Saturday, December 2, 2017

Record Your Blessings

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

The holidays can be festive, magical times. Twinkling lights, traditions, decorations reminding us of family and friends, an excitement and buzz in the stores, and anticipation of reuniting with family members.

The holidays can also be a very lonely time. A yearly reminder of friends or family who are no longer here to sit around the table, traditions with no one to share them with, and meals set for one.

The shorter days and colder weather just seem to pile on our sadness. You want to say Merry Christmas with a cheerful heart, but your heart is too heavy.

The blues are or will hit all of us. Not the good music type that makes your feet move and your shoulders sway. But the blues that sap your joy and chase you to your bed.

One of the best ways to empower ourselves for when these times come is to get prepared for them before they arrive.

In 1 Samuel 7, Israel had just defeated the Philistines who had been attacking them. Samuel set up a stone (v. 12) and called it Ebenezer, which meant stone of help.

We need to set up ebenezers in our lives. A reminder of when God specifically does something in our lives. Some examples could be:

1. A Christmas ornament or other decoration. First Christmas together, first baby, or one you got on a special trip are some examples. Or they could be special just between you and God.

2. A plaque or picture on the wall. Many of us put up a special verse. We have a picture of three Santas dressed in different ways representing different nationalities, with the appropriate children around them. It reminds us that the Christmas message is for more than just our local area or nation, God’s love spreads over the universe.

3. My favorite is to write them down. Keep a blessing journal, or at least write them down in your daily journal. There is something about writing them down and being able to go back later and see that God really has been involved in your life.

It is so easy, when you are going through a hard time, to forget about God. Or think He’s not concerned about what you’re facing. That’s when you go back to your journal and remember where He walked with you before. And realize, He’s still beside you today.

When my son was smaller, about twelve years ago now, we were having an especially hard series of nights where he just would not go to sleep. The only thing that would calm him was to put him in his car seat take a ride in the car. Until two or three in the morning.

My wife and I had had it. We couldn’t pray, we were too mad at God. We looked at each other and decided it was all on us: his autism, health issues, no sleep. Nobody else was out there who was going to help us. We didn’t tell anyone about this but we decided we were going to have to carry this burden ourselves.

The next morning, a dear lady in our Sunday School class, with no clue of what we were struggling with, called and told us that they and a few other couples wanted to prepare some dinners for us for the next evenings.

We weren’t forgotten.

That didn’t prevent us from having more sleepless nights, but it did let us know that we weren’t alone. And most importantly, that He still had us on His mind.

I do think it’s important to write them down. I know, Mary, the mother of Jesus, stored them in her heart. But I have a terrible memory. When we’re in the darkness, our memories are not dependable.

Personally, I think she had a journal in her robe, but don’t quote me on that.

Another thing that a blessing journal will do, it will tune you in on those times that God is nearby. It’s easy to say, “Oh, she was going to call anyway.” “The check was already in the mail.”

But that shortchanges God. We have to train ourselves to look for the times when God is working.

Squire Rushnell and Louise Duart called these Godwinks. Isn’t that cool?

On their Facebook page, they defined a Godwink as 1) an event or experience identified as coincidence, so astonishing that it could only have come from God. 2) Answered prayer.

Yvonne Lehman calls them divine moments.

Guideposts and many other books and magazines publish these stories all the time, but the most important audience is ourselves. Well, maybe Him, too. Because it’s a lot more fun to give your child a present when you know they will enjoy it.


Tim Suddeth has been published in Guideposts’ The Joy of Christmas and on He’s working on his third manuscript and looks forward to seeing his name on a cover. He is a member of ACFW and Cross n Pens. Tim’s lives in Greenville, SC with his wife, Vickie, and his happy 19-year-old autistic son, Madison.  Visit Tim at and on Facebook and Twitter. He can be also reached at


  1. Excellent! Thanks, Tim. Continued blessings to you and your family.
    Jay Wright; Anderson, SC

  2. My husband and I are facing a Christmas without both his parents, and this will likely be the last Christmas with my mom who received a terminal diagnosis six months ago. Our lives are shifting in a way that can take the merry out of the Christmas season. However, early this week, Hubby started a group text for our family and each day we are texting one thing we are thankful for, which will continue until Christmas day. This has helped us focus on the joy in our lives, and I love the daily connection with our daughters who are both at college and who text things about their day that we may otherwise have missed out on. Thanks for you post, Tim. I always enjoy your insights.

  3. That sounds great. It is so important we capture the special moments while we can, because we never know when they are over. Wishing you a special holiday.

  4. I didn't mention this in the post, but if your blues are really intense, or last for a couple of days, reach out and get help. You don't have to carry the burden alone.

  5. Thanks Tim for sharing your heart and encouraging us to remember to record and to record to remember. I look back in my journals and glad I recorded God's faithfulness.

  6. Nice post Tim. Excellent suggestion especially during this time of year. Thanks.