Beliefnet
A Touch of Encouragement

Dear Friends,
This was a difficult week for me; it was the anniversary of my father’s death and it is always an emotional time. Seventeen years have passed and yet, as so many of you understand, a song, a photograph, an old letter can still bring back the crushing pain and the seemingly unbearable loss. For a moment, it all creates that familiar, terrible hole in one’s heart that we spend so much time trying not to look into. And if we aren’t careful, we can fall into that hole again and get lost in doubt and heartbreak. That’s what I struggled with this week and it was hard to get back to the computer, to you and to my work. I prayed for peace, for reassurance, for meaning. And then I waited on the Lord.
My answer came as soon as I sat back down at my desk and opened up this website.


I had fully intended that my next blog would be another story to bring you all some encouragement today. Little did I expect to find so much encouragement on these pages for ME! Reading your kind and amazingly candid comments this week has lifted me up and once again proven God’s faithfulness to use His children to support and strengthen each other.
I can’t respond to everyone individually, but I wanted to acknowledge a few comments today.
All of you who rallied to support Cheryl are just wonderful. It is overwhelming and deeply humbling to read of so many lives touched by loss by death, by rape, by murder, by illness, by betrayal. And yet in every one of your letters, you still offered hope to a stranger. I think of the Proverb: “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” In this case, it is your computers that speak life and hope so passionately! But the effect is the same – despite or perhaps because of all you are going through, love, faith, and persistence are more precious than ever and you have not been afraid to share that. Thank you.
To those who wrote of struggling at work with difficult jobs made harder by difficult co-workers, I share today the scripture “I know the plans I have for you. Plans not to harm you, but plans to give you a future and a hope.” It is a great thing to do your work well and with dignity. And if others don’t always see that, God does. It would be nice to hear “well done” from our bosses, but to hear it from the throne of God someday is the real goal. Keep your eyes on that.
To the gentleman who is mourning the loss of Goliath, I am so sorry and soon I will share a video that addresses your story as well as my own experience in the horrifying loss of my little friend Jackson Bear. In the meantime, my thoughts are with you. No one can tell me that God didn’t give us pets as unique gifts and as lessons in unconditional love.
To those who had less than encouraging comments, well, God love you. It just proves that this is a real place with real people who have genuine doubts and frustrations. I hope you know that this is a safe place for everyone to seek and question and hopefully discover God’s love.
In fact, it was you, Frank, whose comment “we don’t have an inkling about the afterlife” gave me the last piece of the puzzle today. The truth is, you’re almost right. We know so very, very little about this incomprehensible universe and the Source of it, the Alpha and the Omega, the Great “I AM.” But we DO have inklings. And you reminded me today to hold on to what I DO know.
And I know that as I stood as the bedside of my father during his last moments, I most certainly got “an inkling” of the afterlife. I saw a man who could barely breathe, barely move, incapable of speech suddenly open his eyes and speak words of awe and wonder just before he died. I only got an inkling of what my dad was seeing in whole for the first time. “For now we see but a poor reflection, as in a mirror, but then we shall see face to face.” (1 Cor: 13: 12)There’s no question in my mind that my father’s lifelong faith in “the inkling” that he was given was rewarded in that moment with the whole picture.
Thank you so much for your support. It is so exciting to see a real community beginning to form. We haven’t even started to tell the world about this website and yet here you are somehow. Thank you. And I hope as A Touch of Encouragement continues to grow, you will always be proud to say that you were here, at the very beginning.
God bless you and have a great day.
Martha

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