By Richard Berry
More than ever during this Covid 19 pandemic, I am convinced that life is all about perspective. Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Can you make lemons out of lemonade? Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” The verse doesn’t say ‘IF everything is my definition of good… I will rejoice!’
My family and I have spent countless, wonderful, joy filled hours together since March and have made memories that will last a lifetime that we would have otherwise never made time to create. While God did not cause this pandemic, He has certainly used it to heighten awareness of the need all people have for Him. Singer, song writer Mac Davis who recently passed away left us with many great lyrics including “Stop and Smell the Roses.” The pandemic has truly allowed my family and me to stop and not only realize but count our blessings.
I would like to share some of our most recent and greatest blessings with you. On July 13, God answered a three year long prayer of our family after a very long and difficult journey; after much preparation, Jana and Reid went to Charleston where an incredible team of caring, wonderful, health care professionals at Coastal Fertility allowed themselves to be used by our Creator to transfer a precious, little embryo through th IVF. On September 26, our family celebrated this creation of life with a gender reveal party. Reid and Jana are expecting Janet Lee Mathews, “Jaylee,” on March 31! She is named after Janet Bracey, her Great Grammy, Janet ‘Jan’ Berry, her “B,” and her mom, Janet ‘Jana’ Mathews.
On Friday, September 25, Jordan, Anna, and Caroline Berry, our oldest son, his wife, and daughter, welcomed Carson Anthony Berry who weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces and was 18 ¾” long! I am so very thankful for our growing family and for the incredible blessing of having Jordan and Jana’s families living in our neighborhood. I am humbled that our children have chosen to live so close and to be a daily, special, part of Jan’s and my life.
During the pandemic, I am so grateful that I have been able to take a couple of days off every week to spend with my family. The joy, peace, and freedom that I feel especially when I am with my grandchildren is an earthly reward from Jesus. My family says I am the toy and always the life of the party, and grandchildren give me even more permission to be silly and carefree; I now get to eat iced, animal crackers, play with mermaids (AKA ‘ray-rays’ according to Caroline), hold lizards and frogs, and all sorts of other childhood indulgences. Seeing God’s creation through the eyes of a child is like seeing it all over again for the very first time with a renewed sense of awe and wonder.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am more excited than ever to give God all the praise, glory, and honor. I am sure we have all seen things this year that we could have never fathomed or imagined – both good and bad, but through it all, I am relieved and secure knowing that God is sovereign. He sits on His throne and none of this has taken Him by surprise. He is in total control and His plans will not be thwarted (Job 42:2). God is always, in ALL things working for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Praise God we have nothing to fear when we place our faith and trust in the God of the universe and believe that God loved us so much that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). As Thanksgiving approaches, I would like to encourage you to do what this pandemic has caused me to do, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:10).
I would like to leave you with a favorite hymn of mine, “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count you many blessings name then one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!!!”