August 15, 2013

Counting my Blessings.................all "GAZILLION" of them!

I count my blessings (they rain down upon me) regularly....but it's never often enough.  Many (ok MOST) of my blessings seem so undeserving.  I do work hard to try and be deserving of them.....but at times it seems unattainable...because the blessing are so abundant.  I am thankful and blessed for all of you that are thinking of me, praying for me.  Some of you I don't even know.  

If you haven't stopped to count your blessings should.  It will make you feel good and you feeling good makes me happy :)

So, having said that........I know this amazing man...many of you know him too.  I am beyond proud, grateful, thankful and HAPPY to call him friend.  I got this e-mail from him yesterday....shared too with others in our church.  It really moved me and he is kind enough to allow me to share it with all of you.  

I am sending this personal note to everyone whose email address is in our church database--only because I feel led to do so. Please understand that it is a note designed to express gratitude, offer encouragement, and perhaps spur each one to be more mindful of God's blessings in our lives.

My first 'order of business' this morning after arriving in Gray was to take a morning run. I was only hoping to continue my efforts to improve my physical condition a little, but I got a lot more out of it than anticipated. First of all, the beauty of the morning sun as it rose over this great community was stunning. I knew that the forecast was for a day without rain, a very rare thing over the last several weeks, but seeing the sun in all of its splendor rising above the grandeur of the East Tennessee landscape gave me a sense that my time on the roads this morning would be special. I was immediately reminded that this picture that I was seeing was the work of a God who is nothing less than an incredible artist. Wow! What He can do with the stroke of His hand upon the sky and the touch of His finger along the horizon!

As I was in the early stages of my run, I had a sense that I should put some effort into thinking about all of the blessings that are a part of my life. And He helped me know which blessings to be especially mindful of. During my run, I was waved to by several members of our church--I am so thankful for the blessing of a church family that loves me, that serves with me, that gathers with me to meet together for mutual encouragement and to worship our Father. I am thankful for that church family that shares in our good times, and helps carry the burden in difficult times. I am thankful to be on a church staff in which I am in the midst of friends throughout the day. (I am not comfortable using the word 'work' because I don't usually see it that way.) I am reminded to be thankful for the volunteers who work on projects, work in the garden, water the plants, set up the chairs each and every Sunday, make sure that lights are turned on and doors are unlocked when we are schedule to gather, those who lead us in worship, those who teach our children, those who through their smiles offer a touch of joy to everyone they see, those who clean our buildings, those who serve in ways that few of us see, etc. There are many good things at Crossroads, and many good people that He has blessed us with!

I was moved to consider the blessing of my health that allows me to run, something that not everyone can do. I was reminded of the friends that I know for having shared the common interest of running, and I was reminded to be thankful for them. I became mindful of the stories that I have heard from runners, many of whom I have never met, but have encouraged my faith through their stories of running.

This morning, as I ran, I took some time to think about the blessing of good friends--those special people who I talk to on a daily basis, who have taught me about being unselfish and trying to see the best in others. And those friends who I don't talk to regularly, or perhaps have not talked to in years, but who I know I could call on to share together in memories or in current situations, good or bad.

And on this day, my 31st wedding anniversary, I was reminded to consider the blessing of family. Each member has brought joy into my life. I have been given a wife who has made our home a safe and special place for our family. She has loved me in good times and in bad, just like she vowed to do 31 years ago. And she has loved our children. Each day through their school years, she has told each of them "Bye, I love you, Have a good day!" I have a daughter and son-in-law who have established a home of their own where Christ is the center, and their children are being raised with an understanding of who Jesus is and why everyone of us should try to be like Him. I have another daughter who is in her first year of being a school teacher and has a grasp on the idea that though she teaches math, in the end, she really teaches children. She understands her opportunity to be a Christlike influence on them. I have a son who is about a week away from embarking on a new chapter in his life--leaving home and going to college. He has a heart and compassion for others that is admirable--he has a gift of being a good friend to others. I have parents who have been married for 64-1/2 years and have been godly examples for each of their seven children and their children's families. Very soon, we anticipate the blessing of having them live very close to us. I have been blessed with two brothers and four sisters who demonstrate love to me and each other in a way that my words cannot explain--I just know it's good, and it is of the Lord.

So, my run was very good this morning because I was reminded of how much I AM BLESSED!

Having said that, today has been a difficult day for many. I am mindful of a dear lady whose son passed away this morning, of another family who is facing a difficult diagnosis for one of their family members, of children who feel safer when they get to school than they do when they get home, of some who will not have a bed to lay their head in tonight as they go to sleep, to those who are hungry today, and have no hope of the means to have food tomorrow. I trust that in some way, there is still blessing from God. My hope and sincere prayer would be that people in these situations can know that He is with them, and can in some way see a blessing from Him, and know it's from Him.

For me, typing out this note to you has been humbling. I recognize that I haven't scratched the surface in listing my blessings--I have not captured near as much as what has gone through my mind today. So many people have popped into my head. And, I also recognize that blessings for others may not be as evident--sometimes I think I wish I knew why that is the case.

As I said at the beginning, my desire in sending this to you, my church family, is to first of all, show gratitude. So, THANK YOU God for blessing me in so many ways, and thank you to those who He has chosen to use as part of my blessing. I also said I offer this as encouragement--perhaps tomorrow will be a day when you become more mindful of blessings in your life. And I suggested that this may spur you on. Trust me, attempting to count my blessings has been a very worthwhile exercise--I might try it again tomorrow.

Let me encourage you to enjoy your run tomorrow, no matter in what form it may take. As you run, count your blessings!

I am blessed to serve along side you!

As we too are blessed to have you serving along side us :)  Thank you for the beautiful note.  It took me a time or 2 to read it through the tears....happy, blessed tears.  
One HUGE blessing to so many of us is knowing you!.....yet another thing to be thankful and grateful for :)

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