We had a quiet Easter celebration yesterday. After church, my Dad and my brother Mark came over for our afternoon dinner of Roast Chicken with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, squash, fruit salad, and then a homemade lemon cheesecake that my daughter and I quickly put together. It's amazing what cream cheese, sugar, lemons, eggs, and a pie crust can do when they all come together.
When evening came, my teenage son Alex was still working on an English project. He thought he'd be done by 11pm, he told me. We all went to sleep-except for him. At 1am I woke up and realized I never heard Alex come up.
"What are you doing still up?" I hissed down the stairs to him.
"I'm still working on the project. It's taking me longer than I thought."
At 2:30am, he was still not up- even though I was. I could not sleep. My son's management of his time has always concerned me. Alarmed me, really. I can't imagine how he will make it through even one week of college, next year. He'll probably pull three all-nighters in a row and then pass out cold. Then they'd have to call an ambulance, call me,.....but wait. I can't go there. I've already been admonished about this. Gently- but firmly-admonished.
It happened around 2:30am when I fitfully tossed and turned, waiting to hear my son finally get in bed. I started to think about how sick he gets (he has asthma) when he is not sleeping or eating well. Then I started to worry about other things I have to deal with. I quickly had a list of things that concerned me. The list kept growing as I tossed and turned and fidgeted. Then I heard the Lord whisper to my soul, "Count your blessings instead of your worries. Name them...right now."
It's very hard to shift from worrying to meditating on blessings. Especially with lack of sleep and a bit of maternal anxiety in your soul. But I thought rather smugly, Of course I can name my blessings. I couldn't. I named two, to start- our health, the roof over our heads, and then I faltered a bit. Not because there weren't more, but because I wasn't used to doing it. I realized rather quickly that it wasn't hard to worry and list off all my concerns. No, that was easy for me to do. But to start listing my blessings and my bonuses in life- that took me some time to think about. I hesitated. I fumbled. I named a few more...and I then I just stopped and admitted the truth to God- I am rusty at this, aren't I, Lord?
There's an old song, "Count your blessings, name them one by one..." and it seems rather Pollyanna-like and sugary sweet to sing this song in this day and age. You feel rather childlike when you sing a song about blessings- as if you're sitting on a swing in the sunshine,licking an ice cream cone, and naming all your favorite flavors. And that's just what God is talking to me about. He's daring me to be childlike and trusting. He's daring me to hope for the best, think the best, believe the best.
And if God can't get my attention in the daylight hours, He will talk to me in the wee hours of the night. It's a good message that He has for me. It's a message of hope and change and deliverance. It's a message that puts the spring back in your step. In fact, there's a lot of ways I can describe His liberating power, at work in us, that helps us overcome. Let me count the ways.