I seem to be having some major sinus problems today. My nose is stopped up one minute and running the next. I’ve sneezed my head off and cleared my throat about ten thousand times today. And yet, just yesterday I could breathe fine. In fact, I never even once yesterday thought about how awesome it was to be able to breathe freely.
A friend stopped by earlier today for a visit and to take my son bowling. When they got back, she and I were talking and she mentioned that she was looking for a new devotional and asked if I had any suggestions. Well, I had more than suggestions…I had several on my shelf for her to choose from. In fact, I had two copies of one of them and so I just gave her my extra one. Never even thought twice about having two of the same devotional.
And you know what else? I woke up this morning. I just assumed that I would last night when I laid my head on my pillow. And in thinking back over the morning where my feet hit the ground running to keep up with my four-year-old, if I may be painfully and embarrasingly honest, I can’t recall taking a moment first thing to thank God for the new day He’d given me. I got around to it eventually, but it certainly wasn’t the first thing that came to mind.
So many assumed blessings.
When I’m sick and can’t breathe well, I say to myself how grateful I will be when I’ve gotten over this cold and how much I should appreciate being able to breathe freely…but then I get well and somehow I find that I don’t appreciate breathing as much as I surely thought I would after not being able to for several days.
And we’ve tried to buckle down on our finances lately…which means I haven’t been able to go out and buy books as often as I would like. (I have a list of must haves for when we get our taxes back.) But before when somebody would say “hey you need to read this book, it’s awesome” and I’d head right to the bookstore and pickup a copy, I’m not sure that I ever thought to tell God how grateful I was at the ability to purchase new books. And I don’t know that it would have occurred to me as to what a blessing that was had I not been put on “book restriction.”
So many little things I take for granted.
And big things too.
I just assume I have all the time in the world. I just assume that tomorrow will come. And most likely it will. But does the likelihood that it will take away from the blessing when it does? It shouldn’t.
So what to do then? Well, be grateful of course. But sometimes I think we have to have a small reminder to remember to be grateful until it becomes ingrained in us to do it without thinking.
The Jews have blessings for everything. Blessings for waking up, blessing for when you eat, blessings even for when you bathe. I think that’s pretty cool. Blessings to remind us of blessings. So I thought I’d share one with you. This one is called the Modeh Ani and it’s a prayer that’s said upon waking while still in bed. Sort of a first words uttered when my eyes crack open thing.
מודה אני לפניך מלך חי וקים שהחזרת בי נשמתי בחמלה, רבה אמונתך
Modeh ani lifanekha melekh ḥai v’kayam sheheḥezarta bi nishmahti b’ḥemlah, rabah emunatekha.
I offer thanks before You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.
(see www.hebrew4christians.com for more)
What a great way to start the day, no? For the first words spoken to be words of thanksgiving to the Father and to acknowledge His faithfulness.
So I’m going to and I would encourage you also to take a moment and write a short prayer to God. Nothing fancy, just a one liner to say thanks to Him for another day. Write it out on a card and put it beside your bed. Or better yet, commit it to memory. And when you open your eyes in the morning, before you move a muscle, whisper this prayer to the One who is the Breath of Life and from Whom all blessings flow.