Words of Encouragement

Archive for May, 2012

FAITH FACTOR – The Sequel

I was overwhelmed with the response to my last post. Thank you for your honesty and transparency.  The many conversations encouraged me.  May I encourage those dear ones I talked with to continue to reach out.

I still don’t have the answers to the tough questions that were asked of me.  So what would you do if you see someone having a crisis of faith, your fellow pew holders, your neighbour, your friend, your family member?  Are we responsible for each other?  Are we “our brother’s keeper?”  If we are to bear one another’s burdens, just how do we go about it?  Just what exactly is a “crisis of faith?”  If we are honest, I suspect that most of us have had had a crisis of faith at some point … to some degree.  Let’s face it, life is not easy.  It is full of disappointments and heartache mixed in with the moments of pure joy and happiness.  That is life.  When life is smooth, it is easy to live out our faith but when the difficulties creep in, that is when we hang on for dear life to our loving heavenly Father who has a firm grip on us even when we doubt.

5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  Psalm 139:5-10  NIV

Is a crisis of faith when someone gradually drifts away from God?

Is it when we stop believing that we are of value and have no purpose?

Is it when we believe Satan’s lies that God does not love us and is not interested in us?

Could it be when we feel that we do not fit into our church community and feel disengaged?

Maybe it happens when we are wounded and hurt due to betrayal and the hurtful actions of others?

What about grief, death, financial difficulties, marriage issues, misbehaving kids?

When my father died, I remember laying outside on the hammock the entire night as waves of grief washed over me.  However, it was easy to hang onto my faith in that situation because he had been very ill for a long time and his suffering was over.  I was grief stricken but his death was easier for me to comprehend.  However, when my brother-in-law was struck and killed by a drunk driver leaving a preschooler, a toddler, and his wife days from giving birth, my faith was shaken to the core. I did not talk about it.  I felt that it was unacceptable to talk about it.  Oh how I would have loved to have someone work through that with me but I was too afraid of criticism and words of judgement so I sorted it out alone.  My sister-in-law put this scripture on the birth announcement; The Lord gives the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Huh!? Say what?! This is the thing, no matter what your situation is, God is in control.  That is the part that is hardest for us earthlings to understand, the “why” questions that rip us apart.

When things go terribly wrong what do you need from other people?  I needed people to be around me and to know they cared.  I needed to be able to vent and cry and perhaps be illogical.   Choose your words.  I was ready to smack the next person who said “there must have been a reason.”   I needed someone SAFE to talk to. A lot of the time, we already know the answers but just need space.  Other people need to be alone and may not want to talk when they are in pain.  Be patient. Don’t preach. Don’t judge. Stick with them for the long haul, but most of all show them you care!

So what do we do?  Ask God to lay someone on your heart and show you how you can minister to them.  Be tender, especially if they have walked away because they are angry or hurt.  That takes extra wisdom but God will provide it.  Remember, you don’t need to have all of the answers either.  Just be there for them.  Remind your brothers and sisters in Christ of their value often.  We are not in a contest to see who is the most “religious.”  We are in this battle TOGETHER.  Go get the disillusioned, discouraged and downcast.  Go get them! It is NOT acceptable to let any fall along the wayside.  We need to reach out and lift them up and encourage any who may be having a crisis of faith.  Point them toward Jesus and most importantly, pray.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.                                   1 Thessalonians 5:11   NIV

By Cyndi den Otter(C)

May 26, 2012

Copyright 2012 May 26 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission


A CRISIS OF FAITH

A Crisis of Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would you do if I had a crisis of faith

And I walked away from God

And my church

And this place

 

Would you whisper and gossip and say “I just knew”

That she was a little strange

And unstable

And no value

 

Would you avoid me like germs, don’t associate

Just in case I might rub off

Make you look bad

Your reputation taint

 

What would you do if I was discouraged and blue

And renounced my religion

And just walked

Out on you

 

Would you leap for joy and say, “good riddance, good-bye”

Just solid saints are welcome

Please no doubters

Need to apply

 

What would you do if I became burned out and crashed

Defeated and discouraged

Dreams all vanished

And hopes all dashed

 

Would you piously say she must have some shame

She must be trouble that one

It’s best she’s gone

She is to blame

 

What would you do if I had a crisis of faith

And if I gave up all hope

And walked away

From this place

 

So many have suffered afraid to speak up

They are silenced by fear

Critical words

And that gossip

 

So switch off the judgment and critical views

With your words set on mute

Love them on back

That’s what you do

 

 

 

By Cyndi den Otter (C)

Copyright 2012 May 19 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission


PLEASE PARENTS DON’T QUIT !

Please Parents Don't Quit                                        

When there’s jelly on the walls

And your feet stick to the floor

When there’s lego in the halls

And a scooter blocks the door

When the washing machine is broke

And you want to throw a fit…

                      Please parents, don’t quit!

 

When the baby cried all night

And the twins have chicken pox

There’s no money left in sight

But lots of bills in the box

When your very last nerve is shot

And your eyes reduced to slits…

                                  Please parents, don’t quit!

 

When Junior`s shaved his head

And the report card is all “D’s”

When the riot act’s been read

And they still do as they please

And Missy pierced both eyebrows

And you’re peeved with all of it

                                    Please parents, don’t quit!

 

When Susie gives a groan

When it’s time to do her chores

And Johnny brought the car home

With big dents in both doors

When the gas tanks always empty

And you’re mad enough to spit…

                                    Please parents, don’t quit!

 

Please God can you help us

Our patience is wearing thin

We’re sorry to whine and fuss

Can you see the mess we’re in?

God said, “I am with you”

Through every little bit…

                                           So please parents, don’t quit!

 

In spite of all our faults

When they’re living far from home

As well adjusted adults

With children of their own

We’ sit back and remember

And smile just a bit…

                                                                                 So, please parents, don’t quit!

by Cyndi den Otter (C)

April 2006

Copyright 2006 April Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission