We find out a friend’s pregnant and we say, “What a blessing!” And the woman who’s barren wonders…..

We read about a writer getting a book contract and we say, “What a blessing!” And the writer who’s still waiting wonders….

We see smiling parents with healthy children and big houses and we say, “What a blessing!” And the mother struggling with the medical bills wonders….

Am I blessed?

Here in America, blessing is usually synonymous with good fortune. Whether that be money or health or success or popularity or beauty or (fill in the blank). We think if good things happen to us, then God must be blessing us. Which is fine and might even be true. But for every definition we construct, there’s an unspoken opposite that simmers beneath it.

If blessed means fertility, then the infertile woman isn’t blessed.

If blessed means publishing success, then the unpublised author isn’t blessed.

If blessed means health and prosperity, then the unhealty and poor aren’t blessed.

And if we’re not blessed, we must be doing something wrong. Somehow we’re missing the point. God’s not pleased with us. Maybe even upset with us. We’re undeserving….less loved.

Then Jesus opens his mouth and He says…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven….”

Wow. Rejoice and be glad.

Because it’s the hard stuff that removes our hope from this shifting world and pins it on an unchanging God. It’s the hard stuff that brings us to our knees and draws us close to Him. And drawing close to Him… What a blessing.

Let’s Talk: Do you go through periods in life where you don’t feel blessed? Do you equate good fortune with blessing? If you could pull up a chair with God and ask Him what it means to be blessed, what do you think He’d say?


31 thoughts on “Blessed?

  1. Angela C.

    I definitely believe that true blessing is getting to know and grow close to God. However, I too fall into the category sometimes of feeling blessed due to good fortune. A pleasant financial surprise. Or… well getting something I want!! But the times I have felt the closest to the Lord have been during times of hardship. Those are the times I grew by leaps and bounds and considered (and still consider) myself blessed!

  2. Jessica Nelson

    This is such a true post. I don't equate blessing with good fortune,, but I think I equate it with good feelings…so maybe I need to rethink it. I look at my house and my kids and feel that I'm blessed, but like you said, there's the counterpoint. It's like with my kids I tell them to be thankful we have food because some kids don't have food. But then I'm afraid they'll ask me, does that mean God doesn't love those kids? Why does he take care of us and not them?
    Hard questions. 🙁


    Usually I do equate blessings with good fortune. Shame on me. I think God often blesses me with trials so that I will grow into a better person.

  4. Kelly Lyman

    Thanks for this post today!

  5. Heather Sunseri

    What Sherrinda said. When I'm struggling and down in the dumps, I feel just as blessed as when I'm soaring. I seek out God's comforting arms around me when I'm at my lowest. I know he's there and I know he accepts me – the good and the not-so-good.

  6. Kristen Torres-Toro

    Katie, I love this! Thank you for sharing this!

  7. Dean from Australia

    As a teen I was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor. It rendered me paraplegic for a long period of time and then I had surgery to remove it. The expectation was that I would never walk again and, because of thenature of the tumor, there was a very real possibility that I wouldn't survive.

    I spent two years learning how to walk and another decade or so trying to regain control of my bladder and bowel function. I was a teen at the time of my surgery and it had a profound effect on me. For years I resented the experience, I carried a lot of anger towards it and I struggle to accept what happened to me. Although I was able to walk again, I no longer can feel my left leg and I still experience a kind of "phantom limb" sensation – even though my leg is still there.

    But I am blessed…

    And the reason why, I think, is because, some time ago, I came to peace with it. The experience gave me a certain strength to endure that I may not have attained without the experience. My scars are a reminder that I fought a battle in my life and I prevailed. Whenever I feel down or frustrated, I can remind myself of a time when things were so much more dire.

    The experience was a gift…of sorts.

    Yes, I am blessed.

  8. Erin MacPherson

    This is great. I definitely go through times in my life when I don't feel blessed. But, when I really think about it, I am so, so blessed. I just pray that I can become more pure-hearted, a peacemaker, someone after God's true heart. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Jill

    I read this post in the midst of my usual morning misery caused by perpetual insomnia that prevents me from enjoying any part of life. Really, I mean that. Enjoyment gone, nothing left. Those verses hit me hard. I feel blessed that you put together that group of verses because they affected me spiritually–on the inside. Feeling blessed is internal. It really has nothing whatever to do with externals. Gifts from God may be outward or inward, but gratefulness is an inner spirit. Thanks.

