It’s amazing what we take for granted.

We have all been guilty at times of taking loved ones, the air we breathe and the water we drink (and bathe in!) for granted. It’s no wonder we say, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

Residents of the City of Toledo, Ohio know this all too well. They woke up this past Saturday, August 2 to this Urgent Warning (LINK) on their television screens: Do not drink or bathe in city water. Do not boil it. Do not give it to your pets. Do not wash dishes in it. Consuming water can result in nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea; it may cause liver damage. Bathing in city water may cause skin irritation and rashes.

A large algal bloom (LINK) on Lake Erie near the city’s intake station caused a toxic level of microcystin to be released in the water. For those who did not have a supply of bottled water on hand, there was no coffee that morning. With showers off-limits, personal care became a challenge. There was no breakfast at Bob Evans or McDonald’s, as restaurants were forced to close citywide.

It came as no surprise that there was soon a run on bottled water in every store in town. While for the most part calm heads prevailed, there were also shoving matches as people raced to stock up. The water they took for granted the day before was now a scarce and precious commodity. Rumors of price gouging surfaced. Soon shelves were bare, and thirsty people had to drive as much as an hour away to purchase water.

Heartwarming stories emerged of neighbors helping neighbors. Churches and agencies made water available to those in need.

Two days later Toledo’s mayor gave the “All Clear” signal in a news conference; tests showed the toxins were now at an acceptable level. While things have more or less returned to normal, Toledo residents are now keenly aware of the importance – and privilege – of having a safe water supply. This week as they drink it, cook with it, shower in it, wash dishes or fill their kid’s swim pools, they will not take clean water for granted.

What are the things and who are the people you take for granted?

Let the news out of Toledo prompt us to be more mindful of all that we have to be thankful for. Who should we thank? “Every good and perfect gift is from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). The Apostle Paul told us we should “…always be giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Let’s thank God today for our families and friends, our homes and churches, the freedoms we enjoy, the beauty of creation, even the air we breathe…and the water we drink.

Let us be more intentional about appreciating what we have, and less focused on what we don’t have. Let’s count our blessings, not our problems.

Let’s hug the people we love while we can. Let’s be slow to take offense and quick to extend or ask for forgiveness.

Refuse to let “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone” be the theme song of your life.

Commit today to not take anyone or anything for granted.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Identify who or what you have taken for granted. Count your blessings – big and small. Thank God for each one. Be intentional this week about appreciating and showing appreciation for all that you have.


  1. Barb Roose
    Aug 6, 2014

    Great insights, Kathy! I love your main theme because it so true! I can’t tell you how many times I thought about how different our lives would be if our water remained forever tainted – and I thought about all of the water I had wasted because I took it for granted. Your spiritual insights are precious gems. Thank you, my friend!

  2. Brenda Fontaine
    Aug 6, 2014

    Here’s a (((((BIG HUG))))) for you! 🙂

  3. Kathy Fortney
    Aug 6, 2014

    Again, you have touched my heart (and tear ducts) as I read your blog. Overall I am so aware and appreciative of God’s abundant blessings. Lately, more and more it is coming to my attention to be just as appreciative to God even when things do not go the way that I would like them to go. God is good ALL the time.

  4. Carol Mashburn
    Aug 7, 2014

    And you did it again….hit it right on the nail….as always. Wonderful message Kathy. Right on target and on time. Thank you for being obedient, writing from the heart, to touch us all. You rock my friend….I am so honored to call you sister in Christ.

  5. Letitia Suk
    Aug 7, 2014

    What a poignant reminder, thank you!

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