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Finding Encouragement: From People

Encouragement from others

Sometimes, when we’re feeling down and discouraged, our natural tendency is to focus inward. This is especially true for many people who struggle with depression. Being around people, even loved ones, can be exhausting. It can be draining, and requires energy that you feel like you just don’t have.

Furthermore on those days we’re often more insecure than usual. You might think that you have nothing to offer, or that you’re just a bother.

Don’t believe that lie. Yes, it can be tough, but pushing ourselves to interact with others can be a game-changer when discouragement is involved.

Here are three types of people who can be especially helpful for you during this time.


I have to admit this one is tough for me. I have struggled with maintaining close friendships, and a lot of the reason is because of my depression. However, good friends can be such a blessing.

The key is to be discerning. Find 1-2 trusted people that you can confide in and ask them to pray for you. Find one or two trusted friends that you can call up and count on to help you get out of the house.

Be sure you’re hanging out with the right people here. Some might be great at letting you vent or ranting along with you, but what you really need is someone who will point you to Jesus. Look for someone who is grace-filled, but not afraid to speak the hard truths. Sometimes a little tough love is the best thing to pull us out of a pity party.

At the same time, if you’re struggling with clinical depression, unfortunately, you may have to tread lightly and be wary. Yes, hard truths are sometimes necessary, but at the same time, you need someone who understands that depression is a real medical issue, who will take it seriously and have your best interest at heart.

If you don’t have someone like this in your life:

  1. Turn to the Lord first. There have been times in my life when I’ve struggled with not having friends and looking back I can see that it was because the Lord was teaching me to turn to Him first instead of other people.
  2. Pray. Pray that the Lord will lead you to a friend, and that He will show you someone who is in need of your friendship as well

Godly examples

I love to find real-life encouragement from someone who has been there, done that…and has done it well. Look for those Titus 2 women in your church, or on a blog if you don’t have anyone in real life. Watch these women and see what they do. How do they get through trials? If you feel comfortable enough, you can even ask them for their advice. Just be sure not to discount it. Not everything will work for everyone, but some things may surprise you if you give them a chance.

Whatever it is–a blog, a book, a fictional character, a real person–find something that challenges you and encourages you. Most importantly, look for sources that point you to Jesus!

Someone to Serve

Bear with me, here. I get it. You’re overwhelmed. You’re tired and weary, and couldn’t possibly imagine adding one more thing to what you’re already doing.

I’ve been there and I get it. But nothing pulls you out of the doldrums like serving someone else.

Sometimes we can get so inward focused that all we can see is the stress of our own problems and to-do lists. When we look outside ourselves, things have a way of coming back into focus.

So look around you and find someone who needs something. Call a friend you haven’t talked with in a while–it could be that she’s discouraged too and your phone call could help you both. Take a meal to someone who’s been sick. Find something productive and encouraging to do for someone else.

You might be surprised at the impact it has on your outlook.

When You Need Encouragement

This post is a part of my Finding Hope & Encouragement Series. To see all the posts in the series, click here or the image below.

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Where do you find encouragement for those tough days?


Finding Encouragement: Count Your Blessings

Encouragement from blessings

I know this can sound trite, but it’s actually very important and effective.

Remember What God Has Done for You

What can you praise the Lord for? Sometimes when we’re discouraged or having a string of bad days, it can be hard to remember the things the Lord has done for us. But if we’re intentional, it can go along way in helping us regain a better perspective.

Here are some questions to get you started

  1. How has the Lord delivered you in the past?
  2. How has He provided for you?
  3. How has God come through for you when you needed Him, or brought you through a tough time?
  4. Has the Lord healed you or a family member from physical illness?

If you are really low, and really stuck, just thank Him for His merciful, saving grace. That alone is so much more than we deserve.

Remember those times that God has been there for you. He is never changing and Jesus has promised to never leave nor forsake His children. He has seen you through the valleys before and He will do it again .

Look to Your Blessings

Sometimes when we’re discouraged, our problems look so big. They start to take over until on the darkest days, the enemy will use your discouragement to lie to you and tell you that you aren’t blessed. That there is nothing good about your life or that you aren’t important.

