Counting Blessings

Sunday marked the five year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy hitting the northeast coast of the United States.  I still remember that day.  The fear of losing our home (and my husband who decided to stay behind with our dog).  I remember the relief of coming home the next day to find that compared to most people in the area, we did fairly well.  We did lose some things. But nothing compared to the devastation everywhere else.  Surrounding neighborhoods looked like war zones.  The National Guard's presence with their H1 Hummers didn't help.

For the next few weeks, we would go without heat or electricity, and with that no hot water, no internet.  This was October.  And it was not a mild fall like we have had THIS year, in 2017.  In fact, it snowed on November 1.  My kids, friends, and I found refuge (and electricity and internet) in our local library.  What got me through these times were the book, A Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, and, when we finally got electric, going around and helping where I was able to help.

It was during that time that I discovered how counting your blessings can really change your perspective.  By physically document what I was thankful for, it removed my focus on the negative things in my life.  The sense of gratitude that I was filled with motivated me to go out and help others who were worst off.  Because no matter what your situation is- there's always someone worst off than you.  Counting my blessings and helping others made me see God at work in my life and in the lives of others.  His promises of provision, and words about thanksgiving came alive. 

I was thankful for the roof over our heads (although some areas were leaking).  Thankful for friends and family north of us who weren't affected and offered their hot showers.  Thankful for friends who came down to help people in my neighborhood.  Thankful for the friend who wanted to remain anonymous and gave me money to give to whomever I felt needed it.  Thankful for our public library.  Thankful for my camping stove that enabled me to cook decent meals without my electric stove and oven.  Thankful for no electricity so I didn't have to fight the kids to read a book!  I can fill this entry with what I was thankful for during that time, but it's time to look at NOW.

Giving thanks in all things isn't always easy.  Finding those blessings and gifts are more difficult on some days than others. But what I have learned, not just five years ago, but throughout the years is that when I give thanks in ALL things, even the tough things, I am able to get up every morning and not dread the day.

Since Thanksgiving is less than a month away, I challenge you to count your blessings.  Do the joy dare with me. Start a gratitude journal and find at least 3 things you are thankful for everyday to put in that journal.  If you're like me and you began this joy dare and have fallen off track, I challenge you to pick up your pen, open your eyes, and go for a joy treasure hunt again! My prayer is that you will continue to do this long after Thanksgiving is over.

Let's start today! What are you thankful for today?


P.S.I am aware that some of us struggle with depression that will make this challenge extra difficult.  I urge you to check out a very useful resource that I wrote about last week.

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