Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’
~ Psalm 103:1-5

As I read these words, Strength lifts me out of the pit. Joy and Peace flank me on either side. And Hope beckons me forward.

What is it about scripture that reaches into the tight places where I most need to be released? And who am I to bless the One who speaks it?

I’ve been a Christ follower for 28 years, a pursuer of the One who doggedly pursued me for 30 years before that. I’ve experienced forgiveness for iniquities (too many times to count), healing of diseases, redemption from destruction (literally), a vast wealth of lovingkindness and tender mercies, enough of His Word to satisfy my mouth with good things for a lifetime, and many moments in the presence of my Father to renew a youthful perspective. 

So how do I bless Him as this passage exhorts?

What is it that most blesses God?

Is it my faithfulness? My service? My performance? My witness? 

Is it hours spent on bended knee petitioning for others? 

Maybe memorizing scriptures? Taking a stand for Truth in a culture bent on promoting lies?

Or perhaps it’s something simpler. Something I often forget in the midst of hurrying to do all of the above.

Might examining my own heart, and searching for what truly blesses me, give me a glimpse into His heart’s desires? Not because I fancy myself to be like God, but because I invited Him to dwell in the central part of me. 

So what is it that brings blessings to my heart? 

It’s a smile on the face of one of my children or grandchildren. It’s the tight squeeze around my neck as little Annie or Ellie gives this ‘Mimi’ a hug. It’s the sound of their laughter and the joy of their discoveries and triumphs. And it’s the sleeping toddler in my lap, whose ear is pressed to the beating of my heart.

Although I believe God is pleased by faithfulness, service, prayer, and the study of His Word, I’m equally convinced that He is most blessed when we simply stop the frenzy of activity, crawl into His lap, and listen to His heartbeat. When we smile up at Him, soak in His love, and believe He will provide whatever forgiveness, healing, redemption, kindness and mercy we need. When our frantic work and worries are replaced by the wonder of His presence.

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 

Dear Lord,
Your promises are so vast, so full of blessings. I want to bless You, too. Please help me remember your provisions in every area of my life ~ provisions that make clear the work You’ve already accomplished on my behalf. May my thankfulness and joy, as well as my willingness to simply draw near to You be blessings in return.