To be blessed means what? When do we use the word "blessed"? Is it getting married, building your dream home, getting the promotion you've dedicated yourself to achieving, or maybe it's the raise you weren't running after that just fell in your lap? Is it enjoying a much needed vacation, having a baby, buying a car, living a comfortable life, or getting your body in bikini-ready shape? If I look at any social media outlet these are some of the most "#blessed" events in our lives.
I am concerned.
The first few months of our journey with our youngest son was blow after painful blow of hard news. Riding the roller coaster of the ever present ups and downs resulted in emotional whiplash. I would process my heart with my husband and be feeling such pain, heartache, and ambiguity to our future yet be so certain of the steadfast truth of the Lord's faithfulness to me. He's committed to me. He would never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I ran to Him in my pain. I began clinging to Him in a way I had never done before, never needed to before.
I would (and still do) cry out in anguish with raw emotion expressing how emotionally torn up I feel with an acknowledgment of how desperately I need Him - how I trust Him to be my steady amidst the chaos that continues to escalate. Despite feeling like it's not possible for life to get any harder, the Lord continues to be amaze me by showing me depths of Himself I would have never known if the heat weren't continually turned up.
You see, the Lord has blessed me beyond measure in very tangible, visible ways: my husband, our sons, my friends and family, each home the Lord has provided for us has met our needs perfectly for that season of life, vehicles, vacations/trips...to name a few. As is part of what if means to be blessed, biblically. The Old Testament, especially, is filled with practical blessings as we see them today. Sweet provisions from the Lord, gifts we don't deserve. Just as a Father who loves to protect and provide for his children, and a Dad who enjoys giving good gifts, the Lord in his sovereignty blesses us with sweet provisions and gifts we don't deserve still to this day. I am blessed when I get to have a date night with my husband, I am blessed when Beckett has a successful surgery, I am blessed when Brody walks up to me and says "I love you, mommy" without prompting. They are sweet gifts that I don't deserve - blessings. But what about when our weekly date night get pushed back for weeks, or our date isn't as perfect as Instagram demands? What about Beckett's unsuccessful surgeries? What about when Brody is arguing with me for two hours over a haircut (purely hypothetical, of course)? Am I still blessed?
My greatest blessings from the Lord are far greater than the "happy" moments. In fact, what concerns me is the use of "blessed" as a substitute for "happy" or "brag-worthy". The Lord showed His favor upon me the moment I became His beloved. In that moment, I was blessed with a new identity and position of spending eternity with Him. The greatest blessing of all. The epitome of what it means to be blessed. But the blessings haven't stopped there. In the past couple of years, as life's comforts, reasonable expectations, and predictabilities have been stripped from me, I have been left barren. The Lord has stripped me of things I didn't even realize I clung to in order that I might cling to Him in my desperation. I am blessed when I am stripped bare (or close to it) of any possible crutch, comfort, or easy status quo. When life is comfortable I rely on myself and those comforts surrounding me. It is when I am stripped of these comforts that I discover true satisfaction, joy, and contentment. At the feet of my Savior, wrapped in His loving arms whispering "I am here. I've got you." I am blessed when He graciously and tenderly reveals sin to me as He invites me for me in His presence in all my filth and wickedness to shed light on my darkness. To reveal sin and offer hope. I am blessed to repent as it offers freedom and affords me the opportunity to become more Christ-like, more reliant on the Holy Spirit, and into a greater depth of intimacy with Him. I am blessed in my suffering. I am blessed by my heartache. I am blessed to be brought to the end of me. For in these moments, there isn't much happiness, not many fun emotions often. But a deep sense of joy, hope, and peace. True blessings that transcend happiness. True blessings that deepen my roots into my Father.
Many times have I said, "I wouldn't wish this upon anyone." The more I've said it the more I've realized as much as I would never want the heartache, grief, or suffering for anyone - the sweet intimacy I've become familiar with as a direct result of the heartache, grief, and suffering is something I do wish and pray for, for everyone. It is in the hardest seasons of my life that I have been blessed in ways that are indescribable.
When I pray to be blessed - this is my new way of praying. It is easy to pray to be blessed or pray for blessing for others when "blessed" can be substituted for happiness. It is not easy to pray for these specifics straight out of Matthew 5 and other Scripture that addresses what it really means to be blessed.