Thursday, October 30, 2014

Come thou fount: Blessings and Backwards Thinking

Spend much time in a church setting and you’re likely to hear the phrase, “he/she/they are so blessed.”  I grew up hearing that phrase used repeatedly.  If people had money and/or nice things, “they were blessed.”  I grew up with the idea that people with stuff were under God’s  “favor.”


Imagine my surprise at 30 when I realized that the “stuff” in my life was not the real blessing.  My stuff at the time consisted of a half a million dollar home, a sports car, a luxury mom mobile and the opportunity to purchase whatever I wanted.  I believed that I was “blessed.”  How could I not?  Every person who walked through the doors of my home verbally reminded me how “blessed” I was.  Really?  Then why was I so incredibly unhappy.  Why did my life feel empty?  


Now I believe there are those who are financially blessed.  People who have made God the center of their world and are faithful to follow Him wholeheartedly.  I believe He (financially) blesses those who are good stewards and generous with what they have.  Those not pretending to have and be something they are not.  


In my past life we spent money recklessly and obtained it in deceptive ways.  The “blessings” in my life were acquired in ways that would not have pleased God.  It took time to realize what was happening.  But God lifted the veil and revealed why I felt such misery. Stuff did not equal joy.  Stuff satisfied for a brief time and then faded.  I wanted more.  I heard the voices telling me I was blessed.  I believed the voices because of what I saw but the feelings did not line up to the words.


As time passed God began showing me how backwards my thinking about blessings.  At 35, smack dab in the middle of a divorce,  I had no home, no car and no stuff.  I was happy.  What?   That could not be possible.  Especially in the world in which I lived.  The people whom I surrounded myself with at the time all believed stuff meant God had blessed our lives.  Were we wrong?  Ask God and He’ll answer.


It did not take long to see the true blessings in my life as I began to experience joy.  I finally understood contentment from walking with Jesus. It didn’t mean an easy life.  In fact, as I began making hard choices, I realized the difficulty in following Jesus.  It meant making choices that didn’t go with the natural order of the world.  It meant making hard choices causing pain and fear.  But I realized those dark patches and trials created intense moments of growth.  

As my faith in God and obedience to His calling increased the joy and happiness I experienced increased as well. I learned when I was down to nothing, He provided what I needed.  When all seemed lost, He saved the day.  God began moving in my life and I reaped the true blessings of following Him.  Blessings of grace, streams of mercy, peace, joy, hope and His redeeming and rescuing love.  Blessings that brought more to my life than anything else ever had and it was amazing!


I had a lot of bad “blessings” in my previous life.  Many “things” and people had to go.  In the beginning letting go proved difficult.  It was hard to let go of what I had been told was God’s blessing.  But as His true blessings were revealed, my heart leapt with thankfulness at His faithfulness in all things.  I have learned to cherish those who understand love and grace.  Those who understand His true blessings.  I have learned to cherish those things He has provided to care for my children and me.  An amazing marriage to a man who loves God and puts my needs before his own.  A home that provides all we need and does not drain me of my joy.  A car that though it is on its last leg continuously carts us back and forth to school, church and wherever else we need to go. (not to mention taught me a lot about prayer :-)  And for the first time in my adult life, friendships that go deeper than the surface.  Relationships where Jesus is at the center and true joy is found.


I can be honest and admit there are days when I wish we didn’t struggle to pay a bill or we could take the kids on a fancy vacation but God.  But God so sweetly reminds me of the tremendous blessings He has bestowed by a simple gesture from my husband or an act of kindness from a friend and then tears of joy flow for the blessings I have finally found.


But blessed is the one who trusts in Me alone;
the Eternal will be his confidence.
He is like a tree planted by water,
sending out its roots beside the stream.
It does not fear the heat or even drought.
Its leaves stay green and its fruit is dependable no
matter what it faces.


Jeremiah 17:7-8