This blue-skied New Years Eve morning, the cardinal outside my window greeted me with a familiar call. The same call I used to hear outside the window at my grandmother’s house on those fresh summer mornings when my dreams and hopes were young and limited. When I was just a girl.
The cardinal has always symbolized God’s comfort to me. At various moments in my life, the cardinal has darted from the roadside greenery to soar ahead of me. I can tell you today what I was thinking at those moments, the challenges that simmered within – and the Father’s comfort that seared into my heart, coaxing a smile and hope surged.
Too often lately, immersed in the big challenges, I have neglected to turn my eyes to the little blessings. That has nagged at me this year. At times, I have felt clumsy about spotting the blessings woven through my day.
I can rattle off the big blessings: God holding one son in the palm of His hand on the day he was born, saving his life; the answer to a prayer – our second son; the diagnosis for a son’s stomach ailment; my husband – these are all some of the BIG blessings, some very miraculous.
But, you know, it is in the everyday living, the mundane living where our spirits are shaped, where thankfulness springs up. Not that I am ungrateful or unthankful. Too often I spout thanks, with a sweeping arm and an unseeing eye – not taking the time to truly savor, not truly receiving the full blessing of God’s little gifts.
Being worn out with challenges, sometimes when just making it to the end of the day still holding on to my faith, hope and love is a huge achievement – worn out with the challenges, I fail to see the detail in what God has set at my doorstep.
My Father, He’s been chiding me about not seeing the sweet things He leaves for me, telling me to take better care of my heart and open my eyes to these things He has provided to comfort me whether it’s within the challenges, the refreshing or the walking.
My father doesn’t just give one-dimensionally. He doesn’t just give the BIG gifts.
He leaves little packages of blessing hidden in the shrubs,
tucked in my mailbox,
in a blustery wind wrapping around me,
in the fingers of my 11-year-old son making art to welcome his very first niece,
in the smile of my son eating my hot wings across the blue cotton counter as I cook dozens more,
in the neighbor children laughing and playing outside my door,
in all the wonderful places my cat finds to nap and soak up restfulness,
in the lemons sitting on my counter for my water,
in little and big boys wrapped in warm blankets
in Chocolate Celebrate cupcakes topped with Chocolate Ganache a friend asked me to make.
He wants me to seek those little blessings He drops off in my day,
see them, then pause and soak in their
color, their sound, their smell, their touch
a heartbeat wrapped in skin wrapped in a t-shirt
wrapped in a blanket
these Father gifts
little and big,
big and little.
This year is not The Year of the Great Challenge, though there may be challenges. Nor is it The Year of Standing, though there are times when that might be all I can do. While it is not The Year of Refreshing, there will be moments of refreshing – and this last year, The Year of Walking – I so needed that – but this year, this year is The Year of Seeing and Savoring the Little Blessings – and in the seeing and savoring living Thankfulness, living joy.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94: 19)
This year, I will savor these blessings, these consolations to cheer my soul. I will not neglect them, these gifts from the Father.
Wishing you a Happy 2012,
with the joy of the Lord
in His Saving Grace and
among the lives you touch