So, where does it come from?
Friends -- As I mentioned on Monday, encouragement comes from friends who come alongside and walk the road with you. Who offer their support in tangible ways like meals and childcare. Who listen as you vent your frustration and then help you brainstorm solutions.
Faith -- My faith in God is part of who I am. Some days I just need a reminder that bigger hands than mine hold the future. I find encouragement in the words of the Bible and in prayer.
Other Travelers -- In hearing their stories, I gain insight and hope. Others have navigated this path before me. And survived. I can learn from their mistakes and take heart from their success. Read a few books or blogs. Join a few groups. Find a mentor and ask questions.
Quotations -- Those inspirational sayings from fellow travelers can become the slogan I need for the next stage of the journey.
Research -- When it comes to some issues, getting all the facts is better than worrying about the "what ifs." Learning about my daughter's syndrome or my own health issues gave me practical things to do.
Nature -- I find encouragement by changing the scenery. Get out of my rut and breath some fresh air. Shift my perspective to the bigger picture. As a stress reliever, I can return to the tough issues re-energized. Or, simply taking time to admire the view helps me appreciate the blessings I already have.
Look back -- Only long enough to see that I have actually made progress.
As you can see, there are as many different sources of encouragement as there are travelers and roads.
What encourages you when the journey gets tough?