When I think about the sins I’ve committed in my life, my pitfalls, my stupidity, the times I’ve fallen away from God, when I’ve lost my temper for no good reason with my husband or my children, when I’ve pined for material possessions instead of being grateful for what I have, or when I’ve carelessly wasted away the Sabbath working on something that in the end doesn’t matter – instead of, for example, spending time in scripture – I wonder, “Why does God bless me so much?” And, not just for the blessings I know about, but also for the blessings that I usually forget to thank Him for, like my health (because I often take it for granted), the well-being of my children and husband, or even for protecting my family from perils that, without our realization, He has averted.
Now, as I prepare for our move overseas, I’m even more attuned to the many blessings in our life that we are soon to leave behind.
- Our community. No matter where we go in this little city of ours, Bill and I, and perhaps more often our children, will run into someone we know. Inevitably, we’ll stop and chat, catch up on the goings on, or invite one another over for an event. I’ve long since stopped counting the number of times multiple families have piled out of their respective cars at the gas station up the road and chatted at the pumps long after the cars were filled up.
- Our neighborhood. Bill and I usually can’t walk out the front door without being waved to or hollered at from a rolled down window. Or, neighbors dripping sweat from exercising in the Savannah humidity, will make a point to stop mid stride and ask how things are going. Our children’s friends come in and out all weekend long, stopping in for a glass of water, a bowl of ice cream, or to simply cool off from the afternoon sun.
- Our home. We searched all across the Savannah area for just the right place that our family would call home. After more than 40 walk-throughs, we finally found the one house that fit the bill and that we’ve so comfortably lived in for over 5 years. It has everything I’ve ever wanted in a house: a screened in patio and storm door so that the breeze can blow through the house during the cool spring and fall months, a wood-burning fireplace, an open floor plan and a huge kitchen. It sits just across the street from our community pool, tennis courts and playground, where our children play with their friends every chance they get.
- Friends. We’ve all made life-long friends here. Some have become so close that they are now considered a part of our family. Tears come to my eyes when I think about leaving them behind.
- Family. Not often do military families get the opportunity to live close to relatives. We are no exception. However, just recently we discovered that we do in fact have cousins who live in our area. Since this discovery, we have been feverishly getting to know each other, making up for lost time. I sure hate to leave now, just when we are getting close.
- Schools. By far, our county has the best schools in the area. Our children have had top-notch teachers over the years and the teachers are blessed to have the involvement of very enthusiastic and caring parents. The schools are clean, organized, safe and run efficiently and effectively. I see very little room for improvement other than to bring God back to the center of education, but as we all know, that cannot be done outside of sending our children to a private school.
- Work. Please see my previous post that describes how I feel about this topic. As I am writing this I have 9 more working days left to do what I can for my department, my supervisor and The Savannah College of Art and Design. It has been a privilege and an honor.
- Church. Our church has helped Bill and I grow in our faith, in our fellowship and in our education of God and Scripture. At long last, we found a place where we both felt comfortable worshiping our Lord. As a child, I watched my mother and father sit together in the church pew listening to Pastor. This image has always been what I yearned for as a married woman. I’ve finally found this little slice of heaven on earth and now I must leave it.
- Routine. I’m a creature of habit. I like my days planned out – I’m an executive assistant by trade for Pete’s sake. My first order of business on any given day is to sip a freshly brewed (by percolator) cup of coffee, made with love by my husband. Although physically in my own car during my morning commute to work, spiritually you can always find me sitting in my regular seat on the Bible Bus. I put in a full day for work and then I put in a full night for my family. In the morning it starts all over again. I like it this way and am not looking forward to the disruption that is soon to come.
- Savannah’s natural beauty. Just the other day I walked through two squares to meet a friend for lunch. The beauty of Savannah’s trees, lush landscape and historical architecture took my breath away all over again, just as it had when I first soaked in her downtown charm and grace. Although New Orleans comes close – I lived there just before and during Katrina – no city is quite like Savannah.
- American culture, safety and freedoms. I know for a fact I take this for granted every day.
- Our stuff. We aren’t taking any of our heirloom furniture with us to Korea, including my grandfather clock. I enjoy having these physical pieces of my family’s history around me and I will miss them all so much. Lacking in history but integral to our family’s fun are our his and hers GT500s. We haven’t been to the racetrack much this year, but I am sure going to miss the daily adrenaline rush from my afternoon commute!
The blessings I’ve listed only apply to what I am leaving behind. Of course, there are also other, even more important things to be grateful for which, thank goodness, follow me wherever I go.
- My salvation. Only given to me through Jesus’ sacrifice in death. There is nothing I can do to ensure my salvation other than to accept this fact.
- The Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit I would be incapable of even knowing of Jesus’ existence.
- Peace through faith. Knowing that I do not have to accomplish some specific task in order to achieve everlasting life has brought a peace to my soul that I’ve never felt before. To think of the years I’ve wasted worrying and wondering.
- Jesus. Aside from His sacrifice for our salvation, Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament help to explain the Old Testament, and provide a foundation upon which I attempt to live my life.
- Scripture. The Bible is a living book. It never ages; it is just as pertinent to our modern life today as it was long, long ago. In this book you WILL find the meaning of life. Set aside your pride and believe it.
- My husband. We married when I was 18. At that time I thought I knew what love was. I know now that I had no idea.
- My children. Pure selfishness ends the day you become a parent. My amazing life as I know it today began the day my first child was born, and as hard as it was at the time to imagine, got even better after the 2nd and 3rd.
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16
When I really spend time thinking about just how gracious, merciful and loving God is I am humbled to my knees. Despite not being worthy of any good thing, God promises us spiritual blessings solely because of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit. Psalm 32:1-2
I can rattle off all the wonderful things happening in my life right now, despite what should be considered minor setbacks, such as moving overseas in 90 days. For others, however, this is not as easy to do. Recent events in the life of a high school friend have turned her world upside down, never to be the same; she mourns the death of her murdered brother. Another dear friend slowly struggles to recover from past relationships that went horribly wrong. And in still another situation, despite a recently failed marriage, I have heard kind and merciful words spoken about an ex.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3-10
I cannot claim to have been merciful lately, nor a peacemaker, and I pray I’m never persecuted for my faith. All I can claim is my faith is Jesus Christ, and with that I have already received all the riches I’ll ever need.