Encouragement (for Life as well as the Garden)

The Battle Within

In spite of striving to keep from being overwhelmed by the great waves of grief that come each day, I still find encouragement at almost every turn.

Bill and I use to have a standing joke about how easily we were encouraged. We always found encouragement in the most simple of things and some of the most unlikely places. But it kept us going in difficult times.

For example, I was watching an old Star Trek – the Next Generation as I ate my dinner the other night and one of the main characters spoke the words to another warrior that can indeed apply to all of us when we are doing battle with any problem or difficulty — no matter how simple or how grave.

He said “The true test of a warrior is not without, but within.
It is here (he said, with his fist clinched over his chest) that we have to meet the challenge.”

Pogo (in the cartoon strip) summed it up a bit more humorously, but profoundly when he said, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

Great accomplishments in life, no matter what area of life, are not without effort. Sometimes the greatest effort is in battling ourselves. That’s sure true with me, especially over the past two years.

Although I haven’t won the war yet, I have won major battles on a day to day basis. (That’s how you win the war.)

It takes some doing to take care of ourselves and to be of value to our families, our friends and our community. We all have much to do if we are to live life to the full and not just take up space.

I was about ready for bed when I happened to pick up a little book of poems I’ve had for many years without looking at it. I found just the right poem to make my point. It’s by Helen Lowrie Marshall.

I hope you will take it to heart and find it as encouraging as I did.

Reach high! The finest things in life
Are on the topmost shelves.
We have to stand on tiptoe—
Stretch our small, self centered selves;
We have to look above our heads
To where the heart can see,
If we would reach that finer life
We’d like our life to be.

Reach high! The best is always kept
Upon life’s topmost shelves,
But not beyond our reach if we
Will reach beyond our selves.



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  • Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
    That cloud of witnesses are our loved ones that have gone on before us. The word says we are surrounded; that means they are here but we just can’t see them with natural eyes. Use your spiritual eyes and Bills presence will comfort you for the tasks and days ahead.

  • Beautifully said, as always. You are truly one of those people who when life hands them lemons they make lemonade. Not only that, you save the lemon seeds, plant them, grow a tree, and share the fruit with the rest of us!

  • I have been thinking of you and wondering how you were doing, so appreciate your update! When I thought of you, I thought of the Scripture in John 16:32, when Christ knew that he would be left alone before going to the cross, but (Triumphant words!)he said, “I am alone, yet not alone because the Father is with me.” I have thought about that phrase SO much “…alone, yet not alone”. Your post above is summed up in these four words: “Sorrowing yet always rejoicing” (II Cor. 6:10. Thank you for sharing your heart with us, your readers.

  • Theresa,
    Can definitely relate to how the slightest encouragement can lift your spirit. You have been a strong, self-sufficient woman that, for the most part, needs nothing more than your own positive energy to motivate and move you past a situation or feeling. But, waves of grief are hard to ignore. If nothing else, they help me stay grounded by reminding me that I have to go through things to get from point A to B. And, as many times as I’ve seen the result of a good “pruning”, I’m still amazed at the new growth…always healthier, always stronger and always a surprising yield. Thank goodness, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy…and you get tomatoes!”

  • “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out”. I have no idea who said that but it does work. There is a reason we woke up this morning.

    Have a good day


  • LOVE this Theresa, thank you for your words of encouragement. 🙂 I wish for you a day filled with joy and peace beyond understanding.
    John 16:33

  • Theresa,

    Thank you for your inspiration…you are a light (in the sense of light=illumination) as well as light (in the sense of light=humor about our human condition).


  • Theresa,
    You are in your own right an amazing woman. The fact that you allow encouragement into your life, when all the negative things are ready to defeat you and defile you, gives you more available tools to use than many people. In essence this makes who you are.

    Sorry you are dealing with these things. It is in dealing with these things that brings out your wonderful character. We all love your character.


  • Theresa, your posts and your sharing are received with thanksgiving and they generate such deep emotion within me. No one can follow your blog without gleaning the gems of blessings you impart from your heart and soul — blessings of profound wisdom and truth and honesty and inspiration and comfort and strength and character. We, your readers, are grateful to be able to learn, grow, and share with you. Thank you so much, and may the blessings you impart return to you a thousandfold.

  • “It takes some doing to take care of ourselves and to be of value to our families, our friends and our community. We all have much to do if we are to live life to the full and not just take up space.”

    This is so true and thanks for sharing, having a few battles myself. Thankfully one day at a time and this too shall pass.
    Grief is not something that has a time limit, and I get it.

    Have a great day all of you and Spring is around the corner, so according to our groundhog.

  • Theresa, we all have battles to fight in our lives. Thank you for sharing your story and your words of encouragement. Everyone needs a little hope.

  • Wow! Love that. I’ll be writing that down. I am sorry you have to go through the pain, but you are courageous and are giving your gift to the world. Thank you!

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