Blessed: “having a sacred nature : connected with God; very welcome, pleasant, or appreciated”
Taken from the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
My husband bought me the best Christmas present in 2015. It’s a necklace that has an opening to put charms in it. He was very meaningful in the charms that he picked and placed inside. However, the necklace itself says one simple word: “Blessed.”
I wondered at first why he picked that word. He knows that every year I ask God for a word and for 2016, my word is “peace.” However, that isn’t the word he picked. And he explained why.
“I was going to get you a necklace with the word “peace” on it, but that is just your word for this year. That word will change. Instead I chose the word “blessed” because that word describes you.”
I thought about it for a minute and he was spot on. I am blessed! His words reminded me of how through my words I try and pray blessings on others while at the same time repeat the phrase multiple times a day sometimes, “I’m blessed.”
Looking at our life over the past few years, outwardly you might not consider the trial of chronic illness a blessing or downsizing and then termination of employment a blessing, or even right before that the death of our third child a blessing – but I do. Not the acts themselves but how God used each of those circumstances for good in our lives and then to look outward and bless others through the lessons learned and the pain endured.
The miscarriage got me angry enough to tell God I was going to do something about a void I saw that could offer encouragement to others who were suffering from the pain of losing a child too soon. The trials of chronic illness have brought our family closer and made our marriage stronger because we have had to cling tighter to our Father through long nights, endless tests, and anxiety-provoking diagnoses. There is nothing like the loss of a steady income to shake things up. Once again, though, God used that circumstance in our lives to show us how to fully trust Him, who our money belongs to and to see how much we are loved by family and friends who rallied around and helped make ends meet when our checkbook was short more than one month. Some of the blessings came in the form of providing fun, not just necessities, and reminding me that just because we’re going through a trial, God enjoys lavishing gifts, not just providing for needs.
Those are all the blessings that came from “not-so-pleasant” circumstances; however, when I think about my life, I’m blessed above and beyond. My parents lovingly raised me with the model of a relationship with our Heavenly Father instead of a religion. They helped me begin my own relationship with Him at the tender age of six. I will forever be grateful for that solid legacy they continue to demonstrate to their grandchildren also. We have two sets of parents who pray for our family daily and are more than willing to help in whatever way possible.
I am married to my best friend who everyday shows me how much he cherishes me but more importantly, shows our kids through big and small ways how much they are adored. He is a wonderful example of how to be a husband and father for our boys and our daughter. I have three amazing kids here and one waiting for me in Heaven. They love God and are pursuing their own relationship with Him, which is all a mother could ever ask for.
We have amazing friends who even though we don’t have time to get together very often, we know that we are here for each other as prayer partners, babysitters, or whatever is needed. I have a warm house, two working vehicles, a healthy body to pursue the ministry God has laid on our hearts, and enough energy to work three jobs while still participating in activities with the family or extracurricular with the kids.
When I say I am blessed, I’m not talking about lots of money, fancy clothes, or anything material. I’m blessed because I have a relationship with my Heavenly Father and He provides everything that I could possibly need (not everything I necessarily want). When I continue to pursue what He desires for my life, He continues to bless me because He knows what’s best.
I love looking down at my necklace that my husband so lovingly made and gave to me last Christmas. It’s one of my favorite gifts because he realized as much as I do how blessed our family really is. He gave me a beautiful way to remember that multiple times a day – I just have to look down and see inside the beautiful display some of the many reasons why.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016