Just 19 days ago we ended the year of 2017, and are now a little over halfway into the first month of the new year! In this rush of a month, I have been trying to find ways to count my blessings, which at times has been a bit of a challenge. My readers will understand what I mean about challenges… those little buttons that our children keep pushing that make you question your own sanity — the back-talking, the arguing, the bad habits, defiance, etc. Such is the joy a parent must endure until the end of child-rearing years. However, we can also find joy in these! Let’s look at Scripture, and I’ll help you tie it in to your homeschool, as I have mine.
Paul was writing about unity in the church in Ephesians chapter 4, but I see many instances where this could be used in the home environment with this excerpt from verses 1-3.
“Therefore, I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (NIV)
Just think; if we could take just these verses, and connect them with our homeschool environment, as well as our Christian relationships with each other inside and outside the home, what unity as a whole you could experience!
I want to share an experience my oldest has been dealing with lately. We have been taking her to horse riding lessons as of December. She has quite a bit of basics down from previous experience and lessons before we moved to California, so, her instructor chose a gelding who has been a great beginner horse because of his gentle nature. It was immediate to see the issues with horse and rider connection; the horse was being defiant, doing exactly opposite of what he was being asked. The more her horse, Chilly, was asked to trot, he would walk or come to a complete stop. Even just following the outer fence was too tempting for Chilly, who, over and over again, defied his rider and followed through with his own ideas, including trying to exit the arena. Go the opposite direction, avoid the jump, come away from riding next to the outside fence… the list goes on. Now, at this point, my daughter was so frustrated and upset that her horse wouldn’t listen that she started to give up. We saw this in her reactions. However, we continued to encourage her to push on, to never give up, no matter how hard a circumstance she was having, no matter what buttons that horse pushed. I am happy to say that, at the end of the lesson (30 mins past her slotted time), she was able to end on a good note, including being the first rider on her first lesson to be allowed to try the jumps.
So, what does a text about church unity and a defiant horse have to do with counting blessings?
First, don’t forget where the blessings come from, and thank God for them.
Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah.
Psalm 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 105:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
Psalm 116:12 What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Psalm 107:43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.
Psalm 118:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
Second, don’t forget to find joy in trials! When it’s hard to count your blessings, take your mind off of the problem by seeking God in prayer.
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.
Colossians 3:2 Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Remember, God will always help you in your time of need.
James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God will always help His faithful ones.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.