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Home > Support > Mothering > Any ideas on how to deal with discouragement?
 
 
Question: I'm hosting a "mom's night out" at my home for Catholic homeschoolers in a few weeks. Our topic for the night is "Dealing with Discouragement." Any words of wisdom you would like to share with us? If you're coming to [our area] in early February, we'd love to have you join us.
Answer:

Dear Mom,

Thank you so much for your letter and for the invitation. I can think of nothing that would bring me more pleasure during these cold winter months than to spend an evening of conversation with other homeschooling moms. The weather outside in [your area] may be very cold but I feel certain that the companionship of others like yourself would be warm and cozy. I do not think that I will be in your area during February, unless the dear Lord has something in mind that I am not aware of today. J

Your topic for the evening is one that probably needs addressing at regular intervals in our lives. It is the human challenge, discouragement, and yet it is not necessarily the human plight. The Lord in His infinite mercy has given us the means necessary to combat discouragement through many different methods.

You are acting upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in your kindness and hospitality by bringing mothers together to share their feelings upon this subject. In so doing it is the will of the Father that we strive to uplift one another and be for one another what we can, in order to lift the veil of discouragement.

Discouragement gains momentum when we allow it to remain in our hearts. It is in the isolation of our hearts that discouragement can become the bitter beginning to fear. When we express our problems and openly ask for guidance from others of faith, it is then that we are reaching beyond the silence and into the hope that the Lord wants us to feel.

We are connected to one another through prayer. In prayer we are constantly uplifting and encouraging each other. The Lord desires to take our little prayers and multiply their power a hundredfold. He then uses these prayers to bathe each of us in the sweet gentle rain of hope, light, and inspiration.

Inspiration is the end result of our prayers and the reward for our faithfulness in the Holy Spirit.

I feel that it is very powerful for us to come before the Holy Spirit and ask with hearts and minds open and with an attitude of docility for the knowledge of the Lord's will.

When I begin to feel the darkness of discouragement slowly settling in my spirit, I must act quickly to dispel the lies that it eventually deposits. I know that these lies are from the Tempter. He is the laziest of soldiers. He uses to his unfair advantage our normal ups and downs in mood to plant his distorted ramblings. He tries to tell us that we cannot achieve our goals or work effectively through our problems. If we do not act quickly to tell him "Get behind me, Satan," then he snares our spirits and leaves us feeling lost.

We must remember that the Lord greatly desires to empower us to do His will. Our Lord is not a Lord of confusion or discouragement. On the contrary, He is a tender Lord Who works to bring us comfort, peace, and inspiration.

Sitting before the Eucharist and giving our deepest thoughts and perhaps fears to His care, is vital in the steps that dispel discouragement. Lay everything before Jesus. After this is done, pray the prayers that come from the Lord's "little ones." Then sit quietly and listen. Listen until you receive just one idea or inspiration. Ask with the faith and trust that the Lord tells us is our entitlement, for a sign of His care in the problem. He will give you that sign. He may send you a friend to speak with or a Scripture from an uncommon place. I always believe that the random Scriptures that I happen to read on billboards, etc. are meant just for me. J

We must be ready and open to receive His gift of encouragement. He has never failed me, though I have been in some very dark places of my soul. He is ever faithful.

After prayer it is necessary to act upon our hope, though we may not yet feel its power. Do something, anything that gets you moving forward. Mop the floor, take a walk, fold the laundry, or clean the bathrooms. The point is to set a doable goal and then do it. Force yourself to do just one positive action. Accomplishing something does more that we know for a faltering spirit. Remember we are to trust that the hope of the Lord is soon to arrive, because it will.

Offer up your desire to rest in the false comfort of immobility for the greater good of activity. The Lord will honor your actions and reward you immeasurably. Stay positive and surround yourself with persons who are positive. Challenges are not punishments from the Lord but compliments on service well done.J

I admire your zeal and tender care of other mothers. You are doing exactly what the Lord would want all of His children to do for one another. Be there, be ready to listen, be eager to help with words of encouragement and ideas of inspiration. This time that you are setting aside for the mothers will be as sweet to them as a warm breeze in Spring. God love you. Praise God for women of faith, for they are the pearls of great price to be sure.

Dearest Jesus, guard us tenderly lest the Tempter take our joy and replace our hope with discouragement. Give us the peace that passes all human understanding as we work through the challenges of our lives. Give us the firm and clear knowledge that all these challenges are designed for our better good beyond this world and to our benefit in our Heavenly home. Help us to remain open and docile as we approach Your throne and fall eagerly into Your arms. For it is there in Your grasp that we will feel renewed, strengthened, and able. We love You, dear Lord, and long to see Your face. Amen.

Again thank you for the generous invitation. I would be there in a heartbeat (as we say here in the South) if it were possible for me to do so. Perhaps we will have the great pleasure of meeting each other one day. J

Sending out a prayer,
Rita Munn

   
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