Don’t listen. Don’t let that attitude win, instead look to the giver of all good things for the blessings in your life. Start naming them. No matter how bad your situation is, you have something to be thankful for. And on a regular discouraged day, you probably have tons of things to be thankful for. You just have to be intentional about seeing it.

Practical Steps

  • Start a prayer journal. This may not help you today, but it will help you in the future. This can be as detailed or simple as you want, but it’s so important for us to keep a record of the ways God answers prayers in our lives and moves in situations. It will help you to remember those things in darker times, and it will help to build your faith for the future.
  • Start a gratitude journal.  Start now, whether you’re discouraged or not. Every single day, make a list of 3 specific things that you’re thankful for. I’ve always tried to focus on gratitude, but when I started being intentional about listing 3 specific things every day, it changed my entire perspective.

Making intentional gratitude a part of every day has helped me to form a habit of seeing the blessings in the midst of trials. Start this now, and it will be easier to focus on your blessings on the bad days.

When You Need Encouragement

This post is a part of my Finding Hope & Encouragement Series. To see all the posts in the series, click here or the image below.

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Where do you find encouragement for those tough days?


Finding Encouragement: Look to the Lord

Encouragement from the Lord


The Lord is sovereign and He allows trials to come into our lives for a variety of reasons. The Bible is filled with men and women who were brought through the fire. Men and women who were overwhelmed and given tasks above what they were able to fulfill on their own.

Paul says this, “we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.”

Oftentimes, life is more than we can handle. It’s more than we can bear. But it’s never too much for Him.

God’s word says that He will bear the load for us if we will only let Him.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:28-30

If you are feeling weary and burdened, let those words wash over you today. Sometimes we hear certain verses so much they can almost lose their meaning, but don’t let it. Really soak in the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ wants to take your burdens from you. He will carry them. We can trust in the Lord and His sovereignty, no matter what the day brings.

Turn to the Lord right now and give your burdens to him.

“Oh what peace we often forfeit,
Oh what needless pain we bear;
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.”

What a sweet reminder that so many burdens would lesson when we trust in His sovereignty and give our burdens over to Him.

God’s word is filled with encouragement for His people! The book of Psalms is a great place to start. David often felt discouraged and even depressed. He had enemies coming at him from all sides. He was often near the point of being overwhelmed. Yet He turned to the Lord in every trial and trusted in Him. Even through the worst of it, he could say that he trusted the Lord, His deliverer.

God is your deliverer. Meditate on God’s word. The reminder that He is able and in control may be just what you need to lift your spirits.

Here is a link to some scriptures for those who are struggling.

Practical Tips

  • Praise/Worship. Turn on some hymns or worship music and praise God. There are so many reasons to praise Him, and getting your focus off of your problems and onto your creator might be just the thing you need to perk up.
  • Pray. A secret I’ve learned is to pray for someone else. Oftentimes, I’m so down that even praying about my own problems can be disheartening–because my focus is still on my problems! Instead, trying praising God, thanking Him, and praying for someone else.
  • Read your Bible. Make a list of encouraging verses. Copy some onto index cards to memorize. When those bad days come, you’ll have scripture–God’s words of life and truth–in your arsenal to use against it and get back on track.

Other Resources & Articles

When You Need Encouragement

This post is a part of my Finding Hope & Encouragement Series. To see all the posts in the series, click here or the image below.

need encouragement 2


Where do you find encouragement for those tough days?


Finding Encouragement {Series coming next week}

need encouragement

Life is beautiful. We only have to look around to see evidence of God’s power and glory all throughout His creation, and in our own families.

But, life is also hard. Sometimes it’s really hard.

I have suffered through severe chronic depression for years, so I understand those tough days. I’ve had days where it’s more mild and I feel down and discouraged, and days where my depression was so debilitating that I could barely get out of bed and function. Yes, that’s hard to admit but it’s true. Depression is a beast.

The Lord has seen me through many dark times.  There are times when clinging to His hope has been the only thing that has gotten me through. The light is always stronger than the darkness.

In addition to feeling the Lord’s presence and comfort in a deeper way, I have discovered many practical steps to take toward overcoming those bad days and discouragement.

Depression and Discouragement

Some of you don’t suffer from depression, but I know that even if you aren’t diagnosed with clinical depression, you likely have bad days. We all do. We all get down sometimes, and get discouraged when trials come. We all have those days where it seems like everything goes wrong.