  10. K.D. Anderson

    Great post! You know, I treasure those times of struggle because I learned so much and really felt like I was in God's hands… BUT, I still somehow crave the good blessings too.

    Sometimes I even panic that I won't get the good things because they aren't "as good" as the "bad" blessings…

    Deep thoughts.


  11. Carol J. Garvin

    Great post, Katie! So much to think about.

    We use the word a lot but I suspect we don't really understand what a true blessing is. What some describe as blessings I think of as gifts… things I receive periodically. Blessings, on the other hand, are all around me all the time.

    We are blessed to be called the children of God.

  12. Susan J. Reinhardt

    I don't go through periods where I don't feel blessed. Neither do I believe in "good fortune."

    Is my life perfect? Hmm, let's see. My husband was diagnosed and died from leukemia. The same year, my mother had two surgeries, I broke my elbow and cheekbone, faced life-threatening surgery, and unemployment.

    Scripture tells us that in this world we'll have trouble, but to rejoice because He has overcome the world. We have an enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy. The absence of what we consider blessings does not mean God doesn't love us. It merely reflects the reality that we live in a battle zone.

    If we know our sins are forgiven and we have eternal life, that is the greatest blessing of all. Everything else is gravy.

    Susan 🙂

  13. Keli Gwyn

    Katie, what a thoughtful, well written post.

    I don't think blessings are synonymous with good fortune. If that were the case, I could say that today I'm blessed because I've had some good news. While I do feel blessed, I've also been blessed countless times on my journey through life during the darkest times.

    I was blessed as I read Proverbs 31 to my beloved Proverb 31 mother-in-law who lay dying of cancer on the last day she could speak. When I stopped reading and was sure she couldn't even hear me, she uttered her final words before going comatose shortly thereafter, "I love you, Keli." Can my news today top that? I think not! Although losing her was one of the toughest things I've experienced, she gave me a tremendous blessing that day in the midst of great sorrow.

    This is but one example of how I've been blessed on the darkest days of my life. God uses all things to work together for my good, even the tough stuff. I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't received the blessings inherent in my lowest times.

    I pray your wait is over soon, my friend. I'm eager to rejoice with YOU.

  14. Jena Carper

    Really great post. My church is going over the sermon on the mount. It's really powerful and completely different from what we all think being "blessed" means. Thanks for this post!

  15. Katie Ganshert

    Erica – trust me girl, you are NOT alone. The whole reason I wrote this post was for myself. To realize that I don't have to wait for good things to happen to say, "I'm so blessed" Just the fact that God created us…formed us and therefore loves us…that is a HUGE blessing, regardless of our circumstances. I want to get better at teasing apart circumstances and blessings…because I don't think they're the same thing.

    Love all the comments everybody! Very encouraging to read. Hope you're all enjoying MLK day.

    Holly – most definitely! Here's to waiting. 🙂 P.S. I'm a horrible friend for not calling you this weekend. How is it Monday already???

  16. Erica Vetsch

    I read this post early in the morning, but didn't respond then because I needed to go away and think about it.

    Because I blogged today about the tidalwave of blessings that hit me last week, and I wondered if I had somehow transgressed.

    I have come to the conclusion that I have, indeed transgressed. Not by sharing the blessings of last week, but by not sharing more often how God was working–blessing me–when I didn't FEEL blessed. When my feelings were obscuring the TRUTH that God blesses me every day, through good times and bad, with His Presence, His Love, His Peace, His Protection, His Spirit, and so much more that I forget to thank Him for.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    God is Good: ALL the time.

  17. Jaime

    I think the fact I could even pull up a chair with God would make me blessed 😉
    Yes – I go through the dark times, but in the end … it's hard to be ungrateful becuase of the Lord and how amazing He is. Ditto Sherrinda's comment!

  18. Sherrinda

    LOVE this post! We all go through seasons in our lives when we question God's blessing. But He is there and His love and acceptance of us is the biggest blessing in life.

  19. Holly

    Hey thanks for making me cry at work! Hee hee. But seriously. I love this post. Thanks for your words…and the reminder that one can be blessed despite it seeming like God is blessing everyone BUT you in a certain area of life. It's all about perspective.

    I read a devotion about Elizabeth the other day. The point the author was making was how beautiful it is that God chose that story…a story of a barren woman who became pregnant…to teach us that "…nothing will be impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). And a reminder that really awesome things are often the result of waiting (case in point…John the Baptist).

