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Friday, September 22, 2017

I forgot that blessing

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. (Melody Beattie)

What or who is it you find yourself complaining the most about? Chances are that thing or person is never going to be viewed as a blessing in your life until you change your way of seeing them just a little! I used to complain about not having a car when I was first married with young kids at home. If I wanted to go some place, I walked, rode the bike, or hitched a ride from a friend. Many a grocery trip was comprised of one child in the child carrier on my bike and another peddling alongside, with a backpack of groceries on my back. Then one day quite unexpectedly I was blessed with a car - as a gift! My in-laws bought a new one and no longer needed that little VW Rabbit. I was overjoyed to receive such a blessing. That is...until it began to break down every other day! Isn't it amazing how quickly we can view a blessing as a curse when that blessing doesn't live up to our "expectations" of the blessing?

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2 ERV)

It is hard to always remain positive when bad things are happening, or people aren't behaving as we might have expected them to in a particular situation. It is much easier to begin to find fault and pick apart that circumstance, or the other person's character, than to just be grateful for the blessing they have been. Yes, the car broke down frequently. There was some type of wiring or computer problem under that hood, but most of the time it got me to where I needed to go. On the occasions it broke down, it actually drove me to learn a little about taking care of a car. You see, we didn't have much money, so every time it broke down, I had to break out the "auto repair for dummies" book and try to figure it out! Yes, my hands got greasy. Yes, it interrupted my plans a little to have the car not work as it should. Yes, it cost me a little extra here and there. But...it was a gift and a blessing - so I had to often adjust my perception by reminding myself of that fact!

Often we need to remind ourselves where it is our help comes from - because we look for it in the manuals, in other people, or in some form of man-made thing. The truth is, when we are truly standing in need, our help comes from the Lord. There were days I would be stranded somewhere with two small kids in the hot Arizona sun, head under hood, and hot pavement under my feet. In those moments, sweat dripping down my nose, I'd ask God to show me which wire, widget, or fuse needed a little tweaking. In time, he'd guide me to the right solution. Once it was the fuel injector, another time it was the fuel relay switch, and so on. In time, I got to know more about that little car than I probably knew about my entire house! Why? God helped me realize a blessing isn't always "self-maintained". Sometimes blessings in our lives need a little more attention in order to "function" at full capacity. 

What blessings have we been overlooking that may need a little bit of our attention today? It could be the blessing of a human nature, or something entirely material, such as the refrigerator that needs a good cleaning inside, outside, and underneath. It could be the one relationship you find is strained and just not going as well as you want it to, the one which demands attention, but you avoid like the plague because it is "so hard". Our help for dealing with blessings that are disguised or overlooked is to realize they all have come into our lives by God's hands and it is by his hands and guidance that they are maintained! Just sayin!