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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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Looking picture perfect doesn’t mean everything’s picture perfect

Guest post by Whitney Kuhn

1425737_10202673563387267_604091435_nI have happily carried the title of wife for just about 6 months now, half a year. It’s a great feeling to be called wife. I am definitely still in the honeymoon season of my marriage, that year of newlywed where when we go out in public, you can still see that just married glow upon our faces. It’s a really fun time. Marriage is absolutely awesome! It truly is the time of my life. Let’s be honest, I’ve only been dreaming about these days since I was about, oh, six years old. And I’ve only been day dreaming about these days with my husband, Jacob, since I first developed a major crush on him in the 9th grade. Yes, we are “that” couple. That couple that met in the wee years of middle school, fell in love in high school, were high school sweethearts, were Prom King and Queen, that couldn’t seem to let go when college days came around. And now, here today, we have the privilege of saying that we made it through all those formative years of our lives, those years where we faced many challenges, many obstacles, a lot of immaturity, together, and now have the honor of being husband and wife for the rest of our lives!

It’s funny. People hear our story and how long we’ve been together, and they automatically think that we’ve got it made! They automatically say something along the lines of “I hope that I can find someone someday, and have exactly what you guys have.” We look picture perfect on the surface. And believe me; I am beyond touched by this reaction by others. But I have to admit something. It’s not all fun and games in marriage. I know, I am saying that even after only six months of marriage. But it is true. 425324_10201450881060973_2072547055_nMarriage is a blast, but marriage is also pretty hard. Our marriage is far from perfect. I think this is a hard thing for couples to admit to others, especially couples who are in the church. It is hard to admit, because we want to set the ultimate example for those around us. We don’t want to disappoint or let people down. Truth is nobody has marriage down perfectly. Nor will anybody ever have marriage down perfectly. This is because everyone has weaknesses. We are all imperfect, and we carry that into our relationships, and our marriages. Weaknesses are normal. That being said, we must have grace, forgiveness, and genuine understanding for one another. Colossians 4:6 (NIV) says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Maybe hearing that marriage is hard is discouraging, it shouldn’t be! The challenges1461095_10202673578227638_1377933885_n make us stronger, and together. They help us grow and be better. As we are being made better with the help and example of our Heavenly Father, we are growing closer to Him, and as we are growing closer to God, we are growing closer to each other. It is a beautiful thing. In the NASB version of the Bible, Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” And Philippians 2:5 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”

Believe me, we have our differences. My husband and I argue. In fact, we’re pretty good at arguing. Yeah, we’ve only been married half a year, but everyone argues, whether you’ve been married for a year, or 50 years. Arguing is normal and healthy even. It means you’re communicating with each other, and being open and honest. It’s good and healthy to share your emotions with your spouse. It’s how we do these things that will make a marriage healthy, or unhealthy. It’s a matter of learning how to argue right.

Some lessons I’ve learned so far in marriage:

Lesson 1: Good communication is how I communicate.

It is the nonverbal that takes place in conversation and communication383537_10201450894821317_1698823439_n that is perhaps more important than the verbal part. This is something that I have to work on and remind myself of everyday. My facial expressions are so important. This is something I don’t naturally and automatically pay much attention to. It is my weakness, but it is so crucially important. The way I carry myself in communication is very important.

Lesson 2: It’s okay that my husband likes to be alone sometimes.

This does not mean, I repeat, this does not mean he doesn’t love me1456647_10202673598468144_1799676549_n (or you) anymore. I must respect my husband. As his wife, I have to choose to support my husband, in everything. I have to choose to respect his space, to support his decision to make plans to do something that may not include me. This is okay, and this is healthy. Marriage is a new adjustment in life, an adjustment where a couple goes from seeing each other just sometimes when they make time in their single lives and personal schedules, to married life, where the couple sees each other all of the time. We have the privilege of waking up in the mornings together, of going to sleep next to each other every night. That being said, we experience each other’s company a lot in marriage. It is all going to be okay if he decides he wants to be alone every once in a while, it does not mean he loves me less, but it is something that I, as a wife, should embrace, respect, and support. I heard this quote once, that “blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape.” My husband may make plans without me sometimes, it is not the end of the world if he does this, and how I react, or don’t react rather, speaks volumes to my respect for him. I should always be embracing the differences between my husband and me.

Lesson 3: Be reasonable.

74911_10202673600268189_1903000353_nI’ve learned how selfish I am after entering into marriage. I’ve realized it has honestly been all about me, and now it’s supposed to be about him? It’s so important to learn to be more selfless within marriage. Old ways won’t open new doors. I cannot automatically jump into defense mode when a disagreement arises between my husband and me. I can’t point a finger; it is not attractive by any means, and it means I am thinking about myself before him. I have to own my crud, and with no excuses. He will own his too, but I should be more concerned about him and his feelings, not myself. Change is definitely a process, and it comes little by little. Selfishness can be no more; there isn’t room for that in my marriage.

Lesson 4: Be the girl, let him be the man.

I have found myself trying to hide my emotions in a sense, in hopes of not 527336_10200462602394624_1599895718_ncoming off as too emotional, causing my husband to perhaps be overwhelmed with being married to such a girly girl. But he needs me to be the girl, so he can be the man, not having to worry about having to make up for my lack in the relationship. Sometimes it is hard for me to say how I feel, in fear of being rejected. He wants to know how I feel, and not later, but right now. He wants to know that even though I may be annoyed about him leaving the toilet seat up, that he is still my knight in shining armor, that he is the person that I look up to more than anybody else in the world. He wants to know how respected and appreciated he is.

Lesson 5: Look ahead.

575513_10201450901341480_1369569634_nLike I said before, it is normal to carry weaknesses, to have struggles, and to remember baggage you have carried in the past. Don’t look back though; you’re not going that way. Don’t dwell on past hurts or baggage. What good is that going to do? Look ahead, the future is bright! The future is exciting. Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Like I said before, looking picture perfect doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s picture perfect. We’ve already faced some challenges, and it’s only the beginning. But, I’ve got to say, the challenges and new revelations that marriage brings only make it that much more sweet and more worth every single moment that we share, with God as our center. I can only imagine how much sweeter it gets over time. Thank you Lord for marriage!

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