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It’s fairly safe to assume that when we think about blessings in our lives, we think about positive things. The love of family and friends, that great new job, a kind word from a stranger, a sound night’s sleep or a perfectly beautiful spring afternoon. But what if all blessings don’t look like blessings? What if blessings appear like a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Is it really possible to be blessed by horribly negative situations?

“What if your blessings come through rain drops?”

I think it is, and though I barely know how, it seems like I’m learning more and more as I muddle through my life.

I found myself in the midst of two conversations yesterday that were both very difficult – one painful, and the other absolutely infuriating. They were the kind of convos that don’t leave you. You replay them over and over in your mind and try to come to terms with what was said and how you need to embrace it. Or discard it. Or maybe punch it right in the face.

Anger has become part of my emotional repertoire lately and I’m just not okay with that. It’s extremely uncomfortable. It makes me feel like I’m wearing someone else’s skin; unclean skin. I know what brings it on, I know where it lives, and yet it’s so difficult to master when it feels like righteous anger.

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

It’s not slow anger I’m experiencing, it’s quick and penetrating. It’s waiting right at the surface to devour me. But last night I had enough.

I am choosing to refuse anger’s control over me. I am choosing to disallow the source of my fury to manipulate and direct my path as it has these past years. I am seeking joy and peace.

The first step for me is to use that feeling of anger as a welcome confirmation. A confirmation that the source doesn’t know me or my character on a deep level (or any level, for that matter), a confirmation that the source is solely focused on its own needs, and above all else…a confirmation that I have made the right choice to move forward with my life without that source. Confirmation is a blessing.

Know what else is a blessing? God’s promise to fight our battles for us. There is comfort in those burning coals.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

I still want to defend my own honor. I still have to fight hard the urge to use my linguistic skills to rip that source apart. My biggest challenge lies within praying for people who rip joy from my soul like a thief in the night. Recognizing that challenge and an area where I can grow is a blessing.

With regard to that other conversation, the one that brings about hurt, I’m beginning to see it in the same light. This chapter of my life has brought forth friends, both new and old, who are my friends through it all. “Through it all” friends are hard to find but are such a sweet treasure. Having the discernment to recognize who plays that role is a blessing indeed.

“The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares. Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when.”

Today is better than yesterday, and that is a blessing. God really does hold my future, and that is a blessing. Life is hard right now, but joy comes in the morning and that is the greatest blessing of all.