We all know how hard it is to find the inner peace we need to connect to HaShem when our lives are too busy. We also know that it’s a catch-22: how do we find inner peace without Him? Our Abba is fully aware of the challenges we must overcome, so He gives us help to remember that the only way we can really find shalom is when we feel His presence. That intimacy with the Divine is felt through our relationship with Yeshua.

No need to enumerate the reasons for disconnecting. We each have our own tsuris (worry) and excuses. Me included. I’ve made great strides in setting aside time for regular prayer and Bible study. All good steps in the right direction. Yet inspiration, the ability to feel our Abba’s closeness so deeply that we must express it to others, through music, writing, art, is one step deeper than just feeling it for ourselves. That’s been the missing piece.

As I was sharing with Sid this morning several wonderful recent happenings in my life, I said, “Wow! This is so encouraging! Like little God Love Drops.” And guess what, this Shabbat encouragement is a result.

I realized the power of encouragement. When we encourage others, we transmit His love to others. When we are “doing”, as when I was working on several projects this morning, we get so immersed in the process that we can’t appreciate its value. Often our work is never recognized. It’s just taken for granted. So when another person steps in to truthfully tell us when our efforts have made a difference, the power of that loving statement removes us from the doing and allows us to feel loved and appreciated. Although no one told me I did well today, it was clear to me from the chain of wonderful happenings that Abba, Himself, was my encourager.

How was I able to hear Him, to know this?

Rather than be overwhelmed by all that was on my plate, as each surprising seemingly small task was completed, and with an unusually good result, I was grateful. And then another Love Drop as another accomplishment occurred. Another feeling of His presence as another surprisingly good result happened. Each event seemingly small, but together, made me smile, made me feel His closeness, like a dad encouraging his child. Having that attitude of gratitude, and feeling loved, opened my spiritual ears to hear His encouragement and thank Him, filling me with such overflowing happiness that it had to be shared.

There are times in our lives when we don’t feel the need so strongly for outside reinforcement. There are times, however, when we do, as has been the case with me recently, and with most of us when feeling under the gun, overwhelmed, or just not ourselves for one reason or another. The more centered we are with HaShem at the helm, the less we need His obvious encouragements but life being what it is, we often lose that sense of centeredness and need outside reinforcement, from Him and from His hands on earth – our brothers and sisters in life.

We are designed to be receivers from and givers of love to others. The circle of love from Him to us, and we to others, and back to Him through worship becomes complete.

Moms and dads who tirelessly do for their children do so not expecting anything in return. That’s just how they are wired. Yet when a child reciprocates not only with his or her love, but also, with a word of appreciation, such encouragement will light up any exhausted mom or dad. This dynamic is true at work with colleagues, at school with teachers, at the grocery store with the store clerk and bagger. It’s even true with those we encounter, “So kind of you to hold the door for me.” “Thank you for your service today. You were so helpful.” “That was really nice of you to help me.” “You work really hard and I just want you to know you make a difference.” “That’s a thankless job and I really appreciate your doing it.”

The opportunities are endless for each of us to make a difference to another as we encourage those in our circles of love. And as we do, and as we live lives of thankfulness for His blessings, we become even more able to hear our Abba, the ultimate Encourager of us all through His profound love.

Shabbat shalom.

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