Written by Charlene.

Names have been changed to protect privacy.


As I think about God's blessings, I'm reminded of the old hymn, "Count your Blessings".

We could  list all of the blessings in our lives and go on for a long time. Many of us have husbands, children, homes, jobs, friends, and most importantly salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But then I started to think about other kinds of blessings that we sometimes miss; unexpected blessings. One definition of blessing is something that brings you joy.

James 1:2-4

Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

This is one of my fatherís favorite verses, or at least it is one of his favorites to quote to me. I canít tell you the number of times that I've heard it over the years. Probably the 1st time that it really started to bug me was about 12 years ago. You see, as far back as I can remember, all I wanted to do was to grow up, get married and have a family. It was about 12 years ago that Alex and I found out there would be no babies, at least none of our own.

Consider it all joy, (a blessing) my brethren when you encounter various trials.

I can remember collapsing in tears in the shower one morning and thinking, "Why me? How am I supposed to consider this joy?" It's my nature to fix things and no matter how much I read, this wasn't something I could fix. I couldn't make it all better.

Through a series of circumstances, God led us to the Christian Adoption website. We had a long hard road with many lessons and disappointments along the way but we persevered and we were blessed with our son, David. You might be thinking thatís it; we endured the trials of infertility and the adoption roller coaster and David is our blessing. That's partly true, David is a blessing in our lives. But I was blessed through our trials by more than just the visual outcome. It's because of our trials that God was able to mold me into the person I've become today. But, I know He isnít finished with me yet! Because of what I went through I began to learn more about compassion and how to help other women. I also started to learn how to trust God and to trust in His timing rather than my own.

David was not our only experience on the roller coaster ride of adoption. We came back online with Christian Adoption and faced another long journey. God taught us more about faith and trusting Him to finally adopt Mary. We were blessed to be at the hospital when she was born. We came home and were just getting settled in with our beautiful baby girl when we got the 1st call from our attorney. He informed us that Maryís birth father had decided to contest the adoption; not because he cared about her, not because he wanted her, but because he was mad at her birth mother and he wanted to cause problems. Iíll never forget when he asked me if we just wanted to give her up now or fight and lose a lot of money to then give her up anyway. Was I supposed to think of this as a blessing? We loved Mary before she was even born and I was willing to do whatever we needed to do to keep her. I knew that God had planned Mary for us; so we fought and received an answer to our prayers. Mary is a blessing every day. She's always doing something to make us laugh or smile, but it's not just having Mary that's the blessing. It's the journey and struggle that brought her to us, that we count as blessings also. God grew us up in Him. We cannot grow up with our own strength or by our own knowledge, no matter how many books we read. We have to keep falling on the grace and mercy of God. We ask Him to help us be the parents our children need.

I'd like to be able to say, I've "arrived". I'd like to say that what I've learned has fully matured my character. I'd like to say that every time I'm faced with a challenge that I "consider it all joy".  But I canít; I canít honestly say any of those statements. However, with each new trial, I'm learning to be more compassionate. We donít always know what someone else is going through at any given time. I'm learning to trust God. I'm learning about what's really important--the eternal and what's not really important--the temporary. I believe I'm growing and changing into the person that God wants me to become. That makes each hardship an extra blessing. It's my prayer that I can put into practice the things I've learned and as a result be a blessing to someone else.

I encourage you and I challenge you as well as myself, to "consider it all joy" when faced with a new challenge or trial.

Consider the blessings you may receive.

Consider how you'll grow as a Christian?

How will it help you draw closer to God?

Words to a favorite song and a poem...

"Heal the wound but leave the scar; a reminder of how merciful you are. I am broken, torn apart. Take the pieces of this heart and heal the wound but leave the scar. Donít let me forget, everything Youíve done for me. Donít let me forget the beauty in the suffering."

Tapestry of My Life

I wonder what the other side will be,
when I have finished weaving all my thread.
I do not know the pattern, nor the end
of the great piece of work which is for me.

I only know that I must weave with care
the colors that are given me day by day,
and make of them a fabric firm and true
which will be of service for my fellow man.

Sometimes the colors are so dull and gray.
I doubt if there will be one trace of beauty there,
but all at once there comes a thread of gold or
rose so deep that there will always be

that one bright spot to cherish or to keep,
and maybe against its ground of darker hue
it will be beautiful.

The warp is held in place by the Masterís Hand.
The Masterís mind, the design for me.
If I but weave the shuttle to and fro and blend the colors just the best I know, perhaps when it is finished He will say,

"Tis good," and Lay it on the footstool of His Feet.

--Author Unknown

Thank you Lord for our unexpected blessings!


(Alex & Charlene are the blessed parents of 2 children via Christian Adoption!)

For more information please read The Favor of God.

We encourage you to follow God's loving guidance.

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