When you count your blessings, no matter how big or small, what do you really consider to be a blessing from God?
Recently, I was reflecting on journal thoughts I penned over fifteen years ago. Somewhere I had read an illustration shared by a missionary. She said during a meeting a man deeply scarred from leprosy raised his hand and wanted to sing the familiar hymn, “Count Your Blessings.”
That’s when I realized afresh my unworthiness and ungratefulness in light of God’s complete goodness. How many times had I complained when things didn’t turn out as I had hoped?
What Do You Count As a Blessing from God?
How many blessings had I taken for granted, no matter how big or small they seemed? What did I really consider to be a blessing from God?
You may or may not identify with any of these. But I’m sure you can write your own list of blessings to count. I’d love to hear about them.
These are the words I wrote in my journal over fifteen years ago:
Shall I Complain…
When around me some walk in chairs of mobile wheels, or whose minds are tortured from disabled memories?
Shall I complain…
When around me barren mothers ache for arms to wrap a child in the quilt of their dreams, while others weep for their losses buried in infant graves?
Shall I complain…
When others scrape the alley pits and forage for another meal just to ease the rumblings of shrunken stomachs?
Shall I complain…
When war-torn countries beg for mercy and families huddle in one-room tents?
Shall I complain…
When others’ homes and possessions have been blown away by unprecedented storms, floods, and fires?
Things I Wrote As a Blessing from God
My journal writings continued:
Today (and not just at Thanksgiving), I will count my blessings:
- For a land where many still believe it is God in whom we trust.
- For a hope that is secure in the person of Christ and His salvation.
- For a life that is rich in love and memories.
- For children who follow the steps of the Lord.
- For a ministry in which to serve and give life-giving water in so many ways.
- For a voice, not to parrot, but to proclaim God’s goodness.
- For a husband, whose devotion and tenderness wrap me up daily in a cocoon of warmth.
- For friends who love me for who I am, not for what I am not.
- For a home, however temporary, that has been built not with wood or stone, but with love.
- For God’s forgiveness and compassion that erases the stupidity of my past and offers me a brand-new writing slate each morning.
- For dreams and goals that push me forward and keep me focused on the One who gives us the desires of our hearts.
- For both pain and pleasure and lessons learned, and for those still waiting in the wings (lessons, that is), that will mature us and perfect us, and strip us of old leaves–excessive baggage–“earth dirt.” And make us more like Jesus.
For these and so much more, I thank You, Lord!
If I were to make a new list today–and I try to do that often–would any of those things change? We all experience losses, changes, and new challenges every year as we age. But every year, God also gives us new blessings, new joys, and new ways to experience His faithfulness.
Some of you have experienced major losses in the last few years. And you may be struggling to count your blessings this year. May we all share each others’ burdens, even as we seek to count our own personal blessings.
My “Blessing” or “Thanks” Journal
I keep a running list in a notebook I call my “Blessings” or “Thanks” Journal. I pray that list will never end until God calls me home. Because, while I may not give thanks for every circumstance (like illness, death, losses), I can give thanks in everything: Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).
If we compare our circumstances or our blessings from God–or lack of them–to others, we lose the joy of learned contentment (Philippians 4;11 NKJV).
If we hoard our blessings and refuse to share them with others, we lose the joy of giving (2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV).
Who Determines Whether Something Is a Blessing from God?
Who determines whether something is a blessing from God or not? The one with leprosy? Or the millionaire?
I’ll never forget what God taught me about His “unexpected blessings.” You may be surprised at some of them.
This Thanksgiving, and every day, will you join me in complaining less, and thanking God more? Ask Him to show you something you’ve never considered a blessing from God. Then give Him thanks. If you counted your blessings today, what would your list look like?
It’s Your Turn
I’d love to read your answers to those questions above. I love to hear from readers. And I do pray for my readers! You can always write me through my contact page and fill out the basic name and address info; then the email will come to me. Your name or info will never be shared with anyone without your permission.
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