Before the year ends, I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my blog this year. Your support, messages, and kind words have encouraged me more than you know. I pray that something you read was a blessing to you. As we leave 2021 in the past and look forward to greeting a brand-new year, I just want to offer a prayer of blessing for my readers.
It’s a privilege and a blessing to be here at the close of another year. For the past 12 months you’ve watched over us, protected us and blessed us. You were so generous with your gifts. When things were unstable, you stood firm. When times were dark, you were the light. For everything we lost, we learned that you would always make up the difference. You were always more than enough.
I’m asking you to bless those who’ve read any portion of my blog this year. Bless their families, their finances, their health. Give them wisdom and peace and joy. Keep them safe and in the center of your will. Above all else, give them a closer relationship with you. Give them confidence in you as they embark on the journey of a new year. This year has not been easy, and the prospect of the unknown can seem daunting. Remove any fear and anxiety that may be taunting them. Remind them that when they walk with you, they can laugh without fear of the future.
Let them be full of faith, always abounding, always growing, bearing much fruit and bringing glory to your name. Let them always remember how much you love them. Whatever you have in store for 2022, thank you in advance.
In Jesus’ name,
Thanks again to each of you and if it’s in the Lord’s will, I’ll see you in 2022❤
It’s officially winter and it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
I love the holidays, but I’m more of a sun and fun girl. But my least favorite season—fall. I kind of hate it. Leaves dying, cold weather inevitably coming. To say I hate it is a little dramatic, but I’ve always thought fall was overrated.
I remember driving one day this fall and realizing the leaves on a specific type of tree had turned a brilliant orange. Others were red, green or yellow. But the orange stood out to me. I’m thirty?? years old and I’ve never seen them this shade. I’ve always thought the fall colors were beautiful, but cliché as it may sound, I felt like I was seeing them anew. It was so much so that I asked a few of my family and friends if the leaves looked different to them this year. It looked like the color saturation you see with a social media filter. For weeks, every time I drove I paid attention. I took alternative routes to see what the trees looked like in other areas. It was absolutely beautiful and it gave me a new respect for fall. Still, I couldn’t figure out why it looked so different, until I realized it wasn’t the trees.
It was me. I’m different this year.
I’ve been working on gratitude, being more present and savoring the moments. I guess it was a success because I found myself enthralled by something I used to be indifferent towards.
I’ve found myself looking at things a little differently lately. I don’t know if it’s because of an approaching birthday, the ever raging pandemic, the innumerable ways my life has changed, or all of the above. Either way, things are different and I am different. The past two years have taught me a lot. Don’t take the small moments for granted. Savor your happiness. Find joy. Seek peace. Wisdom is more valuable than money. One of the most impactful lessons has been an old faithful. Gratitude.
In my lowest and highest moments this year, and I’ve had my share of both, there was always something to be grateful for. During one of my more difficult times I began listing five things I was grateful for during my nightly prayers. Some days my list went over five. Some days it was challenging because I honestly didn’t feel grateful. So I started listing small things like, being able to smell my favorite scent or something that made me laugh or smile that day. That caused a shift for me.
When I started looking for things to be grateful for, I started finding things to be grateful for.
This is a gentle reminder for anyone reading (mostly for myself) that when looking at your situation, it helps to use a filter. Look through a lens of gratitude and see what changes. Notice the difference in color, contrast and tone. Does it look any different? Is there anything you missed at first glance?
As my gratitude practice progressed, I began to list five of God’s characteristics to thank him for. His kindness, patience, love, mercy, forgiveness, wisdom, friendship… I went on like this for a week and I never needed to repeat one.
When my circumstances aren’t overflowing with reasons to be grateful at first glance, I can look again with a different lens. And no matter the season, I can always be grateful to God for who he is. He never changes. He is always the same and because of that, I’ll always have a reason to be grateful.
Thank you for the blessings you so graciously shower on me. I acknowledge my imperfection, I am so undeserving. Yet in your great mercy and love, you’ve adopted me, cleaned me up, and given me a hope and a future. It’s a blessing to be included in your plan. But most of all, it’s a blessing to be included in your family. I thank you for your great gifts and your benefits. I thank you for the table you have set before me. But I understand and acknowledge that the greatest gift you’ve given me is yourself. I don’t take it lightly, God. And today, I just want to thank you.
The Christian life is filled with God’s gifts – His blessings. This is in no way an attempt to count them all, but I want to name just a few.
The stability and assurance that no matter what happens, I have a refuge. “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”Psalm 46:1 NLT
The sure hope that no matter what the enemy devises against me on this journey, he will ultimately fail. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”Isaiah 54:17a NKJV
The promise that I will overcome it all and victory is and will always be mine in Christ. “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b NLT
The assurance that all I need will be provided for me. And that God already knows what I need before I even ask. “For your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”Matthew 6:8b NLT
As I grow, I see more and more the blessings of serving and living devoted to God. The rewards of a far from perfect, but sincere walk with him. Like Hebrews 11:6b (NKJV) says, “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”
He is so careful with the details of my life. He’s faithful to continue to change me and make me more like him. And he is not deterred by my kicking and screaming. (I’m still growing!) I can say with certainty, even in uncertain times, there is no place of greater security, peace, provision and blessing than the will of God.
I’m so overwhelmed when I think about all the ways he has made, all the impossible situations I’ve found myself in that he has delivered me from. All the blessings that I don’t deserve. The favor. The goodness and mercy that I can’t outrun. It’s all so overwhelming for someone like me who doesn’t even deserve it.
But without question, my greatest gift, is the Giver. To know him and to be known by him. It’s everything. He’s the blessing! Everything else is an added gift.
Today, I encourage you (and me) to freshly recommit to seeking him first and reassessing our priorities to be sure that what we value most is always him.
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, and your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15:1 NKJV
One day in heaven will be worth it all. There are treasures stored up for us in heaven. One day, God will make it alright.
It’s true. And I’m glad about it.
But what about today? What about now? Are we to simply endure life on earth because of the hope of heaven? Well honestly, the hope of heaven would be enough. But God is so gracious, that he doesn’t make us wait until that day to partake in his blessings. His underserved blessings. Undeserved.
God has a blessing for us. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT) states “’For I know the plans I have for you.’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) tells us this, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” So God not only has a plan for us, but it’s a good one, personalized with forethought, and according to his own will. What a blessing to be included in the plan of God. In a world where rejection and isolation are so real, God doesn’t leave us out. He includes us. Knowing all he knows about us, every secret and hidden thing, all the touchy topics from our past that we keep quiet about, he still choses us. That will never, not blow me away.
Consider Jacob. A trickster and a deceiver. But look at what God told him in Genesis 28:15 (NLT) “What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” In spite of his past, in spite of his flaws, in spite of himself, the blessings that God had for Jacob, belonged to Jacob.
Now, understand me, God has left us very specific standards concerning how we should live and we have to honor our part in his promises so as not to hinder the blessings that he wants to give us. But what I’m getting at is this, the blessing on our lives is not because of us, it’s because of God. It’s not merit based. We can’t earn it. He blesses us because he chooses to bless us. It’s all because of Christ.
What God has for us may look different, but rest assured that what’s yours is yours. No one can take it. With this knowledge, we can lay aside envy and jealousy. We can be truly happy for someone who has what we want, knowing that God has a blessing for us, too. And he only gives good gifts. The concept is simple in theory, tough in practice. But the Holy Spirit is our constant Helper as we seek to learn and put God’s word into practice. John 14:26 (ESV) says “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
Rest in knowing that God won’t leave you until he’s finished giving you everything he’s promised you. Be encouraged today. The blessing is still yours.