Breaking all rules of grammar, today “one-another” becomes a verb. We receive so much encouragement from you as we are continually “one-anothered.” And today, we pause to thank God for you, and for the powerful “one-anothering” you provide for us.
No words can properly express our gratitude for: the smiles you put on our faces; the refreshment you place in our souls; the extra burst of energy you place in our cells; and the perseverance you pour into our attitudes. These come from your daily prayers (which humble us), your words of encouragement (through calls, texts, and cards) that lift our spirits, your thoughtfulness (through acts of service) that help meet our needs, your faith that inspires our hearts, and your sharing of Scriptures that helps us persevere.
Wyndham’s disease stinks. A quick Google search of “Multiple System Atrophy” is daunting. It’s described as a combo of ALS and Parkinsons, as if one is not enough. The disease is hard, and continual. Caretaking is hard, and continual. Yet somehow, by the grace of God, the encouragement of our family, the prayers and encouragement from dear brothers and sisters in Christ—near and far…we feel indescribable joy, closeness to God, peace that passes understanding…for real. And all while this cloud of grief and suffering looms over our heads. It just doesn’t make sense, except for God.
Today we want to say thank you. You have no idea how much your prayers, words, cards, texts, calls, (short) visits, acts of service, comments on Facebook and this blog encourage us. To know we are prayed for around the world is extremely humbling, and every time I think of this I cry, with gratitude. Prayer makes a difference. I feel it.
Our amazing immediate family—they are all in, with all heart. Our extended family continually shows care and concern. Our spiritual family, golden friends, friends from afar, and new friends are sources of great strength and encouragement. Some are constant card-writers or texters, somehow always spot-on with the need of the day.
Our family group is truly a “family” group. Most of us are needy. Several of us are caretakers. Within the past few months, two in our group have passed from this life to Paradise (and what stories of faith they take with them). We have among us disabled children, aging parents, aging selves :-), Parkinsons, MS, MSA, congestive heart failure, raising of grandchildren, and various other situations. But a more giving, vibrant, faithful group can’t be found. Whether it’s praying, serving, providing meals, studying the Bible, baptisms, singing, Christmas caroling, serving the poor, taking the family group service dog to Children’s and Veteran’s hospital, and just inventing ways to encourage and do good…this describes the group. What a beautiful plan of God to give us a physical and spiritual family.
I have learned so much about the value of encouragement and the wisdom of God in creating relationships. The demonstration, by the triune God, of love and relationship is beyond understanding. My greatest regret presently, is that I can’t do more for others who face difficult times. I can pray, and can learn to be a better card writer and encourager as I go.
It’s beautiful and challenging to reflect on some of the Scriptures about our relationships in the body of Christ. Here are a few of God’s instructions on “one-anothering.”
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Romans 12:16)
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.(Ephesians 4:2)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.(1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Thank you for the ways you “one-another” us. Your words and prayers are deeply valued. May we all keep “one-anothering” each other in these ways. We love you.