Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Encouragement when I Needed it Most

Last week was a challenging week for me. Life with a chronic illness is always hard, but there are days when it is particularly hard to face life with courage and joy. The physical tiredness wears me down, and my soul grows weary from the fight. Loneliness is a regular battle. Last week I was fainthearted. I was hurting.

And then God used His people to reach out and encourage me. To remind me that I’m not alone. To remind me that even when I am home-bound, I make a difference in this world. I received wonderful notes and gifts in the mail last week, and all but one card came from people I have never even met in real life. God had placed me on their hearts, and they reached out to me in tangible ways that blessed and encouraged my soul. I have never received so much delightful mail in one week’s time!

A blog reader, and new friend, sent encouraging and sweet cards to me, a music CD, and even stickers for my children. Her words and gifts brought such delight. An acquaintance from year’s past sent a note to me, telling me how I have encouraged and touched her life through my blog. This card came on my hardest day, and I cried from the beauty and encouragement it contained. A dear chronic illness friend sent a meaningful card filled with words of genuine friendship. A fellow pastor’s wife and blogger sent a scarf to me, made by a valiant woman.

The amazing mail continued on Sunday afternoon. When Will and the children came home from church, they brought with them a package that had arrived at the church for me last week. Unbeknownst to me, kind and generous hearts from the Awana offices had found Cranberry Tea Time via a search for blogs that mention Awana. They saw my post about William and Adelaide and then continued to read about our family and my health struggles. They wanted to send some sunshine our way, so they sent a box of Awana goodies to us.

What a huge surprise and a blessing it was to open this box and see so many gifts, not just for me, but for my children. I know these recent months have taken a toll on William and Adelaide. They have missed me. They have worried about me. They have been sad to see me so tired. But when this package came, we forgot our troubles for a while. We were all blown away by this amazing surprise. The children exclaimed, “It’s like Christmas!” It meant so much to see the joy on my children's faces. It meant so much to be thought of during these hard days. 

Thank you, friends, for your cards, gifts, prayers, and support. Thank you for lifting me before the Father and for encouraging me when I am fainthearted. You make a difference in my life!


Is there someone in your life who needs encouragement? Do you know someone who might be lonely, or afraid, or tired and weary? Reach out to that friend. Your encouragement may just be the thing that helps them to persevere on a very hard day.

“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14


  1. This encouraged me rachel :) I've had a hard week this week and its nice to know I'm not a lone in growing tired of the fight.

  2. Kayla @ TheEclecticElementMay 28, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    I can understand and relate to what you're going through! Sometimes it really is hard to put on a brave face and wake up ready to take on the challenges chronic illness brings. Thankfully that's usually when you receive something from the divine that reminds you to keep fighting and that you matter regardless of whether it's tangible or not :)

    Thank you for sharing your encouraging and uplifting goodies with everyone!

  3. How true the words you write. You are not alone in getting exhausted in living with dysautonomia. Isolation is hard. Isolating from friends, family, and even from yourself- because you cannot express who you are because of physical limitations...

    When my kids were younger, I would get them to crawl in bed beside me to watch tv with me, or color or do other while I rested. They had no idea how dizzy I was and enjoyed the time. For me it is hard to accept my limitations at times.

    I am so glad to hear that your week was made brighter by people who did God's work by sending you things to brighten your day.

    Been checking your website and praying for you...

    Sometimes on my hard days, I like listening to the song- you know better than I from the Joseph dream works animation...

    Blessings and a hug

  4. I'm glad you had an outpouring of support via mail. I know that cards and packages have lifted me up on so many days in the last three months. I love the picture of you & your daughter. You are both beautiful. Love you, my friend.

  5. What is your chronic illness? If it is too private that is fine. God knows. Prayers for you!

  6. You are not alone, friend. It is a hard fight, and I do grow weary.

  7. Hi Kayla! Thanks so much for stopping by. I will pray for you today as you face the challenges that chronic illness brings.

  8. Thanks, Jennifer. Yes, those tangible reminders that come in the mail do so much to encourage and bolster the weary soul!

  9. Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for stopping by! I have dysautonomia. It is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system, which controls everything in the body you don't have to think of, such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature regulation, digestion, energy production, etc. Basically it leaves me very tired and weak. It has been getting progressively worse for about 15 years now, and I have been mostly home-bound for 9 years.

  10. Hi Corrine, thanks for your friendship and your prayers! And thanks for the song you shared with me. I had never heard that song before! I'm listening to it now on YouTube.

  11. Oh, that is just so sweet, that you received all of this Love in the mail. ANd Awana- how I love that whole program and what a blessing that they sent you. I do love your blog title, Rachel. Nice to meet you.

  12. Oh I'm so glad you received such thoughtful and intentional encouragement from so many this week. And oh yeah, gotta love AWANAs. :)


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