three letters of encouragement

Posted by [email protected] on August 12, 2013 at 1:30 AM
There are some friends who will go down in your own personal history book.   Your first best friend, you know the one you skated with, played dolls with, hid in closets together with at the end of play dates; then there's the older girl from school who told you about sex and tampons; and the stranger-turned-sister who was waiting for you in your college dorm room your freshman year;  the gal who introduced you to your future husband; and the one who helped you plan your wedding, tying bows on programs and throwing you your bridal shower; and the friend in your life right now who smiles more than all the others put together, the one who inspires joy and hope by her example.   Despite the years and the states that stretch between you and these epic, memorable, note-worthy friends, they are part of your story.

I received three encouraging emails over the past couple of days.  One from Tamara, who was my faithful right hand as I planned my wedding day.  The next was from Angie, that ray of sunshine who loves my kids and me in such tangible ways.  And another from Ashley, the dear one who introduced me to my beloved husband.  

Before I share some of their encouragement I must state that I've been down in the dumps lately.  In a rut with my family, wanting more, feeling like I can't quite muster the strength or joy needed for the tasks of mothering and homeschooling — of loving day in and day out.  When I  honestly shared from my heart with my beloved friend Tamara, she wrote back:  Thank you! God bless your beautiful heart, courage and fortitude! You never have to be figured out to share with me. Know that although we can't always see or hear each other, we walk together.

A day later my ray of sunshine, Angie, had my boys over for a slumber party.  The next day she wrote:

I so much enjoyed seeing how Caleb has matured recently. I witnessed it in the “fire” of his fight with Brody last night. I am still not quite sure what caused the fight, but they starting throwing fists. Caleb took some blows before I could break it up, and I saw how Caleb restrained himself . . . even though he said, “I want to hit him really bad.” I know at that age, it is SO hard to use self control, but he did. He had great manners and just seems to have grown in being a gentleman.

And sweet Brody . . . I know he feels emotion very deeply, and I could tell he was feeling a lot anger after his fight with his brother (which made him cry that he wanted to go home)!. Once he settled down, I told him I was sad that he wasn’t having fun at our slumber party. He announced that it wasn’t a real slumber party since we hadn’t had a pillow fight . . . so I whacked him with a pillow! After a few minutes of pillow fighting fun, Brody got in bed and turned into mister chatterbox (so funny). Anyway, after coming to tell me (a few times) that he was having trouble sleeping, he said, “God made my with lots of problems.” Before I could object, he caught himself and said, “But he also made me with lots of good things.” I loved that, because I knew those were words of truth that his momma spoke to him, and he is hearing them and believing them. In the morning, he also said, “Miss Angie, I’m sorry that I cried about going home.” That is so mature to apologize for something (and the next day too). And remorse shows sensitivity to wanting to do what is right. I know you are diligently directing him in what is right.

And Asher . . . what can I say? I ADORE him. He has the sweetest little heart and is so articulate for his age. I think your youngest will really bless you.

Anyway, just wanted to give you some words of encouragement, because you looked so discouraged when we met up. And since you asked for advice, here it is: keep up the good work, stand firm, and don’t grow weary … you WILL reap a harvest!

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

And finally, Ashely, the angel who brought me my husband, who has three boys of her own, wrote me some great advice to kick start what I can do as I stand firm — what not growing weary might look like in the days to come as I press on with renewed faith and vigor:

As for the havoc and chaos the boys wreak in your home, any mom of all boys (especially me) can relate to the challenge of harnessing the testosterone so as not to emasculate them but to foster them in such a way that they are the Christ-like combination of strength and gentleness. Something that I have found to be incredibly helpful in giving me boundaries as well as them boundaries is Greg Harris' "21 Rules of this House." I have been reading it nightly to them for a couple years, and it is posted on the fridge. We all have them memorized now, and it helps! Google it and print it out it if you think it could be helpful. The rules touch on all the major moral, character-building traits that I want to foster in the boys. If it's not on the list, I've chosen to let it roll off my back. I try to be strict
within the rules and then give loads of freedom beyond them.

I looked up Gregg Harris' 21 Family Rules, printed them up, and thought I'd pass them on to you down below.  Because we need one another.  We need a Tamara to walk with, an Angie to remind us of the  fruit that is being produced in our midst, and an Ashley to inspire fresh ideas for tomorrow.  

I can't be the only one who wanders into the valley some seasons, and so I share.  Here's hoping you are blessed.

The 21 Rules Of This House

by Gregg Harris


1. We obey God.

2. We love, honor and pray for one another.

3. We tell the truth.

4. We consider one another's interests ahead of our own.

5. We speak quietly and respectfully with one another.

6. We do not hurt one another with unkind words or deeds.

7. When someone needs correction, we correct him in love.

8. When someone is sorry, we forgive him.

9. When someone is sad, we comfort him.

10. When someone is happy, we rejoice with him.

11. When we have something nice to share, we share it.

12. When we have work to do, we do it without complaining.

13. We take good care of everything that God has given us.

14. We do not create unnecessary work for others.

15. When we open something, we close it.

16. When we take something out, we put it away.

17. When we turn something on, we turn it off.

18. When we make a mess, we clean it up.

19. When we do not know what to do, we ask.

20. When we go out, we act just as if we were in this house.

21. When we disobey or forget any of the 21 Rules of This House, we accept

the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Categories: friendship, The Hard Days

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1 Comment

Reply angie
1:31 PM on August 12, 2013 
Love you, love your family, and love these 21 rules!