“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” 

Misery loves company and so does mercy.  The grace we have been given in Christ needs to be shared and communicated in word and deed.  When we are in trouble the grace that God gives others can be a source of real help and inspiration.  As Christians, as members of the Body of Christ there is a “compulsion” to help and encourage.  “WE Love because He first loved us”!

That encouragement can take many forms.  My wife’s surgery and long recovery has proven that sometimes one of the graces we receive is that of sharing a common problem and explaining how to get though it or what to expect.  Examples –

Our friends from East Grand Forks, Naomi and Jim Dunovan.  Naomi wrote a book that sits on Faye’s shelf entitled, “In the Spirit”.  It is published by the Grand Forks Herald and is a compilation of articles Naomi wrote for the Herald.  Jim has had numerous experiences with heart issues and was very comforting and encouraging.

Bill Sharpe the Executive Director of the North Dakota District has had the surgery that Faye had and was very helpful in understanding some of the things that were going on and what to expect.  He took my out to lunch one day as well and that is always appreciated.

John Fale the acting director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care shared some of his experiences both as a chaplain and as a patient that were very helpful.

Ronald and Jeanette Mcatee from Northwest Angle Minnesota.  Mac has had this surgery twice and showed my wife sympathy and understanding when I was trying to be “drill Sargent” and get her up and running.

All the members of my parish that have had and are still having issues and all the nurses of my churches that have been so helpful and giving great advice.  Sandi Lessard and Gloria Gebur have been great.  Sandi will be her rehab nurse at home and Gloria is our Parish Nurse.

So, I can’t list everyone but the connections and the mercy “crossings” of our lives are a constant source of amazement to me.  One of the gifts that God gives to the church is the gift of “encouragement”.  So if that is your gift, encourage away.

Like those plants in my back yard encouragement takes many forms, but all of them come from the “grace given us in Jesus Christ”.