It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; ~ Psalm 92.1
How many times have you heard, “count your blessings”? I’ve heard it more than I can count. It was only after reading Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 Gifts that I was prompted to actually begin doing just that. My recordings are somewhat sporadic. Sometimes I remember several times a week. Other times, it is several months before I think about writing down what I’m thankful for. Today I write #334: So grateful a family member came through cancer surgery well. That leads me to #335: Blessed I have family to go through life with, whatever the circumstances.
Why keep such a list? I’ve come up with four reasons as I’ve engaged in the process of writing down my blessings.
Scripture reminds us repeatedly to give thanks for our blessings. There’s good reason for this. In the midst of trials and difficulties, it can be easy to think God has abandoned us and conclude we are no longer blessed. Nothing could be further from the truth! God always loves us and is with us. A written list of God’s blessings is a great reminder of the ways He has been with us in the past. These reminders fill us with hope for the ways He will be with us in the future.
A list of blessings serves as a document of things I’d like to remember. I have successfully journaled over short periods of my life, but regretfully never on an ongoing basis. I like the idea of journaling. I don’t like the idea of how long it takes me to write everything down. I write much less detail when I list my blessings. When I look back, I can generally remember many of the circumstances that prompted me to write the blessing down.
Listing my blessings changes my focus. Once a week I try to review what has happened during the week, decide what I am grateful for, and add these items to my list. News programs, talk shows and newspapers are filled mostly with bad news. Journalism often sensationalizes events to make them sound worse than they are. If I’m not careful, I can begin looking at the world expecting that very little is good and everything is bad. Reviewing my day, week or month shifts my focus to what is good. I remember that God created a world for us to appreciate and enjoy – whatever dire events are unfolding in the world.
The repeated occurrences of particular people or events are reminders of what a blessing they really are. When I’m feeling disappointed or angry with my husband, the number of times I’ve included him in my list of blessings is a reminder that the current circumstances are temporary and he really is a blessing in my life. I love leading a bible study every year, but it also has its (very!) frustrating moments. When I’m ready to call it quits, remembering how I’ve been blessed by the fellowship and insights of the ladies in past studies encourages me to push through the current circumstances. I’ve been there before and can have confidence that things will get better.
What are some of the things I count as blessings?
- #169 Homemade bread with homemade peanut butter and homemade raspberry jam.
- #174 Being able to pay someone to shovel the snow.
- #111 $70 skirt for $6. Yea for sales, discounts and coupons!
- #88 Just about every spring I see a new bird in the yard. Asked God what it would be this year. Answer – an ovenbird!
- #93 Feeling completely accepted and encouraged by someone I’ve never met, but who has heard about me for the past 11 years.
- #326 Kennedy Space Center – wow!! Makes me proud to be an American.
- #204 Fabulous leaders’ retreat. What a blessing to spend a few days with a great group of ladies. We had time to relax, talk and laugh. Wonderful fun!
I’m only a third of the way to my initial goal of 1,000 blessings. A popular worship song has challenged me to broaden the goal. What would it look like for me to have 10,000 blessings? How about you? Do you remember how you are blessed? Would a numbered list serve as a reminder in moments of trial and difficulty? It’s an idea well worth considering.
You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
~10,000 Reasons, Matt Redman
10 Digit ISBN: 1941103421
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Genre: Christian, non-fiction, devotional
Release Date: Sept 2014
Book Title: Paul’s Letters to the Early Church
Release Date: Sept 2014
Available in hard copy, kindle and nook at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1941103421 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/?ean=9781941103425
Book Blurb: Reading and studying Paul’s letters can be a daunting task. Verses often require a great deal of study, prayer, and meditation in order to gain an adequate understanding. But don’t lose heart! God reveals His Word to those who earnestly seek Him (Jer. 29:13). Paul’s Letters to the Early Church is designed to assist you in your relationship with God, help you understand difficult passages, shed new light on familiar verses, and gain an appreciation for statements made within the confines of ancient cultural practices. You will learn about Paul and his intense desire to see both Jews and Gentiles not only know about the work of his Savior, Jesus Christ, but also personally experience the love, grace, mercy, and redemption offered by the Father through the sacrifice of the Son. As you learn more about the history and purpose of each verse, you will find yourself growing in wisdom and knowledge.
Author Bio: Trina has a Masters of Arts in Christian Ministry from Ashland Theological Seminary and is a passionate Bible teacher and writer. For over 20 years, she has shared Biblical truths in compelling and memorable ways as a Bible study leader and a member of the Restorative Prayer Team at her church. Her three week, 2,400 mile trip through Turkey in a rental car visiting historic sites including Istanbul, Ephesus, Cappadocia, Haran and Antioch, as well as two trips to Israel’s holy sites bring reality to Trina’s teaching and writing. Additionally, Trina is an avid birder, loves to cook, travel, work in her garden, and knit, especially lace. She and her husband live in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/TBresserMatous