March 1, 2013

Count Your Blessings, Name Them One by One

It is really hard to follow the update that tells everyone you are going to have a baby. For the past month, I have wondered what to share with our family and friends at home, and nothing has seemed important enough to share. But maybe that’s a blessing. Maybe no news is good news.

So what I thought I would share with you today are some of the blessings we have experienced in the past month. My friend gave me a special 2013 Prayer Diary for Christmas. (Thank you, Kaylee.) Every day I have tried to write one way that I have been blessed, one thing that is on my mind, and one prayer request.

I am embarrassed to admit it, but there are some days when I feel stumped thinking of a new way that I have been blessed that day. And even more embarrassing to admit, is that some days I am stumped because of a terrible attitude I took home from school. I get tired, maxed-out, and would rather not think about such positive things.

Other times it’s not so serious. Other times it’s me trying to think of something too big. Like, “what is a big, life-altering way that God has blessed me today?” But not every day is like that. So I remind myself that God is a God of small things too, and that usually those small things add up to be big things in the long run.

That being said, here are just a few of the ways that I have been blessed in the past month. (Maybe you can guess the days I did not have a great attitude.)
1.     I feel blessed by the friendship of other teachers. We spent hours talking over dinner and dessert tonight.
2.    Lord, could you have given me a better husband? Not possible.
3.    Today I made time to paint. It was very relaxing.
4.    Today I skyped with my mom and sisters. It is a blessing to have such a wonderful family.
5.    Today I am thankful for the opportunity to worship with elementary students every Thursday in chapel.
6.    It’s the weekend. I am so tired and grateful.
7.    Today I had enough energy to make baked oatmeal.
8.    Today a high school student brought me a piece of cake after school. After a tiring afternoon, that made my day.
9.    I am blessed to be healthy, married, and to have a job that I love. And a high school student gave me four hugs today because she found out I am pregnant.
10.  Today I was gifted with extra patience, rather than being crabby, hormonal, edgy Mrs. Broekhuis.

11.  Today we celebrated communion at church.
12.  This morning I was really hungry, and I had food to eat.
13.  Today there is a team from Iowa here at school starting to build our new classrooms.
14.  Some of my students who normally struggle have been performing well in reading and writing.
15.  Today we spent the morning at church with many other believers, and no fear of persecution.
16.  Today I was reminded how blessed we are to conceive and carry a child. It’s a miracle.
17.  Today was a smooth day in first grade. My students made good choices.
18.  Today was Valentine’s Day. I was showered with gifts from first graders.

19.  Today we had an ultrasound! We saw our healthy, moving baby, and their teeny hands and feet!
20. This morning when I woke up I remembered that it’s Saturday.
21.  Today I feel miserable with headaches, stomach aches, and shoulder pain. I have been in bed all day. I guess I am thankful to be alive.
22. It’s a miracle. After prayers from others, pleading from myself, and the Lord’s timing, I am healed.
23. Today we are going on our Staff Retreat! We get to spend the morning at the water park, and the afternoon by the hotel pools.

24. Today we got to eat breakfast by the lake in Panajachel. Does it get any better than that? Yes. We also got to see my sister, Madi!

These are just a few of the blessings from the month of February. But typing these out to you reminds me of a few things. First, I am so blessed. And looking back, even on those days I was scrounging to write something down, I know that I am always loved and taken care of. Any day that I think otherwise, I am sorely mistaken, and shame on me. Second, other people have been a blessing to me: through little actions they had no idea would be the brightest spot in someone's day. (Like sharing a piece of cake, for example.)

So I thank God for these blessings and these people in my life, and I also pray that through my words and actions that I can be a blessing to others.

Grace and Peace,

And to really end this update, I would like to share one more blessing: my students. Here is some of the poetry that they have written over the past month. Most here are the prayer poems they wrote. But "one of these things is not like the others; one of these things doesn't belong."

God is Good
God is God.
He loves me.
He is good.
He helps people.
And he don't let animals eat me.

Dear Lord
Dear Lord,
Thank you for this day.
I pray that the poor will get money.
Please help that the rich can give money to the poor.
You are my shepherd.
You give me life.

Dear Jesus,
I love you.
With all my heart,
And with all my soul,
And my mind.
And not just one day.
I will love you,
all my life in my heart.

Healing people.
In the morning.
In Bethlehem.
Because he loves them.

Dear Lord
Dear Lord,
Bless this crazy week.
You are the shepherd.
You love us so much.

Dear Lord
Dear Lord I pray,
For you to bless my day.
Thank you for peace,
that is very sweet.
Your word is true.
Every day is new.
I love you Lord.
I am never bored.
With you.

The Deer
I am a deer.
And I drink beer.
I wear a shirt.
And I never get hurt.
I am very brown.
And I make a sound.
And I am happy.