As 2014 approached, I found myself facing difficulties I never imagined would be a part of my life…a part of the lives of my 4 children. How does one take brokenness and string together hope? One day at a time? Sometimes even one hour at a time? 1000 blessings in a year? Was it a good time to begin this challenge put out there by Ann Voskamp of www.aholyexperience.com? A list of gratitude in the midst of blessings so foggy we could barely see them except for His gentle whisperings each night that lead us to see His tender mercies in our day, more visible than not. We just needed to be pointed the the right direction.
The first month it was the basics: food, a warm bed, friends, our church, our car and such. The next month we dug a little deeper: the raindrops gently falling, the colors of the sky at sunset, the smile of a caring soul. As the months wore on and the pain deepened, we clung to the nightly gathering, the sharing of our daily blessings aloud and then prayerfully. Slowly, He began to lift our pain, by showing us how much He cared about us.
We found ourselves caught up in seeing Him throughout the day, “oh, that birdsong is going to be my blessing tonight mama.” “Mama, that washer and dryer we needed, given to us by a stranger, that, that is a huge blessing.” “A house to rent, hand picked by God, surrounded by other Christ followers, that’s my blessing tonight.” A little boy running in to share, “mom, they prayed for us to move in. Our neighbors prayed for a Christian, home schooling family and we moved in. They prayed for us before they even knew us. That’s my blessing tonight, for sure.” The blessings mounted: a car to borrow, a job before I knew I needed one, the gift of a meal on the busiest of days, an envelope of just the exact amount I needed to get us to the coast for a much needed time of respite, a gift card for groceries and love and support from so many that have walked beside us on this journey.
Our hearts are still broken, yet He has shown us How much He cares for us in such a visible way. He knew we needed to see Him to survive this fiery trial. Yet did we see Him more because we took the time to look, to look deeply when it seemed no blessings might be found? Even 6 weeks spent home bound, on the couch, battling chronic illness, I hesitated to ask her to share her blessings, knowing that her day had been exactly like the day before, full of pain, sickness, iv’s, medications and hours spent laying on the couch. Yet blessings she found, every single day. She dug down deep and found something that had been a blessing to her that day. My heart soared as she displayed to her younger brothers that even in a time such as this, He could be found.
I truly believe that when we take the time to see God, to thank Him, then we find Him in the most intimate ways. What if we hadn’t consciously stopped each day to look back and see all that He had done? I think we would have then missed so much of what He had done. Like Ann Voskamp, I encourage you to stop and look at the gifts He has given you each and every day. Doing this together as a family has helped us to grow in gratitude, finding Him when we needed Him most. Through the pain of difficulty, our blessings have been the light that He lit for us to follow. Our hearts have begun to mend from the loss with the salve of His gentle healing balm. There is a piece that will always be missing, but God will continue to fill in the gaps.
Counting Our Blessings One By One ~Kerry
Tonight’s Blessings: dinosaurs, tacos, my mom feeling better, my mom being able to walk better, day 18 of Katie and Megan feeling well together (a record), a good day of home schooling, laughter around the dinner table, listening to the wind chime in the tree, cold weather coming (NOT me, Kerry, those crazy Oregonian kids of mine), finishing the 4 flags for the play, teaching ballet class, going back to choir and music in general.