Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Little Goes a Long Way

These last few days I’ve been pondering the work of God and others in my life. As I reflect on my past; where I come from and where I am today, I am overwhelmingly thankful. I recall being a new wife and mom just out of high school, not knowing the first thing about cleaning, cooking, or caring for a family. I place no blame on my parents, this was a result of my own rebellion. The first time I attempted to mop resulted in floors soaked with an inch of soapy water and no clue what to do next. “How do I get all this water up?” You think it sounds funny, and maybe it does, but I was stumped, frustrated, and too embarrassed to
ask for help.  I simply refused to mop my floors again (for a while anyway). We lived on Hamburger Helper, Macaroni & Cheese, Top Ramen, and anything else I could instantly heat up without much trouble.  Can you believe I obtained a cooking job at the local restaurant? I think the Lord thought it time I learned this particular skill, and I suspect my husband agreed.

A few years later, I had two friends from church step into my life and teach me to not only cook, but to can! I became a canning freak for a few years (totally over it now).  Whenever I discover something NEW I am capable of doing, I kind of go overboard. Looking back, I am reminded of countless women God placed into my life as encouragers and teachers. These women saw things in me I could not see in myself. They spurred me on and supported me, bringing out gifts and abilities that otherwise may have remained dormant indefinitely. Because of these women, I gained confidence to teach others, move to a foreign country, home school my kids, mentor parents seeking to regain custody of their children, pursue a college degree, start a blog, and so much more. Where would I be without these women?! A little goes a long way!

Unfortunately, there have also been individuals in my life who have discouraged me, dampening my drive, and dissuading me in numerous areas. It’s amazing what power one individual has. It is astounding that one conversation, one sentence, one word, or simply one look can dishearten the soul. Why is it that numerous people can compliment you, encourage you, stir you up, and lift your spirit, and then one person comes along with that condescending comment and all previous encouragement immediately dissipates? What is it about discouragement that has so much power? A little goes a long way!

In Numbers chapter 13, Moses sends twelve spies to search out the land of Canaan; the land promised by God. Moses persuades them to “be of good courage” (vs 20). However, upon returning, ten of the twelve give the Israelites a bad report (vs 32), discouraging with tales of strong, fortified cities, and inhabitants as large as giants. And then there’s good ole Caleb and Joshua. Oh how I adore these two. The lone spies who took God for His word and spoke truth and encouragement to His chosen children, proclaiming “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (vs 30) and “If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us” (14:8). The verses immediately following reveal all too well the power of discouragement as the people spoke of stoning Joshua and Caleb, until the Lord Himself intervened.

Are you an encourager? Are you a discourager? Do you have brothers and sisters in your life that have supported you, cheered you on, or truly sought to advance and promote you in God’s kingdom? Or are you constantly burdened by disheartening individuals and discouraging words? A little goes a long way! A little encouragement will guide a friend straight into their destined promised land. A little discouragement will stop one in their tracks, causing even the strongest of soldiers to fall as a corpse in the wilderness. Be an encourager! A little goes a long way!
But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
-Hebrews 3:13


  1. This is such a good post! Thanks for the reminder to place ourselves in a place of blessing and service to our brothers and sisters in Christ by being encouragers. It's so true that a little goes a long way. The greatest love can come in the smallest words.

  2. Thank you, Joy. So nice to see you again! I have been overwhelmed by love, dedication, and just time spent on me by so many wonderful, God fearing women. I am so thankful. I hope to invest in others as well, and I hope I am able to do that to some degree here :) God bless you, Joy.

  3. I went on a break from blog reading for a week because I needed some time to refocus. =) I've faced a lot since coming to faith a few years ago, and the valleys have definitely showed me how much a loving word, a hug, or time spent on us can do, as well as how damaging and depressing discouragement can be. Your blog IS a blessing. I hope mine is too. =) God bless you too, Stephanie!

  4. Yes Joy, your blog is absolutely a blessing. You have a gift given you from God unlike any other. I seek to not compare my gifts to yours :) or any other blogger's for that matter. I am truly attempting to focus on encouraging others in their gifts and praising God for them, rather than dwell on me, me, me. Once I get past the me, I am more able to see the blessings and gifts of another, rejoice in them, and help to stir up those gifts. Thanks for stopping by and for your encouragement :)

  5. Praise God for we have each been given unique gifts and unique circumstances in which to use those gifts for His glory and the good of His people. It's so true what you say about once you get past the me, you are more equipped to bless others. Every time I find myself in a nagging, complaining, criticizing, or impatient mood, and I search my heart, I find 9 times out of ten that it's because I have failed to give thanks, praise the Lord, and cling to Him instead of to Self. And I, too, have to keep seeking to cast my eyes on Him and through Him to see the beauty in others and draw it out and build it up. This is the way He loves us, and the way we are called to love our neighbors.

  6. Amen, Joy. They will know us by our love, and yet, that is the hardest part for me... loving others. I have such a long way to go on this road to perfection! And I cannot wait for that Day! :) To understand His love and have unconditional love for others. Until then, I will press on and pray for grace to love with just a portion of the love He offers.


Will you leave some of yourself here? Converse with a community of readers and writers and lovers of Jesus.