About Encou{RA}ge and Being in the Battle

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  ~ Ephesians 4:29 
Encou{RA}ge was originally created to provide a space away from Pollywog Creek for me to record my thoughts and track my treatment progress as I learn to live with rheumatoid arthritis. I was confident that I would achieve a positive response from the prescribed treatments and that tracking my progress would be an encouragement to me and hopefully to others. After only a few months, concerned that it might cause me to be too inwardly focused, I put it aside.

So why am I back?

When I first shared my diagnosis with family and friends, I received a wide range of responses. I'll write more another time --- it's enough to say that some of them were not encouraging or helpful. Some of them were wounding --- even condemning. Though my confidence in how to proceed with treatment was initially shaken by those responses, I eventually realized that though some of the advice, suggestions, and resources from family and friends were misguided, they were still offered in love, with a sincere desire that I be free of the pain and disability associated with autoimmune diseases like RA.

It was that experience that inspired me to consider what it means to encourage others well. It's not in telling horror stories, talking about your grandmother's arthritis (which was probably not rheumatoid disease but osteoarthritis) or suggesting that unconfessed sin might be the root of illness, but what is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 

In Rose from Brier, Amy Carmichael wrote about suffering through the lens of her own chronic pain --- offering hope by comforting others with the comfort with which she has been comforted. That's how to encourage well --- to share how you've been comforted and to give grace to those who hear. A kind and loving word from anyone is a gift, but it is most treasured and encouraging from those, like Amy, who have walked a similar path of suffering. 
"For no man can tell what in that combat attends us but he that hath been in the battle himself" ~ John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress 
So I'm back here because I'm myself want to be an encouragement to others. I know what it's like to live with chronic pain and disability, because just like many of you, I'm "in the battle."

Want to know more about me? Go here.