Tag Archives: encouragement

Nothing Good Gets Away



I just discovered this letter. It took my breath away. I had to share.

John Steinbeck wrote it to his son.  His son was at boarding school and had written to his father to tell him he was falling in love.

This is so beautiful and tender and true.

It brings tears to my eyes because I had a father that wrote letters to me.  My dad wrote me once a week when I was in college…his beautiful handwriting on thick paper folded neatly into a matching envelope.  Always addressed, “Dearest Susan” and always ending with, “Love, Your Father”. He was gentle and kind. I miss him.  I’m so grateful he was mine.

All of this has me thinking about the things we tell our kids.  The advice we give and the way we shape their views through our responses.  Oh Lord I pray for the right words to tell my kids. I hope that I have offered (and will offer!) words that will give hope and encourage.

Here’s the letter.  Enjoy.

New York

November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First—if you are in love—that’s a good thing—that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second—There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind.
The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable.

The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply—of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it—and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone—there is no possible harm in saying so—only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another—but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.



I know. Take a moment. Reread. NOTHING GOOD GETS AWAY.

I’d love to read your comments. What advice did your parents give you that encouraged you?

©2016 Sue Bidstrup, All Rights Reserved, Great Big Yes™

Who me? A straggler?

Our verse today in Holy Yoga was from 1 Thessalonians 5 in the Message:  “Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet.  Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs.”

When I read the Bible, especially if I’m focusing on a short passage, I like to pick out the words that speak to me.  In this one…I just love the word, “Stragglers”.  I’m not sure I’ve ever used the word before but I totally get it.  You know?  I don’t know the official definition but I know I am one.  Isn’t it crazy how that works?

I love this passage for so many reasons.  It makes me want to cry out in gratitude for all the encouragers in my life…the people who saw me when I was exhausted and pulled me to my feet.  I especially want to thank the ones who saw me when I was exhausted, told me it’s okay, let me lay down for awhile, brought me Diet Coke and chocolate and then…pulled me to my feet.  Those people that were/are patient with me and attentive to me.

I remember reading a poem when I was younger about people being either “lifters” or “leaners”.  I loved it and saved it in a scrapbook, my teenager self planning out my life as a “lifter” as if that was the only thing to be.  Now that I’m older, I don’t think it’s an either/or thing.  We must be both.  We need to lift and lean.  A lot of the people we will need to “lift” are people who have been “lifting” others so long, they are finally breaking under the weight of it all.  As the Rolling Stones sing, “We all need someone to lean on”…Amen?  Plus, the lifting is more fun when you know how it feels to lean.  When you have been encouraged, it feels so good to share that encouragement with others.

So today…this is my prayer.

Lord, help me to see the people in my life who might need a little pick me up.  Open my eyes to see the stragglers, the exhausted, the ones who need some encouragement.  Lord, give me courage to gently, patiently, attentively, serve them.  Maybe it’s just a smile they need.  Maybe it’s a listening ear.  Maybe they just need me to tell them that I’m a straggler too.  Maybe they need to know we are all stragglers…Arm me with an open heart and maybe some diet coke and chocolate…and show me your people Lord…Help me be a lifter today.

Oh…and Lord, if it’s me…if I’m the straggler…If I’m exhausted and can’t find my way…if I need encouragement…speak to my heart, cover me in your Grace, drown me in  your love…help me to treat myself gently, to have patience with my own needs and remind me that it’s okay to lean…that it’s necessary…that you did not design us to break under the weight of it all.  Help me to lean when that’s the necessary thing and to have no shame but open my hands to receive the encouragement of all the lifters you are preparing to serve me when I need it.  Amen.

In Holy Yoga, I call Child’s Pose Warrior 4.  I heard another teacher call it that once and I thought it was brilliant! There is no such pose as Warrior 4 officially but there is a Warrior 1, 2 and 3.  I believe Child’s pose, which is our resting pose, should be called Warrior 4 because here’s the thing…sometimes it takes the MOST STRENGTH OF ALL to admit we need to rest…to admit we need to lean.  Realizing that we need to rest and then actually resting takes Warrior strength.  But if we can get there, if we can surrender, we will be supported and encouraged and renewed. Praise God! 

down dog assist

©2014 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™, All Rights Reserved

Join us for Holy Yoga on Tuesdays at 9 am and Sundays at 4 pm at the Presbyterian Church of Western Springs, 5250 Wolf.  All lifters and leaners are encouraged to join us! 🙂 Hope to see you! 

Be Encouraged!

Image Last week I wrote about how difficult it can be to write honestly when I worry about people’s reactions.  I know that I shouldn’t care about that but I do. I want to be liked.  It’s important to me (sometimes too important) that people are happy and not offended and everyone plays nice together.  Plus, I really like “likes” on Facebook and hits on the blog and I can get wrapped up in numbers and all those outwardly ways we measure our importance.  And then I know better.  I know it’s not about me and I want to share God’s message of hope and love and I want to and need to let Him lead so then I feel guilty and selfish and I feel like I failed.  So there it is. Just laying it out there again in case you missed it.

God responded with these encouragements:

1: Post from Anne Lamott:  “This brings us back to the best riddle of all time. Q: What’s the difference between you and God? A: God NEVER thinks He’s you. So write what’s on your heart, even if your best friends won’t love it. We are in the striving business but God is in the results business, so the exact right people will read/like my book, and yours; and you know what? This is SOOO awful–the other’s won’t.”    (I bolded that sentence myself because it’s SO GOOD and spoke directly to me.  I have to say I was relieved to read that she struggles with these same issues.) Read the whole post here:   https://www.facebook.com/AnneLamott

2: Post from Alisa Keeton with Revelation Wellness:   “Don’t look around to see who is following or listening. Keep looking ahead at the One who is leading you. For all leaders, He has to be enough.”    Read more from her here:  https://www.facebook.com/revelationwell

Isn’t He good?

When we lay our burdens and our shortcomings out on the table, he can transform those things.  We have to admit where we need grace.  First, we have to admit that we need grace at all.

We started a Bible study group at our church this week and it’s called Stuck.  Some people (okay, sometimes me)  don’t want to admit they are stuck or broken.  They don’t see themselves as sinners.  But we have to start there.  We have to admit we are in need of the good news.  The word “Gospel” means good news.  For something to be good news, it has to invade the broken spaces, the not so good spaces, the spaces where we are stuck.

Where are you stuck? Where are you broken?

Some of you may be cringing right now thinking that you are not broken.  Some of you are offended.  You have worked hard to build up your “goodness”, your “perfectness”, your face that you show the world.  Heck, you may have even convinced yourself.  But if we were not broken, if we are not sinners…why would we need a Savior?

For the good news to be “good”, we must need to hear it, right?

I did not experience the transformative power of God’s grace in my life until I admitted that I need it.

Lay it out there.  Speak it.  Write it.  Pray about it.  Bring Light to the ways you are struggling.

He will hear you.  He will respond.  Probably through others who have walked this path and heard His voice and courageously follow His lead.

Be encouraged friends, you are not alone.  We are all in this together and He is good!

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™ All Rights Reserved