Have you ever heard the song Blessings by Laura Story? If not, click on it, above, and listen to it before reading on. I’ve always loved that song. I don’t know why. Maybe because I’ve always liked the “sad” songs since I was a kid or maybe because what she is singing about resonates with me. But even though I love this song, I didn’t really understood it for the longest time. What blessings could possibly be found in our worst pains and losses?!
Then one day, a couple of years ago, I was in the car, this song came on the radio, and I immediately thought of Janet (not her real name). God connected the dots for me right there and showed me an example of what blessing could come out of Janet’s cancer and her family losing their child, sister and mother. Before receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis, Janet did not have the most positive attitude. She was not happy with her situation when she compared it to others’. Sometimes she felt others had an obligation to share their blessings with her because she didn’t have what they had. She focused on the things she didn’t have instead of the things and people she did.
When her cancer was discovered, it was pretty progressed and doctors were not optimistic. But you know what? Janet didn’t wallow in self-pity, didn’t wonder “Why me?” or get angry at God. She had an amazing transformation in attitude, spirit and heart after her diagnosis. She realized every moment on this earth and all the people in her life were precious and she wanted as much time as possible to let them know that and to show God she could praise him in the storm. She wasn’t going to accept defeat and die without a fight.
It took the knowledge that her time left on earth had an expiration date of months, not decades, to change. Janet had a love of life and appreciation for each day and those with her like she’d never had before. She praised God in private and out loud to whom she came in contact. She went through ugly treatments and terrible side effects saying, “God is good!”, being grateful for medicine that helped her fight. She turned it all over to God and trusted Him to get her through this. And, oh boy, did God do amazing things in Janet! Her tumors started shrinking. Doctors could not explain what was happening, but Janet knew. She was given more time to enjoy life since she was finally enjoying it they way God wanted her to. She lived so much longer than any doctor expected! And when the cancer started progressing again, quickly, she made sure she said everything that needed to be said to those she was leaving behind.
Her inspiration to all of us for having joy in her heart while going through treatments was a blessing. Her example to her daughters of how to face fear, illness and the unknown head-on, with God, family and friends by her side was a blessing. Her girls memories of their mom’s final months were of joy, love, believing in and receiving God’s healing, not the negative, unhappy woman she was before, and that was a blessing.
I wish she could have lived longer to do all the things she wanted to with her girls, and see them grow up and become moms of their own. Even though her life was cut short, at the end of her life she was blessed with an inner peace and love, something her family had wanted for her for so long. She was a wonderful example of hope, the power of prayer and how God is always waiting with open arms when we are ready to turn to Him.
Why am I writing this post now? I was doing housework today with music on in the background and this song came on. And them another example of a blessing came into my head. Shortly after turning 2 yrs old, B became very sick. After he was released from the hospital, he was still ill, but we were sent home with diagnoses, medicines and machines and we had to learn to care for him. He was too sick to go to daycare some days and when he was well enough to go, they could not administer his meds per their policies. I don’t blame them! I asked my parents to watch him while I worked and they graciously said yes. Then, after a month of watching B, my mom sat me down and said she and my dad could no longer care for B. It was too much. My dad had recently retired and they wanted to travel. They wanted to enjoy their grandchild and his needs needed to be met by me, his mother. She told me I needed to quit my job and take care of my son.
We were still paying medical bills from his hospital stay and now we had to go down to one salary?! How would we make ends meet?! But it was the right thing for B so we did it. And it was tough! It’s still tough, 10 years later, to make ends meet on one salary. But they always do meet. We don’t have everything we want, but we always have what we need. And the best part? We have a healthy, happy young man whom I’ve had the privilege to homeschool the past 5 years. That’s our blessing.
A couple of other examples popped into my head and then a voice said, “You should go blog about this. Others need to know, too.” Yes. I heard a voice. And I know Whose it is. He’s spoken to me a couple of times in the past few months and gave me instructions. Things I didn’t want to do because I was scared. But after the fact, I knew He was right and I should have done them. I believe my fears would not have come to fruition because He put the opportunity there to begin with. He was going to hold my hand through something to show me I could do it but I didn’t want to trust Him. So today, I’m listening to Him and acting on it.
Have you received a blessing from tragedy, loss or pain? A heart attack could scare someone into changing their eating and exercise habits. Surviving a car crash, even though months of hospitalization or physical therapy is needed, could stop someone from ever texting and driving again. Did you ever see the movie Mr. Mom? Dad losing his job and staying home with the kids while his stay-at-home wife reentered the work force. Dad got to get to know his kids, make memories with them, and both parents got a greater appreciation for what the other did. A terrible accident or illness to a child, forcing a “super mom” to admit that she can’t do it all and a workaholic dad to get into the parenthood trenches and help, instead of just being the paycheck.
“The song Blessings really came out of a redefining of the word blessing that’s been going on in my life for a few years now. I grew up hearing that word blessed…I think subtilely I began to see blessing as something that was centered around health or prosperity. Which was hard these passed few years when I was facing a situation with my husband’s health. We were praying for healing and God, for whatever reason, wasn’t answering our prayers the way we wanted Him to. So, was He blessing us? That was our question….It’s just us investigating this idea of, could God possibly be blessing us through not giving us the things we’re praying for…Even though we do have more questions than answers at this point in time, I do know this: that there is a blessedness that comes through waiting on the Lord. There is an intimacy in our walk with the Lord that comes through walking through that valley. There is a reliance on His Word that we only know when everything else in life fades away. And so, in that sense, I truly feel like I’ve been blessed.” Laura Story