+THE GIFT OF BEING AN ‘ENCOURAGER’ (along with another brief message!)

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I have two things I wish to write about.  Here’s the first one:

From today – posted on the Prevent Child Abuse New York blog site

New Report Estimates the Cost of Child Abuse at $80 Billion a Year

Child abuse and neglect will cost our nation over $80 billion in 2012, according to an economic impact analysis released today by Prevent Child Abuse America. The report, Estimated Annual Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect, assesses a number of factors. Direct costs, which include hospitalization, mental health costs, costs incurred by the child welfare system, and law enforcement, total $33 billion. Indirect costs, including special education, early intervention, adult homelessness, mental health and health care, juvenile and adult criminal justice costs, and lost work productivity, total nearly $47 billion.  

Based on this analysis, New York will spend an estimated $5,264,534,000 to address the consequences of child abuse and neglect. This confirms what professionals in the field have long known: There’s a tremendous imbalance between what we spend on preventing child abuse from happening and intervening in and treating child abuse after it already occurs. New York State, for example, spends $23.3 million on Healthy Families New York and $2.5 million on Nurse Family Partnership, two early childhood home visiting programs proven to reduce abuse and improve outcomes for at-risk kids.

We should not diminish the importance of intervening in abusive situations and treating victims, but we must also recognize the trauma of abuse can not be erased. Abuse and neglect account for many grievous social ills. Victims are more likely to experience chronic health problems, mental health issues, developmental delays, poor educational outcomes, and involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

We need to prioritize children not only in our policies and budgets, but in our everyday actions,” said James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America. “Wouldn’t it make sense to develop a strategy that focuses on a national commitment to actually prevent child abuse and neglect before it ever occurred? If we could decrease these annual costs by 10% in the next 5 years, think of the great things we could do for children and their families. For example, $7.7 million provides 78,000 home visits to 2000-3000 expectant and new parents at risk of abusing or neglecting their child. Ultimately, this benefits not just families, but society as a whole.”

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There’s no possible way to put a dollar value amount on the cost of suffering – and no way to truly evaluate the lifelong consequences every individual infant-child abuse survivor lives with for their ENTIRE life!!

Leave it to Americans!  Check out this recent post –

+WHO CARES ABOUT OUR NATION’S CHILDREN? THE STATE OF AMERICA’S CHILDREN® 2011 REPORT

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Next I just wish to send an invisible thank you to a gentleman I met briefly tonight through a friend of mine who simply looked my way – and recognized one of my greatest gifts.

Nobody has put words to this gift before, not even me.  Yet as this man turned to me and with the love of his soul for God in his eyes and simply said, “You are an encourager.  I can see it in your heart.  I can see it all around you!”  I knew he was speaking the truth.

How did I know?  Because nearly 5 hours later my heart is still blazing with hope.  Hope for myself.  Hope for those I care about.  Hope for my own future.  Hope for all of our futures.

I needed to hear those words.  Yes, I AM an encourager!

On my way driving home from town afterwards a song came to me.  It has been many weeks since a song has sprung into, through and out of my heart.  It has been many days – moving into months now – since I have even been able to tolerate the sound-pitch-tone of any note on my piano keyboard.

As I am working out the notes for this song now – I can HEAR the notes and the song is beautiful!

It is an encouraging song.  I don’t have the words – not yet.  I don’t even know if the song will even end up having words.  But I KNOW the song is about encouragement – as I recognize how I needed God to speak to me those words of encouragement I needed to hear — through that man.

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I think about my garden in which I have been working many hours in recent weeks.  I love plants.  I love everything about gardening – even in this very harsh high desert Arizona environment.

I realize that what I do is ENCOURAGE plants to grow and to thrive in my garden.  What a new and fascinating way to think about my garden!

I also DO love to encourage people – who WANT to grow and change.  I don’t think everyone can be encouraged.  Some people seem to have the door of their soul slammed tightly shut – as if they have completely forgotten that God (however a person understands the only true God there is) exists at all.  More importantly people seem to have severe amnesia about the fact that all life belongs to our Creator – and that humans are spiritual beings with a soul that exists now and for forever.

