When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, And you will keep singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold; Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small, Do not be disheartened, God is over all; Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
written by Johnson Oatman Jr. in 1897(who also wrote the popular hymns No Not One and Higher Ground)
I discovered this poem a few years ago in Best Loved Poem of The American People. It’s much more pleasant to be around people who can still laugh and smile in spite of what they may be going through than to be around a whiner and complainer. Lord, help me to remember that when the trials come! 🙂
By Bertha Adams Backus
Build for yourself a strong box,
fashion each part with care;
When it’s strong as your hand can make it,
put all your troubles there;
Hide there all thought of your failures;
and each bitter cup that you quaff;
Lock all your heartaches within it,
Then sit on the lid and laugh.
Tell no one else its contents,
Never its secrets share;
When you’ve dropped in your care and worry
keep them forever there;
Hide them from sight so completely
That the world will never dream half;
Fasten the strongbox securely—
Then sit on the lid and laugh.
Since April is national poetry month, and I like reading and writing poetry, I thought I would post some of my favorites over the next month. This first poem is one that I had my children memorize when they were young. I made up a tune to it and sang it over and over again until they were able to say it. I needed the message of this poem today, because of some frustrating things that happened. As I was in the middle of making this post, I had to stop and help my husband clean up a large amount of water that flooded out of the dishwasher. I’m still smiling. 🙂
When the weather suits you not, Try
When your coffee isn’t hot, Try smiling.
When your neighbors
don’t do right,
Or your relatives all fight,
Sure ’tis hared, but then
you might Try smiling.
Doesn’t change the things, of course- Just
But it cannot make them worse- Just smiling.
And it seems to help
Brightens up a gloomy place,
Then, it sort o’ rests your face-
A couple of years ago, I was priviliged to hear a great man of God preach a message entitled Incremental Victories. At the time, this really ministered to me and helped me a great deal. The Lord has brought it back to my mind a time or two since then. The basic gist of the message was to keep our focus on the progress God has given us, even if it seems like only a little bit. I can remind myself that I may not be everything I want to be in God, but thank God, I’m not what I used to be! We may not have baptized 10 people this month, but thank God for the one we did baptize! Etc. etc. The enemy of our souls would like to discourage us and make us feel like failures, because we may not see BIG results, but we need to thank God for every bit of ground that we do gain in Him.
I have endeavored to apply this to myself not only in my Christian walk but in my work experience as well. Many already know that I work with autistic children. This week I celebrated my 3rd year anniversary at my present job. Oftentimes, seeing progress in my clients can be slow, but I have learned to appreciate and celebrate every little victory that I see them attain. Victories for these kids can be things that we are used to taking for granted, such as the ability to respond to a question, saying a new word, being able to take turns appropriately, asking for something you want or need without having a tantrum, etc. Today I worked with a little tyke who counted to 10 without any prompting from me. That was a victory that was exciting for both his parents and I!
I just feel thankful in my spirit tonight for incremental victories in my personal life, for incremental victories in my family and for incremental victories I am witnessing in the lives of people at church. God is good, and I don’t want to fail to give Him glory for things both great and small!
that I have been working part time with autistic children as a skills trainer. The time has gone by so fast, and I definitely feel more confident in what I’m doing than when I first began. Last week when I was at a client’s house, the educational specialist came by too. That’s not an unusual occurrence, but when she came in she told me that she had to do a TFI on me. I don’t know exactly what that stands for, but it basically means that I was going to be evaluated. I thought, “Well Lord, okay. Just help me to do my best.” One of the things I work on with this little boy is labeling. I might show him something like a teddy bear and say, “What’s this? or “What is it?” or “Touch the _____________. I am trying to get him to tell me what things are without having to fully or partially prompt him for the answer. Some days this boy is really distracted, and it’s hard to get him to focus on anything, but that day he was just naming things left and right. It was really the best session I ever had with him, and I was thrilled. Later the ed specialist told me that she liked the way I did the labeling with TB so that even though it was work it was fun for him. I thank the Lord for giving me favor. It has been a blessing having this job, and I just love those days where you see even the smallest breakthrough that a client makes. It could be a new word, a skill mastered or just receiving great eye contact. Little things like that really make it rewarding, and I’m just thankful to play a small part in trying to help these children.
“When happiness gets into your system, it’s bound to break out on your face.”
A few days ago, I accompanied my daughter on a little shopping trip. One of the stores that she wanted to go to was Forever 21. As she was walking around looking at clothing and hair accessories, I began to do a little wandering around the store and some thinking too. My thoughts turned to the name of the store, Forever 21. Why would someone want to be 21 forever? It seems in our country that 21 is an important age. For one thing, you can legally drink liquor. (not that that was a milestone I was looking forward to – I’ve never been a drinker.) 21 is a youthful age. You are not a kid anymore, but an adult. Most ladies at this age look pretty good and physically speaking, probably feel pretty good too. I can look back and think of the energy I had at that age. I sure don’t have it now! There is a sense too of having your whole life before you, which can be an exciting thing. But to be 21 forever? When I turned 21, I hadn’t even been married a year. I was in good shape, looking forward to the future and felt like I had a good head on my shoulders. However, there are so many things I would miss out on by staying this age forever. I would never know the joys and struggles of having children, the grace of God to make it through life’s trials, new friendships and relationships and hopefully wisdom gained through my mistakes and experiences. Now, I am 46. Would I want to stay this age forever? Not really. Although I can look back and see how I’ve grown mentally, spiritually and physically(that unfortunate middle-aged spread), I know this is not the ultimate for me. In fact there is really no age in which I will “have arrived”. There will be things I like and dislike about every year that God allows me on this earth. True satisfaction, I believe for every Christian can’t be found in any age, because there is no perfect age or perfect circumstances for our life.
I thought of this verse in the book of Psalms.
Psalm 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
The perfect forever,
Forever in the presence of Jesus Christ!