ENCOURAGEMENT: Encourage yourself and others

When the chips are down and we feel defeated—whether it is through illness, disappointment or whatever, it would help if we would remember God is helping carry us through.

The Rev. Nicholas Inman told me this story for my book, Choose Happy Find Contentment in Any Situation.

“When I was in high school, I had a teacher who was going through a really difficult time in her life,” said Nicholas.  “She was a terrific person and a great inspiration to her students and friends. I watched as she handled this struggle and I knew that it was having a tremendous toll on her emotionally and physically, although, she NEVER complained.”

Most high school students are too busy worrying about what they will be doing on Friday night to actually take notice of a teacher who his going through a tough time, but something made him want to help her.

“I have always been a great fan of the poem, ‘Footprints in the Sand.’ This inspirational poem has been used at many family funerals and it has been one that has touched me throughout my journey of faith. I decided to present a copy to this special teacher and to explain to her about the Lord carrying us through the most difficult times in our journey.”

So he got a copy of the poem and took it to her.  

“When I gave her the poem, her eyes filled with tears as she read its simple and profound wording,” he remembered.  “She explained that she had really needed to hear this poem and would always cherish the words.” 

Years later, Nicholas became ill and had to undergo several rounds of treatments. It was a grueling treatment and a very trying time in his life. It seems his teacher was listening when he communicated to her those years ago and she became a part of his community.

“One day, a card arrived in the mail and it was on a day that I was really feeling bad and down,” Nicholas said.  “It was from this former teacher and I was surprised that she knew of my illness. When I opened the card, out came a copy of the beloved poem that I had shared with her, many years before. A simple note accompanied the poem inside of the card and it read: ‘A dear friend once shared this poem with me and now I return this message, reminding you that you are not alone!’

“I could not have received those words at a better time in my journey and I have never forgotten the message, the friendship or the encouragement needed during a dark valley in my life’s story.” 

Bible Verse

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6


(Footprints in the Sand originally by Mary Stephenson)

Action Plan

1. If you are feeling in need of encouragement then you know others around you are too. Take some time out to think of three people who could really use some encouragement. Now think of ways you can reach out to them, send a card, even just an email of encouragement. Now take a conscious effort to pray for them to be encouraged.

2. Now think about yourself. In what ways do you need encouragement? Think about why you feel the need for encouragement and if you don’t think you can talk to anyone about it, then pray to God to give you the encouragement you need. So often we can encourage ourselves. We don’t need others to help us. If people offer to help we can accept that but we don’t need to depend on others coming to our aid. We can save ourselves. Think about some nice things you can do for yourself– and then do them. You deserve it. You deserve other peoples’ love and you really deserve your own.

One Last Thought

Are you in a bad way right now? Feeling down? Do you sometimes feel there is no way out of your situation? Well, there is always a way, you just have to find it—or stick with it until the situation is behind you. 

If you’re going through Hell

Keep on going, don’t slow down

If you’re scared, don’t show it

You might get out

Before the devil even knows you’re there. 

                          — Rodney Atkins

When you are going through a tough time, sometimes you are so mad you could scream and other times you feel so defeated you just want to go to bed and cry.

Those feelings are normal. In fact if you didn’t feel that way you wouldn’t be normal. 

If we never knew what it was like to be sad, how would we know what joy is?  When you are in the midst of extreme sadness or depression try to think of something in your life that has been so amazing in the opposite direction. 

We tend to get the same amount of ups as we get downs, but the trouble with some people is they look on their negative happenings as “oh no, not again” and “what else can happen?”  Well I’ll tell you what can happen—a lot more. So there’s no use in looking at your situation like that.

Sally Tippett Rains is a motivational speaker, inspirational writer and author of 13 books, including Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Any Situation. She is the volunteer Executive Director of Rainbows for Kids and content manager for STLSportsPage.com.

Fifteen  Keys to a Happy Life

F orward- Keep moving forward

I nitiative- Take the initiative and start things.

ow- Do it now, live in the now

D etermination- Stay determined to making it

ommunity –Accept the help of others

O ptimism- Don’t give up on yourself or others

N ew Ideas- Maybe  it’s the time to try new ideas

T enacity- Stay in the game, you can do it

E nergy – Do what you need to do to have energy.

N ormalcy – Embrace your “new normal” 

rust – Trust yourself and others.

M indfulness –Don’t worry about the future.

E ncouragement  Encourage yourself and others.

N utrition and Health – Take care of yourself.

ranquility – Learn to just be at peace.