It is only through the growth and advancement of our soul that we heal and grow – no matter what we wish as societies full of individuals to believe to the contrary.

It is spiritual living that matters to me, not the particular religion a person understands.  Spirit is power.  Nothing about the changes that survivors of infant-child abuse suffered in their early development particularly impacted anyone’s soul – unless a person has made their own CHOICE (with a few special exceptions as I see things) to pretend to ‘only’ be an animal.

Humans.  In a body that does, yes, belong while we live on Earth to the animal kingdom.  But then there is the part of us that matters.  Truly matters:  our soul!

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This man I met so briefly tonight knows he is a spiritual being – and that I am one, too – even though we do not share the same ‘religion’.  He was therefore able to share one of what must be his spiritual gifts – to see the spiritual person.

Therefore – this man could and did encourage me!  Encouraging is really even what my blog is all about!  I like this concept.  There is nothing about encouragement to me that smacks of any effort to control or to direct another person in any way.

I entirely missed out on encouragement as I struggled to endure and survive my 18 year childhood so full of terrible abuse, torture and trauma.  Nobody encouraged me.

Encourage’ is evidently a young word in modern English, appearing in the 15th century.  It can’t really be understood at all without considering the word, ‘courage’, around which encouraging occurs.

Definition of COURAGE:

mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Ah, but look:

Middle English corage, from Anglo-French curage, from quer, coer heart, from Latin cor — more at heart

First Known Use: 14th century

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It is HEART that lies at the center of this entire idea!  True heart, I know, is about SOUL.

I hope I can in small ways help people who are searching for new goodness, growth and healing recognize that their strength and power lies in their own heart, and that it is with our heart that we can reach out for assistance and courage from the greatest power for love anyone can even begin to imagine:  God.

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7 thoughts on “+THE GIFT OF BEING AN ‘ENCOURAGER’ (along with another brief message!)

  1. How wonderful to be given the gift of knowing your gift!! This such a special blessing after some
    Major tough times for you I think. I love this post on encourager and it is absolutely right. My friend
    Said: ‘its the one that goes through walls first that bleeds the most’ but the discovery and gifts we can
    Give ourselves and others through this is pricesless.
    Xx

    • Good to hear from you – and thanks so much!! I’m sure I have other gifts – yet so nice to have at least one person see one of them!! xoxox

  2. Twenty four years ago I weaned my youngest child who was 26 months old from my breast. I left the little one with a trusted dear friend for a week and traveled to a spiritual gathering organized by Baha’is and traditional Lakota elders that took place at the bottom of the sacred Bear Butte in South Dakota.

    There were hundreds of people there, and among them was a very special young woman who asked me a question one day: “What are you?”

    I began to answer her with all kinds of statements about what I knew about myself – until this woman interrupted me: “I didn’t ask you WHO you are. I asked you WHAT you are.”

    I knew she was talking about spiritual gifts. I could not answer her. I didn’t know. For 24 years I haven’t known. Tonight – I can feel it in my heart – this man who appeared before me as a stranger answered the question.

    “What am I?”

    “I am an encourager!”

    • Thank you, alchemynow for your story. That question kept popping into my head since I read this blog post (and your comment) over 2 months ago. I’ve been trying to find this post again for a month (it wasn’t in my history for some reason), finally found it again today after I asked the question to a friend on Facebook.

      After I saw the question I thought about it myself for a while, and have answered it for myself. I think this comment struck me and taught me more then the blog post could.

      I found the blog post while trying to find out how to know if I am an encourager. I’ve since found I am, and always have been but never identified that fact.

        • Thank you. After I found what it was, and was thinking about then the name “sparkgiver” entered my mind, it is what I am. A giver of sparks, to encourage others, and light or build up new flames. If you’d like me to I’d share my story with you, I’d be willing to privately.

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