Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

Choosing to Count His Kindnesses

36 Comments

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Martha Stewart definitely does not live at my house. There are no picture perfect Thanksgiving decorations around here. I dragged Bob, our half-dead ficus, from the balcony to my living room to be this year’s Thanksgiving tree. I figure Bob may not make it through the winter, but at least he’ll have his moment of glory at Thanksgiving.

Each November, I take joy in remembering God’s blessings and counting His gifts.

Have you ever noticed that each day brings both blessings and trials? Your heart sings as you listen to worship music on the early morning walking trail, but then your car breaks down on the way to work. You smile when your daughter brings you a cookie she made, but then you see the mess on the kitchen floor.

Proverbs 15:15 says,

Proverbs 15  15

Timeline of Trouble or Feast of Blessing?

What determines whether we experience life as a timeline of trouble or a feast of blessing? Our attitude! Trials will always abound: that snarky memorandum at work, the dog mess you step in at the park, or the phone call bringing bad news. Most days also bring bountiful blessings: morning coffee, a good book, or the satisfaction of a job well done. A constant focus on our trials breeds despair, but choosing to count our blessings creates a greater sense of abundance and contentment.

This year I need Thanksgiving more than ever because September and October knocked the gratitude right out of me. Several challenges left me with a less than stellar attitude: an over-committed schedule, concern for a seriously ill family member, and my husband’s being out of town a total of 17 days.

Last week a conversation with my husband helped me realize I’d fallen into the “poor, over-worked, over-tired me” syndrome.  I’d let distressing circumstances poison my perspective and prevent me from seeing God’s goodness. So I repented for my lack of gratitude.

I’m asking for grace to see my life as a continual feast of blessings.

Count His Kindnesses

To cultivate a more joyful perspective, I’ve taken up my 1000 Gifts list again. Every day in November I’m listing 10 things I’m grateful for. Intentionally giving thanks for gifts like these lifted my spirit yesterday:

  • A sunny November morning
  • Lentil soup with fresh mint for lunch
  • Hysterical laughter while belting out “Respect” along with my kids and Aretha Franklin.
  • Family game of Monopoly

Will you join me from now until Thanksgiving? How about making a list each day of 10 things you’re grateful for?

Let’s glory in God’s grace and count His kindnesses rather than meditate on misfortunes.

Now it’s your turn. What are you grateful for? How do you cultivate a thankful spirit? Leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Linking up with Holly Barrett, Meredith Bernard, and Holley Gerth. Check our their sites for more encouragement.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to join my community, enter your e-mail in the box at the top right hand of this page. You’ll get fresh installments of Faith Spilling Over twice a week.

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

36 thoughts on “Choosing to Count His Kindnesses

  1. I’ve been counting gifts this month too, and it’s been needed. It’s definitely helped me keep things in perspective, and will be MUCH needed as the holiday season gets into full swing!

  2. This is so timely for me, Betsy. I’ve begun counting again too, although I’d like to count more. I definitely noticed a change in my attitude as I counted gifts. You are right; it is all about our attitude. I love this post and the perspective it brings. Sound advice and truth, friend, and I love that verse. It’s new to me. 🙂

    • Glad we can encourage each other, Abby. It’s funny, my attitude was really down in September and October (lots of stress, things I didn’t go into in this post) but I think part of it was that I’d dropped off keeping my gifts list!!!!

  3. Betsy,
    God IS loving-kindness and you nailed it when you said that it is a choice to count His kindnesses. I admit that sometimes I easily get knocked into the woe-is-me category. I have to make a conscientious decision to dwell on my blessings. I often take my dogs on a “thanksgiving walk”…a walk during which I simply enjoy being in His world and thank him throughout the walk for my blessings. I return feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Great post, scripture and reminder!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  4. Thanks for this post, Betsy; I agree with Bev that counting God’s kindnesses and blessings is a choice we can make. Things I’m thankful for at this moment:
    – Nightly game-playing with daughter and husband and all the laughing we do.
    – The daily walk home from school with my son: almost every day we sing Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” (at his insistence, I “clap along”).
    – A good chat this morning with a friend who suggested we stay inside and talk by her fireplace instead of doing our weekly walk (SO much nicer than walking in today’s -12C windchill 🙂 )
    – Good memories.

    • Windchill of -12C!!! Wow! You’re in New York, right Jeann ie? I love that you play games with your family. I really enjoy that too. I’m googling Pharrell Williams to listen myself right now! 🙂 Those are great things to give thanks for!

      • I’m in Ontario, Betsy. But speaking of thankful — I’m glad I’m not in Buffalo with snow currently being measured in feet, not inches!

  5. What a lovely post! I like the book you are reading too. I was just thinking about picking it up today and reading it!!! I am so thankful for God blessing me with an amazing husband who I just am so in love with. I am thankful for my little puppy who is a real buddy. I’m thankful for kids art that decorate my wall. Thanks for posting!!!!

    • So glad you stopped by, Lisa, and how wonderful to read that you have an amazing husband, a real buddy of a puppy and kids that make great artwork! I’m thankful for my husband’s quiet diligence and faithfulness!

