by Dale Reeves
Today on my birthday I celebrate another year of going around the sun. Not everyone I have conversed with this year will be able to say that. Some I have known this year have left this earth for a better eternity spent in a heavenly home. The past few months I have shared in the wedding celebration of couples who are just starting their journey together, and may have no idea what God has in store for them. I have also shared in the celebration of life of individuals who enjoyed a lifetime of love with their spouse on this planet, but then God called one of them home, leaving the other partner to try to figure out what life looks like without them here.
Just last Sunday morning in our church lobby I spoke with a wonderful lady in our congregation who is no longer with us. We talked about the different kinds of people attending our church services, and how God can use people who dress different from us to reach people we might not be able to reach with the love of Jesus. I am so glad I took the time last weekend to talk with this precious saint who is now in the presence of Jesus.
The Meaning of Blessed
As I reflect on what September 10 means to me, I must talk about the word “blessed.” This is a word that is often thrown around in sentences like these:
I hope you have a blessed day.
We are blessed to have you in our home.
That was a blessing in disguise, wasn’t it?
You don’t know a blessed thing.
Oh, bless his heart! (which in the south doesn’t always mean a good thing!)
According to Webster’s dictionary, the first definition of the word “blessed” is this:
“Having a sacred nature; connected with God.”
I love that definition, though more often than not, when we say we are “blessed,” we are referring to something that is appreciated, pleasant, or something we welcome into our lives with open arms—such as a newborn baby, or a blessed relief from the heat outdoors.
Blessed Beyond Measure
At a grief recovery method training event that I attended last month, one of the things I got to do was write my own obituary—the things I would like to be remembered for after I pass from this life. It was a very interesting exercise, and something I would encourage everyone to do. What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in this life? By what principles have you tried to live your life? What are some of your happiest memories? Do you have a favorite Scripture verse, or quote? What have been your greatest joys in life?
When I wrote this on August 21, 2021, a few thoughts I shared in my “final statement” were these:
“I have had the desire to travel to all fifty states, hitting the last ones with my wife, and I want to soak in every last moment with my precious grandkids.”
“God has used so many people to pour into me and craft me into the person he had in mind when I was conceived in my mother’s womb. . . . I will be forever indebted to those God has used to lead me into relationship with Jesus Christ, to mentor me, teach me, correct me, discipline me, and pray for me. . . . The craziness I sometimes portray, my ‘lack of personal space’ issue, and my outgoing personality come from a deep-seated joy that is down in my heart.”
Yes, in a word, I am BLESSED!
Today as I celebrate my birthday, I am in Jackson, Wyoming, not far from the Grand Tetons National Park. Lord willing, I hope to be eating the best elk steak I have ever had in my life, as I enjoy sharing that meal with the beautiful gift God gave me 36 years ago when Karen Mullins walked into my life. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him” (Genesis 2:18, NLT). And he was so right! We have been blessed to get to travel through our great country together. At the conclusion of the National Parks tour we are currently enjoying, I will have been in 49 states, with just Alaska to go—which is on our radar.
Karen has been my rock in the midst of shaky times, she has always been a consistent stable influence, helping to balance out my emotional highs and lows. And I truly believe the Holy Spirit has spoken many promptings I needed to hear through words she has spoken to me—just the right word at just the right time. And what a gift God has given her for capturing our moments together on digital film! The icing on the cake has been the in-laws (parents, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law) that came with the package. They have all enriched my life.
King Solomon said:
“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!” (Psalm 127:3-5, NLT)
God blessed Karen and me with two loving, brilliant, talented, and beautiful daughters in Rachel Renee and Courtney Lynn. They are always at the top of my prayer list, and always at the top of my “grateful” list. Compared with so many other families, we have had very few heartaches, and so many more joys because of the gifts these girls have been to us. And, now with the additions of our three grandsons, Luke, Liam, and Miles, and newborn Livy expected in late October, my quiver is full!! They are all truly gifts from God and I am a blessed Dad and Pop Pop! As I shared in my message this past Sunday morning, I have three jobs: 1) to spoil them 2) to pray for them, and, 3) to leave them a godly legacy.
When I think of all those God has used to heap blessing upon blessing on my life, the list is way too long to enumerate here. I must mention the father whom I never really knew because he passed away when I was a small child, but I am grateful for the legacy of ministry he left for me, and the shoes he left for me to fill. My first discipler was my mom Marjorie King Reeves, who raised my two older siblings and me as a single mom, never leaving us to want for anything that was lasting. Someday we will be reunited in Heaven. I am grateful to have two older siblings, Angie and Steve, who have always looked out for me, mentored me, and been some of my biggest fans. We have been blessed to share much life with all of our spouses together, and I am thankful that we get along so well.
From the cradle to the place in Mason, Ohio, that we currently call home, my God has always used his body, the collective church of Jesus Christ, to be a spiritual blessing in my journey. When I ask the question, “Where would I be today without the church?” I shudder to think of the possibilities. The church has been much maligned through the ages. This is the work of our enemy. The church is not perfect, because it is made up of imperfect individuals. But true love means “an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.” And, I am forever grateful and blessed to be part of Jesus’ bride, the church. So many of my wonderful friends, both near and far, have become dear to me because of our mutual love and commitment to Jesus and to one another. I am grateful for you and blessed by you. You know who you are!
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:3-5, NLT).
I AM BLESSED!