Posts Tagged: Encouragement

Compassion for Old Hands

Rocking Chair Healer

I came to mend broken boards on a porch–just being neighborly–
and found my own clay restored
within your arthritic hands. “Lemonade, dear.”

Your voice, a windchime in the quiet
breeze, drew me away from
the incessant ding of my fast-paced phone. So
much unfinished work, on top of Jessica nagging
John Jr. needed new shoes and my layoff pressed into my soul like a branding iron. I never planned on being the neighborhood
handyman, I thought bitterly. “Sure.”

But even as I sipped your cool offering, the tension eased from my shoulders. “What did you put in this?” I asked warily.
“Nothing the Good Lord didn’t make.
Sugar and lemons,” you respond,
slowly working your bones into
rocking chair shape with your own glass
on the wrought iron table beside.

Silence spoke between us.
The rocking creak of your chair on the boards
was hypnotic. I snapped out of my trance and
realized I had long since placed the new boards and
my glass drained.
“That looks so nice dear, my sweet Paul
couldn’t have done it better. Refill dear? Come
sit in his chair and rest a while.”
I obeyed.
“Can I tell you about Paul?” You poured.
I listened.

He called me his ‘Rambling Rose’, you
pointed at the sweet fragrant
roses climbing the trellis in your garden.
“Planted those on our wedding day…”
The crickets resumed
their chorus as she rocked somewhere else.
“I miss him.”

Your voice was heavy with remembering.
Would I miss Jessica with the same weight in my voice?
I couldn’t remember the last thing I planted in my wife’s life.
“Got to tend to them daily.” You said as if listening to my thoughts.
With that, you got up, went to the basket at the end of the porch, put on gloves, and tended your roses.
I slowly packed my tools and returned them to my truck. Reluctant to leave.

But, my job was complete.
“Goodby MS Daphnie,” I said, tipping my hat in farewell.
You held up a crooked finger. “Wait, son,
I have something for you.” You handed
me a small pot with a freshly planted cutting from your rose. Your cray paper hand squeezed mine with surprising strength.
“It’s never too late dear.”
With that, you turned
and returned to your chair
rocking rhythm, sipping
lemonade, and gazing at Paul’s empty chair.

I climbed into the truck and cradled the
plant between my lunch pail and toolbox. And as your
frame shrunk behind me, my
heart suddenly longed for home.
John Jr. would be getting off the bus soon,
it would be nice to greet him for once.
He was getting so big. Jessica’s lopsided grin,
came to mind. She playfully splashed dishwater
as I read the Sunday paper this morning.
“I was irritated she got the sports section wet.” I cried out. I
shook my head, shocked at the bitter root I tended. I looked down at the cutting again. Never too late.

The dust trail kicked up behind me as I took the dirt road to our home. I watched Jessica come onto the porch as she usually did to greet me. She held two glasses of lemonade in her hand. Her auburn hair catching fire
in the evening sun. So beautiful.

I came to mend your porch Ms. Daphnie
but walked away with you mending me.
As I swept my surprised wife into my arms.
My heart filled with joy.
“Can we save up for rocking chairs?”

Turning Your Page: Become a Healer

For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises every son He receives.

Hebrews 12:6 BSB

We need rocking chair healers in our lives. Those men and women who see our brokenness and do not turn away. They are the Ms. Daphnie’s of the world, who in slow and steady quiet, speak truth, and challenge our bitterness. Who do you have in your life that is a rocking chair healer? Write them a note of how their faithfulness has encouraged you. Take the opportunity to cultivate awareness of your neighbors so that you too can speak love, healing hope, and peace into their lives.

  • Describe a person who has encouraged you in simple or big ways. What gifts and talents did they use?
  • What areas in your life need encouragement? Seek out a friendship with a person who is strong in those areas. Ask them to mentor you.
  • Find a person to speak life into. Write a note of encouragement. Take opportunities to sit with, listen to, and be available when they are down.

Jesus you are my rocking chair healer. You sit with me, listen, encourage, and challenge me. Thank you. Teach me to slow down and be present in the lives of other hurting souls. Amen

Rocking Chair Healer

Here are a few of the Rocking Chair Healers in My Life:
Beth Moore– Breaking Free

When Words Fail: Laugh

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. 

