Welcome to my Friends and Fellowship Serenity Summer Soiree. Each week during the months of June, July, and August plan to enjoy meeting some of my favorite writing friends and fellowship around the goodness of the Lord. This week, we are encouraged by my sweet friend, fellow blogger, author, and speaker, Dawn Ward, as she shares 3 important ways we can join her today, on her birthday, celebrating the blessing of life!
Welcome and Happy Birthday Dawn!
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Today, August 9, is my birthday. I’ll keep secret the year I was born for you to guess. Here are a few clues. John F. Kennedy was President of the United States. The United States was fighting in the Vietnam War, and Elvis Presley was the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. These are only a few things that took place in the eventful year of my birth.
As I age, I find myself reminiscing about days gone by. Born in a Midwest farming community with a population of less than 1000 people, I learned to enjoy a simpler way of life. Birthdays were just like any other day of the year for the hard-working people of our community.
In those days, parents never threw extravagant parties for their children like they do today. Even after moving to the fast-paced city of Las Vegas, birthday parties were simple gatherings free from frills. We usually celebrated with a few friends by playing games, unwrapping non-extravagant gifts, and enjoying birthday cake and ice cream.
Now, with the years flying by, one birthday rolls into another. While I appreciate the kind wishes of well-meaning family and friends, I am always grateful when the day is over, and I can move on to business as usual.
It’s not that I dislike getting older (okay, maybe a little). It’s just that my need to celebrate has been replaced with a humbling sense of gratitude for the years I’ve already lived on the planet. God, in his goodness, has blessed me with the gift of time, a gift not to be taken for granted.
Because of his generous gift, I have been able to celebrate many wonderful occasions. My wedding day and the birth of my children are some of the most special days of my life. Time spent with family and friends is a gift to be treasured. But the greatest gift the Lord has blessed me with is that of eternal life.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Counting Our Blessings
The Lord blesses us with the gift of life. When times are good and life is easy, our blessings are in plain view. It’s natural to praise God for his goodness towards us.
But when trials come, it’s hard to see our blessings amidst deep pain and loss. When our grief becomes overwhelming, we feel anything but blessed. Still, the Lord continues to pour out his blessings in our lives even when they are almost impossible to see.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
Counting our blessings is not something that comes naturally to us, is it? When we are in the middle of a mess in our lives, it is much easier to complain than to celebrate.
Like searching for a hidden treasure, our blessings often show up in unexpected places and in not-so-obvious ways. These blessings are not found in material possessions or in a life free from struggle. Instead, they are internal blessings of the heart cultivated as the Lord refines us and produces his character within us.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Throughout this wonderful journey of life, my family has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Some of the trials we have gone through were challenging to count as blessings.
I prefer the simple blessings found in life’s pleasures over the ones cultivated in the garden of hardship and suffering. But, while these pleasant blessings came easily, they did not deepen my trust and strengthen my faith to withstand the storms of life. I have learned that these hard seasons are blessings worth counting as well.
Without the painful moments of our lives, we would never know the comfort only Jesus can give us. In our deepest sufferings, he is with us. What a blessing to know we are not alone because he is with us.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction…”
Celebrating Our Blessings
Now that we have counted our blessings, it’s time to celebrate! Even with all its hills and valleys, life is still a blessing, a gift from our heavenly Father. So how do we practice celebrating our blessings? Begin by putting these three spiritual disciplines into practice.
- Remember to look for the Lord’s blessings in your life. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2-5
- Receive the blessings of God as He supplies your needs. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
- Rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for his many blessings. “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1
As you celebrate this wonderful gift of life, may you carry this treasured blessing with you wherever you go.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 ESV
Dawn Ward is a speaker, writer, and faith coach. She is the founder of The Faith to Flourish, a ministry for women whose loved ones struggle with addiction and mental health issues. She has been married to her husband, Steve, for over forty years and is mom to three adult children.
Dawn has worked in the medical field for over 25 years, primarily with female patients, which gives her a unique perspective into the hearts and lives of women. It is her passion to help all women live victorious lives of faith despite the hardships they are facing. You can find her at The Faith to Flourish or on most social media platforms.