On the Side: January 2019
by Carol Shrader
I usually fly through the process of getting rid of junk email. I zoom through each morning selecting everything that isn’t personal and then hitting the delete key – I hate having a ton of junk cluttering my inbox. But recently, an email from Fitbit caught my eye and gave me pause due to the word Italy in the subject line.
And hello – Italy. So, I opened it:
“Salute! You’ve earned the Italy badge by walking 736 miles – the entire length of Italy – you’ve stepped your way to another lifetime badge. That’s a colossal achievement.”
I’m not going to lie, I kind of live for the firework explosion that happens on my wrist any time I meet my step goal for the day. I have been known to do a couple laps through my house on the way to bed if I am close. I have even waited to go to the gym until my Fitbit is charged. I am WHO the company is marketing to with the notifications that encourage, the prompts that remind me to get up and walk to hit an hourly target, and that email? Well, that email caused me to hold my head a little higher, stand a bit taller and walk like a crazy woman the next week to see what badge I might obtain next!
Have you ever experienced encouragement that did that for you? (Oh, please tell me you didn’t just hit delete when you got the email from Fitbit!)
As I have mentioned here once or a dozen times, my amazing hubby and I are living in separate states due to some unique family needs. We are on the downhill side of this with only five more months to go (thank you, Lord!!), and I can tell you that it has been hard. Emotionally, I hit a wall this fall where it just seemed like the alone-ness stretched out forever. My spirit felt discouraged. My Fitbit was practically fire-work-free as I have struggled to put one foot in front of the other.
Rationally, we knew this year and a half across states wasn’t much worse than residency. We have made a point for Wade to come home as many weekends as possible, and I have gone to him as much as the kids’ schedules allow. We even laughed that the workload isn’t any different for me. I have always been in charge of home.
No, the problem wasn’t that I needed him here to help me physically running our family.
The problem is that I count on my husband to fill my tank emotionally. I count on him to assure me that I can handle whatever comes the next day – and when the triplets were younger that was a huge assurance! I count on him to encourage my heart.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11a, NIV 1984).
And ladies, guess what? Wade counts on me to encourage him as well.
We have been married 27 years. We have three 21-year-olds and a 13-year-old. We have moved to seven different states, gone to medical school, residency, fellowship and practiced surgery. He knows to wipe the pickle off my plate before I see it when I order a sandwich in a deli. I know to avoid recipes that have coconut.
And still, the thing we do for each other that matters the most:
We encourage each other to keep pressing on in the race God has set before us. Wade’s belief that I “can” always overrides my concerns that maybe I “can’t.”
As we roll into a brand new year, can I urge you to encourage your man? Perhaps you need to discover how he best HEARS your encouragement; can you make that a priority in the weeks ahead? Trust me when I tell you that our guys need to hear that we believe in them. I am trusting you to be better than fireworks on a Fitbit!
And when that seems like one more to-do task on a very long to-do list, may I offer you this:
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV 1984).
I am praying just that for you in 2019!
Blessings in this New Year,
Carol Shrader is married to her wonderful Wade, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, and currently lives in Mississippi and Delaware! Right now her Fitbit battery needs to be charged but the charger is in Mississippi while she is in Delaware…it is rendering her almost completely immobile.