Monday, August 26, 2013

what you can do in 30 days

I barely blogged this month. Instead I focused on crocheting as many things as possible to provide encouragement to complete strangers on social media. My heart was filled with so much joy in seeing people reply to a hurt, a need or a prayer request. Watching others pour out their words to mend a broken heart or a battered spirit. Unconditional words of hope, affirmation and just letting people know that they are not alone. 

I was not the captain of this ship. Those who encouraged others are. I didn't comment at all so it wasn't me. It was you who steered this ship. You made a difference in a strangers life. You gave them hope. 

I wanted to thank you for participating in this extra yarn encouragement with me this past month. Not only did you change the life of those you encouraged, but you changed my life by watching you unconditionally reach out to others in love. 

lamb hat, three teddy bear hats, five granny square ear-warmers,  IG Giveaway (5 hats), Wegmans Employee (crochet ring), VA Beach Ladies (two crochet rings), IG Giveaway (20 crochet rings), Anchor banner, Family Banner, Rad Banner, Facebook Giveaway (3 hats)

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

taking my toddlers advice

Today I've come to realize that Judah is a spirited child. That I will probably be spending extra time in his toddler years teaching him that he should not run towards the road, that he should listen when I first ask him to do something and that getting excited and throwing your truck in the air is not a good thing because it could hit someone in the head.

These lessons are not fun. They are not fun for Judah and they are not fun for me. I sometimes feel like I am repeating myself so many times through out the day that I forgot to have my very own thoughts on things. That my mind is jumbled with "do not throw your truck" "Come here" and "Do not run into the road". I feel like I have become the mommy robot of "no's".

After leaving the play group today we headed over to Target to grab some necessities we needed for the home. Bone weary, walking through the aisles Judah grabs my hands and screams "Mommy YOU are amazing! You are beautiful and I LOVE you!!" I looked at him. His fidgety toddler body squirming in the cart to reach over and pull me down for a hug. In that moment I thought I should take Judah's advice.  Maybe I've been allowing my brain to be taken over by my "no's" and I haven't been listening to the messages my toddler is trying to give me.

The other day Judah made this video for IG. In it he says 
"What defines us is how well we rise after we fall. You are strong. You are beautiful. Hold on and kick some but"

what defines us from Jessica Judkins on Vimeo.

How am I responding to a bad day?
How do I respond when I feel like I've taken an emotional hit from someone?
Am I believing that I am a strong person?
Do I see myself the way my sons sees me....beautiful?
Am I getting up and kicking but with my crochet business?
Do I love others boldly and serve them passionately?
Do I bravely reach out to encourage someone who looks bone tired and discouraged? 

Judah is a toddler. He could be having the worst day in the world one second and the next be the happiest kid on the block because he saw a butterfly on our path. He doesn't care if he is awkward, what he is wearing or if someone was upset at him a few seconds ago. He will still love boldly and run up to hug his friend. When ever someone looks sad, Judah will stop what ever he is doing and encourage that person. Even if its his mama who feels discouraged from disciplining him all morning. 

My sons spirited soul convicts my heart to the core. I believe The Lord made him spirited so I am able to see what it looks like to love courageously. The Lord is teaching my heart to pause, take in the joy of my son spirit and really listen to how he is loving others around him.  He is teaching me that I am missing out on a whole bunch of encouragement by focusing on my "no's".

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

take what you need {encouragement}

A few months ago while searching for some encouragement ideas I saw this "take what you need" tear off on Pinterest. I loved this idea and kept it in my back pocket, meditating on how I can use it in one of my encouraging it forward adventures with Judah. Today after church I started to put together one of the tear offs. As I was putting it together and writing down the words love, hope, faith, prayer ect I started to think of the people who will look at the tear off. I wondered if they would look at it after having a hard day, hearing some bad news or if they felt like they needed a hug. I questioned myself "How can I make this more personal to the random stranger looking at this. How can I impact their life".  Then I thought of one of my sisters who is going through a really hard time right now. How recently she started writing verses in her facebook status updates and how appreciative she is when I randomly text or email her an encouraging verse.  I'll probably never meet the people who read these tear offs so why not sprinkle some hope in my encouragement.
take what you need from Jessica Judkins on Vimeo.

