Sometimes we wake up, and we immediately start counting our grumblings. The beeping alarm clock, the annoying sibling, the stuffy nose… It is easy to count all the irritations we come across in life. But have you ever tried to literally count your blessings?
At American Heritage Girls Camp this summer, the leaders put out a little jar and some paper and a pen. They called it the “Joy Jar”, and that week they invited us campers to put our joys in it. Each evening, the worship leaders read the joys that had been put in the jar that day to us all.
The girls at the camp put many different kinds of joys in the jar. Some joys were little things like seeing a butterfly, a frog, or a bird. Some were bigger things, like “friends” or the name of a staff member. On the first day of the Joy Jar, I put in a note about how fun canoeing was.
Whenever the leaders read all the things individual girls had been grateful for that day, the rest of us would share those girls’ joys with them. We would clap and even chant. “Joy Jar, Joy Jar, Joy Jar…”
Of course, it isn’t always easy to name your blessings, but I decided to bring a bit of the experience home. When camp ended and I came home, I found a jar and wrote “joy jar” on the front and “feel free to contribute” on the back.
I got into the habit of writing a few joys each week–and I actually found it pretty fun. When I think about gratefulness, it reminds me of the song, “Counting Every Blessing” by Rend Collective. Half of the chorus often gets stuck in my head.
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
My siblings and I used to sing that song a lot. God is good, and it feels good to remember His goodness, doesn’t it?
I told my eleven-and-a-half-year-old sister, Selah, about my joy jar, and she took on the challenge to help me fill it up. I knew ungratefulness could be like the flu, but I didn’t know how contagious thankfulness could be! Last week we counted the blessings of this summer, and (by Selah’s estimation) they came to a total of 105!
Our next goal is to have another hundred notes about what we are thankful for by the end of August. Selah is excited and was scribbling down lots of things one night. Movies and dishwashers and sparkles… so much to be grateful for! The Bible has its own list of things, too!
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. – Psalm 107:8-9 (ESV)
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit… – Titus 3:3-5 (ESV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17 (ESV)
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. – Habukkuk 3:17-18 (ESV)
There is infinite goodness to thank God for, so why not spend our lives “counting every blessing”?
So thankful for you, Eliana! Thank you for sharing. It means a lot to me!
What a wonderful reminder for us to intentionally and expectantly look for God's daily blessing! It definitely affects our attitude – especially when we are currently experiencing struggles in our life. One of today's blessings for our "Joy Jar" is reading your blog!
Please say "Hi" to Selah and the rest of your siblings from us and give each of them a hug! Also to your parents! (-:
I quite agree! =) It's why I've been posting in my 'gush' blog for around 13 years now–it's really helped me get better at remembering to remember the good things. Keep it up!
(Also thrilled to see you quote from Psalm 107–I really like that one, but I could say that about a few Psalms!)
Thank you! =) I am glad to hear that.
Praise God! =D
Wow, 13 years? That's great! =)
Eliana, I a little late in reading your post. It is so important to focus
on being thankful. And so many blessings, that we have that we take for granted.. This summer I have thanking the Lord for electricity and air conditioning.
Love the idea of a joy jar.