January 11, 2014
My friend Carla posted a Pay it Forward Challenge on FaceBook. The first 8 people who responded to her challenge would receive some kind of blessing from Carla sometime during 2014. Duh, sign me up! Carla asked that anyone who accepts the challenge also offer it to their own FB friends as a way to pay it forward. Carla obviously isn’t a procrastinator; my blessing arrived in the mail this week. It’s a mason jar, pen, and notepad. She wants me to write down something that blesses me each day in 2014, put it in the jar, and read them all on December 31, 2014. What a great way to remember the many ways God has blessed me everyday.
I didn’t have 8 people sign up for my challenge. At first I wondered why people wouldn’t want to get a surprise blessing. Then I remembered…
The annual blessing service is tomorrow at church. The first year we went to it, I was so annoyed! I wanted to do church the way we always did church. Don’t move my cheese! I rolled my eyes and huffed and puffed. Oh my spirit just couldn’t receive the blessing that was being announced over me. My biggest problem at that time was the fear that I would be expected to live up to the blessing and I would have to somehow prove to God that I had deserved what He had given me. Impossible! I just didn’t understand blessing. His blessings to me are undeserved by me. Period. They are deserved by His Son. Period. But by His grace, through His grace, because of His grace, within His grace is the manner that I can receive His blessings as a co-heir with His deserving Son.
To worry about deserving it is backward thinking. His Blessings were never designed to make me fear the moment God realizes He never should have wasted His blessing on me. Blessings were meant to sink into the very core of who I am, reminding me of the truth within me. “I am the way, and the truth, and life,” (John 14:6 ESV). Jesus within me. The Spirit within me. Opening me up to bless others. Without compulsion, but with love. Without fear, but with boldness.
So since my God owns all the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalms 50:7-11), and since “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father,” (James 1:17 ESV), and since I can boldly ask knowing “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22 ESV), then what do I ask for?
What if…I could read between the lines? Then I wouldn’t waste 3 weeks of shopping when Grace’s Santa list asks for hair extensions. I would discern that she isn’t asking for a gift of vanity, but she is trying to let me know she is struggling with her self image.
What if…I was listening instead I just hearing? Then when Lauren is crying and hyperventilating at the kitchen table fretting over multiplication facts, I would discern she isn’t just being dramatic. This is anxiety.
What if…I knew the difference between misbehaving and missing Mommie? Then when there’s dinner to be made, dishes to wash, laundry to fold, homework to check, lunch to pack, baths, errands, and, and…I would discern that if I gave Emily 5 minutes of undivided me, I wouldn’t have to fuss “Emily where is the cat, and why is your book bag meowing? Oh Emily!”
What if…I knew the right thing to say when a patient shows up with bruises? And why does the check out lady seem so sad today? And what if I stopped worrying about what others were thinking of me, and started thinking about what worries others?
What if God’s blessing over my life opened me to a deeper discernment so I could pay it forward in richer ways than I have ever imagined? What if?
January 11, 2014