2016 was the birth year for enCourage. Our little blog burst into the world in February and has been running ever since. We are still in our infancy and have lots to learn but we are growing.
This year we’ve had 32 writers write posts for us. Some of these writers were people we know well and others were new to us. We also had a wide range of posts from topics related to motherhood to relationships; from growth in holiness to growth in community; from interviews with authors to learning more about our Savior. Our writers have encouraged us in our faith, ministry, and living out the gospel in our daily life.
At the end of the year we often look back and reflect. Television hosts share lists of “top ten” things from the year. At enCourage, we have our own “top ten.” Here are the top ten visited posts from 2016:
Adoption: God’s Glorious Plan A: Laura Wifler reminds us of this glorious truth, “For God, adoption was always “Plan A.” And this news, the news that we — the orphans that have been adopted into God’s family and can now boldly approach the throne — this news should make your heart sing! We have a Father that loves us! And how wonderful that this was always his plan!”
Older Women Teach Us to Pray: Megan Hill encourages older women to disciple younger women in prayer. “Older women can rejoice and weep in prayer with younger women—and they can help younger women bear their burdens to the throne—because they have had the same experiences.”
5 Reasons Why We Need to Rest: In this post, Heather Nelson gives us five reasons why we need to rest. “Rest is the regular rhythm of taking a break from the usual demands and stresses of life and ministry. Rest includes all of these components: mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical.”
Bible Study and Motherhood: Is it Possible?: Melissa Kruger encourages us with a resounding, Yes! Bible study is possible as a mother and she provides four reasons why. “Over time, the Word implanted in your heart will bear fruit. It may take years, but it will come. The beautiful harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will bloom in the fertile soil of a word-saturated soul. It’s impossible without Jesus. But, there’s such good news: All things are possible with Him.”
On Disney, Dreams, and the Dream to Come: This post, by Holly Mackle, reminds us that all our dreams pale in comparison to the dream to come. “So what’s your Disney World? Is it indeed a vacation? A job? A dream of something to come? No shame in hoping, but may we have eyes on the real prize. “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).”
The Seasons of Ministry: This post, by Christina Fox, looks at the seasons of our lives and the different ways we serve in those seasons. “Life is short; a passing breeze. We must be intentional and diligent in each season of ministry. We must learn and grow when it’s time for preparation, work hard while it’s time to work, and encourage others when it’s time to equip them to do ministry.”
Defining Miscarriage: We think we know what something is until we experience it ourselves firsthand. Christy Gambrell shares what she learned about miscarriage, “But when I went through it myself, I learned a new definition for miscarriage. Two months after my own, I wrote: “Miscarriage is a word you hear, but I didn’t know it meant this: the weeping of your body; the shredding of your soul; the wretched fear that someone will call the office in your new house a future nursery; the deep dread and terror it will happen again; the extreme exhaustion and tamped-down emotional life; and the sorrow that covers all this—weaving in and out like so many threads. ‘Miscarriage’ actually means your world was turned upside down, shaken around, and put back together all tottery and squint.”
Serving Others When You are on Empty: Sharon Morginsky encourages those who serve in ministry. “Serving and giving of ourselves is hard but sacred work. When we are overwhelmed it can feel like there is nothing left to give. Finding a balance and rhythm is essential to sustainable ministry.”
Evangelism and Motherhood: 10 Lessons Learned Along the Way: The fields are ripe and for moms, that’s good news. There are many opportunities for mothers to evangelize and share the gospel with others. Melissa Kruger shares ten lessons she learned in sharing the good news with moms in her community. “In the midst of bottles, diapers, and sleepless nights it’s easy to understand why motherhood is a season when we’re apt to miss the harvest that surrounds us. Often we’re like the workers Jesus spoke about in John 4:35, believing the harvest is months away when, in reality, the fields are ripe before us.”
Loving Sincerely Because We Have Been Sincerely Loved: Tara Barthel shares a personal story of conflict and how God’s word reminds and reorients us to the truth so that we can love others as we have been loved. “Look at how closely the confirmation of our calling and election are tied to how we treat one another! Look at how blind we are and how quickly we forget how much we have been forgiven when we fail to forgive one another and walk in brotherly love! And look, deeply look, at how our hearts can be reoriented toward love of God and neighbor.”
We look forward to what 2017 has in store and hope that we can continue to serve you through encouraging content and “gospel centered hope to fulfill your God-given design.”
Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at enCourage!