The morning has greeted me with three beautiful geese gracefully swimming in the lake behind our home. The sight of them brought the first smile to my face this morning. God knows how much I love to see Him in nature. This was a blessing! The ducks, however, did not feel likewise. They only knew that their morning allotment of corn was being infringed upon!
My house is quiet now because I am here by myself. Though I am quite the Type A kind of personality, I try to force myself to sit and soak up the silence of these moments alone. In that silence, the still small voice of God is audible and the clamor in my head can cease if only for a short while. What a calming, relationship building, purpose seeking time we have– a time to reflect on God’s blessings, a time to be thankful.
Please allow me to return to the subject of blessings. Upon hitting “enter” to post my blog of a few days ago about blessings, God reminded me of “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say. Blessings aren’t always warm and fuzzy. They can present as heartbreaks, loss, illness, and broken dreams just to name a few. In fact, we don’t usually view them as blessings at all. How could God possibly use my parent’s divorce, four miscarriages, a son with autism, and a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis as anything remotely close to a blessing. At this point, allow me to fully acknowledge that my struggles don’t even begin to equate to the sorrows that have impacted many of your lives. Nor let me negate that many of you walked through the valleys and held firmly to God’s hand, faith and trust intact. Praise God! However, my faith and especially my trust did waver. Satan’s deception wore me down, my heart turned to stone and there were no quiet moments of seeking God and what He might have me learn in the situation. Having grown uhttp://youtu.be/SGniRk_GcLsp in a family where love was conditional, I mistakenly defaulted to believing God’s love for me must be the same. I was so very weary. Hope vacated my being.
Had you known me casually during this time, you would never have guessed the pain I carried deep inside, pain God had never meant for me to bear alone. And because God is God, He used me in my “pity party” state of mind to actually uplift people who had visited some of my very same heartaches God has given me the gift of encouragement, and when your gift is needed it cannot be stifled. I was absolutely sincere in my words of reassurance to those people. I could easily lead them to apply God’s promises in their lives, but not so well in my own. Just had not gotten that “unconditional love” concept fully secured in my mind and heart.
God did not give up on me. Over a period of years, God kept chipping away at my hardened heart, and in His perfect timing, which we so often question, my heart was emptied of its pain and filled with an absolute awareness of God’s unconditional love, followed by a generous dose of faith and trust. What I had attempted to secure on my own, God had lovingly, miraculously completed in me. Oh, the joy, and how that joy was accomplished through the blessings I perceived as nothing but trials. You know what they say about hindsight being twenty-twenty. Those trials are exactly as the first chapter of James describes them in the Bible.
Allow me to share The Message version of these verses:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
I praise God for how He has used difficult circumstances in my life to draw me into a relationship like none other with Him, as a backdrop for ministry to others, and as a map to joy and unconditional love. Much of my day has been spent writing this post. The geese began honking on their departure at dusk. Many of my words have been deleted as I waited on God to give me His. May He use these words to speak to your heart in whatever way He sees fit. May you see God’s blessings in the good times and the bad. Let go and let God. To God Be the Glory!
The Grammy Award winning song entitled “Blessings” by Laura Story encapsulates this post. Please take time to follow the link and listen.