Count Your Blessings

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ThanksgivingThanksgiving Day is upon us. This is a day set aside to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. Yet for so many people, it is a time of dread and despair. Why would so many feel despair during a great time of food, festivities, and gathering?

One reason people feel despair may be due to unrealistic expectations of family and friends. Most commercials tout images of the perfect family gathering. Scenes show the perfectly dressed family with a beautiful table spread with lots of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, and all the other yummy Thanksgiving traditions. Sometimes we capture these images in our minds and make it the basis of what we want our lives to look like.

That beautiful scene is not practical for many families across our nation. Realistically, loved ones are separated these days by many miles do to employment situations. Some family members are not able to take off in time to travel or some may not be in a financial position to do so.

Other families are separated because their loved ones are serving our country in the armed forces and are out on deployment or other duties. Other families are separated because they are public servants, such as medical and law enforcement. Protection of our communities and tending to the infirm in our hospitals and geriatric care facilities never takes a holiday off.

And still yet, as I have learned, there is another segment of our community that is separated from our loved ones this holiday season due to incarceration. Regardless of what caused one to end up confined, it remains difficult for the family on the outside as there is that empty spot in their hearts and the family yearns for what could of or should have been.

When we long for something others have, it is envy. Or coveting what others have. Of course envy and coveting falls into the sin category. When we sin, we do not feel the peace of God upon us and that leads to the despair.

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To remedy the gloom and despair, we need to stop coveting what others are enjoying and appreciate what we do have. We need to count our blessings, not the blessings belonging to others. When we count our blessings, the peace and joy of God comes upon us. This doesn’t change our circumstances, but we experience peace and joy in spite of our circumstances.

We are to . . .

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).

When I need a song to raise me up out of despair, the Lord reminds me of the hymns I was raised up on as a child. Today I share with you the words one of my favorites and perhaps you will sing along it too.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

(Count Your Blessings | John Oatman, Jr. | Public Domain)

Let’s count our blessings and encourage one another by sharing what God has done in the comments below!

 

© 2013 Shonda Savage

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