The Best Gifts Don’t Come With a Barcode: Write 31 Days

20151016_153006I watch my grandchildren 2 days a week while their Mama works.  I love knowing her sweet babies in such an intimate way, and I enjoy keeping them.  By allowing me to care for her kiddos, I know my daughter has given me a gift.20150714_151605 

We are entering into the season when we think more about gifts.  Autumn is in full-swing, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  We slow down just long enough on Turkey Day to count our blessings, and then we rush out the next day to grab all the deals we can find for more gifts.  Instead of looking forward to the holidays with joy, we often complain and dread their arrival.

But the gifts I value the most cannot be bought at any store.  There are no deals on Black Friday to purchase the items I treasure.

Daughters.  Husband.  Grandchildren.  Moms.  Extended Family. Friends. Community.

People. 

Not one thing on my list.  Am I thankful for my house, my car, my things?  Of course, but if they were all lost, and I only had my people, I would be a grateful, satisfied, and blessed woman.  Thankful for the gifts in my life.

There is one other person on my list.  The most important gift I possess.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”   John 3:16

Jesus Christ.  Eternal life.

God’s gift to us.

The best gifts don’t come with a barcode.

31 days of Joy

 

 

 

 

Do I Need More Blessings?

harvest

 — dedicated in memory of my dear friend, Susi, who found her joy, and taught me to see my blessings.

My farmer husband is testing the waters today.  Are the beans ready?  Will they process through the combine without problems?  Or should he wait a few more days.  Harvest has begun, and with it, a hopefulness is in the air.  What will the crops yield?  Will the corn be dry enough?  Will the beans be a “bumper” this year?  Throughout the summer, I have heard, “the corn is doing well” and “the beans are suffering“.  My Farmer talks about his fields like they are dear friends.  He has planted, watered, nurtured, and prayed.

Now that harvest is here, what blessings lie around the corner?

Blessings. 

That word has been rattling around in my brain for weeks, months even.  And it has come up in countless books, devotions, lessons and videos.   I even made a “blessing jar” at the beginning of the year.  I prepared little blank cards to record any new blessings.  The cards are dropped into my jar, with hopes of filling it up throughout the year.

I look for blessings every day.  Don’t you?

I want to be blessed.

Once when I was talking on the phone with a friend, we were just chit-chatting about the small things.  I began to complain about the mountain of laundry and the dirty floors.  I grumbled about having to sweep and mop… again.  My sweet friend replied, ‘Oh, I so wish I could sweep your floors for you’.  Immediatelaundryly, I was humbled… and ashamed.    You see, when she was just a young mother, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and her disease was severe.  Most days, she was in bed, not able to do the laundry or cook meals for her family.  These everyday chores I dreaded, she counted as blessings.

Even the mundane tasks are evidence of God’s favor.  I wash the dishes because God has given us food.  I do SO much laundry because we have an abundance of clothes.  I sweep the floor because I have the health and strength to do so.  I make the beds because I have a home, a beautiful shelter, more than I need.   Am I in want of yet more blessings?

I AM blessed.

I am completely, totally, abundantly blessed.

Even when we pray, almost every prayer —  from everyone —  begins with “God, please bless us”.  What?  There are well over 350 verses in the Bible with some form of the word bless, and most of them have to do with God blessing us!   Our Bible is completely laced with God’s blessings on his people.  We are exceedingly blessed.   In Matthew, those counted as blessed are the poor, the mourners, the gentle, those who are thirsting for God as well as those who are pure in God, the merciful, those who keep the peace and those who are persecuted.  I’m on that list.  How about you?

Maybe itblessingss time we blessed God.

I have gotten way too comfortable with my blessings.  They have become my normal; my expectation.  I am living in a paradise compared to 90% of the population.   I am enjoying the “favor”, but often not remembering The Blesser.  He has already given me much — over and over again.

I could spend the rest of today and tomorrow filling out cards for my blessing jar.  Shame on me!  It should be overflowing with cards!  I should need another jar, and then another.

‘Let us bless you, God’ should be our prayer.

My phone chirps, after one morning of field work, I receive a text from my husband: ‘problems’ (he has always been a man of few words).  I lean over and tell my “anxious-to-ride-the-combine” three-year-old grandson, ‘Papa is having trouble with the beans today’.  This little man who has been listening to farmer-speak replies, ‘thats cuz the beans are p’bly not brown enough’.  His wisdom makes me smile.   And he is right, the beans are not dry enough, and our harvest will have to wait a day or two.

But whether the corn and the beans yield an abundance or not, we are blessed.

Yes, we are.    

Dear Lord, may we bless you in whatever we do this day.