There are days when life just feels overwhelming–finances, marriage, kids, homeschool, jobs. We all wear a lot of hats and so many things can cause stress. Some days we just feel tired, weary, and worn down. There are days when giving up feels like a good option because we don’t have mental or physical energy for anything else.

Because I’ve had a lot of practice with trying to fight through discouragement, I wanted to share with you some of the things I do to find encouragement for those times.

Finding Encouragement

All next week, I will be sharing practical tips and strategies for finding encouragement in the midst of depression, or even just relief from regular bad days that we all have.

I will be sharing the links here as they are posted. Be sure to subscribe to my blog in order to get each post in your email next week. You can also follow me on facebook, or pin this page, as I will be updating this page with links as each new article is posted.

I hope these hard-won strategies will be of benefit to you as well! And if you are suffering from depression, I would love for you to leave a comment here so that I can pray for you. I’d also love to see your own tips for thriving in times of discouragement or depression.

Note: Depression is a real, medical condition that sometimes requires medical treatment. However, there are some people who are resistant to treatment methods. There is no trite answer for depression. These strategies are not cures. This series is NOT a substitute for medical advice. It is simply my sharing some of the strategies that have helped me through years of severe, chronic depression. 

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Where do you find encouragement on tough days?


Teaching Math Skills with Yahtzee



Our family loves to play board games. It’s a great way to spend time together, and we’re always looking for games that the entire family can enjoy together. Some games that the boys love aren’t my favorite. I play them anyway, because it’s about the time spent together. But, I love it even more when we can find a game that we all genuinely enjoy.

Yahtzee is the current favorite. (Over the summer it was Monopoly Deal).

I wanted to share about Yahtzee in particular because of the educational value. We play games for fun, but so many board games offer valuable educational lessons as well.

The beauty of it is that I can be subtle about it, and my boys don’t think they are doing school. They are playing a game. But they are learning also–win/win!

Math Skills with Yahtzee

What you need:

Frugal Tip: If you don’t have a Yahtzee game, you may not need to buy the whole game. If you have some spare dice at your house, all you need is 5 dice, and Yahtzee Score Sheets. I love that you can purchase the score pads separately without purchasing a whole new game when they run out. We found ours at Walmart.

Now, on to the learning.

Recognition & Counting up to 30

When young players first start playing, they may need to count the numbers on the dice to note which number they have rolled. However, as they get more used to seeing those dots on the dice, they will be able to easily recognize the patterns of each number, so that they can see at a glance which number they have rolled.

Until children get comfortable with the addition, they can count the dots in order to tally their scores for several categories on the score card which require adding up the numbers on some or all dice.

Addition (1-5, up to a total of 30)

Once children get more comfortable with the numbers, they may not have to count the dots on the dice, they can begin to add the numbers. There are several categories in which this would be appropriate: 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s, 6’s in the top section, and the 3-of-a-kind, 4-of-a-kind, and “chance” in the bottom section.

Once they can look at the dice and quickly see which number it is, they can begin to add them. This allows children to practice adding larger numbers, and multiple numbers (some categories require adding the values of all 5 dice), up to a potential total of 30.

Note: More addition can be practiced, especially for older children, when adding up total scores. This requires more difficult addition–adding several numbers using ones, tens, and hundreds places.

Multiplication through 5 x 6

When a player rolls multiples, they often have to use that for a total (the top portion of the score card is 1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s, 6’s). Players get scores in those areas based on the multiple of the number they have rolled (i.e. a final result of 3, 3, 3, 4, 1 would be a score of 9 in the 3’s category). As children continue to play, they can learn and/or reinforce multiplication facts through 5 x 6, as the learn to quickly multiply those numbers to get their scores.


For older children, you can discuss concepts of chance and probability as you play. For example, a large straight requires 5 numbers in sequence. If a player rolls a 1, 2, 3, 4, he has only a 1/6 probability of successfully rolling a 5 and gaining the large straight. However, if a player has 2, 3, 4 and 5, he has a 2/6 probability of being successful since he can gain a large straight with either a 1 or a 6.

Obviously, there are also some more complex probabilities at play throughout the game, and can be discussed.

The game is recommended for ages 8+ My 6 year old plays just fine with the rest of the family, though he does get assistance with some of the math.

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