Encouragement for the Future

Recently the word ‘encouragement’ or ‘encourage’ began a drum beat on my heart. I wonder why I have set Tuesday aside to write thoughts. Where do I find the encouragement and the motivation? Then I realize that I am encouraged in my walk each day by the words written by my Grandmother and Mom and their testimonies of living for Jesus Christ, and the memories of family in the past.
Encouragement from the past provides encouragement for the future.

In the Grandmother Suderman (Anna Loewen Suderman), I read about her faith that embodied trust and acceptance of the Lord’s way through sickness and death. Throughout her life, God received her first fruits.

I read these words – “We started out (March 8, 1900) without worldly goods or rather we had very little of them, but we had hearts filled with love and looking forward to a wonderful life. Then soon little bundles from heaven came to us. How sweet they were. We loved them dearly. But sickness and even death did not bypass us. But we were together, sharing joys and sorrows. It hurt very deeply to give up our little loved ones (Gerhard, Daniel, Paul and Hilda), but God kept us and gave us comfort so that we could bear it.”

When the first census taker, Jacob Penner, came in 1900, Grandmother gave an account of their belongings, “2 horses, 1 cow, 1 top buggy, 1 plow, and a few other implements.” Mr. Penner responded – “Do you want to farm this way?”

In her usual positive demeanor, Grandmother responded, “Why yes, we will borrow a horse from father, we have a good wheat crop, and then we will buy a few things. We will be all right!” The journal continues, “And it was, the wheat crop turned out good, even if it rained a lot during the threshing. The moisture made the price of the wheat lower. We were able to buy three cows, a farrow and a new stove.”

It is no wonder that our grandparents raised six children who encouraged their children and children’s children to be faithful, to trust and to hope. Not living in the past, but in God’s future. What is a family for? It is to pray together, to love each other and from the heart encourage each other.

Some people wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Grandmother, on the death of her daughter-in-law, said, ” God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and God’s ways are not our ways.” Her acceptance of the death of her four children helped her family in the death of the little ones later.

Grandmother lived the verses in James 1:2-4. Adversary is a learning time, it is a trusting time, it is a time to breathe in God’s grace. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

As my Mother, Anna Daisy Siemens, remembered and was encouraged by her Mother’s faith in her last days. She wrote this poem to her mother:

When all the evening chores were done, I heard my Mother read God’s Word before she said,
“Be sure to say your prayers and go to sleep.” I head my Mother softly sing to me of angels winging by to keep their watch
When God turned out the light on on more day.

I saw my Mother weep when children hurt, and watched her dry their tears. I saw her kneel in prayer
because of my rebellious heart. I saw her hand knead dough to keep us fed and water garden flowers to feed her soul. I saw how God blessed her and that blessed me.

I felt my mother’s pride with conflicts won, but when I never tried, her disappointment weighed a ton.
I often felt her arms about me when I needed guiding help. I felt secure and safe within her love
through her, somehow, I felt in touch with God.

I sensed my Mother’s stubbornness when hills she had to climb were steep and temper flared.
Although at times humanity raged on. I sensed a sweet submission. God’s way won.
She found His peace serenely leading her across the golden shores when days was done.

And as for me, I praise my Mother’s God until my final faltering breath has ceased.
This earth may keep my lumpy piece of clay when angels wing my soul toward heaven’s home.

Colossians 2:2 – My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.

Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net