Wednesday, March 20

Favor and Blessings

The Papa was up early this cold morning, filling the wood stove, warming up the kitchen as I lay next to the two blond heads which had kept us company all night.  He served us breakfast and served us The Word, telling the story of Mary, the mama who carried the Christ in her womb, and the words of the angel to her fell into my heart.  "Blessed" and "favored".
A teen pregnancy.
A fiance who wants to leave.
Don't tell me her community didn't whisper.

Have you noticed that sometimes (most times) what God calls favor and blessing is not society's idea of the same? So many times it is not my idea of the same!
I cry "Lord, renew my mind! Change my heart!" because I find myself weary at the monotony of endless meal prep, laundry, correction and guidance, forgetting that these gifts are fleeting and that these tired mornings and busy days will pass away all. too. soon.

I've been pitied for having so many children by liberated women who toil hours to build another man's empire or a lifestyle of wealth and goods that moth and rust can destroy, and I wonder who really is liberated and who is enslaved?

Mary's song and Mary's story of blessing and favor and all the details that must be between the lines of scripture filled my mind long after Sean had left for work, and the kids and I had begun housework and lessons.  Tonight, cradling a fussing baby, the house quiet and at rest, I began looking up what exactly God identifies as blessings.  Things beside children, which we large-familied folks love to remember, came up.  Things like working hard and receiving nothing in return but letting other folks get all the benefit of your exhaustion.  Who wants that?  Not me.  Just today I had to repent to my children and ask their forgiveness after I, in a fit of frustration, pointed the mom finger and reminded them who has made all these messes I keep cleaning up over and over and over and, "can't we just keep this clean for an hour!" and "can't you just help tidy up when I ask without giving me trouble about it!" because you can see I'm doing really well at teaching servanthood, no?

When I read that Jesus took His own disciples, the men that had left their homes and walked all those dusty roads and listened to His sermons and seen His works and His reaction to society and the domineering government of the day, and his heart is stirred to teach them, that even after all this exposure to Him and Truth, they still needed teaching on what really, for sure and for certain, are blessings in this sermon on the mount.  And after he pours out truth after truth on blessings that had nothing to do with civil liberties or prosperity, He presses humility and character and discernment into their hearts, showing them the futility of trying to live by the law, then pointing out the err of seeking the things they no doubt thought He should have included in His list of blessings minutes prior.

I find my heart now bent to consider situations and life's details with the question of, "Lord, how is this intended to be a blessing to me?"  I've been asked flat-out by the broken how I can trust God and I can only say it is by trusting his character and making that bigger in my eyes than the fear in my heart over whatever is going on.  As a couple, Sean and I have had those scary and broken times.  The day Sean sat me down with all the papers and his lists for what-if-he-died was a hard and broken day.  He was getting sicker and weaker and doctors and specialists could not diagnose him and the C word had come up.  The day I sat on a dingy hospital bathroom floor and sobbed alone because it was the only spot of peace in which I could find the presence of God with a roommate blaring Rosanne on the television and two specialists had just left after telling me our son Aiden was showing signs of kidney failue and maybe had a few months was a hard, hard day.

 I don't get why bad things happen but I can look back and see blessings in the darkness like cracks of golden light splintering through.  Friends who came and prayed us through, a better marriage with Sean after the fact, honest and raw conversations, and some blessings that don't necessarily benefit us like compassion for parents of sick babies and I get what weary moms with sick husbands are going through.  I get it deep inside because that was me for two years.

So if you've read this and are thinking or saying out loud, "No, thanks, Lord! I don't want those kinds of blessings!" I hear you.  I can say that God loves gives to give good gifts to his children and that they show up in the most unusual places and unexpected times.



Momma Bug said...


We had our eighth just 10 days ago. We named him Miles Favor because in this season (and throughout our life together really) the Lord has poured out His favor on us time and time over.
We know that it's nothing we deserve, and that we are likely to walk through some truly painful things when He sees fit to glorify Himself through us in that way.
Today, we proclaim His favor and press it on our hearts in this tangible way of naming our son, so that we can point to this season and remember how we were not counted worthy of His blessing, but were wonderfully, and awesomely favored.
To Him be glory!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I read one day that we think of only the 'good' things that happen to us as blessings from God, and that we don't see the hard things as His blessing as well. I hear you. We've not gone through the illness type stuff, but we all have hard things.

You are doing valuable work, dear Hannah. The hardest kind. And your doing it for it's eternal reward. Our world has things all turned around these days. Your work is what will sustain you in your elderly days, when your children and grandchildren surround you and love on you.

Remember too, that you are not alone. There are many on this path with you.


Becky said...

This is a beautiful post - I will re-visit it, I'm sure...
What I struggle with is when the outcome is not good. When the husband doesn't recover. When the child doesn't grow and thrive. I'm still trying to answer the question, "Lord, how is this intended to be a blessing to me?" But I will keep trying...

Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

"I've been pitied for having so many children by liberated women who toil hours to build another man's empire or a lifestyle of wealth and goods that moth and rust can destroy, and I wonder who really is liberated and who is enslaved?" This is such a good, good point. I work outside of the home...but know where my blessings come from. We had two kids...I was hoping for four...tried to get my husband to compromise at three...but he was set on two. Now that they're teens he said to me with a sigh, "We should have had three." Children are blessings and I admire your faith and obedience in receiving all the blessings God has for you. xo said...

Beautiful Hannah.

Julian said...

Yes thank-you for the reminder:). I have six. One has aspbergers and adhd. I have a husband who is older than me with a bad heart. Weve lost a baby. The list could go on and on. Blessings I have many. The blessings I must remember to count are the ones wrapped up in the disguise of hardship. Blessings one, because they lead me to a closer relationship with my Father,trusting in Him. And I see who He is,and I count that as gold to be able to be close to Him,and rest in confidence that Hes gonna work it out.

Annie said...

After I emailed a very kindred, long distance friend to tell her my unborn would have a life-threatening version of the seriour birth defect his oldest brother had been born with; and she knew that just 8 weeks earlier my sister had had a major ruptured brain aneurism and had been on the brink of death many times in her 6 week ICU stay - she said to me one of the kindest things anyone has ever said: "God must love you very much, to give you this suffering."

It gives me such comfort, makes me feel even special and so loved. Great post.