Have you even forgotten you’re blessed? I have. And it was only days ago. But here’s what I’ve discovered since.
I was standing in the checkout aisle at Home Depot. As the cashier scanned the three blue rolls of painting tape, he asked how I was doing. I muttered something, maybe along the lines of OKAY, as I tried to keep my composure. It wasn’t a question I was interested in answering. Because the answer, even an attempt at OK, felt like a betrayal to what I was feeling.
“Well, you’re blessed,” he said to me.
“What?” I said. I looked up for the first time to see his smile.
“You’re blessed,” he repeated. “It’s on your shirt. Did you forget you’re blessed?”
I looked down at my burgundy sweatshirt with the giant pink letters that spelled blessed. It was the second day I’d worn it, a new favorite from Target, this perfect comfy find I couldn’t get enough of. But today it felt like a lie. I tried to keep the tears at bay. I’d already cried in front of someone that day.
“I did forget,” I said, flatly.
It was then he must have seen the pink rim around my eyes, and the glint of fresh tears on the edge of falling in a fresh wash of embarrassment. His already kind face softened even more, and for just a moment I remembered the beauty of a perfectly placed stranger.
I had forgotten I was blessed. I had utterly and totally forgotten. Because in that moment, and in the moments before, I didn’t feel blessed.
As I had this brief exchange with in the checkout aisle of Home Depot, my son Noah was asleep on our Giant Schnauzer in our white minivan. Less than thirty minutes before he’d had a surprise seizure while in his speech therapy session, the first in five weeks, and just far enough behind the last that we’d grown confident we wouldn’t see another. The seizure had taken everything out of him, and he didn’t even have enough energy to stay awake. It was five PM.
Seizures are often like that. Sneaky. Unpredictable. Trademarked by Satan. Designed to kill, steal and destroy. And they do. Years ago, before we first got Noah’s seizures under control with the Ketogenic Diet, they stole his language, his precious new toddler words; they stole his balance, his motor planning; they stole his sensory processing skills and nearly every other gain in his fragile development after his injury as an infant. They stole our hope for his future. They stole our sanity and our security. We were always just as the cusp of darkness tinged with fear.
But we prevailed. And we’ve thanked God through it all.
And then the seizures come back and we forget all the times we’ve declared our blessings and His grace.
Have you ever felt this way? You’re blessed when it all works out, when God’s goodness is obvious, when the water is calm and you’re safe from the storm. And then out of the blue you’re shaken by something you didn’t see coming. A perfectly normal Monday turned into doomsday. And then you look down at your Blessed sweatshirt and you’re not sure you believe it. It takes a stranger to remind you: you are blessed.
In the moments when our faith is under siege it’s easy for us to forget God’s faithfulness. Because no matter how hard we try we come to the table with our human understanding, we can’t understand. We don’t get it. Comprehending what God permits and what he doesn’t is like trying to understand Charlie Brown’s teacher. “Womp womp womp…” We can’t help being the clay pot questioning the potter.
I don’t know what curveball you’ve been thrown today. I don’t know what surprise has taken your life by siege. I don’t know the vast darkness you’re trying to swim out of.
But I do know that even in our moments of question, of sadness, of trial, and of doubting, if we are in Christ we are blessed. We are blessed because this mess isn’t the end; it’s the interim. We’re blessed because no matter how much we ache, we can rest assured that God aches with us and for us – even if He’s allowed our pain for His purpose. We are blessed because we have a God who desires to hear from us and give us peace in return.
Yesterday, as I spent time with the Lord, I was reading Chapter Nine in Daniel. Daniel turned to the Lord for answers, his heart heavy, pleading with God in “prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes” (9:3). The repetition of “prayer and petition,” word for word is in Philippians 4:6, a verse I know by heart. So I turned there in my Bible to see what I could glean. Maybe there was something in that verse for me, as my heart was clothed in anxiety. Turns out there was – and something for you too.
Here are Four Steps To Remembering You’re Blessed
Rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4). The Greek word for rejoice is xairo, which literally translates to glad for grace. To rejoice is to remember you’ve experienced His grace.
2. Remember the Lord is near.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near (Philippians 4:5). The majority of Philippians is Paul admitting to his struggles for Christ, and yet he never fails to remember the Lord is near. Talk about a man who had some curveballs thrown his way. He never used the words blessed, but he considered it his greatest honor to struggle for the sake of our savior. What if being blessed was to be used in the same way?
- Be thankful when you pray.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6). Literally translated, to be anxious means to be divided, to go to pieces. Isn’t this so true? We find ourselves in trouble and we tear apart at the seams. When we seek God with thanksgiving, literally giving thanks for God’s grace, we are reminded of His grace as we seek Him. It’s perfectly cyclical, an infinity of grace.
- Allow God to put you back together.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Here’s what I love, friends, peace means all the essential parts are joined together, God’s gift of wholeness. When we are anxious we fall apart at the seams, when we give thanks we receive God’s grace, and then…then…God puts us back together again.
How can we not consider ourselves blessed when we have a God who desires to put us back together after we’ve fallen apart?
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