Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Isn't Over: B is for Blessings & Beatitudes

I've shared before that I can be a bit of a "the glass is dirty" kind of person. In this Easter season, the challenge for me is to live as a woman of the beatitudes, counting my blessings in all circumstances and helping my family do the same. Often, I get discouraged if things turn out differently than I expect, even when it isn't categorically a bad thing. To live in the beatitudes is to see the blessing in each circumstance, to see God's work at hand.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; 
and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.
Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you 
and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, 
for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:1-12

In our poverty, we get a glimpse of heaven. If we do not have need of anything, if we are not poor in any way, we have no need of heaven or of God and do not long for him. In our grief, in our sorrow, in our troubles, God is with us. Being faithful doesn't mean we do not mourn or experience sorrow. It just means that we look to God for his peace and comfort instead of wallowing in our sadness. In all things good and bad, God is with us and worthy of our praise. Our joy, not to be confused with a false appearance of happiness, rests in Him. As one of our favorite songs goes:

Blessed be your name in the land that is plentiful, where your streams of abundance flow, blessed be your name.
Blessed be your name, when I'm found in the desert place, though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be your name...

This Easter I need to do a better job of resting in the blessings of the Lord, in abundance and in the desert place. That he provides for us in great abundance is reason for great joy. That the desert places make us thirst more deeply for Him is a blessing in itself. I want our children to live out of a spirit of gratitude for everything, even hardship. I want them to be adept at recognizing the blessings that pour down upon them even in the valley. I want them to be able to praise God through the storm so the can be beacons of light set upon a hill for the whole world to see. I want them to radiate Christ, who was at his most radiant in the midst of the cruelest suffering. If I want this for them, I need them to see it in me.

Perhaps I will go back to having a blessings book to help me reflect on the blessings of each day. Perhaps we will make it a family book or better yet, a family board so it remains visible as a constant reminder that we are blessed beyond belief. Do you have any practices or traditions that help you to live out of your blessings either as a woman, mom, or family? I'd love to hear them!

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