Words Of Encouragement: Storms On The Horizon

Storms AheadTo be completely honest and upfront, this is not a “blog” today. It’s a very personal diary entry for myself. I warn you of that because otherwise this will seem incredibly self-serving. But the truth is that it’s meant to be self-encouraging, a personal reference for those future days when the storms of despair and discouragement begin to appear on the horizon of my life.

I am collecting in one location some of the most encouraging (and equally humbling) Facebook posts, comments, etc. that I have received in recent weeks. I imagine my first week at Oxford will be sheer excitement. But I am old enough to know that there will be seasons of challenge and difficulty. My hope is that during those dark days when I am lonely, tired, and wondering if I did the right thing, that these comments will give me strength to endure. So… at any rate, they aren’t meant to inflate my already “substantial” ego 😉 They are meant to re-inflate my diminished confidence on “those” days, to provide me with the wherewithal to keep moving forward no matter the obstacle.

  • “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'” ~ God (In truth, there is no risk for the one who trusts in His Word. He is and remains faithful. Current circumstances or challenges are powerless to change the truth of His promise.)
  • I love you for the man that you are and the one you have yet to become!” ~ Shelly Lawrence, my wife (To be honest, her words are all the inspiration I will ever need. Her love is my all in all.)
  • Gonna miss you lots!!! but I’m so proud of you. You inspire me everyday to do better in my life and with school. We will be here anxiously waiting when you get back. Love you always!” ~ Rachel Lawrence, my daughter (Reminds me that my current hard work and sacrifice are hopefully shaping the destiny of my family. If I am able to create new horizons for them, that alone will make it worth it.)
  • You’re proud of me? You are the one going to Oxford and stuff. I’m proud of you.” ~ Savannah Lawrence, my daughter (Reminds me that as long as I have the support of my children I will always have a reason to keep trying, to keep fighting, to keep striving to be my best.)
  • The bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward. You have no idea the things God has planned for you during your Oxford sojourn. You will be amazed, surprised, pleased and humbled. This gift is one that is multi-faceted and you will be “filled to overflowing” while you’re there. There are two people to whom you will minister (possibly without your being aware until much later) who are at a crossroad in their lives. Through you God will show them their next step(s). These same two people will accomplish great things for the Kingdom. And you will have been a “cog” in God’s wheel. Glenn….. your apprehensions are a natural, normal reaction to such a huge leap. But you need to know that you have a supernatural magnetism…. people are drawn to you. We both know why. The Jesus in you is so powerful it might as well be a spotlight inside you. He shines out of you so brightly people can’t help being affected by it. You may have a slow go of it at first (or not), but He has much for you to do and many to whom you’ll minister. I see this trip almost as a treasure hunt for you. There are blessings just waiting to be discovered by you. And God is excited and pleased for you to begin.” ~ Gale Weems Bryant, friend (I have watched her life over the years and cherish her words as more than just mere rhetoric. Her perspective and wisdom are sobering reminders that I often miss His hand at work in my life.)
  • A couple of days ago while replying to a friend’s great and well-worded FB statement, I acknowledged how it was the BEST sentiment that I had read on FB for many days – with maybe one other exception… and I promised to share that one with you in a day or so.. Hence, my status for today: Every once in a while, you see something, or maybe hear a statement, or otherwise get a revelation that so grabs your spirit, that your very heart will seemingly miss a beat, and cut a breath short. In my mind’s eye, I liken it someone nearly dozing in an easy chair when a sharp noise rings out, and they suddenly bolt up-right all wide-eyed and keenly alert. Now you have his attention. In fact, “attention” may well be a better analogy. Kinda like how a soldier smartly snaps to attention when the commander enters the room. My spirit suddenly snapped to attention the other day as I was somewhat mindlessly scrolling through the FB drama and rhetoric. A good friend has for many months been riding in an unbelievable whirl-wind of promotions, accomplishments, highs, and new adventures. He is a well-read blogger and wordsmith that would rival the linguistic skills and communicative abilities of Max Lucado, and yet – (much unlike this post) – used a scant six words to convey a truth that grabbed my spirit.. With all that is going on in his life, he merely said, ‘Life is good. Family is better.'” ~ Rocky Mercado, friend (Rocky continually inspires and challenges me with his Facebook posts. On this occasion he reminded me that amidst all my blessings one stands preeminent.)
  • For those of you who know Glenn, you know he can change the world (and has changed many worlds already). I believe in this man, in his calling, and in his incredible Godly influence on all he touches. Reach for the stars, Glenn–you got this! Praying for you and your family as you step out in faith, trusting God for the outcome. You are truly a constant inspiration in my faith and life and Justin and I are both so grateful for you.” ~ Haley and Justin Sheffield, friends (Powerful reminder that our lives do not belong to just us. Others watch how we live and we have the power to inspire. Truly humbling and unbelievably encouraging.)

Well, that’s it… for now. Hope to be adding more in the days ahead. Life is hard and a person can never have enough support and encouragement 🙂