction, words of encouragement or just their presence?  Was it a time of crisis or just an ordinary day?

    The word encouragement is derived from three roots:  the prefix, en-, which means to “cause to be in”, the Latin word “cor” for heart and the suffix -age, which in English means “the outcome of”.  To encourage could be said to be the result of holding in the heart.  Definitions include to stimulate spiritually, to revitalize and galvanize, to fortify and to console.    

    In the sixteenth century, the mystic and holy woman, St. Teresa of Avila once wrote, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours; yours are the only hands with which He can do His work. Yours are the only feet with which He can go about the world; yours are the only eyes through which His compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world.”

   I believe Christ encourages us through His presence found in loved ones and even in strangers.  Often, he uses us to console and fortify others with our words, our presence and even our questions.  Sharing concerns, questions and prayer requests gives others the opportunity of realizing they are not alone on this journey and more than likely that others have the same needs and desires.

    Just for today, notice the others whom God has placed in your life:  spouse, children, co-workers, strangers.  What is the result of being held in their hearts?  How have you held them in your heart?  How has Christ looked through your eyes or worked through their hands?

    Texarkana Parent Magazine has the goal of promoting a balanced and healthy life for our community’s families; physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.  One way to encourage others and find encouragement for life’s big and little obstacles is to share with our online community.  You are invited to join the discussion at my blog, www.be-at-myside.blogspot.com  to share, to ask, or to encourage.

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