  6. I’d love to target 10 things a day! One of my birthday gifts last month was a blank journal, and my friend’s inscription suggested I use it to count gifts during this year of being 40. I’m up to a couple of hundred already and loving the nightly routine of looking back over my day with a thankful lens!

  7. I’m with you, friend! I’ve been keeping a list of 18-25 things each day (the new journal and fountain pen help make it fun 😉 ). And anyone who names their ficus tree Bob is pretty awesome in my book!

    • Yes Anita, I name most of my plants. Just for a little extra fun in life. (More fun, no matter how small, is always a good thing in my book.) And yes, several people have mentioned having a new journal. That does add a bit more fun to life as well!

  8. Congrats Bets: Great post!

    Jose

  9. I am grateful for you and the other lovelies in the Testimony Tuesday community. You inspire me, encourage me, and challenge me! Appreciate your words to look for the blessings and am going to make an effort to do that today!

    • Thank you, Holly. I appreciate your efforts to be such a good hostess for Testimony Tuesday. I see you going out of your way to read linked posts and share them. That speaks volumes to me!

  10. Wonderful post, Betsy. We have been giving gratitude through the alphabet as a family for the 26 days leading up to Thanksgiving. We are all finding that as the days continue on, we are more & more grateful for all our God has done in our lives. It’s impossible to give thanks & not have your heart swell with gratitude 🙂 I am so glad to be have been here this morning. Blessings!

  11. Visiting from Coffee for You Heart this morning. Wonderful post and just what I needed to hear.

  12. Grateful for you and this needed reminder- I definitely was having a pity party yesterday and need to ask Him for eyes to see all the blessings.:)

  13. What a great and needed reminder, Betsy! It is so true that there will be those difficult moments and trials for every day, but just as well there will be the many blessings God pours on us. Though life is never easy, it surely will be easier when I focus on the goodness and grace of God!

    • Focusing on God’s grace, does make life easier, Ronja! The difficult moments don’t really change the blessings, but our perception can change. (The chocolate chip cookie still tastes good, even if there’s a mess all over the floor!)

  14. I’m with you, Betsy. So needing to see life as a continual feast of blessings…because it is, even when I forget it. And I think belting out RESPECT with your kids is the biggest blessing…I’m putting that on my “to do” list! Counting with you…<3, mb

    • Yes, belting our RESPECT is tons of fun, especially if you see the way my kids dance. (and me trying to imitate them) Yes, let’s see life as a continual feast. Keep on counting!

  15. I need to start recording my “gifts” again. My SIL discovered Ann’s book during her bout with breast cancer a couple of years ago. She posted them by number on Facebook. Every day. I started to do the same … In a journal … But then stopped. I don’t even remember what number I got to. But lately, life has been busier than I’ve ever had it, and I have some sour attitudes right now. (I unloaded on my Bible study ladies yesterday morning. They smiled and loved on me … THAT is an amazing gift.) I need to get back to this.

    • How lovely, Dianne, to have friends that “smiled and loved on” you! That’s something to give thanks for for sure! I hope God will freshen your perspective in the coming days.

  16. A feast of blessings – love that! I just told a friend yesterday that I feel like we lose Thanksgiving in the fall rush. Once Halloween hits it seems like a blur of activity almost until the time we pack up the Christmas tree. So not what the Lord wants for us. So not want I want for me and my family. There are so many moments to savor amidst the so much to be done. Here’s to counting the blessings, intentionally and with purpose (or it won’t happen). 🙂

    • Yes, Tiffany, it IS easy to lose Thanksgiving. I feel like that’s happened to me a bit with my son’s college applications (Nov. 1 and Dec. 1 deadlines) and with college entrance tests. Seems like I’ve had the busiest fall ever, but I don’t want to miss out on being grateful, and November is a natural time for us to focus on that.

  17. I very much agree with you. I am a huge believer in our attitude making us happy or miserable. It’s our own choice to see God’s blessings and feel grateful or to dwell on misfortune and feel sorry for ourselves.

    But I also know sometimes it’s not quite that easy. Sometimes bad things happen that are difficult to get over, or circumstances may steal our joy. Fear is a big issue too. We know to trust in God, yet losing a job is a frightening experience if we are responsible for our families, not just ourselves.

    God knows where we are coming from. If we can offer up our anxieties and fears and disappointments, I believe He not only lifts our burdens, but He also gives us even more good things to feel grateful for!

    • Yes, Deborah. You wrote a post similar to this, about choosing to have a positive attitude, recently, didn’t you? I guess we’re on the same wavelength! Yes, I agree with you about fear. Anxiety robs us of thanksgiving.

  18. It really depends on our choice, doesn’t it? We could say we are truly blessed or eternally cursed depending on what we choose to believe in. As my favorite lay preacher Bo Sanchez say, “There is no shortage of blessings. Only a shortage of the willingness of the receiver.” May we never run out of grace as we choose to open our lives to His kindness every day. Blessings!

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