Friday, January 16, 2009

Learning to notice our blessings

“Our background and our circumstances may have influenced who we are… But we are responsible for who we become.” Unknown

Not many of us make it through this world without a few nicks or cuts along the way. I don’t think I can name a single person I have ever met who hasn’t faced some kind of trial. No matter how hard they tried to take the right steps or make the right choices- sometimes bad things just happen. Sometimes we are innocent and other times we are not. But none the less- this thing called life is often not fair and often so hard.

When we decided to adopt our sibling group we knew from their ‘records’ that life had indeed not been fair to them and actually had been down right rotten. To protect their privacy I will not go into detail, but I will tell you that if in your mind you could imagine yourself in one of the darkest, scariest, places in this world-you might be able to catch a glimpse of what my precious babies had to endure. But here is the thing- my job as their mother is to now help them escape from that place... I don’t want them to stay there any longer. I want them to run free and be everything that God had intended for them to be from the very beginning when He created them. To do that, to heal, I believe that they not only have to learn how to eventually ‘use’ those trials to help others, but they have to learn to see good in them as well.

One of the things we have begun to do with the kids to begin this healing is to teach them to see other people have trails as well.. I’m not saying we are pulling the old ‘you think you had it bad you should see what I went through’ kind of thing… but rather just letting them know that there are others out there who have hurt like they have hurt too. They are not alone and they have nothing to be ashamed. I have pointed out positive role models who have perhaps gone through something similar in their past and how God used them to make a difference.

The second thing we are working on is teaching them how to be appreciative. I really believe that this is something us humans need to be taught. I think that often times people are so locked into their pain, so bonded to their misery, that they do not have any energy to lift their eyes and see the good- the blessings that God has given to them. Ever been around someone like that? They are so self absorbed that their lives become useless, their pain so unbearable, that they are unable to move on. They let their past circumstance become who they are- and that is all they are ever able to be. That is what I do not want for my kids. Someone else’s choices- someone else’s past mistake are NOT who they are.

So lately we have been coaching the kids to notice all of the things we have to be thankful for. For instance- as we drive to school in the mornings we thank God for our vehicle because there are many who do not have one. This is truly something we take for granted. When we arrive at the school and the volunteers are waiting outside in the cold to open our car doors and help us into the building- I point out to the kids that they are doing just that- volunteering to stand out in the cold to open their door when they don’t have to. When someone sends them a gift- we talk about how hard that person had to work to earn the money, how they then took the time to drive to the store, choose the gift, spent their hard earned money on not only the gift but on the wrapping paper or postage, and how they didn’t have to do that for them. They didn’t have to acknowledge them, they didn’t have to celebrate them. But they did- and that is a true blessing. I don’t want them thinking that someone has to buy them a gift just because it’s their birthday. I want them to concentrate on all that went into that gift and how loved they must be to receive it. It has also been a good reminder for me too. How many times have I taken my family, my husband, my friends, for granted without really seeing their sacrifice and truly noticing how blessed I am. And I will say that when I allow myself to focus on my blessings- I view my life- my world, in a whole new light.

Try it, right now.

I dare you.

Do you have a job? Then you are blessed.

Did you eat today? Then you are blessed.

Are you and your family healthy? Then you are blessed?

What else?

Look around you…and start counting.

I guarantee you once you are done counting your blessings the hard parts in your life won’t look quite as impossible to overcome. God is right there waiting for you to see Him, to notice the ways He has blessed you and He's ready to help you move on and help you become the person He created you to be.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5, 6-10


Unknown said...

AMEN! Very well said

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a few weeks and love it! I agree with you whole heartedly on the blessings. As the name of my blog indicates.....we are blessed beyond measure!

Kristi - mom of 4 bios and one waiting in Ethiopia (and as many more as God wants to bless us with!)

Barry and Amy said...

So very true! How wonderful to teach your children this!

So many times I think to myself, "I really need to implant this in my children's minds so that they don't have to 'relearn' it when they are older." Like love, witnessing, doing everything for God, and yes, we should absolutely teach them that trails can be blessings and to be appreciative of all we have.

Thanks for sharing!

Linda said...

I wholeheartedly agree- we do the same with our kids and honestly can't look around and not notice many, many blessings that would be so easy to take for granted if we don't take the time to hesitate for a moment and notice. Great post- thanks again for sharing your life.
Linda in WA

Unknown said...

AMEN! I agree and we teach the children often - there are no seconds at a meal - that we are lucky we had one helping. We allow them to go to bed once a month a little hungry and in the morning we discuss how blessed we all are to wake up to a house full of choices.

We talk about how anyone whoever does a thing for us needs our prayers for how they blessed us and our family!

We often discuss how much God has done by bringing us all together!

God is so good all of the time!

Thank you for this beautiful post!

Hugs and blessings,

Audrey said...

Awesome post, Amy. You have it so right and how amazing that you are teaching the kids a new way of doing life. Great job, mom!

Adeye said...

What a beautiful post! My goodness, you are soooo right---we live in such a ME ME ME culture! Time to start teaching our kids to be grateful and appreciative. I absolutely agree. I always find that in teaching my kids---I learn myself.
You are doing such an amazing job with the children the Father has indeed blessed. You are so sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as you bring your children to a place of healing and wholeness.
Thank you for the beautiful reminder today.
have a very blessed weekend,

Andrea Hill said...

Wow Amy, I love ready your blog. You are a very wise woman for you young age. What a blessing to have these precious new 4 in your home and the things you are teaching them.

Doreen said...

You so right Amy, we often get caught up in our busy lives and forget to count our blessings.. and your right that it is so important to "teach " our children to be grateful.. i work on that every day as well..nice blog story.. miss you :o) and very proud of you:o) doreen