Published on June 8th, 2018 | by Kirsten Presley
Stop Today and Treasure God’s Blessings
We’ve probably heard that phrase a million times in a million different ways. I heard it consistently growing up, but I never understood what it meant. To a kid, time goes about as fast as a giant tortoise can climb Mt. Everest.
At least, that’s how I felt—until my junior year of high school. It seemed that all of a sudden my calendar filled and chaos ensued. Every night my head hits the pillow, and I think “I’m here again?!”
My sister often finds me staring blankly into space, dramatically reciting the words of James 4:14–“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” She rolls her eyes at my theatrical performance, but we both know the words are sharp and true.
We live in an age where the current of society rushes at breakneck speed, and it takes forethought and determination to go against it.
In Luke 2:19 we learn that Mary had a way to combat this. She “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Her circumstances were not ideal, to say the least, but she took a moment to treasure them.
How can we do the same?
Cherish the Moment
I recently picked up Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. It painted a picture of what it means to treasure up moments in my heart by gratefully counting blessings. And not just thanking God for general blessings like food and family (which is still good), but whipping out my shovel and digging in the garden of blessings for gifts that won’t be discovered unless I earnestly search for them and dwell on them.
I went running early one morning a couple weeks ago, and witnessed a deer and her fawn on the trail before me. I stopped dead in my tracks, engulfed in awe. They started walking towards me, holding my gaze. Then in a flash, they were gone. Another runner had come up behind me, scaring the mama deer and her baby into the woods, as she blatantly continued to jog.
I couldn’t believe she totally disregarded the moment. Here stood a living, breathing gift from God and this runner didn’t think twice of it. She continued on, oblivious of what she had missed. Yet how many of us are jogging through each day just to get it over with, when blessings coat our surroundings like dew covers the grass each morning?
Count Each Blessing
We have become so accustomed to many of these gifts that we assume we’re entitled to them. In reality, each one is a manifestation of God’s grace. He’s just so gracious that sometimes he keeps on giving them regularly.
I learned to frantically write down blessings as they came to my mind, or make a mental list as they happened. I began to count:
Hauling clean laundry up the stairs
The ding of an elevator
Toddler faces lighting up at the sight of me
Algebra test with an A scribbled on top
The last wipe of the counter before it’s all clean
God wrote these, and more, into the day-to-day story of my life and yours to serve as the cherry on top; the bouquet of flowers that reads “just because.”
These blessings amounted to dozens, then hundreds. The counting continues. It’s a scavenger hunt that never ends. It’s a testimony to the Scripture that “goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6). Everyday I’m enchanted by his thoughtfulness, that he would think to incorporate into my day such small gifts that spark in me a twinge of delight.
Sometimes it’s hard to count. But when I do, it’s usually hard to stop. I ponder my collection of gifts from the day and my heart fills with gratitude. I collapse on my bed in absolute wonder that he is so good.
I recently discovered my anthem in Psalm 40:3–“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”
Flowers in my hair, open windows, full calendars, and even filling in ACT bubbles, string together to form the new song he’s put in my mouth. They are all evidences of his grace. And he promises that when we sing this song, others will notice and decide to follow him too.
When we do this with gratitude by treasuring each moment for the blessing it is, time suddenly seems to move just a little bit slower.
And all the while, people see, and wonder, and put their trust in the Lord.