I had another blog planned for today-until about five minutes ago. Watching recent news coverage and viewing the pictures/videos of the complete and utter devastation of these people has shifted my focus a bit. One particular woman, crying and pleading for help, noted that she had lost everything. There was no home, no photos, all was lost and she was so distraught. I can’t even pretend to understand what it feels like to be standing in her shoes in these moments. The thought that kept resonating in my mind was “Praise the Lord that she is alive to speak these words on T.V..” I felt a little awkward having that thought. Of course, I’d never wish this upon anyone and hearing her verbalize her pain is not something to be thankful for. But, she was still alive! Life is so fragile and the fact that she was breathing, grieving, walking and ALIVE for all to see on T.V. was a miracle. When I think of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I only hope and pray that each will have the presence of family and the comfort of God.
While absorbing all of this, I looked up and caught a glimpse of our “Blessings Box”. This is a box that I created and keep on top of a jelly cupboard in our dining area. About two months ago, I had been praying about ways to encourage thoughtful prayer and an attitude of gratitude in our family -specifically in our children. They, like many children, get caught up in a prayer they habitually recite. I remind them to think about events and needs specific to their day to help guide their thoughts while praying…and they try. However, at ages six and three, they tend to fall back on the comfortable prayers- especially at meal time. How many times to we adults do the very same thing? Especially at meal time! The Lord sent me the idea of a “Blessings Box”.
I chose words from a familiar hymn to grace the front. “Great is thy faithfulness….Morning my morning new mercies I see…..All I have needed thy hand hath provided” are the words that echoed in my heart as I was wrapping this plain little box with some wrapping paper I had stashed in the back of my closet. Inside is a plastic container, a pad of paper and a pen. The idea is for each family member to think of a blessing. It could be something specific to their day, something more broad, a certain person in their life or even a gift or trinket they recently received. What blessings has God bestowed upon our family? There is SO much to be thankful for. We write each blessing on a piece of paper and place it in the container inside. What I have learned through the process is that we need a bigger tablet of note paper. 🙂 Then I ask for each person to think of at least one specific need or person to pray for and we write each on a piece of note paper and place them in the portion of the box outside of the plastic container. I noticed an immediate change in my son’s prayers as he tried to recall all of the requests and blessings that went into the box. It was so awesome! Then at the end of the week we take them all out and review them (Yet another opportunity to see prayers answered!). When I look at that sea of prayers and blessings in the form of little strips of paper it makes me smile. It has been a useful tool to enhance our prayer time as a family and to help us focus on the wonderful blessings in life.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,…right…pure…lovely…admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
I have a confession to make. It has been said that one has to repeat a certain task for at least twenty days for it to take hold as a habit. We have not gone to our blessings box in about two weeks. Life gets so busy and it’s a poor excuse but, it’s an excuse I make from time to time. Taking time to think about and dwell on God’s blessings should never take a back seat to the life HE has gifted us. Watching the news today was a reminder for me that I need to change my focus…and think INSIDE the box.