How do we find appreciation for God’s daily gifts to us?
By Rebecca Dunn
On November 7, 2014, my family lost our home to a fire.
On November 6, I went to bed pretty much the same way I did every night. All three kiddos were sleeping. My husband was watching an action flick that began to bore me so I got up, kissed him goodnight and went to turn off the living room lamp.
However, I hesitated. I saw my husband engrossed in his film on the couch and I thought I’d leave him one light on.
Three hours later, he was shouting for me to wake up as the flames that engulfed our house prevented him from getting to me and the children. Turns out, the lamp had faulty wiring and was on recall. The decision to leave a light on for the love of my life to see better, changed all of our lives forever. And we lost everything.
Or did we?
I know that on November 6, miracles were not on my mind. While in bed, I finished an email and attempted to read another chapter of my book as my eyes closed. Friendship, the laughter of children, the faithfulness of a dog, the bond between family members–none of these things entered my thoughts when I went to sleep that night.
When the chaos began, I found myself in the hallway with all three children, unable to breath and terrified. But then our miracle, our gift from God, happened. My husband was able to yell to us that we could make it if we went to the front door. We ran to the stairs and out of the front door with what we were told was “seconds to spare,” especially for the baby.
Standing in the middle of the street, covered in soot and coughing from the smoke that had reached our lungs, we knew how very blessed we were to still be alive. With our eyes wide open due to the miracle of our lives being spared, we were able to see the rest of God’s gifts as they unfolded around us.
I prefer to call miracles “gifts from God.” The word “miracle” seems to conjure ideas of grand occurrences such as seas parting or bushes spontaneously burning. We are continuously blessed with miracles that we often do not even see.
The saying goes: God works in mysterious ways. How many of those ways do we miss? Small miracles may not be seen; larger miracles are coincidences or luck. So how do we find appreciation for God’s daily gifts to us? While it doesn’t have to be a tragic event, often times we see God’s work in the rubble that remains after misfortune.
My family was able to see the rest of God’s gifts as they unfolded around us. Miracles happened almost every hour as neighbors, friends, and our entire town rallied to replace the items we lost. One of our cats ran away but returned to us two months later, thin, hungry, and cold, but alive.
We were given the gift of charity as our donations exceeded our needs, and we were able to give toys, clothes, and furniture to a family in Ferguson who suffered a total-loss fire a month to the day that we escaped from ours.
We were given the gift of friendship, generosity, love, and life. All of these gifts stemmed from a moment’s hesitation with my fingers on a lamp switch. Without that moment, we would not be drawn to the infinite miracles that materialize each and every day around my family.
On November 7, 2014, in the embers and ashes of what remained of our physical belongings, the Dunn family found gratitude, love, humility, and renewed faith.
Reflection: Where do you see the light of God’s gifts shining in your life?
Picture from freedigitalphotos.net by Andy Woolridge