Blessings

Michele challenged us a while back to blog about a song that really spoke to our hearts.  I know, I’m just now getting around to this, but I do have many songs that speak to me in so many different ways.  But one song stands out from the rest, “Blessings” by Laura Story.

All of us have times when we wonder if God’s left us.  Life takes a nasty turn and we feel that the Lord has turned his back. When I first heard this song I was struggling to trust the Lord in my situation.  My husband was disabled from a brain tumor and his health was getting worse.  I was still supporting my son and his family, which included two autistic sons.  Sometimes the tension around the house would be thick since my husband and son didn’t always get along and other various things that happen when you mesh two families together.  It was during this time that I first heard the song “Blessings”.  The words struck my heart and found a home there.

After I had heard the song several times I looked up Laura Story and found out that her husband had also had a brain tumor and that was the situation that brought this song about.  That had to be a God thing; her husband had a brain tumor, too?

Here is a quote from Laura Story regarding “Blessings”:

The song shows that we still have more questions than answers. But there’s a decision that I find God is asking us to make. Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances, or are we going to choose to interpret our circumstances based on what we hold to be true about God?

Our circumstances have magnified the blessing of marriage. As high school sweethearts, we faced the strong chance that our long-awaited marriage bond might last just two years. Once you’ve rallied through a life-threatening illness together, the rest of it is like a surprise; every day is a new gift that might not have been there. It’s not as big a deal now if he leaves his socks on the floor.

The words of James 1:2–“Consider it a great joy … whenever you experience various trials”–ring especially true and duly influence the joyful, wisdom-loving tone throughout “Blessings.”

Don’t get the wrong idea. It hasn’t been easy. Everyone wants to be a mature and equipped follower, but would I have signed up had I known what it would take? God has grown us up, deepened our faith, our awareness of our great need for Him as a Savior, daily. We knew it before, but we didn’t see it.

I hope you are as blessed by this song as I continue to be.  Here are the lyrics:

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

Chorus:
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

 

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Sing a New Song

“Happy New Year!” is the common cry of the day, but I prefer to wish people a blessed new year. Not everything that happened in 2017 was happy. On an international and national scale, there were natural and man-made disasters of all sorts, leaving many people homeless and some mourning those dear to them who were lost. On a personal front, my mother died on Easter 2017, I had unexpected heart surgery in July, and without having planned or thought about it, as a result of the surgery, I went from being a classroom teacher to an administrator.

But there have been blessings: My second granddaughter was born in May; the change in job is definitely better for my recovery (way less stressful, and fewer hours!), and I am finding that the new job is actually where I am supposed to be at this time in my lfe. I recognize God’s hand in all that has come to pass.

So as we enter a new calendar year, with no idea what may be in store, may we always remember to praise God, and with the psalmist, sing a new song:

Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Have a blessed new year, knowing wherever it leads you, God is with you always.

 

Remembering the Wilderness

“And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know;  that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that mans lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”  Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Believe it or not, I wrote this post before the last ones from Beth Ann and Sarah.  God must be at work, be at work, because we’re all thinking along the same lines.  Here goes:

If you’re my age, and you look back over your life, you are bound to remember some wilderness days.  Times when nothing seemed to go right, times when you felt lost and alone;  times when that decision you made with such high hopes has led you to a place of despair;  times when your spouse, your children, your friends disappoint you.

In wilderness times, there’s always a temptation to turn away from God.  Like the Israelites, we groan and complain and long for “the good old days”  even if in our hearts we know those days weren’t perfect, either.  Still, the security of what we knew seems better than going forward into unknown places.

These verses tell us there is a purpose in those trying days.  God is humbling us in order to teach us to depend upon Him;  He cares for us when we are helpless and cannot fend for ourselves, and when we look back and remember, we see that He did sustain us. His Word and His promises kept us going, when we clung to them.

I think it’s interesting to know that the literal meaning of manna is “what is this?”  Sometimes during those difficult times, we’re “fed” with nourishment we didn’t expect and don’t understand. We may not get what we want, but God makes sure we get just what we need.

How has God fed you in the wilderness?  Ladies and readers, I want to hear your stories.

 

Remembering Hurting Times

We all have times when you feel like God has abandoned you, and you pray and pray and you wonder if He’s even listening.  I’ve had plenty of these times in my life.

Usually, I can look back and wonder how I got through such bad times.  At one point in my life I’d lost my job; we lost our home and had to move to a small apartment that my brother-in-law owned.  I had lost my mom several years before and as this was going on, my father died.  A very dark time in my life.  I felt like I’d been abandoned.

But I wasn’t trusting the Lord then.  I started to trust, slowly. Looking back, this was a good thing because life for me got tougher.  I learned to trust Jesus more.  As time went on my faith just got stronger.  My situation never got easier; I was just able to lean on the arms of the Lord and that was a comfort.

We want to make the hurting times go away.  We pray for God to just come in and change everything.  I’ve found out that it doesn’t happen that way.  If you have faith, the one that changes is you.

Of course, I have a song; Even If by MercyMe.  This song speaks volumes about trusting the Lord.