Counting Your Blessings

blessingsIn 1897, Johnson Oatman Jr. wrote the words to a simple yet profound hymn.  It was written for young people to help them learn what is really worth counting and also to remember who can be counted on.  In particular, Johnson wanted people to learn that they should count their blessings when times were hard.  His song begins with these words:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

My daughter Hope sits down to play a hymn on the piano.  She keeps the rhythm of the song, she keeps harmony, by doing nothing less than counting – that is what she does.  She counts.  The music teacher of a friend once said this to his students about how to keep the right beat of a song: “When you are a musician and you stop counting, it’s like running around in the forest, on the edge of a cliff, in the dark, without a flashlight.”

Without counting, the song loses harmony.

And without counting blessings, our lives lose the song, the light – the beat of God’s heart. There is transformative power in counting our blessings and naming the good gifts of God – because we encounter the power of God Himself in our lives.  If you want to discover the rhythms of grace, joy, and true faithfulness, count the gifts God has given and the ones He is giving you even at this moment.

Write them down, express them in words, notice them, and celebrate each one.  Start with ten, then take off your shoes and count ten more gifts.  Now you have twenty.  Keep going: a hundred gifts, two hundred, and you will discover there are even more.  When you get to a thousand gifts, you will be getting warmed up.

How long will it take to list all the gifts God has given you?  Let’s start together and continue counting for the rest of our lives…and forever.  Who wants to miss the beat of His heart?

Ann VoskampSee Ann Voskamp in person at Women of Faith Believe God Can Do Anything in Anaheim, CA or Portland, OR. If you can’t make it to the event, do the next best thing: read Ann’s book One Thousand Gifts and go deeper with the One Thousand Gifts Study Guide with DVD.


  1. 11 months ago
    Michelle says

    It is so important that we count our blessings. God blesses us everyday, we as people need to pay attention. It is a blessing just to wake up in the morning to be able to pick up our cross daily. I personally Thank God for blessing me cause I am blessed and highly favored.

  2. 12 months ago
    Grace says

    Thanks Ann, it is well thought and contemplated on the blessings of the Creator, God. He is the All- Merciful. For all the blessings and favors, mankind can’t not count and which of those favor will we deny? God is Munificence.

  3. How wonderful it is to recall our blessings. What peace it brings. It’s too bad we need to be reminded to count them .
    I start with the small blessings first, because there are so many bigger ones. It’s impossible to count them all. God is god.