Sunday, January 2, 2011

Counting Blessings

1. 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.
* Refrain:
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.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.]
2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
4. 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.

That was a good song. Fortifying. It was always a good reminder, every time I had the blessing of singing it. At the beginning of 2011, I feel that I ought to look back and count my blessings during 2010 (which was not my favorite year of life, so far).

1. I was blessed to teach a Bible study about the Promises of God. There is little that I enjoy more than reading the great Bible stories to people and exploring what they reveal about God's character.

2. I was blessed deeply to be able to take Shannon and David to Florida in June so that Shannon could get in a vacation and David could have some sea air for his lungs.

3. I was blessed to see my daughter Laura graduate from high school.

4. I was blessed to be able to do a graduation party for Laura, and it turned out well!

5. Shannon was accepted to the summer REU program in nanotechnology at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

6. Shannon was able to come home for Laura's party.

7. Shannon survived the trip back to Evanston (and it was pretty iffy for awhile, so that was cause for great thanksgiving).

8. We had a lovely family vacation at the beach in North Carolina in August.

9. Shawn has continued to be gainfully employed.

10. I was privileged to teach a study on the book of Philippians, my favorite New Testament book, and God blessed me deeply with every lesson.

11. Laura chose a wonderful Christian college and has made a happy adjustment to life there.

12. God healed David from Bell's Palsy and he was able to go back to college this fall and resume playing his saxophone.

13. Jonathan earned his black belt in karate.

14. Piper turned 11 and seems to be going strong.

15. I learned how to make kefir at home.

16. We found a pulmonologist for David who may be helping.

17. Shannon got through all of her graduate school applications.

18. We had 2 Christmas trees this year (a silly little thing, but it's made me happy each time I see them--a tiny tree for the family room so not to crowd the family, and a smallish tree in the corner of the living room which seemed to spread the Christmas spirit through so much more of the house...)

19. Amazing visit to Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD while we were in Annapolis for Jonathan's marching band show. What an unforgettable experience that was, with a sermon on 1 Peter 4:7, "The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray."

20. Shawn and I ended up with a sort of private getaway when we drove to Missouri to attend his baby sister's wedding in March.

21. Shannon successfully synthesized a cockroach pheromone and has her name on a paper that has been submitted for publication in an organic chemistry journal.

I may wish that David had been healthier, or that I had seen more of my parents, or that Shawn's job situation had not undergone some of the events it underwent. I may wish that we had been able to build a house on our land in the country. But God has been with us all the way. He knows the plans He has for us. I can trust Him with my life and with timing, too. We may build a house in the country some day. Or we may have a job transfer and move to a different state. Or we may even just stay right here, and if we do, I can be very happy with that. This is a nice home and we have spent many years building memories here. Maybe our house will burn down, like our neighbors' house did on my birthday this year. I hope that doesn't happen, but if it does, at least I won't have to clean the basement and figure out what to do with all that stuff if we move.

2011 may bring some very big changes, but no matter what happens, God is in control and I can trust Him, because He is good. There may be trouble and pain and heartache and loss, but at the end, we will live forever in glory with Him, and nothing can separate us, now or later, from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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