“Encourage One Another Every Day”

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On Saturday I enjoyed a girls’ day out with friends from church. After breakfast at a local diner, we strolled a craft fair held in a nearby rural community center. I love to see what people God made in His image have done with the talents He has given to them. It takes a lot of spunk to put your heart and many hours into creating something and then to sit there wanting a customer to think it is worth their hard-earned cash.

When our outing was over on Saturday, one of my friends (I’ll call her Janie) was heading to an estate sale. She told me that the estate sale was for a couple she had known for many years. They both had had health issues for some time. When they got COVID a few months ago, they never recovered, and they both passed away.

I went along to spend some time with Janie. I didn’t expect to receive other blessings in the process. Janie and I parked in the driveway and walked over to the open garage door. There she introduced me to the couple’s daughter and granddaughter. The daughter lives two doors down the street. I also met the neighbor who lives in between their two houses. The neighbor immediately recognized my name (there aren’t a lot of Notgrasses). She said that she hears my husband’s sermons when she watches our church’s broadcast. It is always a thrill for me when I meet someone who has been hearing Ray on YouTube or the local cable system. They are so encouraging.

Understandably, the daughter was needing to talk to Janie about her parents, her grief, and the current sadness and pressure of selling her parents’ belongings and auctioning off their home. She told details of the last many months. Her mother passed away first. She said that she didn’t get to grieve about her mother because she was tending to her father. Then she didn’t get to grieve about her father because she had all the stuff to go through and sell.

I was impressed with this daughter’s loving care. She told of the time she had moved in with her parents for a few months after her mother had a fall. She told of how she had long called her parents every evening to see how they were doing, even when she was away on vacation with her family.

The daughter and Janie spoke about how wonderful this mother was, and she told funny stories about her. Janie, who is an only child, is the same kind of daughter for her own mother. For the 6 hours or so that Janie and I were together on Saturday, she spoke with her mother on the phone two or three times and was going to her mother’s apartment after we parted.

Janie and I talk sometimes about how caring for older parents is challenging. Ray and I have been married for 47 years. We have spent 13 of those years with a parent living with us, first Ray’s dad and later my mother until after she passed away in February of 2020. What a privilege it has been to have them with us for just over 25 percent of our married lives. Caretaking was challenging when we were living those years, but that is not the main thing I think about when I think of Mother. I miss the daily evening phone calls we had before her health declined to the point that she needed to move in with us.

I miss my daddy especially when I see something funny that I think he would like — some dancing monkey in tennis shoes singing “Home on the Range” or some such. I miss Mother when I experience some simple occurrence in my daily life and she isn’t at her house in Ashland City ready to answer the phone and listen to me tell her about it. I miss the two of us talking about everything that happened to us during the day.

Last week I wrote about taking care of people. In chapter 3 of Hebrews, the writer tells Christians to use encouragement as a way to take care of each other’s spiritual health every day. I didn’t think of that scripture in relation to Mother when we were talking every evening, but I know that those daily conversations were an encouragement to her and to me. When I have read Hebrews 3:13 before, I read that we should “encourage one another daily.” Now I am using the newest edition of the New American Standard Version. This translation reads: “encourage one another every day.” The meaning is, of course, the same, but somehow every day seems clearer—and more urgent.

Every Christian would be spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically healthier if they received encouragement from another Christian every day. What a blessing it is when children encourage their parents like Janie and her friend have done, doing that “as long as it is still called ‘today,'” realizing that those days don’t last forever. Grandchildren are blessed when they see their parents do this, too, because it teaches them how to encourage their own parents some day.

I always feel a bit sheepish when I write about adult children and how they can bless their parents, but it fits deeply into the heart of why I write to you each weekday. I write to encourage you to live without regrets with your children. I want to encourage you to live without regrets with your parents, too.

But encourage one another every day,
as long as it is still called “today,”
so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:13



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