Every Father’s Day and Mother’s Day (along with ALL the family holidays), I get a little overwhelmed thinking of all the ways I have been blessed. I have parents that love me, pray for me – and have prayed for my brother and I since before we were born – and that I am so proud of that they were a part of our wedding ceremony. I have grandparents that love me, pray for me – and have prayed for all of their children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren since before we were born – and, like my parents, I am so proud they are mine that they were also a part of our wedding ceremony. I have a brother and sister-in-law, also a part of our ceremony, who are my heroes, and basically saved the ceremony because of last-minute weather changes. I have aunts, uncles, and cousins that have each taught me different life lessons through the way they live and treat each other.
Once in college, I even tried to list all the ways that I am fortunate. I found that, though I started with mom and dad, I couldn’t stop. I had to list all the people I was thankful for. And I found myself even writing people that had been unkind to me, because through those experiences, I was made stronger.
Just last night, I was talking to my husband and was reminded that every day I’m not sick is a reason to be thankful. I’m sick often, but on the “well” days, I get soooooo excited. I get soooooo thankful. Health is a huge checkmark on the blessings list.
Yeah, I have a lot to be thankful for. But I know that some of you reading this have been through some pretty tough stuff. You may be depressed and not even be able to start writing a list of your blessings. You may be grieving in some way or another – whether you’re a teenager who is dealing with a breakup, or someone older dealing with a divorce. You may have had someone very close to you pass away. I, personally, have no one answer that will help you.
I do want to try and help, though. Because one thing I do know is that both science and the Bible tell us that focusing on the good things in life help us to, not only feel better, but give us a sense of worth and purpose. I think, sometimes, it also brings healing. If nothing is going right now for you, count the blessings that go way back – even into childhood.
I’m sitting in bed with fatigue and a cold. Negative thoughts start here. In my mind under these same circumstances, I usually think: I can’t do anything. I’m always sick. I’m letting people down. Will I ever be useful to anyone? Will I ever be normal?
But, I have to change my negative thinking. I have to, instead, tell myself: Remember last week when you felt good and you had that helpful conversation? Remember when you helped that person smile? That’s going to happen again. You are useful and God says that in your weakness, he is strong.
Often, all we have to do is turn a lie into a truth. Turn I’m all alone, into I am never alone. My God is here.
I love these verses:
Psalm 103:2-5, NLT Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things.
And I love, even more, that they are followed by these verses:
Psalm 103: 6-7, NLT The LORD gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.
Life treats us unfairly. There are so many people who are displaced in the world right now – and they did nothing to deserve their whole world crashing down. Our closest relationships fall apart. We try our hardest on a chemistry test and fail. But God treats us justly in this unjust world. He cares for us, as he cared for Moses, Elijah, David, and the list goes on. He crowns us with love and tender mercies.
He wraps his arms around us when we cry, holds us in the palm of his hand when we’re confused, and dances with us when we find joy.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Focus on your good, perfect gifts this week. Write them down as you think of them, or thank the Creator for them in your prayers. Thank him for the flowers you see, for the squirrel playing outside, for that person that smiled at you in the supermarket. Pray for the person that ignored you, because they may be having a bad day.
I hope that you can find some blessings today, no matter where you are in life and no matter what you are going through. My prayer is that you find tools for healing that God helps you to use throughout the rest of your life.