When Erin was 18 months old, she started speaking in complete sentences, and she hasn't stopped since. She also potty trained early. I remember one night sitting on the sofa watching TV with Patrick when I see Erin toddling down the hall and into the nightlight-lit bathroom. I got up to check on her because there was no reason she should be in the bathroom without an adult, after all she was still in diapers. I walked in to the bathroom, and there Erin was sitting on the toilet with her diaper on the floor. I asked her what she was doing, and she said, "Pottying." As I stood there with my mouth agape, she did her business, pulled on her diaper and jammie, and went back to bed. The next day I went to get big girl panties, and officially started potty training. I have to tell you it was a lot of fun working with Erin potty-training her. I'd cheer and chant, "Go, Erin! Go, Erin!" She'd sit there grinning ear to ear bouncing up and down as I chanted. She'd get done, and I'd reward her with more praise and accolades. She ate it up. She loved being praised. She loved being rewarded by hearing her name in a chant, cheer or song. I think about how easy it was to parent her as a small child, and I miss those days. As a matter of fact, I thought I had the parenting gig down until #2 came along.
My son is totally different than Erin. Pearce has known what he wants out of this world since he was at least two years old, AND he knows how he wants to get it. He is determined, head-strong, strong-willed. But is he any less deserving of encouragement or praise? No. His reward, his encouragement comes in a different form. His reward is being outside, being with his daddy, being with the guys, but it is also in hearing how awesome his work is and how much I'm proud of him.
Who couldn't use a personal cheerleader from time-to-time? There are days when I wish I had a music box on my desk that when opened would say, "You're a good mom. You love your kids. You take care of your kids. Your kids are going to turn out just fine." We all need encouragement from time to time.
I learned the value of encouragement when my mom was going through chemotherapy for stage 3 breast cancer. My sister and I looked for ways to keep her spirits lifted from goofy boob or hair cards to pictures of her grandkids wearing her cranial prosthesis (fancy words for wigs).
There are those in this life that encouragement comes natural to them. They don't have to look for ways. It isn't difficult. They see to the heart of the matter to find the silver lining and can lift the eyes of the one who is struggling to focus on the silver lining. That is an amazing spiritual gift. I have been blessed with one such lady in my life. She is on my women's ministry team. She had been through some amazing struggles and hardships in her life including the death of a child, and yet, she has the ability to see someone struggling, listen to them, pray with them and raise their eyes to once again focus on the truth, their Savior. And every Sunday morning, this amazing lady sits in my office and waits for women, for you who are discouraged to come through that door for her to listen, to pray and to encourage. Mrs. Lavahn is an amazing lady, and I am so thankful God blessed her with the spiritual gift of encouragement. She has blessed me immensely.
Mrs. Lavahn is one of many ladies serving in their spiritual giftedness. Are you serving in your spiritual giftedness?