Be a Barnabas

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I’m known in this world. Now, I’m not talking about popularity or notoriety. I’m speaking about how I’m known in the circle of my Christian brothers and sisters and to the dark world around us.  My heart’s desire has always been to be a cheerleader. One who encourages others.

In scripture, God shows us such a man. His name was Barnabas. Did you know that Barnabas was born with the name Joesph? It’s true, go look it up. The disciples often referred to Joseph has “Mr. Encouragement.” (Acts 4:36) Therefore his name changed to Barnabas, meaning Son of Help. Barnabas was known as a giving man. In fact, the chapter ends with Barnabas taking the money from the field he sold and laying it at the feet of the Apostles. Can you imagine being so encouraging that people referred to you Mrs. Encouragement? Being so giving that you give of your time and your resources with a generous spirit instead of begrudgingly? 

Truth is, many of you are a Barnabas. God has given you that gift of Encouragement. You may or may not realize it, and you may or may not be comfortable with it, but that’s the gift He has given you. If all of us with this with gift accepted it and acted on it in faith, can you imagine what growth could occur in the church? 

Rather than people feeling judged or inadequate, a Barnabas would encourage others with the giftings they see in them. They would help them understand that except by the grace of God, any of us could have walked down the wrong path. We all have things in our past we would rather people not know. Isn’t it time that we allow others to know they don’t have to be perfect to come to God? That He will love each of us just as we are, yet with that love, He will totally change a person and transform them into a person that is LIKE Him. 

Kindness is contagious. So is Negativity.  What you would rather be known for? Someone who encourages others to be the man or woman of God He has called them to be, or one that discourages and crushes a spirit? 

There is new song out that’s popular in both the Christian and Country music realms.  In this song, I’m struck by the lyrics that state: 

In a time full of war, be peace 
In a time full of doubt, just believe 
Yeah, there ain’t that much difference between you and me 
In a time full of war, be peace 

In a world full of hate, be a light 
When you do somebody wrong, make it right 
Don’t hide in the dark, you were born to shine 
In a world full of hate, be a light 

Today I encourage you to take a spiritual gifts survey, see what your gifts are. I included a link to one for you here: https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/spiritual-gifts-survey/ 

I think we can all agree though that we can be an encouragement in this world, we can all be a light in a world full of hate. Be a Barnabas today! 

Spiritual Doulas

joy-and-sadie-newbornIf you’re like many, you may not have heard the word “doula” before. It’s a word that represents someone who helps a woman in childbirth.  Doulas have been around for thousands of years and are often described like a mid-wife, but they usually aren’t the ones actually delivering the baby.  Rather, the focus of the doula is on easing the mother’s laboring discomfort and encouraging and supporting her through the pain.

After delivering my son in a very traumatic birth experience, I decided any future births would be assisted by a doula. I just so happened to have two great friends who were doulas.  This worked out perfectly for my last two births. When my baby girls came into this world, I needed the support of someone other than my husband who, as loving and well-intentioned as he was, had no real clue as to how to help me through the absolute toughest physical moments of my life. These ladies took turns rubbing my back or my feet; speaking in soothing tones words of encouragement and affirmation; wiping my brow with a wet cloth; feeding me ice chips; dousing me in essential oils; and cheering me on until my babe was safely in my arms.

It occurred to me not long after my first doula-supported birth experience that we, as women, or really we, as human beings, need doulas for life… particularly in the hard times. One of the mental roadblocks I had to having a doula with me, specifically one who was my friend, was that I would not have any privacy. Childbirth is messy, gross, beautiful, and hard! They were going to be all up in my personal business and there would be no physical privacy. Any amount of crazy I experienced during the pains of childbirth would be fully exposed to people who knew me well.  I wouldn’t be able to hide anything.

We need that in life.  We need people who can be all up in our business, who see it all. We need people we can’t hide the crazy from.  If we can be real in front of people, then we can receive the support we need.  We need spiritual doulas who are willing to get in the mess and the pain and the hard and the beautiful of our lives.  In this way, we can be encouraged, spurred on, pushed toward the end goal, and be uplifted as we navigate this journey of life.

We need to be spiritual doulas for others.  We need to be willing to walk alongside other women in their darkest, hardest, messiest hours, so that something beautiful and blessed and sacred can come out on the other side.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” (Hebrews 10:24)

“But exhort one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  (Hebrews 3:13)

Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Who in your life is a spiritual doula for you? Is there someone who needs you to become their spiritual doula? Ask the Lord to help you answer these questions and equip you with the gifts needed to minister to others around you.

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”  (Hebrews 6:10)

That’s me on the left and the rest of these gorgeous blondes are some of my Spiritual Doulas.

spiritual-doulas-2

Top photo of me with my 3rd child courtesy of Deidre Ruth Photography.