I spoke last time about how God invited me many years ago to begin a blessings journal. Blessings journals can be beautiful (like some I’ve been gifted over the years) or as easy as buying a notebook at the store. What truly matters is that it’s something that speaks to you and you get excited about using.
Some days the blessings flow and you almost don’t have enough space to put them all. Other days it takes everything inside to say, “Thank You, God, that today is over and I can start again tomorrow.” The blessings can be as big as reconciliation with a loved one, a miraculous healing or a new job that fits your talents and gifts. They can also be something as simple as a free coffee because someone chose to pay it forward, forgiven library fines, or time to sit and read a book.
In the past two years, I have begin to intentionally appreciate many things as blessings around me – from the gorgeous sunset that feels like God put it in the sky “just for me” to the chance to sit and read for 20 minutes as I wait in line at pick up.
God doesn’t bless me just for my own pleasure. When we are blessed, it’s part of our calling to in turn share those blessings with others in ways that speak to them. Ways they will appreciate and have a chance to see God brightening their day or their life. As a result, I’ve been actively looking for ways to bless others.
Throughout the years, starting with our oldest, as a family we have enjoyed blessing our children’s teachers or bus drivers with little things to let them know they are appreciated. A few years back, God had me take that idea and multiple it.
God whispered to me that year about using a photo box. When I buy things, such as a notebook for the blessings journal I’ve referred to above, I pay close attention to which design pattern or colors speak to me for that particular season of life. Having said that, when I went out to find a photo box to put the treats in to pass out that morning, I knew exactly which box God wanted us to use.
I had purchased one previously for another project that had Christmas designs on it and said “peace, joy,” etc. That’s significant for two reasons: One – Christmas was when God sent His Son to the earth, the ultimate present (blessing) for humankind, and two – peace and joy are two of the words God has given me in previous years as my “word for the year.” I showed the box to our son, gave him the explanations above and he was totally on board using a Christmas photo box in September as a “Teacher Blessings Box.”
That day we answered multiple questions about, “No, it’s not my birthday, instead it’s ‘just because’” and were rewarded with many smiles (and quite a few hugs). I think I left that morning as filled up as I hope we filled the teachers in the building delivering them homemade, still hot from the oven banana bread.
It all began with the challenge of beginning a blessings journal many years ago and then morphed into creating and regularly using a blessings box to distribute goodies to the teachers at our child’s school to share God’s love with them.
With all my kids out of elementary school and no personal contact with teachers anymore, yesterday I dusted off the box and took homemade, hot out of the oven banana bread to some parents who were sitting in line next to me waiting to pick their kids up too. There was enough bread for their kids too, because who isn’t hungry after a full day of school?
The dynamics of middle school are much different than elementary school, but God is still using me to be a blessing to those around me. If I keep listening, I’ll always have another assignment. Whatever God has planned will be great, and I’m ready.
© Cheri Swalwell 2021