From the outside looking in, the last year and a half has had more downs than ups for us. We seemed to have had one personal tragedy or crisis after another for about three months in a row. We finally got to the point we were afraid to look up to see what might happen next. But looking back on it now, I can more clearly see the blessings scattered throughout the hardest times. Some of the blessings were small ...a smile, a kind word, a bounty from the garden, our first eggs from the hens. Some of the blessings were huge, not necessarily in size but in timing ...saving us at the last minute from yet another major setback. At the time, it felt like a roller coaster ride gone out of control. In retrospect though, all of the blessings were perfectly timed, perfectly spaced for our needs ...not necessarily our wants, but our needs. God does not promise us a smooth ride or no hard times in this life. He just promises to be with us while we go through them.
Now that times are finally getting better for us, our primary focus is to repay the kindnesses that were extended to us. As Yeoldfurt mentioned in his post this morning, we will be using APN's "Pay It Forward Bucks" to accomplish that. Our gratitude toward those who helped us when we were so down is heartfelt and we hope that those we pass the 'bucks' on to will be equally blessed with our gift. I believe though that their greatest blessing will come when their own situation allows them to pay it forward themselves. It truly is better to give than to receive.
Money is easy to repay because it's measurable and tangible. But there were other kindnesses, intangible things that were equally valued and appreciated when we were struggling. Gifts as simple as a few kind words left in a comment, encouraging words in comments or email, bits of knowledge and wisdom that were relevant to our struggles at the time, even long distance tech support in the wee hours of the morning ...you know who you are! All of those things were equally responsible for helping us through the hard times and were so appreciated. Those will be paid forward as well at every opportunity. I hope to repay them with interest because I believe we all need to look for ways to help and encourage each other ...don't wait for a need to be mentioned before you do what you can to help someone. Your efforts won't always be appreciated or acknowledged. Sometimes, your efforts might even be completely misunderstood and unappreciated. But that's not the point, is it? Your blessing is in the giving so it doesn't matter if the recipient has the reaction you expect or desire.
Go scatter some unsolicited blessings of your own today and see if it doesn't bless you many times over in return.