So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was ­seventy-­five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. (Genesis 12:1-5 NIV) 

I see four key principles about the blessing in this brief passage:

1.  All blessings originate from God.
2. We are never too old to receive the blessing.
3.  The blessing requires that we take a journey of discovery that will be different from our parents’ journeys. We can receive the blessing through our parents, but it will be different from what our parents received.
4. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others. Note that God mentions this twice: verse 2 says, “you will be a blessing”; verse 3 goes on to say, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So we see that Abraham would himself be a blessing to others, and through him, the ultimate blessing of Jesus would come to “all peoples on earth.”

Every person has already received the blessing from God in the form of his or her unique design, which perfectly corresponds with God’s calling for that person’s life. Thank goodness this affirmation originates from God, not from our parents!

Yet this gift lies dormant in each of us until it is recognized and ­affirmed—­in other words, until someone speaks the language of blessing into our lives. God’s original plan was that His blessing would first be acknowledged by our parents. However, in this fallen world there are no perfectly functional families. If our parents are unable to speak the language of blessing, God does not give up. He finds other ­people—­possibly someone in our extended family, a teacher, a friend, sometimes even a complete ­stranger—­to be a conduit of His blessing to us.

My fifth grade teacher tried to do that for me. She was very tall and thin, her skin so pale it was almost an alabaster white. I suspect she was ill a good part of the time as she walked slowly and labored to breathe, but what I noticed most was her kind expression and gentle smile whenever she looked at me.

One day after class she told me about a writing contest to celebrate Presidents’ Day. She encouraged me to enter because she believed I could win. I was ­incredulous—­me, win a writing contest? I didn’t think so. Then she asked if I would do it for her. I could not turn her down. I would write the article for her so she would receive recognition as a great teacher.

Imagine my shock when my story won first place. My mom was excited about the award, but neither she nor my father attended the award ceremony. My picture was in the paper, but I did not care. I was sure my win was a fluke. Since it didn’t impress my father, it meant nothing to me either. I missed the affirmation God wanted me to have because I was demanding that it come through my father.

By age ten, I had become the primary hindrance to receiving the blessing in my life, which meant I would be unable to pass it on to anyone else. After all, you cannot give to others what you have not received yourself. Only through New Life did I learn that accessing the blessing for myself was not conditional upon receiving my father’s approval, which had seemed so impossible to earn. 1.3