At least I have a microwave…and other thoughts on blessings.

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IMG_2974This blog I’m keeping is a crazy thing. One week ministry related, and the next my personal journey with God. In my mind they are inextricably connected- but for everyone else it’s probably confusing.

File this one under “personal”.

Last week Dad and Steph and I went to Florida to find a new home for dad.

It was awesome. It had rained for 22 days straight, and when we arrived: sun!

We looked at 12 homes and dad knew almost immediately which one he wanted- and it is beautiful.

When we walked into the master bed/bath, there was a cute little metal stand with my mom’s favorite hymn written out. It’s the song she requested for her funeral. Sounds a little crazy, but it felt like her telling us that this is all ok, this moving to Florida business.

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Literally everything fell into place and we had a beautiful, perfect afternoon at the beach waiting to hear if dad’s offer was accepted. It was- contingent on the sale of his home in Michigan.

God’s kindness continues, and I keep thanking him and thanking him for giving us even little things that make this journey easier.

I was thinking about all the times I claim an event or a set of circumstances to be from God- how often I am thankful for His blessings. I was recently told that when Christians claim God has blessed them, that they are in essence saying that if God hasn’t given another person that same thing that they are NOT blessed. So, because He has blessed you with children that He has cursed me with no children. As I sat in the airport a few days ago, listening to screaming, I came to the conclusion that no children is decidedly a blessing!

Could it be that everything from God’s hand is good and perfect? Can we see blessing and thank Him in all things? Dad finding just the right house, me losing my job at Parkview, a perfect day at the beach, losing mom to cancer…? It seems that when I look back on things I definitely didn’t see as blessings at the time, that they are redeemed over time to be good and perfect things.

I think the apostle Paul found that place of always-thankful when he wrote:

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11b-13

I write a lot of blogs I never publish. Writing makes me think and helps me process. I wrote the following in late June and never hit “publish”, but it seems to fit- so here you go!

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June, 2015

I’ve had a hard week or two. I’m not particularly good with change. My friend Laura will laugh when she reads that sentence because she has walked through change with me and makes fun of how much I like things to stay the same. When I moved from an apartment into my house it was excruciatingly difficult. I agonized over the decision and finally burst into tears on my way back home from my parent’s house in Michigan, and told God that I needed a sign that it was time to move- that I needed it written on the wall like he did in Daniel’s time. When I got back to my apartment and opened the door, the entire ceiling was caved in and there was water everywhere. The guy upstairs fell asleep filling his waterbed and it exploded.

I called a realtor that same day and a week later purchased the house I love and call home.

Then I agonized about the furniture… and I never, ever move it. Once placed, it has remained to this day.

There is something in me that craves stability and wants things- especially good things- to never change.

And then last year happened. I told myself that I could adjust to living in Arizona- everything else would stay the same. My house in Fort Wayne would stay the same, my family in Michigan would stay the same. My church, my dog, my friends…same, same same. All good.

Then mom died. And the universe shifted. Then dad decided to move to Florida. Shift. And sell our childhood home. Shift.

And I got a job not in medicine. Not at an office. Work from home. Travel a lot. Raise support. All new people and coworkers and tasks to learn and organize.

The refuge of mom and dad’s house turned into a construction zone. No fresh-cut flowers on the kitchen table. No kitchen table, in fact. Home-cooked meals replaced by Oreos. Boxes stacked where chairs once stood. The cat pacing back and forth where there used to be a couch.

~

I remember a rainy fall day in my sophomore year of college. My boyfriend had broken up with me and I was lying on the top bunk of my dorm bed crying. I was listing for God all the things I hated about college, and boys, and life in general.

In the middle of my tears and frustration a song came to mind that my mom sang to me when I was very young…

Count your blessings name them one by one… Count your blessings see what God has done.

Count your blessings- name them one by one…Count your many blessings see what God has done.

Far from being inspiring, the remembrance of this song frustrated me. Sure- count all ZERO of my blessings. Blah blah….

“You have a microwave”

The thought came out of nowhere. A microwave? Seriously?

But then I had to acknowledge that I was really thankful we had a microwave in our room (oh the 90’s). And a fridge. And I guessed I felt blessed to be away at college. Because I had awesome parents that prayed for me and encouraged me. And a sweet job on campus with flexible hours….

My list grew to grandmas and green olives and palm trees and fingernail polish. Items big and small stacked up and I grabbed my journal and wrote page after page of blessings.

Too many to count.

Look at what God had done. The tears had stopped and God began to focus my heart on what was given rather than what had been taken away.

~

So that brings us to today. All of a sudden my life’s changes crashed in on me.

I don’t WANT mom to be gone. I want to have summer with her like I’ve always had.

I don’t want dad to move away, I don’t want him to sell our house.

I want to have our huge family 4th of July party like usual. I don’t want last year to have been the last time. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to that part of my life.

I don’t want to pick out cookbooks and Christmas ornaments to keep. I want all of moms things to stay.

I don’t want there to be (anywhere on this planet) a piece of stone with my parent’s names on it in a cemetery.

I want to freeze time, and turn it back, and have things the same. Forever.

I lay on my back on my couch telling God these things and feeling tears run all the way to the back of my neck, and then I thought….

At least I have a microwave.

And I laughed.

I looked at the ball of white fluff named Casper perched on the back of the couch watching me in awkward silence (he can’t handle crying, which I find so funny that it generally makes me laugh and ends all tears).

I started my mental list of blessings…. and allowed God to pull me back from despair and into thankfulness.

Life is so much harder than I ever imagined it could be.

But there is beauty in the presence of God -and peace and joy I never imagined existed in the middle of change and tears.

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 has done.

Count your blessings name them one by one… Count your blessings see what God has done.

Count your blessings- name them one by one…Count your many blessings see what God has done.

 

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3 thoughts on “At least I have a microwave…and other thoughts on blessings.

    Beth DeWeese said:
    August 11, 2015 at 9:16 am

    You made me cry….along with you! We all can understand your hurt and pain. No one has your set of circumstances to work through but EVERYONE has something to work through, and we all have to work through it at some point which involves “change”……change that is usually God-ordained change that nudges us and helps us along in our growth and sanctification process. Another blessing that you have been given, Ruthanne, is your gift of writing! What a blessing that you can pour out your heart in words that help you process what God is doing in your life and what a blessing to everyone who reads your words as it helps us in what God is doing in our own circumstances. Thanks for sharing your heart! And…..thanks for hitting “publish” ♥

    Laura Hubbard said:
    August 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    So funny about change! We go to a restaurant first thing she orders is the last thing she ever orders LOL I really love your blogs. Its like all the talks we have had and I hear your voice in my head, I love you and miss you!

    Noel said:
    August 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    AMEN and well said! Can relate and so appreciate all that you’ve shared.

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