For the non scripture tear offs I used the words people already used on Pinterest. I wrote the tear offs with colorful markers so they standout and look cheerful. For the tear off with the verses I thought of which verses are encouraging me to me (I'll probably use different ones for each tear off I create).
The tear off in the picture above I used the following verses:

eternal life {John 3:16}
hope {Psalm 33:20}
faith {Hebrews 11:1}
peace {Matthew 11:28-30}
prayer {1 Thessalonians 5:16-18}
forgiveness {1 John 1:9}
joy {Romans 15:13}
comfort {Revelation 21:4}

Judah and I are going to tape these up tomorrow while we walk our neighborhood and the local college campus. I figured since its a Monday people would need to tear off a piece of paper to serve as an ebenezer (stone of help) to keep in their pocket to remind them that they have hope.

I would encourage you to create a few "take what you need" tear offs and tape them up around your community. Feel free to use the one I posted!
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

to encourage and be encouraged

It takes courage to encourage. It takes a fearlessness to step out and ask someone if you can mail them something encouraging. It takes bravery to comment and hope that the words you compose will speak directly to the recipients heart. Its even heroic when someone gives another person hope. Hope it is a lifeline. This is not what I think of myself, but these are the words I think of when I see others encouraging people around them. When I read comments of people connecting to those in need of hope. Giving another human being hope is affirming that they are not alone, that someone is thinking about them, or praying. That they are not isolated.

Have you ever felt isolated? I have. Isolation can creep into the hidden parts of your heart and like a sponge will expand. It will try to choke out any hope.

Just a few words of hope. A smile. Letting someone in line ahead of you. A letter. Waving to a stranger or paying for their drink. Words and actions of encouragement can change a life. Encouragement can tear apart that decaying sponge of isolation. Encouragement will shine a light into the deepest parts of your soul.

This is why I love to encourage. It is why I want to motivate people to encourage others around them. Even if I am giving something away to "encourage" them to speak words of hope into someones life. This week you have an opportunity to change a life. To change many lives. Im giving away a handful of hats on my facebook page. Go to this picture and encourage someone today and let me know how you or someone else may need some encouragement.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

fighting dragons

You know how some Mondays just really feel like Mondays. The type that you find yourself fighting dragons all day long, putting out fires and trying to accomplish anything with out getting burned. I felt like that this morning. I was on the fence about going to a MOPS play date at the church. In my stomach I felt this fear and apprehension of meeting other Christian moms in a big play date setting. My mind was starting to fill up with thoughts of not being accepted, fitting in and that I would want to leave as soon as I got there with a screaming toddler at hand. But Judah kept asking for his friends and I thought "I'm going to fight this dragon of fear and attend this play group! I know that The Lord has provided the perfect moms to be in my life right now and they are just as excited to see me as I am to see them". I felt like I was fighting dragons while I was trying to get Judah out of the house in time for the play date. Pleading with Judah to eat his breakfast, searching for his cloths that I had already laid for him, getting his snacks ready, stopping him from drinking water out of the fish tank and grabbing one of my flower vases just as he downed the dirty flower water. Then as I was running down the stairs I tripped and twisted my ankle over his fireman boot. When I thought we could finally leave the house Judah surprised me with a huge dirty diaper explosion. All morning long I was at battle with the dragons, fighting over their words of worry, unbelief and discouragement and trying to not give up. 

Finally when we were driving over to the church I looked up at the gorgeous fluffy clouds in the sky and said to Judah "look at the dragons!". The clouds all resembled dragons going into battle, some of them ready to attack with their ferocious jaws open wide and others were sliced apart and scattered across the sky from losing their battles. Then I thought, I may have some battle wounds from this morning, my ankle is a little sore and my house is a mess from wrangling up Judah. But I decided to take on my fears and to fight the dragons of lies. We ended up having a great time at the play date, hung out with some friends, made new ones and Judah with the encouragement of one of his friends climbed up a ladder to the tallest slide all by himself. 

We both conquered some dragons this morning. Next time we hear the dragon of discouragement we will both be able to recall upon our successful battle of this morning and know that we can take up our swords and chop his lying head off.  We will never know how amazing friendships can be unless we take that step outside of our comfort zone, even if its stepping into a huge unknown play group at the church.

Ephesians 6:10 (NASB)
finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might

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