"When is a blessing a blessing from Above?" by Stephanie Stovall (CatholicMom.com) Image via Freeimages.com, CC0 Public Domain

When is a “blessing” a blessing from Above?

In today’s society it’s quite simple.

A blessing is a blessing when something is given to you that is bigger and better than what you previously had.

You got a bonus at work = blessing.

You qualified for that loan to get a bigger house = blessing.

You are going on a big trip = blessing.

You hit the jackpot clearance rack at Target = buh-less-iiing!

Here’s the question: what if that big bonus at work really equals “mo' money, mo' problems?”

Or, what if that new big house ends up being more of a financial burden to you and your family than the wonderful thing you thought it would be?

This is tough.

To make it even more confusing . . . there is another side to all of this blessing stuff.

Let’s say that EF5 tornado totally owned your neighbor’s house across the street.

It’s all gone. And your house? Not a shingle touched.

Then, the local news team shows up at your door and interviews you.

You then go on to say that your house and family are all good and safe and it is a blessing from God.

Your neighbor that lost everything is sitting in someone else’s living room watching this news channel and sees your interview.

How would they interpret you saying that you have been blessed by God?

Also, tough.

I think maybe it all comes down to your own discernment.

It all depends on how you invoked the will of God and how you and Him came to certain decisions.

With the tornado thing, if it were my family’s home that made it through the storm, I would be very grateful to God.

If I were that other neighbor, it would be hard . . . and I don’t know that I can say that I wouldn’t be mad at God. I’m sure I would question why.

But then also, I hope my faith would be strong enough to go back to what I know to be true: God didn’t promise an easy life. Tough times doesn’t equal His absence.

I have four boys and am pregnant again. My husband and I like to not find out the gender, but this time we knew our hearts had to be prepared for another little boy. So we found out. Sure enough, it’s a boy!

Last week on the way into Mass I ran into a lady who, noticing all my little humans in dress shirts and khakis, asked if the one on the way was a girl.

I told her no, it is another dress shirt and khakis wearer.

She went on to tell me how she prayed to God for two boys and He blessed her with two boys.

Then, she prayed for her boys to have girls, and they were blessed by girls.

She said every time she prayed for a specific gender, God blessed her with what she had asked for and that she is very blessed by God.

During Mass I was thinking about this encounter.

I could have really been offended by this conversation.

What was she trying to say? She’s lucky enough to be blessed by God but I am not? Of course I asked God, if it was His will, to let me have a little girl but it was not His will. So what was this lady saying? God likes her more than me?

I don’t think she was saying that at all.

This lady felt that God had blessed her. And that was all.

I could see it in the way she happily shared that piece about her life with me- those moments were moments she felt a connection with God.

They didn’t have anything to do with me.

I was grateful for that moment. It was nice hearing a total stranger talk about how God had touched her life.

[tweet "Maybe blessings from God are a much more personal thing than we give them credit for."]

Maybe blessings from God are a much more personal thing than we give them credit for.

Just because you hear that someone thinks God has blessed them in one area of life, but you feel He has not “blessed” you in that same area, it doesn’t mean He hasn’t . . . or isn’t in the process of doing so. And maybe the absence of you “feeling blessed” at the time is a hidden blessing of its own.

Maybe we need to let other people’s blessing be just that -- their own blessings -- and stop comparing our blessings to theirs.

But I don’t know anything. I’m no blessings expert, that’s for sure.

I’d like to hear your thoughts: how do you know when a blessing is a blessing from God?


Copyright 2017 Stephanie Stovall