Monday, November 19, 2007

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed;
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done….”

I’ve been humming that old hymn since I read Cindy’s post the other day! Here are my top five:

#1. My Salvation: I am forgiven and I have received eternal life in Christ.
This is probably an oversimplification and no doubt, full of holes, but here it is.
We have laws to abide by, which have been established by our founders and legislators. For instance, we have a speed limit. We have a police force that is charged with enforcing those laws. Everyone at one time or another has inadvertently gone over the speed limit, but as soon as the traffic cop pulls you over, you know exactly what you did wrong and will be held accountable. If you go to traffic court, you will come before the judge, who is responsible for convicting you or finding you not guilty. You know you will be found guilty based on the evidence given by the arresting officer and you will pay the penalty.
As Creator, God established 10 laws that He expected us to follow. Only 10. Five of them deal specifically with our relationship with God and the other five deal with our relationships with each other. We couldn’t keep only 10. Near the end of the Old Testament, it had been whittled down to 3: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8. We couldn’t keep those either. What’s more, we didn’t even care that we weren’t keeping them. Since God is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” 2 Peter 3:9, he provided His Son to come to earth and receive the punishment we deserved. He then provided us with access to the Holy Spirit, so that we would have discernment in knowing the difference between right and wrong.
It’s as if I had committed a murder, even though I knew that taking a life is a capital crime. I stand trial in defiance, having no defense to offer on my own behalf. I’m found guilty and sentenced to die for my crime. Then the Judge volunteers to be executed in my place. And so the choice is mine: do I accept the Judge’s offer and go free? Or do I choose to die in my own defiance?

“When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.”

#2. Randy, James, Jack & Emily and my extended family
I am thankful that I am married to the nicest, most generous and kindest man on the planet.
I am thankful for the lessons I learned through the sorrow of losing James in 1981.
I am thankful for Jack and the good son he is. He’s working his way through college, he is pursuing worthwhile goals and he is getting to be a great cook!
I am thankful that Emily still has eight toes and no other ill effects from her accident. She, too, is working her way through college and has devoted herself to a righteous life and developing her craft, setting her own standards high and working to achieve them.
My extended family: what can I say? I wouldn’t be who I am without them. I think I drive them all nuts, but what the heck – they have to love me anyway.

“Are you ever burdened with a load of care”
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessing every doubt will fly.
And you will keep singing as the days go by.”

#3. Friends, old & new
I have two friends in my life right now (Mary and Joani) and I can not remember a time when I did not have them in my life. I’ve often joked that we’ve been friends since “in utero”, which is true. Our families lived in the same rural neighborhood during the years the three of us were born. I can’t imagine what a hole there would be in my life without them. My new friends include people I have never met from all over the world who are from walks of life I can only imagine. An executive IT in England; another in Florida; a forest ranger in Colorado; and this list will continue to grow. And I have friends who share my passion for horses and trail riding. Most of these I have known for only a few short years, but they are just as precious to me as Mary and Joani.

“So amid the conflict whether great or small
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.”

#4. Music
I’m thankful that God filled the world with music and then gave us ears to hear.

#5. Books
Especially Genesis through Revelation. But I have a passion for the written word that defies description. If only I never had to sleep, I could get so much more reading done!

“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

PS – If you want to hear the tune for this hymn, go to


Mary Connealy said...

Nice Thanksgiving post. My family had Thanksgiving yesterday, Sunday and I went to the Festival of Trees on Friday in the Lyons Library. It was so beautiful in there with Christmas music playing and perfect lights and smells and sights.
I am totally in the holiday mood now.

Janell said...

So have a "Mary" Christmas!

cdroses said...

AMEN to #1! As my myspace says: Jesus (under heroes) How can I not count someone who has died for me, a hero?

#4 agree 100%. It is through music that I have really been able to connect with some of the youth in our youth group. I had the blessing of being able to encourage one young man to use his love of music as an evangelical tool.

Very well thought out and worded!
Happy "T" day!

Joe B said...

Janell, that was beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving to you. I am honored that I am amongst your new circle of Friends.

My travels take me to a lot of "exotic" and fun places, but I have you on my list. I will make it out there one of these days. As little Joe gets older, we will shift our vacations from international to seeing this country!

Janell said...

Thanks, Joe. We'll be looking forward to your visit. I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving day with your family.

Sue said...

Joe & Janell, can I come too?

Shirley said...

Good Thanksgiving thoughts and well thought out. Thanks for writing it.

Janell said...

EVERYONE will be invited when Joe comes! But anyone who is related to me by blood, must bring a covered dish - it's the American way!

Cliff said...

Well done Janell. Enjoyable, hearfelt thanks for sure. Hope it was a good day for all of you yesterday.

Paul said...

You know what? I was counting my blessings the other day and you were among them!

LaDawn said...

Just getting caught up on my blog reading...when i get behind on my posting my reading falls even further behind. Love this post. You've taken so much loving tender care to put it all so nicely into words.