The Encouragement Manual

Hi, I’m Clare. My husband and I have five children (aged between 11 and 2). Most of the time I feel incredibly blessed to be a busy Mum, but occasionally, well, I don’t! Raising children is hard, exhausting, and sometimes unappreciated work, requiring reserves of patience, wisdom and strength that I just don’t have.

Fortunately, there’s an Encouragement Manual written for people like me. And, amazingly, it’s written by someone who created my children, and loves them even more than I do.

When the dirty dishes are piling up, laundry is everywhere and I can’t see the floor for the toys, it tells me that all these menial tasks can be holy and meaningful too.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Through endless days and disturbed nights, it encourages me to keep going.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

When I am worried about how life is going to turn out for my children, it tells me not to be.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

When my children are driving me crazy, the Manual reminds me to view them the way that the author, their Creator, does:

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them. (Psalm 127:3-5)

When I feel like what I am doing is not important or worth much, it reminds me that spending time with my children and teaching them about God is exactly what I should be doing.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6v5-7)

And that if I am faithful in this, the benefit to my children will be immeasurable.

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

All your children will be taught by the Lord,
and great will be their peace. (Isaiah 54:13)

In all this, and in many many other ways, God’s Word the Bible supports me, lifts me up, and gives me hope on a daily basis. I am certain that it can be an Encouragement Manual for you too, no matter who you are or what you do. God created you and loves you and wants to tell you:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)