Counting your blessings is more than a cliche, but a way to truly remember how God is providing for you even when going through challenging times of illness.
“Because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb. Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.” (Genesis 49:25-27).
I am blessed. I wish I could say I’ve always felt this way, but I can’t. I’ve been thankful, but feeling truly blessed is new since being challenged with illness. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I want to yell and scream and ask God why this is happening to me? Counting your blessings is not always easy. But those days are growing further apart as I become more accustomed to my new life.
When I try to explain my blessed feelings to healthier friends they often look at me as if I have horns growing from my head. If I had a choice of going back to having a healthy body or one that fails me daily, I would take the able body in an instant.
But that is not a choice, so I have to accept what God has given me and persevere. Counting your blessings is more productive than to count failures, disappointments, and regrets.
Some days blessings are readily available. For instance, today was sunny outside; my kids behaved; I had time to read the New York Times in peace; and my husband had a chance to slip away to the movies.
Yesterday–blessing were harder to observe: kids bickering; child sick; I wasn’t feeling well; but I still was blessed. I spent time with my youngest reading; my daughter and I watched television together and my oldest accepted the consequences of his behavior–without much of a hassle.
It’s easy to look at the negative things that have happened to us due to our diseases/disorders. I can rattle off dozens of things dysautonomia does to me that are unpleasant. We have been forced to really work together as a family to tackle these stressors. It’s a balancing act and some days we don’t do well, but then we will try again the next morning.
We have grown in our faith and have learned to show more patience towards one another. The kids have learned to be more empathic; things change quickly; sometimes there will be disappointments but no matter what the love our family has for each other is a constant, and my illness can not detract from this fact.
These are all blessings–things that perhaps we would not have realized had this illness not come in to our family.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for allowing me to see that despite my illness there are still very good things that occur in my life. Help me to learn to always start counting my blessings, even while I am no longer able to do some of the things that I enjoyed. There are other things that are available. Thank you for giving me a loving, caring family. Help me to continue to focus on the blessings in my life and help others with illnesses to do the same. Amen.
About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband and three kids. She recently retired from her job as an elementary school counselor. She is writing a book about her struggles with dysautonomia–a neurological condition in which the autonomic nervous system breaks, affected such things as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and temperature regulation.
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What are some blessings that you have experienced or noticed since becoming ill? Do you find it difficult at times to focus on such when you are experiencing the hardships of your disease/disorder or do you find it helpful to still focus on the blessings? What does “counting your blessings” mean to you in a practical sense?
Want to take a walk down vintage lane? Here is Bing Crosby singing “Count Your Blessings.” If you cannot see the video in your email, click the title to go to the web site.