Being Blessed

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What does it mean to be blessed? When you hear this expression do you picture someone whose life is easy, full of fun and laughter? Perhaps you think of a life that has never faced hardship or sadness as you have. You cannot imagine how a blessed life can be filled with hurt and difficulties.

Unless you face some sort of challenges in life, you fail to realize just how much you appreciate the easier, happier times you have been given. Those people who go through life seemingly without any difficulties can easily misunderstand what being blessed means. I would like to present to you the possibility that you can certainly experience a blessed life even in the midst of sorrow, great pain, and grief.

Being blessed does not mean you will be kept from sadness. Being blessed is not a promise that tears will never be experienced and your heart will never ache. Without experiencing those things at times, it is impossible to truly appreciate the better part of life. But being blessed is even more than being able to understand that life has its ups and downs.

Being blessed means that you do not have to walk the rough patches of life alone. It means that no matter how rocky your road may seem, you have company beside you cheering you on and encouraging you to take another step….and then another….and then another. Being blessed is knowing that someone has your back no matter what comes your way.

When my husband passed away, I had good people surround me and hold me up when I couldn’t gather the strength to even stand by myself. One friend in particular promised to have my back and committed to walk this journey with me for as long as it lasted. Nearly six years later, she is still my sounding board and listens carefully, giving wise advice when needed.

Being blessed does not point to the absence of hardship and sadness. Instead it means that you do not have to face your life alone. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you feel your sadness carrying you away into a dark place. Accept the blessing of friendship and help. No one needs to walk this grief journey by themselves.

Remember that no matter the number people who are in your life, your best friend can truly be found in Jesus Christ. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends….” John 15:15 (NIV) He alone will be with you in the dark of night and can understand the depth of your pain.

Being blessed is knowing who your friends really are and recognizing that you never have to do life on your own.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Little Things

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Many people know that I collect penguins. This picture shows  just a few I own. However, I am not sure many realize why I chose this odd little bird. Years ago I attended a Women of Faith conference. One of the speakers, Lucy Swindoll, shared her story of going on a cruise south in the Antarctica area. Her dream was to see a whale. This desire consumed her thoughts on that trip. She kept watch day after day to catch a glimpse of this giant, water mammal. Yet, time after time she was disappointed. Nearing the end of the cruise she desperately searched the horizon, hoping to finally see the spray of water and swish of tail. It did not happen.

However, as she turned in the other direction to see what others were commenting on, she saw a gathering of little penguins! The cute little guys were  jumping off some ice in the distance to play in the water. Lucy shared the wisdom she gained from that experience. My paraphrase of it is this: “Do not be so consumed looking for the big, exciting things in life that you miss the little blessings along the way.”

After that conference, I decided that I did not want to be so focused and set on my own goals and big dreams that I would miss the simple, daily pleasures that God placed in my life. Little did I know all those years ago that my penguins would be so significant in reminding me of God’s presence, especially in hard times.

As I look at my collection spread through a room in my house and in my office at work, I can smile with confidence.   Even though the big dreams I had with my husband have changed since his death, I am reminded and assured that God still has good plans for me. Each day has little blessings just waiting to be realized and appreciated.

Recently, my pastor shared a verse with us mentioning little things. “Who despises the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10 NIV) These Old Testament people were working to rebuild the temple and some mistakenly thought it insignificant. Just because something is small does not mean it is unimportant. Do not be afraid to celebrate the small things in life.

Surviving the holidays after grief is really no small feat! Finding ways to laugh and enjoy those special days may not seem like much – but to the grieving, we know better. So this next week, allow yourself permission to smile and feel victorious even if a few tears slide down your face as you grin. Be on the lookout for your little blessings as you live one day at a time.

Until next time –

Karen