What Encouragement Looks Like

If I went all the way back to the beginning of this journey, I could write one hundred pages or more detailing the many, many ways people have come alongside and encouraged my heart and the hearts of my family.

But instead I’ll just start with a couple of weeks ago when we found out that Ryker would be delivered early-ready or not!

ryker lauging 31 weeks

Encouragement looks like an old friend who texted back and forth with me the whole day as we awaited word that baby was born, his mama was safe and my son in Africa approved to come home.  She kept me company even though we were miles apart.  She sent random prayers and helpful details from her own premature son’s journey.  She let me vent, moan and cry.

It was a gift.

Encouragement looks like a sweet friend who looks after our little farm and ridiculous animal set ups on a moment’s notice so I can drive down to be with my family and welcome this new life.  She even continued the physical therapy we were doing with an elderly goat.  Sitting in the pen, forcing her to stand, in the rain, under a tarp.

That’s love.

Encouragement looks like people who take just a minute to “like” and “share” the updates about the baby.  You don’t even have to leave a comment, but evidence of your presence and prayers lifts all of us up.

It helps our hearts hold onto hope and strengthens us for the journey.


Encouragement looks like a beautiful worship song messaged to me one morning by a mom I’ve never met but consider a good friend.

Encouragement looks like taking my hand at church, looking me in the eye, and asking, “How are you holding up?” before asking me about church business or the weather.


Encouragement looks like all the folks I’ve never even met but who follow the blog and ask me for an address to send gift cards to this little family trying hard to take care of one another.  I cannot begin to tell you how that overwhelms my heart.

And it’s less about the material help (which is HUGE!) and more about the time and effort someone is willing to put in for a couple they haven’t met but love anyway.

Encouragement looks like my family vet who called me every day I was out of town and reported on my companion animal, an older cat who had stopped eating and drinking a couple days before we left.  All of my kids worked at her clinic over the years.  James Michael learned a lot from her before he went to vet school.  She knows how much the cat contributes to my sanity and emotional well-being and treated him like her own.

She didn’t have to make that additional effort, but she did.

roosevelt in the golf cart

Encouragement looks like all the comments, messages, notes and posts from fellow bereaved parents who are just as excited and joy-filled this story didn’t end in sorrow.

I think that is perhaps the greatest gift.

Those of us who know what we know and are so thankful they were spared.

That’s encouragement.


lifting up

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

9 thoughts on “What Encouragement Looks Like”

  1. I dont think that it was a coincidence that a friend, I’ve never met sent me a song by Ray Bolz, The Anchor Holds. We met on Facebook and continue to follow and encourage each other. I bawled of course, not only at the message in this song but the act of just thinking of me enough to send it means sooo much! To God be the glory!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The words you write are so loving and kind. Lifting me up when I need it most. Not really knowing what to do or say in return. Except to send a little bear hug.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I went to sleep last night in tears. Tears again this morning. Then I see your beautiful blog post with words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for writing your real and authentic heart every day. You encourage me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Encouragement is your daily blog you write daily to all of those who have had there children run away to heaven. You have been my encouragement on my grief journey with loss of my son. Continued prayers for your grandson who is a fighter just like his grandmother.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Melanie, encouragement is your daily blog to me every morning. You have been my encouragement on my grief journey loss of my son. You write my heart. Continue prayers for your grandson. He is a fighter just like his grandmother

    Liked by 1 person

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