I’d like to blame it on busyness, but truthfully, I’ve always struggled with forgetting things. To make sure I don’t miss appointments, deadlines, or any of the multitude of church and sports activities we’re involved in, I keep a master calendar in my kitchen, as well as a detailed planner on my desk.
Without my written reminders, I would be a basket case! 🙂
The truth is, we humans tend to forget things, and it’s not just where we put the car keys or what time we’re supposed to be at the dentist.
We also fail to remember more important things—like the ways God has blessed and worked in our lives. God knows this, and that’s why He commanded His people to create visual reminders of the great things He had done for them.
After God parted the waters of the Jordan River, allowing the Israelites to walk across on dry ground, God commanded Joshua to build a memorial of twelve stones taken from the middle of the river. This memorial would remind them in years to come how God miraculously brought His people into the Promised Land.
Throughout the Old Testament, God instituted many feasts and celebrations for the same purpose—to remind His children of His love, protection, and care. In the New Testament, we are given two visual reminders which symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
The first is the baptism of believers, illustrating the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the second is communion. Partaking of communion regularly reminds us of how Jesus gave His body and blood for us on the cross.
Without visual reminders, we tend to forget the wonderful things God has done for us.
Which brings me to the benefits of keeping a blessing journal.
My blessing journal is separate from my prayer journal, although some people combine the two. I use a loose leaf notebook for my prayer journal, because I regularly change things in it—adding or taking out prayer requests throughout the year.
My blessing journal, on the other hand, is a bound notebook in which I write answers to prayer, unexpected blessings, or awesome things God drops into my lap. 🙂
It doesn’t matter how big or small these things are (the first entry for 2021 was four red cardinals hopping around on my deck), I write them all down.
Even though 2020 was a tough year for us with the loss of my sister-in-law, as well as bringing hardship to our church and school ministries due to the coronavirus, I was amazed when I read back through my blessing journal on New Years Day.
Here are just a few of the entries:
- A monetary gift allowing my son to see an ear specialist
- The complete healing of my son’s ear pain (which had lasted FOUR years!) after seeing this specialist
- The baptism of three special friends of mine
- Healing for a burn on my hand
- Family members coming through various surgeries with great results
- The salvation of a sweet little boy in my church
- Having breakfast with my 90-year-old grandma and taking her for a drive to see the spring flowers
- Healing for an eye injury I suffered
- People stopping to help me when I had a flat tire on the highway
- LOTS of gifts of food during the quarantine, including beef, chicken, cheese, milk, yogurt, and fruit. (Someone must know how my boys like to eat!) 🙂
- The safe arrival of a new baby in our church
- Pumpkins from my boss at work to decorate my house for autumn (I’m telling you, these “little” things make me so happy!)
- ALL of our neighbors accepting Christmas cookies and tracts, in spite of coronavirus fears in our country
I can’t tell you what a blessing it was to read back through all the answered prayers! Some entries brought tears, as I remembered the way God gave us strength at the hospital the day we lost Christie. Others brought laughter as I recalled crazy, happy times with my boys.
But ALL of the entries in my blessing journal brought joy, as I looked back at the dozens and dozens of ways God blessed me in 2020. I encourage you to start your own blessing journal, and experience the benefits as well.
Regularly recording the blessings of God will do three things for you.
First: It will help you to be more attentive and grateful for the goodness of God in your life.
It’s amazing how keeping a close lookout for the hand of God enables us to see His hand in everything. For instance, would I have seen the hand of God in four scarlet cardinals hopping around on my deck had I not been watching? I may have smiled and enjoyed their antics, but pausing to write this blessing down enabled me to enjoy it even more.
Second: It will help you remember things you would otherwise forget.
Like I mentioned before, we are a forgetful people. When my three boys were babies and toddlers, I kept baby books for them, writing down funny things they would say and do. Looking back through those books now, I usually say something along the lines of, “Oh that’s right! I forgot they used to do that!” Even when we think we won’t forget something, we invariably do forget.
Three: Looking back on how God brought you through the past will help you trust Him for the present and future.
Whenever I’m tempted to worry about the material needs that we have, I like to look back at my journal during my first year as a single mum. That was one of the most stressful times of my life, and many times my heart twisted in worry over how I would provide for myself and my sons.
But time after time, God provided in miraculous ways. He opened up the perfect job for me, and a car was given to us. An anonymous donor paid for my boys to attend our Christian school until I was able to get back on my feet financially. God supplied a house for us to live in, and met every single one of our needs. Looking back at that time in my life reminds me that God has always taken care of us, and that He won’t stop now.
Keeping a blessing journal isn’t difficult, and the benefits from the simple process of recording your blessings and answered prayers will enrich your life. I encourage you to grab a pretty notebook or journal the next time you’re out shopping and start your own. You’ll be amazed at how it blesses you!
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (Psalm 103:1-2)
For information on my devotional book, Tales from Toddlers, click HERE.