Words have been failing me lately. Literally. I try to respond in conversation and I can’t bring what I want to say to mind, or I’m talking about cooking and “cat” comes out. Imagery and laughter aside, it is quite frustrating for a wordsmith to be silenced. So, since laughter is good medicine and the kids and I have been creating an abundance of jokes . . . here are a few of my favorites.


Why are suckers always singing? Answer: Because they are covered in rappers.

Why don’t musicians like the police? Answer: Because they place you under a-rest. (Daniel original)

What note can a car tire play? Answer: B flat

Who gets in trouble more, a football player, or figure skater? Answer: A figure skater, because they are always skating on thin ice.


Cultivate laughter, plant it in the lives around you and watch joy grow.




Freelance Fridays: Listening

Luke 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Daniel asked for advice this morning . . . or at least that’s what I gave him. Every suggestion he shot down as incorrect, and our conversation concluded with him stomping off declaring that I wasn’t listening, and me frustrated that he is such a “know it all”.

The question: Why did he come for me for help, if he didn’t really want it?

About 5 minutes later, the Holy Spirit breathed into my mind. “He’s right, you weren’t really listening.”

My eyes were suddenly opened to the truth of my own heart, Daniel’s, and the heart of Christ. I did not seek God, I just dove into fixing mode. Daniel needed me to listen and understand. The only answer was to take him to Jesus, and allow Jesus to work with him on this matter, not me. My answers, right though they sounded to me, and most certainly biblically based were not what was needed. He needed Jesus. I was a Pharisee giving him a to do list, while God is more interested in helping his being.

I went to Daniel, apologized for not listening. Empathized with his tough situation  and offered to pray. We held hands and prayed together. I trusted God more deeply to give Daniel the wisdom and insight to address the problem in a spectacular way I didn’t come up with.



Country Sailor

Pulling up anchor from the crowded

harbor of humanity, I navigate

the steady sea of rolling waves of fertile green;

planting peaceful rhythm within my weary sail.

Opening my lungs to the purer, sweet saltiness

of grass, animal and clay.

Birds sail the seas of heaven, diving in delight of


Fellow sailors, nod and salute from their faithful rusty ships

as rudders plod consistent course to their harvested catch.

And when I return to shore, the sea is carried within my soul.

Where Can I Go For Help

“Do you have your exit buddy?”–Crush (Finding Nemo)

When I began my healing process my counselor had me create a crisis sheet. Steps to take, people I could trust, ways to protect myself. One of the most important parts of the plan was having the person I could call at a moments notice and they will be there. Dori was that fish for Marlin in the movie Finding Nemo. She was loyal, insightful, an encourager, good listener (even if she had no short term memory) Who is your fish?

When Jesus sent out the disciples he sent them out in pairs. Why? Because this world is going to have obstacles and they are much easier to climb when we are not alone. My kids went to a warehouse that had a floor to ceiling climbing wall. Neither made it to the top the first time. Even though the spotter told them what to look for their fear made it hard to listen. Defeated they went on to other activities. Natalie was the first to go back to the wall and try again and this time she knew that the harness would hold her, so that fear was gone. She climbed higher, but still got stuck and looked like she was going to give up again.

The spotter (without a harness mind you) climbed up the wall beside her and coached her on how to climb. She quickly made it the rest of the way. At the moment she was ready to quit, the young man was her partner to the top. Who is your partner in those moments of depression? Please hear me the other person doesn’t have to be perfect, but they do have to have certain qualities that you are currently lacking. They need to see the bigger picture of your goals when you get stuck in the middle. Who is your exit buddy! ?

Reaching the TopSuccess

A Timely Touch: Letting others know that you are aware of their pain

I began sorting pictures and papers this week. As you can imagine the task hasn’t been easy; seeing my vibrant Jonathan deepens my heartache. I even found valentine cards. Yesterday I was struggling to not sink into despair. A card arrived in my mailbox and it was once again the timely boost I needed to get through the day.

Sometimes that is all it takes to break someone from their downward spiral. I call these moments when someone reaches out a “timely touch” that says I see you, I know you are in pain.

I encourage you, if you have anyone in your life who is struggling with the weight of their burdens, reach out and touch them with a note. If you are able come along side and share their burden, even better. Don’t be afraid to bother them. Don’t be afraid to see them. Don’t be afraid to grieve with them.

Your touch has made all the difference to me.

Suicide & Prevention Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 988 or go to the website at