    So here's to waiting…


  20. Ryan and Melanie

    What a beautiful post, Katie! When I'm struggling I do feel less blessed, but Jesus teaches the opposite. Thank you for this reminder today.


  21. Sarah Forgrave

    Yes! Love this post! The times in my life when I feel like things are cruising, I actually feel less blessed than the times when I'm struggling, because I'm not forced to rely on God and draw close to Him during the easy times. I love how the Bible always shatters our worldly ideas and says, "Ahem, you've got it completely opposite of what God meant."

  22. Faith

    Great reminder. My husband is better at this than me… he reminds me every so often, "we are very blessed", even though I don't always feel that way. When I get upset, frustrated, or jealous, he tries to get my head back to the real truth that we are blessed even if what I WANT isn't necessarily happening right now.

  23. Robyn Campbell

    Katie! Awesome post. Here's a secret, which I think you know. My writing partner got an agent, and a publishing contract and had her launch. I felt SO happy for her. But I felt that maybe, just maybe she was blessed and I was not. But then I turned and looked at my Christopher. I had to ask forgiveness. I'm blessed beyond measure. I have a farm. WITH HORSES. But I really, really, really want an agent and a book deal. I want a book deal every year. But I'm blessed. I live in America. And right now anyway (I won't get political) we are a blessed nation. I have the biggest blessing of all. MY JESUS! And blogging pals like you.

    Wonderful post. It reminds us to count our blessings. There are two hymns that go with this post. I Am Blessed, and Count Your Blessings. They are rolling around in my head right about now. 🙂

  24. T. Anne

    I think Tamika nailed it, when the Lord considers us, we are blessed. I've reaped far more blessings through trials than in any other manner. It feels wonderful having the Lord in my life 24/7. Nice post. I hope you get the whole day off! Happy MLK day!

  25. Wendy Paine Miller

    Things can get so topsey-turvey down here. We celebrate people for such odd reasons. People get notoriety and confuse what's truly valuable.

    We discussed being blessed at church yesterday. I love how I just wrote discussed, as though when my pastor was speaking, we were actually having a conversation (that's the curse of the active brain).

    Great post, Katie!
    ~ Wendy

  26. Amy

    Sherri did pass it along and I found it. She's right. Nailed it. Our troubles began on July 10, 6 months ago. Till then, I thought I had a relationship with the Lord. Now I TRULY have a minute-by-minute relationship with the Lord and SO many blessings have come out of our "event", and NOT just blessings on us, but on folks we've never met!
    I don't recommend serious accidents to find His blessings, nor as a weight loss program for that matter, but if 7/10 had remained "ordinary", the Lord and I would not have grown as close as we are.
    Thanks Katie!

  27. Catherine West

    Woo. Yeah. The world has given us such a skewed version of this. Personally, the name it and claim it crap you hear preached nowadays is in my opinion, well, I just told you my opinion, didn't I? LOL. I'm not sure that blessing or being blessed actually means getting a physical reward – a new job, a raise – a publishing contract. In our minds, yes, perhaps we'd like to think that. I rather believe that blessing or being blessed means finding favor with God. We may think that all the good stuff that happens is God's way of blessing us, but like you say, what about the folks that aren't doing so well? You have really nailed it here and given everyone a lot to think about. I know I am blessed when I am in HIs presence, following His will. The 'earthly' blessings I receive are nothing compared to what it's going to be like to stand in His presence one day. Being able to be in relationship with the Father who created us and loves us beyond measure, now that's the only blessing we need, right?

  28. sherri

    You nailed it, Katie!

    I also have found my greatest blessings during my times of disappointments, fears and lack-
    My faith grew and made me appreciate SO MUCH MORE His blessings awaiting me.

    This was a great article. I'm passing this one along.

  29. Julie Jarnagin

    Wonderful post! I also love the Message version of these verses.

    "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. 5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought. 6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

  30. Tamika:

    Powerful post Katie! It is the hard stuff that conforms of character to Christ. I thikn of Job and all the hardship he faced. The enemy desired him but God knew what He was made of, and saud consider my servant Job. When God considers us, it is a blessing!

  31. Tabitha Bird

    Wow. What a great post. yeah. God has lots to say about blessings and it isn't usually what the world says. But we are blessed because God is God. And He is good, all the time. 🙂 Even when things don't look good, God is still a good God.


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