Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

I Knew, Yet I Would Not Know

Alma 9:25 - Alma 12:8

I love to read the story of Amulek, a man of no small reputation, many kindreds and friends, and much money. (Alma 10:4)

Amulek was obviously a man who was very blessed, and yet he tells us, “Nevertheless, after all this, I never have known much of the ways of the Lord…and his marvelous power.

I said I never had known much of these things; but behold, I mistake, for I have seen much of his…marvelous power.  Nevertheless, I did harden my heart…therefore I knew concerning these things yet I would not know.” (Alma 10:5-6 emphasis added)

Even though he was surrounded by blessings, Amulek did not open his eyes to see the good things.

It wasn’t until the Lord opened his eyes that Amulek recognized blessings unmeasured and said, “he hath blessed mine house, he hath blessed me, and my women, and my children, and my father and my kinsfolk; yea, even all my kindred hath he blessed, and the blessing of the Lord hath rested upon us.” (Alma 10:11)

I sometimes wonder if we fall into the trap of Amulek ––do we get so caught up in the day-to-day moments of life that we forget to see that God is in the details?  Maybe if we could just stop for a moment and remove the distractions we would begin to discover the blessings we otherwise would not know.

The first decade of our married life was really difficult.

Things kept going wrong.

Just when it seemed one thing was resolved, something new and foreboding was waiting around the corner.

Together Greg and I learned the meaning of words like cancer, diabetes, and CPR, our vocabulary expanded to include severe migraines and depression.  Hospitals became like a vacation home for us ––it seemed that we tried to schedule a trip there at least once every six months.  Our life lessons included realizing that you don’t always get what you hope for, and sometimes you have to set aside your dreams knowing you won’t come back to pick them up later.

I can remember turning to Greg after one particularly hard day and saying, “My life was really great until I met you, after that everything seemed to go downhill.”  We laughed and laughed.

That was the state of our life.

It got to the point where I found myself constantly wondering what could possibly happen next.  I didn’t look forward to the future with anticipation; instead I looked forward with a constant sense of foreboding.

Then one day I realized I wasn’t happy anymore.  I wasn’t the cheerful person I had always been.

I had forgotten what it felt like to feel joy.

I had lost focus.

I knew I had to do something to pull myself out of the pit I had gotten into.  Part of the solution included prayers in the late hours of the night, where I learned I could receive strength beyond my own to help me carry the burdens that were mine.  But I also needed a daytime solution.

One evening within a small craft boutique I found the answer ––a blessing jar.

I brought the small green jar home and placed it in the middle of the kitchen table, where I would see it every single day.

The word ‘blessing’ written across the front of the jar became a constant reminder that I needed to change my focus.

I opened my eyes to see the hand of the Lord in my life, to see Him in the details, and then I wrote down those moments on tiny pieces of paper and placed them in the jar.

It’s amazing what happens when you do that.

I found blessings everywhere ––in the phone call from a friend, a favorite song on the radio, and within my daily scripture study.

Looking back, I realize the Lord was sending blessings all along, I just couldn’t see them.

I knew, yet I would not know. 

The blessings were in the details.

They had been there all along.

There are many decorations that have come and gone from our home in the two decades that we have been married.  One still holds a prominent place of honor.

It is the blessing jar.

I find myself turning to it on a regular basis when I need to find focus again.

Perhaps you would like to create your own blessing jar.

Find a prominent place for the jar somewhere in your home.  Let the jar become a constant reminder of your desire to remember that God is in the details.

Emily Freeman