Day 2 ~ Blessing Redefined

stormclouds.jpg

There have been some crazy skies lately! Bright white fluffs of billowy clouds against the bluest blue sky in one direction and deep purple/gray/black threatening, heavy clouds when you turn around and look the other way. They’re just clouds, and my science-y friends could tell me exactly what kind they are and what weather patterns they predict, but to me they’re just beautiful and dramatic and I can’t get enough of all the looking up. The sky was so incredibly amazing this evening I pulled over no less than 6 times on the 4 mile drive home from work to step out of my car and take pictures….of clouds….just clouds that carry rain to some places and leave others dry, but always shifting, moving and rearranging into a sky that has never ever been exactly that way before and never will again.

For most of my life I had a pretty good idea of what it was to be blessed by God. I had grown up in church and knew that God’s love for me was so great that he brought good things – wonderful things into my life as a Christian, especially when my heart was set on serving him, and from a very young age I was convinced I was pretty much his favorite. =) If I did the right thing by God, God would do the right thing by me. I and my family would be happy and healthy. We would know prosperity and enjoy the long lives of our children and grandchildren. But there’s a hidden flaw in that logic, one that I am certain was never intended, but one I fully embodied just the same. It took me decades, really, to come to face to face with it, but when I did it changed everything about how I would forevermore perceive “blessing.”

quid pro quo – a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.

I’ve come to realize that this was my framework for God’s blessings in my life. I loved God, served others, forgave freely and had the kind of personal relationship with the Divine that is hard to explain. God was my everything and for many years I and my family were very, very “blessed”! And oh, how I am thankful for those years! But I realize now that I was totally unprepared to understand what blessings really were when tragedy hit, when grief swallowed up hope, when I did my part, and God didn’t do his. At least that’s what it felt like in my “quid pro quo” understanding of blessing. I know for some, these words are uncomfortable, even blasphemous. But to others who are in that place of trying to make sense of the whys and hows of life’s biggest heartaches I think they may bring comfort. For you dear hurting ones….I see you. I know you. I am you. And the real truth is, we truly are blessed. Here’s how….

Clouds

Those bright white fluffs of billowy clouds gently pass over all of us tiny dots of humanity below, Christian or not, and all can freely look up and be inspired by their peaceful beauty. But so do the deep purple/gray/black threatening, heavy clouds. We desperately need the rain, but sometimes it comes in too fast and too hard and damages the very ground it is meant to nourish. It’s the natural course of weather. And it’s the natural course of this human life.

My blessings today aren’t so much what I thought they were before – they just can’t be or I will never consider myself to be blessed again, and that’s just contrary to everything I know about the nature of God. Today my blessings look more like this: knowing God loves me and has stayed with me every moment of every day and night, and always will….experiencing the kind of love for my family and others that has not only stood the test of hurricane-force winds but has dug deep and held on through it all….going quickly to deep, meaningful conversations when people realize I have been in hard places and won’t shy away from theirs….emerging from the metaphorical storm cellar to see the devastation above and finding hope to rebuild a life that will never be the same, but can still be good and filled with purpose. These, and so many other very real things are my very real blessings. They may be different than the “health & happiness” picture I once had, but they are authentically mine, and I am so very grateful to God for each one.

This song by Mercy Me expresses my heart so well on this topic. “I know the sorrow, I know the hurt would all go away if You’d just say the word…..but even if You don’t……I am still blessed beyond measure. =) As you listen, know that you are not alone, and that the God that holds the very universe, storms and all….also holds you. <3

Even If
They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
Songwriters: Bart Millard / Ben Glover / Crystal Lewis / David Garcia / Tim Timmons
Even If lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Music Services, Inc

About Shellie

Welcome ~ I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer and a writer. But most of all I am a woman of faith - I have a deep longing to know and love....God.
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2 Responses to Day 2 ~ Blessing Redefined

  1. Anonymous says:

    The devotion today brought back a childhood memory of laying on a quilt on the grass and looking for pictures in the clouds. Hours spent looking up.

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