"In Other Words"...Astonishing (Birthday) Blessings

"God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways."

~ 2 Corinthians 9:9 (MSG)

When I saw this week's quote, selected by Deborah from Chocolate and Coffee for today's In "Other" Words, I immediately thought of a blog post I started to write over a week ago that was still on my "waiting to be typed" list. :)   

Two weeks ago yesterday, I wrote in my "Simple Woman's Daybook" post:

"One of my favorite things~ this week between Christmas and New Year's!  It's always been my favorite week of the year.  That probably started due to my birthday falling on the 31st, but now I love it because it has a different "flavor" than any other week of the year.  There is still a lingering of the beauty of Christmas, with a continuation of holiday spirit due to the coming New Year's celebration.  The shopping, cooking, and preparation deadlines of Christmas are over, and it is usually a "slow" week commitment-wise.   And what a week for a "planner/list-maker", as goals and plans for the new year are being created!"

Then in last week's post, I wrote the following:

"I am thinking... that sometimes you just have to laugh. Last Monday I posted in my Daybook that the week between Christmas and New Year's is my favorite week of the year.  I had all kinds of intentions to plan the new semester and the new year during the last few days of 2009.  I foresaw quiet days of goal-setting, lesson planning, and even some scrapbooking.  Tuesday evening I came home from the store ready to have a nice dinner and a quiet evening with my family.  The phone rang just as I came in the door; it was my aunt calling to tell me things weren't looking good with my grandfather.  By the time I reached my mom at the nursing home, where she had been with Papa, he was gone.  In that few minutes, my plans for the week went out the window.  Instead of planning the new year and coming semester of school, we were planning a funeral, with all the meetings, errands, and other tasks that come along with that."

As the scheduling worked out, my aunt was unable to get here until Thursday, which meant that we spent most of my birthday at the funeral home and otherwise planning Papa's funeral.  I kept hearing, "How awful that you are having to spend your birthday planning a funeral."  And I have to admit, it certainly wasn't the way I had *planned* to spend my birthday, nor do I ever particularly want to repeat the experience!  

But...in the midst of it, I realized that while it was definitely an atypical birthday, God showered blessings in ways I could never have imagined through it:

*He reminded me of the precious heritage that I have...the wonderful blessing of Godly parents,  the treasure of having had all four of my grandparents until I was 17, and the treat for my children of having a "Great-Papa" who lived long enough for them to know and remember.  

*God's timing, although not at all what we would have chosen, is always perfect.  Billy had already taken off Thursday for my birthday, although he had to work on the New Year's holiday on Friday.  The fact that he was off enabled me to be free to help my mom all day Thursday, which would have been terribly difficult otherwise.  I am so very thankful for my sweet husband, who is always willing to step in and take over at times like these (and is frankly probably more competent at keeping things running at home than I am. :))  

*I have the most wonderful friends anywhere.  I can't even begin to post all the ways they once again helped and encouraged during this time, but I will say this...we ate the last of the food they provided this past weekend...almost two weeks later!  What a huge blessing during a chaotic time to have food ready and waiting, and not have to worry about planning or preparation....to be able to pull things out of the fridge or freezer and pop in the microwave or oven and just eat...especially on those days when I was too tired and too scatterbrained to make peanut butter sandwiches!

*Our church staff, deacons, and church family are amazing.  Again, there is no way to begin to list all the ways that they blessed us during this time, but I realized once again how good God has been to us in leading us to Oak Cliff and allowing us to be part of this church family for over 13 years.  

*God just keeps bringing home to me...in my *heart*, and not just my head (because those of us who grew up in church grew up hearing and knowing these words from our earliest days), that His greatest gift truly is salvation through His Son, Jesus.  As I shared in yesterday's post, "What a blessing to have the assurance of God's Word during times like these...and how thankful I am that God has sent continual reminders throughout this time of His Truth."  Seeing up close and personal last week those who do not have that solid foundation and assurance was such an incredible reminder of what a gift that truly is.  

Only our God could take what would have seemed like a totally sad and dreary way to spend a birthday and turn it into a time of joy.  There were so many times during my birthday and the days surrounding it that I found myself fighting back tears...not of grief or sadness (although there were a few of those, too), but of thankfulness at God's amazing goodness.  I actually may look back on my 41st birthday as one of the best birthdays ever...because God truly can "pour on the blessings in astonishing ways"!

To see what others have shared about today's quote, please visit Deborah at Chocolate and Coffee


MiPa said...

Heartfelt sympathies for your loss. Yet in that, what a joy to read how you saw and felt the hand of God blessing you in the sadness of the moment. Praying for you and your mom to be able to hold onto those memories.

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing that with us today. Praise the Lord God remains with us always, bringing out the best in difficult situations.

Betsy Markman said...

I almost pity those who've led a "charmed life," who don't yet know the depth of God's blessings in the hard times. We grow so much when we walk through the valley with Him.

Thanks for sharing!

Stacy said...

You know, the Bible says it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of mirth. Going to the house of mourning causes you to reflect and I think you demonstrated this wonderfully in your post. I'm so glad you found the good in the sad.

"It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart." Ecclesiastes 7:2

Esthermay said...

I am so sorry for your loss.
You are absolutely correct that God’s timing is perfect in so many more ways than we can even acknowledge and blog about !! :)

It is with spiritual eyes that you are able to write this post and it absolutely fits Eugene Peterson’s choice of words in 2 Corinthians 9:9: Astonishing!

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

It IS astonishing to experience God's blessings in the midst of sorrow, and yet oh so sweet! May you continue to feel His arms around you as you grieve the loss of your grandfather.

Tami Boesiger said...

Isn't it just like God to give you "fond" memories surrounding the loss of your grandfather? May He continue to comfort you and your family.

Claudia Lawrence said...
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