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My granddad used to sing a popular hymn all the time when I was growing up; a wonderful old song by Johnson Otman Jr, written in 1897. It goes a little like this:

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]

To this date, it is one of the most prominent memories of him and whenever I think about him, I always see him in my mind’s eye, singing that song. It is a really strange thing to remember- especially as my granddad was not known for being particularly cheerful. Today as I was reflecting on my year I realised the scales had tipped a lot in the wrong favour. At first glance, it is easy to think that this year has been very bad for us. Over the last few months, in the cloud of awful events, it has taken everything in me not to tar this year with that very same brush as though the whole thing was simply spoilt by a few terrible and unfortunate turn of events.

But tonight, while I wrote about a particularly painful chapter on my journey in the search for home, I wanted to tip the scales in the right favour again. This year has been wonderful. 5 years ago, I joined with my beautiful Spiritual mum to begin praying for my husband’s career. This June, my husband landed the job of his dreams on a journey to the career that lights his heart with excitement. A promise fulfilled. In March, God connected me with a wonderful group of people that freed me to dream and think and be, while all the while financially supporting me to pursue my goals. In April this year, my feet touched the soil of Africa for the first time in over 15 years. In August, we received a financial gift that meant that we could buy ourselves a beautiful new car. As I type this, my wonderful daughter has recently learnt the power of Spiritual Warfare and had to date memorised 6 Key verses that help her when she is feeling weak. My most favourite one so far is hearing her recite 2 Timothy 1:7 to herself whenever she wakes up from a nightmare.

And that is NOT even half of what the Lord has done.  While I don’t know what always made my granddad sing this song particularly, I now know that it must have been from a place of knowing how powerful praise is in helping us defeat the pain of what surrounds. One thing is for sure, the more granddad thanked God for his blessings, the more blessings he got. So I am thankful for him and for subconsciously teaching me one of life’s greatest lessons.

Tonight I realise anew how blessed I am. And I don’t want to let a moment pass by before I thank my Father in heaven for looking out for me, day in and day out.

And this is especially true when things are sweet and when things are sour. I have a lot that I could be upset about. But tonight, I chose the power of praise. Because as my friend Becky Aladiran so beautifully sings in one of my favourite songs, ‘My praise is a weapon’. And I choose to raise it up.

Psalm 34:1-8

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.