Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are You an Encourager?

And a voice from Heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17

My husband is an attorney. From time to time, I tag along with him when he has to be in court. This week he was appointed to represent a mother who was trying to regain custody of her teenage son. After some poor decisions by his mother, this child was now in the care of foster parents. His name was Maverick.

When Maverick sat down outside of the court room, dressed all in black. His body language screamed, “Leave me alone and stay away.” His whole demeanor saddened me.

I couldn't help but overhear as his social worker sat down beside him, and began talking with him.“I just finished reading your reports Maverick. I am so proud of you. You are doing great! You are my shining star.” she said, while smiling from ear to ear.

It was almost as if I was watching a deflated balloon fill up with air. With each word of encouragement and praise, this young man's whole countenance changed. The once wilted flower began to stand tall after a long and much needed drink. I wanted to cry for him. God's Word says, “The tongue has the power of life and death...” Proverbs 18:21

It reminded me of how important words of encouragement are to our children. We see a perfect picture of an encouraging parent in Matthew 3:17, after Jesus is baptized, His Father makes it clear to all of us, just how He feels about His precious son. “And a voice from Heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.'”

I make a point to tell my children how precious they are to me and how proud I am of them. No matter how old my children are, from time to time I will peek my head in their room at bedtime and tell them, “How in the world did I get the best eight-year-old in the whole wide world?” My children usually respond in a giggle or a joyful wiggle under their covers. One night after I'd asked the same question to my ten-year-old, she answered, “Because God loves you.”

My child had learned that encouragement is a two-way street. Now, it was my turn to grin from ear to ear.


Denise said...

Amen, amen. Encouragement is such a precious gift to give to others my friend.

Mari said...

What a wonderful post! You have me smiling inside and out. So, you encouraged me today - thanks!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

You're a good momma...

I need to be nicer.


Angie said...

Yes, because God loves you.

And I do too!

Shay said...

This made me smile-thank you.

Marsha said...

Who ever said 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me' was a liar! Words of ridicule and scorn do hurt, they do break and deflate.

Thank you for the reminder to always look for ways to encourage.


summur braley said...

Oh here I go................bring on the water works!
That was very encouraging.Thanks!

The Real Me! said...

Oh words are so powerful! I would definitely consider myself an encourager. I love spreading some verbal love around where ever I go.
Ask all the cashiers I came in contact with yesterday! LOL
I really do need my own camera crew! Hee! Hee!
Have a great weekend!
It definitely doesn't look like I need any help building myself up does it? I just read what I wrote and thought, how vain that sounds. I hope you don't take it that way. I'm really not "that" vain! LOL

LisaShaw said...


Encouragement goes SO FAR for children and adults.

Love you dear sister.

Honeycombmama said...

Train a child up in the way he/she shall go and they will never depart from it. Great reminder to all parents Joanne:) You are such a blessing to so encourager indeed:)

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Love this post, Joanne. What a reminder to be aware of every opportunity to encourage, even to encourage a stranger. This story just blessed by heart. Such power we have to change a life and a heart, even for a moment or for a lifetime.

How sweet that the tables were turned and you got to smile ear to ear. YOU deserved that.

christy rose said...

What a great response! She turned the encouraging blessing right back on you. That is so great!

a portland granny said...

Over the years I've had many "Mavericks" in my life, in my home, and in my classroom. What a fortunate child to have that caseworker, who knew the secret of working with these kids.

This was a great post--heart-warming and encouraging to all of us to remember to build up one another with honest compliments.

Cheri said...

I love this post! Words are incredibly important, and I wish you could have taken a video of that conversation with that young man for each of us as parents to watch when we need to be reminded!


Crown of Beauty said...

Dear Joanne,

This was a post that speaks about what is on my heart.

Indeed may our words always be a message of hope to the one listening.

I want to encourage you today with my words, my friend.

As we remember 9 11 may we look up in hope and remember that the day of our redemption draws near.

I dedicated my Sept 11 post to my American friends.


Barbara said...

Your post is wonderful and filled with so much insight and truth. Children and adults alike need that encouragement. There are so many children damaged and so many adults, especially young women who have been damaged by the abuse and mistreatment from those around them and feel they are useless. When you can find something to brag on them or encourage them about..they do light up and you never know the word you it may change the direction of their life. It is important with our children, but there is a world that needs it too. Wonderful, wonderful post

Jensmere said...

Such a good post, Joanne! My 27 yr old daughter still calls me her 'cheerleader'...and now that she is married, her hubby calls me for 'wooohooos' whenever something neat happens for him.

I am so thankful that they both 'get it', and realize that Mom is an encourager...AND I pray that they will follow the example some day!

Bless you, sweetie,


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