When I look back on my childhood, I can’t remember a time when I was not involved in church or learning about the Lord was not integral in my life. I grew up attending a local Baptist church in the Birmingham area where my mom ensured we were every Sunday. Summers were spent with my paternal grandparents at their family farm in Chunchula, Alabama, where, over the years, their church served as a second home. Visits with my Grandma Lewis exposed me to yet a third Baptist church. I knew each of these churches like the back of my hand. There was no need to ask where I might find the bathroom, fellowship hall, outside lawn, Sunday school classroom … I just knew! These buildings and the congregations within became extended family who helped shape and mold me as I grew.
Church was a very different experience in those days. There were no fancy projectors illuminating song lyrics onto a screen, no praise and worship band on stage, no bright lights or trendy worship leaders. Back then, there was a choir made up of many seasoned congregation members who earned their spot not necessarily based on their singing abilities, but because they were a fixture in the church and desired to use their voice to worship the Lord. Every Sunday the choir proudly put on their matching robes, pulled out the Baptist hymnal, and belted out whatever old hymn the choir director instructed the congregation to turn to. One of the hymns I remember singing so often was “Count Your Blessings.” You may be familiar with the chorus…
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!
I sang these words hundreds of times as a child … I knew them by heart and still do. However, looking back, I don’t think I truly comprehended what the lyrics were conveying. As I became an adult and began to experience life, there were many things I counted as blessings … a husband, a home of my own, a good job, my precious children … first my daughter and then my son … one of each, just as I had longed for. Life was happy and I felt truly blessed.
The season of blessing appeared to come to a screeching halt in 2008 when I learned my husband had been living a lie for most of our marriage. Twelve years of infidelity came crashing into my world like an unexpected and very unwanted visitor ending my marriage of sixteen years in the blink of an eye.
What happened to the blessed life I thought I had? Where was the loving God I’d known my whole life? How could He allow such evil to invade my family? My heart ached literally every second of every day, and the questions continued to come, with no answers. In my desperation, I began to cry out to God and it didn’t take me long to realize He was right there, just as He’d always been. I’d love to say that my heart was miraculously healed overnight, but that’s not how He works. See, when the storms of life roll in, He uses them, just as His word tells us in Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those
who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
I personally found the truth from these verses as He turned my many tears into abundant blessings! Not only did the Lord heal my broken heart, he also restored my family by bringing an amazing man into my life who has filled our home with more love and happiness than I ever thought possible. I see my blessings each morning when I open my eyes. Through the mess of life, he taught me that true blessings are so much more than “things.” God has molded me and shown me that no matter what life on earth brings, I am His and He will never leave me or forsake me. That fact alone is the greatest blessing of all!
You see, when you allow Him to reside in your heart, you too can confidently say, regardless of what life throws at you, “I AM BLESSED!”
Because you are what God says that you are! You are enough!
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Amber Edwards began Blessing Bag Ministry, affording her numerous opportunities to share her love for the Lord with many lost and hurting. A native of Birmingham and Huffman High School, Amber is happily married with two teens and working as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal. She enjoys leading women’s small groups and serving as Captain of the Events Team at her church. Her true passion is for others. Read Ambers BoP bio here.