I was driving home from Anchorage a few months ago. As I caught the first view of our beautiful valley surrounded by gorgeous mountains, God spoke to me. He told me he had given me this beautiful place to live, filled with good people and joyful—if cold—living. God gave me this blessing because he loves me and knew what our family needed to be happy and thrive. I know I receive blessings from God continuously, but in this moment, I was aware of God’s love that accompanies all blessings. God has anticipated and met my needs long before I knew I had those needs. It is humbling how each blessing we receive from God shows his love for us, how exact these blessings are, and how many of them fill our lives.
Gratitude is more than an accounting of blessings. It is a state of being—a humble and elevated awareness of God’s closeness, love, and interest. To feel God’s love, I can ask him, “Please help me see what you have given me,” and He shows me. I see his love in the child who is befriends me. I recognize his protecting hand as I drive an icy road. And when I find my misplaced keys, I see that God helps me find my lost items every time I ask.
Sometimes our daily blessings are so plentiful, we scarcely recognize them. I was recently reading letters between my Dad and his distant family during World War II. My dad had paused his university studies and was working in San Diego while awaiting the draft. My Grandpa and uncle lived 500 miles away in their hometown. Grandpa wrote about the scarcity of sugar and meat. My uncle wrote that he craved meat, especially when there wasn’t any to be purchased. He then detailed his efforts to raise livestock for the family during this time of scarcity. “If you get to come home, you’ll find lots of juicy [meat] waiting to be eaten,” he wrote to my dad. When was the last time you had meat? Did you recognize it as a blessing?
People who are continuously blessed may forget the to acknowledge their source. “Find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness,” says Henry B. Eyring, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Eyring teaches that it is sometimes hard for blessed people to recognize blessings. We can become accustomed to being blessed and accept that state as normal or expected.
Likewise, it can be hard for people with challenges to recognize God’s blessings. The “enemy of our souls can send his evil message that there is no God or that if He exists, He does not care about us. Then it can be hard for the Holy Ghost to bring to our remembrance the lifetime of blessings the Lord has given us from our infancy and in the midst of our distress.”
Elder Eyring suggests a “simple cure” to keep us from forgetting God’s blessings. The cure is to use the gift Jesus promised his disciples: the Holy Ghost. Jesus taught that the “Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:25-26). As we seek to understand God’s blessings in our lives, the Holy Ghost will help us see them. Elder Eyring encourages us to do this every day. We just have to humbly ask and listen with our souls (“O Remember, Remember,” Ensign, Nov. 2007).
Driving into our valley that day, I understood in an elevated way how our blessings are gifts from our loving Heavenly Father. They represent his detailed love and interest in our lives. As we humbly ask God to show us his blessings and by extension his love, we will find recognition of God’s tender, personal care.
Beth Wright and her husband Kerry have raised their four children in the Matanuska-Susitna valley, enjoy the great Alaskan outdoors, and find great joy in being members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.