Counting my Blessings, Naming them One by One

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I woke up today with a blessing in my heart! It was the beginning of the year in 1996. My doctor announced that I was going to have a baby, but I was also given the news that I had cervical cancer stage 3. I was given a choice. Do something now or wait till my baby girl was born and have surgery. I chose life, even though I may have lost my own. My church prayed for me. A little after Chelsea was born, I had the surgery. They were able to remove all the cancer…My baby girl turned 22 this year! So, yes I am doing like this song says, I am counting EVERY blessing, letting go and trusting when I cannot see! Hope the song blesses you. Take the time to NAME those blessings, one by one! Have a Happy Thanksgiving week!

Celebrate Always

REJOICE evermore.  Pray without ceasing.  In EVERY thing give thanks:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you~I Thessalonians 5:16-18

When I chose my personal ‘New Years Resolution Word,’ for the beginning of the year, I had prayed about it.  ‘REJOICE‘– It sounded good– It felt good.  I pictured a year of smiles, happy blessings, good times, white, sandy beaches, blue skies and a view from a picturesque lighthouse…Little did I know that ‘Word’ would involve getting on a sailboat and leaving the safety of the shore.

The year seemed to get off with a good start.  I untied the rope and cast off.  I was sailing! Along the way, I studied scriptures that involved rejoicing.  I prayed. I praised.  I knew how to rejoice on good days.  Life wasn’t perfect, by no means, but I was sailing the harbor fairly smooth, for the most part.  I felt confident.

And then came the heavy rain.  It poured down, till I was eventually drenched.  The high winds had torn my sails, and I questioned what rejoicing truly meant.  My little boat was bruised and battered from the tropical storm, which felt more like a hurricane!  Most of the details of the days spent in that storm are way too personal and painful to mention.  For months, I was adrift and could not see the shore.  Would I ever see land again? I battled sickness and discouragement.  But a hunger grew in me along the way to search out what it truly meant to rejoice.

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I discovered it was a choice.  We have to CHOOSE to rejoice–THROUGH–the good and the bad.  When the waves threaten to capsize our boat, we worship, even if it means with tears of pain in our eyes. We throw out an anchor of hope, both steadfast and sure and ride out the storm. Soon, the turbulent seas turn calm again.  We can see Jesus waving from the shore!  We smile and wave back.  We have weathered the storm! It is well again with our soul.

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Tokens of His Love

Shew me a token for good:…because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me~Psalms 86:17 KJV

photo of red heart shaped paper hanging on rope
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My first discovery of dragonflies happened when I was around twelve years old.  We had moved into an older fixer-upper home, complete with a front and back porch, and a nearby creek running parallel to the right.  My younger brother and I spent two memorable summers there from sun-up to sun-down, completely immersed into nature.  We explored the backyard woods, swam in the creek, helped our parents with planting and picking a garden.

We were in hog-heaven, as us Southerners would say,  describing how happy we were there!  We had never lived anywhere that close to water, so I had not seen any dragonflies up close and personal.  I soon found that they were amazing little creatures.  They could fly up to extreme speeds, do somersaults in the air, eat insects bigger than they were, dance on water, and many other things.

I grew up and didn’t think much of the little insects anymore, until the Lord started dealing with me to write a fiction book based on this setting of my short-lived childhood spent there.  (I haven’t finished it yet, by the way) In the first chapters of my book, I mentioned the dragonflies as a favorite part of my summer.

And so it started happening… I began spotting dragonflies outdoors, here and there,  around our current home, we had already lived in over a decade. I had never noticed them before this time. But it didn’t just stop there.  They have followed along side my car, or hovered outside my windshield, as I have driven down the neighborhood lane.  They have followed along side me as I have mowed grass.  I have also seen them hover over my windshield as I parked at church or the grocery store.  I have even dreamed of them following me.

They mostly appear when I am going through some sort of trial, or having a bad day, or in desperate need of strength and encouragement.  The most recent encounter I had really blew my mind!

I was sitting at the wooden table on my back porch, enjoying nature, drinking coffee, reading a few devotions on my phone app, and praying.  I was having a bad year, to put it mildly.  All of a sudden, the most beautiful dragonfly landed on the porch railing near me.  At first I just studied it as it perched there, then decided to attempt a few pictures.  I fully expected it to fly away after a few seconds–But it didn’t.  I was able to get extremely close!  I decided to put my finger out, to see what it would do.  To my surprise, it crawled onto my fingers, my hand, and let me take more pictures.  By this time, I had taken around a hundred pictures! (and in case you are wondering, no, it wasn’t dying, because it flew off right after I put it back down on the railing!)

I let the tears flow, bawling like a baby, feeling God speak to my heart. He was beside me.  I wasn’t alone.  His love enveloped me like a warm hug.  All my worries had melted away, and I felt refreshed in my spirit.

It hasn’t been just dragonflies, but hearts, as well.  Heart-shaped clouds, heart-shaped potato, rocks, coffee, glow from a night light, mop water lol, (I do have a witness to that one, thank goodness, or I might have even thought I was crazy!)

I never quite understood what it all meant until I stumbled upon the above scripture and read it in different Bible versions.  The Amplified version says, “show me a sign of Your goodwill.”  My favorite is the Message version:  …”Make a show of how much you love me…As you, God, gently and powerfully put me on my feet.”

Little by little, these tokens of God’s favor and great love have helped me realize that God uses those things that are dear to your heart.  He tailors what He is showing you according to your unique personality.  As a child, I loved to draw.  And one of the things I drew most was hearts.  I drew big ones and little ones, upside down ones, and even those with arrows. I had forgotten that until recently.  And He knew how much the dragonflies had meant to me in my childhood by the creek.  God is like that.  When He is ready for you to fit another piece into the puzzle of what He is showing and teaching you, He will give you another clue towards solving the riddle.  (another thing I have loved from a child–mysteries)

At first, I was hesitant to share my experiences, until I heard someone share their similar dealings with ladybugs at a Ladies Retreat.  I didn’t want anyone to think I’m a person always seeking after signs! I’m not about all that. Since then,  I have heard several others tell of their stories of ‘Love Tokens,’ sent from God.

The bottom line is, He is crazy about you and me!  He is the God of creation, and He can and will reveal that love towards us.  He sent a rainbow didn’t He?  So, be encouraged today! God loves you with an everlasting love!

If you would like to share your ‘Love Token’ experiences, I would love to hear from you!

Love you as big as the sky! ~Renee Greene~

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