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The Blessing Box

I am sure you have heard the expression, “Count your blessings”.

In our deepest pain, our blessings may be hard to find because it is difficult to see past our present circumstances. When we choose to walk with God, there is no guarantee that there won’t be struggles. By acknowledging our blessings and worshiping God in the storm, we not only honor Him, but it opens heaven’s floodgates of strength and comfort to carry us through whatever we are facing. When we feel like we have nothing in us, those are the times we need to praise Him all the more.

DSC_7524About five years ago we walked through a very painful time when our daughter was harmed in an act of violence. More than once, I thanked God that there were only 24 hours in a day because with each new morning His mercies were new. At one point during that hard time my friend took my hands and raised them to the Lord and said, “Thank God for the blessings you can see”. At first I looked at her like she was crazy and I thought how can there be anything to be thankful for in this nightmare.

As I sat on the floor with tears streaming down my cheeks, my friend held my hands up to the Lord, and I said, “Thank you, Lord, they did not kill my daughter”. In that moment I felt a sense of joy during the most painful time of my life. My daughter was alive! I had missed that in my pain. With my hands still held up by my friend, I began to thank God for the blessings I had not noticed in my pain.

Suddenly I realized she had let go of my hands and I was holding them up on my own. I was still hurt by what had happened and concerned about what lay ahead of us but I had new strength. For the first time in over a month, I was able to sleep through the night. The next day I added a night of sleep to my list of blessings.

In September 2015 while thanking God for a new blessing in my life, I got the idea of making a blessing box for my husband and myself. It sits in the area where we spend time in study and prayer. On the days that are hard and we struggle to find the words to pray, we can dump out the blessings in the box and then read them one at a time. It is very powerful. I can start on empty and when I am done reading them, I am running on a full tank of joy.

I want to encourage you to make a blessing box for yourself. If you are married or have children living with you, make a blessing box to share or make one for each of you. When the storms hit and you can’t find the words to pray dump that box out in your lap and start thanking God for how He has blessed you. Let Him turn your sorrow into joy because a joyful heart is good medicine. –Proverbs 17:22 (NASB)

 

Authors note:

Here is an idea for the whole family. Get some fun things to decorate the blessing box and include the whole family in the decorating. Setting aside time each week to share your blessings with each other and adding them to your blessing box is a simple way to acknowledge what the Lord is doing in your family.

 

Every couple of months dump the box out and take turns reading the blessings. No matter how old your children are, they can all take part in this. Teaching your children to count their blessings and give thanks, helps build their faith so that when the storms come, they will remember to look beyond their circumstances and see the goodness there is in the Lord.

 

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This I believe

Beautiful words written by my daughter, Hanna. 

I believe that this world is full of beauty and opportunities. Beauty that is made for everyone who dares to reach out and grab a hold of it and opportunities that give people second chances at a new life and new hope. There will be times of pure joy and times of pure sadness that seem to never end but somehow time continues to pass and you learn that it doesn’t stop for anyone. And even though this world can be an unforgiving place it still amazes me each and every morning when the sun rises across the horizon and brings a new day. I believe that when night falls looking up at the stars shows us how small we are and how big our God is.

I believe that Gods creation of intense beauty outweighs the hurt in this world and if we cling to his promises he will make us beautiful and we will forever be changed.

IMG_9794I believe that times will be tough and giving up may be the easiest thing to do, but I promise that there are so many things to live for. There is hurt, heartache, poverty, brokenness, abuse and darkness but it is when we are at ourlowest points that we find our true strength and cling to the hope that we are never alone and this chaotic place has no grasp. There are so many opportunities to choose joy over sadness and to choose to push forward even when your feet are stuck in the mud. I believe that the mud comes with rain, and rain can wash away all your fears if you let it. Because no matter how much it rains you can always choose to dance in the puddles with polka dotted rain boots.

I believe that when flowers bloom it is not by accident, but rather to prove that God works in mysterious and intricate DSC_0014ways. Every day holds meaning and celebration that was made to enjoy and every time you take a breath of air know that you are blessed to be alive.

I believe that every child holds within them innocence in the most purest form that should never be taken away and when that child grows up it turns into a flame that is given to another person who completes what they have always dreamed of. I believe that when God created our inmost being and breathed life into our lungs he had a plan and a destiny so amazing that none can fathom.  And when he counted the hairs on your head and gave color to your cheeks he knew that nothing else could ever compare to your beauty.

I believe that every person of every skin color and every language should know what it’s like to belong and to understand what it is to be loved. I believe that the truest love a person can experience is the love of Christ who fought for you without a second of hesitation.

So whenever you feel alone, abandoned, hopeless and lost you can know that the scars on his hands are not there for looks. The scars are there because no matter our circumstance we can remember that someone took the pain and the punishment for mankind because we are valued more precious than the finest gold and purest jewels. That is what I believe.

By Hanna Mae  (My Daughter)

 

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His story in me

By Cassie’s Corner

Recently I shared my personal life journey at our church, revealing things about myself I had never spoken in a CassiesCornerButtonpublic setting. I have shared over the years bits and pieces, only revealing what I wanted to, leaving out the painful parts, the unwise choices, and the ugly details. I was nervous and a little unsure how my story would be received. You see, everyone has a story but not everyone wants to bare their soul in front of a crowd. I was one of “those” people until our pastor asked me to speak. He knows my whole story; the good, the bad, and the ugly. He wanted my salvation story, the personal account of my walk with God and where His love has led me.

Expressing in words the experiences of my life was eye opening to me. I truly had to examine who I was and how much I have changed over the last 15 years. While preparing to speak, I prayed and asked God to give me a clear word to share. I wrote my notes and read them a few times, I even brought my journal up with me when I spoke. I was shocked to realize, I didnʼt look at it once. Somehow the words just flowed from my mouth as if someone else speaking, I was talking but the words were not my own.

Our church is doing a series right now called Rags to Riches; once a service a different person is sharing their testimony, His Story of their life. Over the last several weeks, I have been so encouraged and even in awe of the amazing people God has surrounded me with. Simply stated, hearing their stories has allowed me to get to know them on a deeper level. A level that may have never been reached had they not stepped up and exposed themselves in order for Godʼs love to be expressed.

All this being said, my life has been a constant lesson in the unconditional love of Christ. He has saved me from myself, my vices and rescued me out of some seriously horrible decisions. My life has been full of joy and full of sadness. Full of anger, depression, anxiety, victory, success and most of all an understanding that I cannot do anything that will ever make me unlovable to God.

My question to you the reader, What is your story? If you were asked to speak and share your heart and soul, would you be willing to expose the truth that is you? I encourage each one of your that reads this to take a moment and reflect over your own life journey. Where have you come from, where are you going, and where do you want to be?

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