“O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!” Psalm 103:1-2 (MSG)
We’d argued on our drive to the hospital.
Soon I’d be lying belly up on an exam table as my stretched-out skin was covered with clear cold goo. Soon we’d get our first glimpse of the baby tucked beneath my heart.
However, my husband and I couldn’t agree on one thing: Should we find out the gender of our baby or not?
His vote was yes; mine was no.
Two years prior, we opted for the moment-of-arrival surprise when we were expecting our firstborn. I loved the thrill of hearing the doctor say, “You have a boy!” after my son had entered the world on that momentous August day.
Since I was the one laboring, I figured I deserved a weighted vote. So, when the grainy glimpse of our wee one appeared on the ultrasound screen, and the tech asked if we’d like to know the gender, I stated my preference.
Rob didn’t dispute my final call, but he did leave the hospital with measurably less excitement than his victorious wife. In fact, for the rest of the pregnancy, he tended to the daily grind — went to graduate school, paid the bills, played with our toddler — but he seemed blind to the gift growing right under his nose.
As the due date neared, I looked desperately for a way to awaken my husband to the blessing burgeoning beneath my heart. That’s when my doctor suggested an ultrasound to check on the baby’s questionable size.
With Rob stuck at work, I drove to the hospital alone. The ultrasound tech greeted me with a smile and a mint green hospital gown. She dimmed the lights and the screen alit with a wiggling silhouette of our second child. My heart ached with the weight of wonder.
Then, suddenly, I had an idea.
I pulled a post-it note from my purse and asked the technician to write the baby’s gender on the slip of paper. She nodded knowingly and wrote something in slow, choppy scrawl. Next, she rummaged through a drawer and grabbed an envelope. She slid the post-it-note inside and sealed it.
That evening over dinner, I handed Rob the envelope and explained what it contained. At first he just looked at me with quiet confusion, but as he began to understand what I was offering, a smile spread across his face. He grabbed the envelope, excused himself from the table, and returned with a fresh sparkle dancing in those deep green orbs.
For the remainder of my pregnancy, my husband was a new man. He couldn’t keep his hands off my bulging stomach or wipe the grin off his beaming face. When our bundle of wrinkles and wails arrived three weeks later, we named her Elizabeth Grace, for we both agreed she was an undeserved gift.
Once the frenzy of delivery day had grown quiet, I listened to the squeak of the rocking chair and watched my husband cuddle our baby girl. Then, I asked the question I’d been harboring for weeks. “What finally got you excited about this baby?”
Rob kissed our daughter’s soft pink cheek and shrugged his shoulders. “I guess it was that little slip of paper.”
He glanced at the miracle in his arms and cast me a sheepish grin, “Once I knew we were having a girl, I began to call her by name. That’s what made her real to me.”
Sometimes naming a gift helps us to see it more clearly. Maybe that’s why God urges us to remember our blessings: “O my soul … don’t forget a single blessing!” (Psalm 103:2, MSG)
The One who is timeless invites us to carve out time to give thanks. Not because He needs our gratitude, but because we do.
The daily grind can make us blind.
It’s easy to go through the motions of life and fail to see the gifts planted right beneath our noses. But God has given our eyes a prescription: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).
Naming a gift doesn’t change the gift; it just makes it real.
So make a list, tell a friend, utter a prayer or compose a song. Tell a story, keep a journal or post a praise.
Practice the habit of gratitude frequently and faithfully, and odds are, you’ll begin to see some gifts that have been there all along, blessings burgeoning beneath your heart, just waiting for a name.
Dear Jesus, I don’t want the daily grind to make me blind. Open my eyes to see the blessings in my life. Grow in me a heart of gratitude. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Colossians 4:2, “Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.” (MSG)
The Encouragement for Today book is a collection of Proverbs 31 Ministries’ daily devotions to help you develop a heart of gratitude.
Visit Alicia’s blog today for more encouragement and a gratitude giveaway.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Take five minutes at the beginning or end of each day to remember your blessings. Write them down so you can see them clearly.
Write a thank you note this week to someone who is a gift in your life.
© 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.