Tuesday, November 15, 2011

3 Ways to EnCOURAGE Your Kids

God's Words to Read:
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
~1 Thessalonians 5:11

And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
~1 Thessalonians 5:14

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
~2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I'm sure you've noticed before that the word "courage" is found in the word "encourage".  According to the dictionary, one of the definitions of the word "encourage" is:  to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope. 

Sometimes our children might feel timid about trying something new.  Perhaps they have become discouraged about finishing a commitment or furthering a pursuit they began because it has proven difficult for them.  Or maybe they are faced with a problem that seems impossible to overcome.

Here are 3 ways we mothers can step in and inspire our children with courage and hope:

1.  Build up their confidence in how uniquely God created them.
Many times the reason we lack courage in doing something is because we don't have enough confidence in ourselves.  Where does our confidence really come from?  Just from knowing what other people think about us?  For sure, that definitely helps!  But I also believe that our confidence should come, first and foremost, from knowing that God created us with very special gifts, talents and abilities unique to each of us.  Help your children recognize the unique gift set that God has blessed them with.  God gave them these abilities for important purposes that He has planned for them!  He wants them to develop their talents and abilities so they will succeed in making the most of what He has given them.

Here is a parable Jesus told to teach us how God wants us to use the talents and gifts He has blessed us with (and this story is actually where the term "talent", referring to a special gifted ability, comes from!):

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.  To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.  But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
~Matthew 25:14-30

Yes, sometimes developing our talents and abilities can be very hard work!  But so worth it in the long run!!  As the saying goes, "practice makes perfect"!  So help your children set a future vision or goal concerning a certain ability they are trying to cultivate.  Maybe "seeing" what end result they hope to attain will encourage them to keep on keeping on, even when the going gets tough!

2.  Teach them to look to God for encouragement and strength. 
But what if your child is not gifted in a certain area?  Or what if they are struggling with how to handle a problem they are facing?  Guide them to look to God as the #1 Source for encouragement in life (see again part of today's key verses, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.
~Romans 15:4-5

The Lord also promises to give us the strength we need to deal with any challenges that come our way, if we seek Him for it.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
~Isaiah 40:29-31

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

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
~Philippians 4:13

So if our children happen to be weak in a certain area or are struggling through a tough time, God promises to give them His strength and power to endure, prevail, and even overcome the obstacles they face!

3.  Advise them to choose encouraging friends.
Do your children have friends that make an effort to build them up and help them be the best they can be?  We should guide our children in surrounding themselves with encouraging friends.  Even having just one good friend like this is enough to make a big difference in your child's life!  I pray for God to bring encouraging friends into my children's lives.  When I observe one of their buddies having a positive influence on them, I make a point of fostering that friendship in any way I can.  On the other hand, we can also try to steer our kids away from "friends" that don't have such a good influence on them.  I often tell my kids that "a true friend wants the best for you and will help bring out the best in you."

Do not be misled:  "Bad company corrupts good character."
~1 Corinthians 15:33

A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
~Proverbs 18:24

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I hope these words and truths from Scripture have enCOURAGEd you as you seek to be an enCOURAGE-ing mother.  Your children will be blessed by your efforts to inspire them with courage, hope and spirit!

In Christ,


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