If I want my life to be a blessing to others I probably need to start blessing in the ways that I have been blessed.
These friends of ours...I can't even begin to tell you all the ways they have blessed us over the years. From monetary gifts, to a camera, to bags of goodies on my front door after having babies, taking our photos, talking through major life issues, watching my kids, driving out of their way to visit us, teaching me to be more relational...I could go on and on. Friends who give of themselves over and over again are a blessing.
Friends who empathize in life's most challenging circumstances. These kinds of relationships are rare, but so valuable. It's easy to find people who will listen, but people who let you hurt instead of trying to fix your problems--this is what my friend did for me, and she blessed me.
These relationships span over years of time. I married into these friendships (some aren't pictured here) and can I just tell you that they have loved me as if I was with them from the beginning? They call on our birthdays, they visit no matter where we live. When my brother died, they gave, called, texted, and drove hours just to attend the viewing so they could hug me. We laugh, cry, talk, and share a lot of life with these people and they bless me over and over again.
These friends represent those who have blessed me by the lives they live overseas. I spent six weeks with this couple and their family one summer, and they allowed me to participate in their cross-cultural lives. They challenged me, pushed me, and asked me hard questions. Just being an observer to how they lived was a blessing. Countless others through the years have been blessers by the ways they have poured into the people around them. Although I don't see you all often, some of you only every few years, please, know that by living in obedience to the Lord you bless me.
Oh, these ladies. The one on the left helped me to deliver Mason, and then just a little over a year later she held my hand, cried with me, and took extra special care of Jennavieve while she was in the NICU for two weeks. And, the nurse holding Jennavieve is the one who sat with me during my labor with Jenna. She was amazing. Not only did she offer quality medical care, she also took my camera later on that day and snapped hundreds of pictures for us. Nurses have become dearer and dearer to me as I've given birth to my babies and I'm so grateful for the way that they love on me and my kids.
Family blesses time and time again. I married into this one and I am so thankful. They love me, my husband (of course!) and my kids. We share joys, trials, and silly moments. I know that they pray for our family and that in itself is a blessing. My in-laws give and give, not just to us, but to countless others around the world. Their lives have impacted many and their faithfulness to the Lord impacts me often. Do you know what else blesses me about family? The fact that other people give to them. When I hear how someone invited my mother-in-law over when she's alone makes me thankful. Friends who give of their time and resources to support my sister-in-law and her family as they prepare to move overseas--those people bless me by their sacrifice for my family.
I couldn't find a very recent picture of my own family (we've added three children among us since this one), but the ways in which my parents and siblings bless me are boundless. Watching my parents handle challenging circumstances encourages me in my own walk. My sisters' interest in my life makes me feel loved and cherished; they remember the details. The love that they all pour on my kids is something I never could have imagined. And, again, it blesses me when I hear how people are serving them. Like the time a friend watched my sister's children so she could have a much needed morning to herself. Or the boss who showered my sister with a generous Christmas gift. The young families who bring meals to my parents "just because". Blessings extend beyond the immediate recipient.
My husband (I'm going to talk about him later on) but I can't let him go unnoticed here. I was completely in love with him when we got married, but that has only grown deeper over the years. He gives sacrificially every day. He pushes me to be a better person. He loves our children. And even in the face of great discouragement, he doesn't give up.
These pictures are just a few of the many who have blessed my life.
This list doesn't include the strangers that bless me with their smiles, their compliments on my children, their willingness to hold the door for me when my hands are full.
And the lady that I saw yesterday who was visiting her son. By the little bits I heard from their conversation as I ran past, it sounded like they hadn't seen each other in a while and they were just catching up on what was happening in each of their lives. It just made me smile to see a mother-son relationship in action.
I think there's a common thread here: serving.
The people who have blessed me throughout my life are people who have served me or someone I love out of the love and generosity of their heart. This takes humility, selflessness, sometimes sacrifice, and always love.
So, I ask you today: who has blessed you?
This is Day 18 of a series: Made to Pour, Living a life of blessing