Category Archives: Family Life

Blessed Be Your Name – Devo

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Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

It can be hard to praise God when things aren’t going the way we think they should go. When we or someone we love gets sick and/or dies, or even when we lose our keys when we are already running late , it’s normal and even reasonable to ask, “Where is God in the yuck of life?” To be honest, sometimes I used to scream at him wondering how he could let certain things happen or even not happen. We tried for 7 years to have a child. And I gotta tell ya, I was angry with God. I still loved him but I was furious. How could he let drug addicts and the like have kids but not me? Why was so and so having her third kid when I couldn’t even have one. I felt alone and abandoned by God, especially when we had our first two miscarriages. I forgot that he always does what’s best for me even if I don’t like it. Kinda like my mom giving me nasty tasting medicine when I was sick as a kid. I didn’t like it and I didn’t have to but my mom still needed me to take it because it was for my best.

God is like my mom in this regard. There are often times when I don’t like what I am going through but I have learned over the years that even if I don’t know what’s going on, God does. He never changes and if he loves me when I like what’s going on then he loves me when I don’t. This is why I have learned to praise him through the crappy stuff of life. This is why Paul can say in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Rejoice always? Even in sickness and death? Even in a lost job? Even in broken relationships? Yes, rejoice always, pray always and give thanks in all circumstances. I don’t give thanks that my step-mom has cancer, but I can give thanks despite the cancer. I certainly am not happy about it either but I can rejoice that God is working through the situation, even if I can’t see it. Pray continually? I certainly do, and not only that God cures her medically incurable cancer but that even if he doesn’t that his will is accomplished through her death and that his glory is revealed through it!

He gives and takes away, he gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed by your name! This is one of the hardest lessons I have learned through our struggle with infertility. It’s one thing to not be pregnant it’s another to lose not one pregnancy but four. The first two times was during my angry phase. I just couldn’t understand how a loving God could do that. But I was able to see at least part of why he allowed me to experience that pain when a friend lost her baby and I was able to help her get through it. It was at that point I could honestly say (because I love her that much) that I would do it all over again if it meant that it would benefit her. These last two times are fairly recent history and I know God still loves me despite the pain he allows me to feel. He gave and took away and still I choose to say, “Lord, blessed be your name.”

Faith like that isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s what God calls us to. I’m not tooting my own horn because I still fail… a lot. But I strive to praise God even when it’s difficult. I do it because my eyes, like God’s, are not on what is here and now, it’s on the prize:

For here [on earth] we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:14-16)

I can look past the pain of right here and now because I have the promise of a future in a place that is coming. It is place where God, “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away,” (Rev. 21:4). What a glorious thought that God, himself, will dry every one of my tears and I will do nothing but praise him forever and ever.

What if we stopped focusing on all that is wrong in our lives and started to ask God to glorify himself through our circumstances? Would non-Christians begin to ask questions that might lead them to our Savior? What if (and this is dangerous) we started asking God to use us in whatever way he wanted in order to bring him glory, even if we don’t like it? How would our hearts be transformed and what kind of impact would that have on those around us? How will you respond the next time life doesn’t go according to your plan?

The End.

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The night my Momma died.

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Where do I begin a story that spans 12 or more years? Well, my mom had a massive stroke when I was in 8th Grade. My dad was fortunate enough to have a job he could work from home and was able to bring her home after a very long stay at a rehabilitation hospitial. I have plenty of stories from those years. She was one of those people you either loved or hated and it made for some good laughs along the way.

It was June 3rd, 2003. My dad was in the hospital. Yeah, there is nothing that goes right in this story. It was nothing too serious, but he needed someone to come stay with my Mom. I said sure, I was after all one of those people who happened to love her. I was 25, give or take a year. I came over, gave her dinner, took her to the bathroom, watched some tv with her, got her ready to bed… It was habit from years of being my mom’s caregiver. There were times in high school when my dad was traveling for work and it would be mom and me. I would get her ready before school, drive to school, go to band/chorus practice, go to work, come home, get Mom to bed, do my homework, do some laundry (she didn’t always get to the bathroom in time) get something to eat and start it all over the next day. And most of the time I did it with a smile on my face and in my heart. We had bad days like anyone else, but for the most part my Mom and I were close. Super close. You just don’t go through something like that and not be close.

So when did it go wrong?

Fast forward again to that Tuesday in June. I was there, with my smiles. I got her ready for bed and she asked me something so simple and yet, so complex. She wanted to know if I would sleep in the room with her. She was lonely. I had done it before, it wasn’t a big deal, but instead, I wanted to stay up late and watch tv. I was working at Target at the time and just wanted some down time. She all but pleaded with me to stay with her. I can still see the look in her eyes when I told her no.

The next day, I woke up to my cell phone ringing. It was my brother calling to see how we made out. Looking at the green lights on the cable box, I could see it was pretty late in the morning. And then he said it- “How’s Mom today?” “She’s still asleep.” He said, “You better check to make sure she’s still breathing.” I wasn’t too concerned because I heard her turn the tv off late so I figured she was sleeping in like had.

It’s ok to laugh at the irony of what comes next. Some days, laughter is the only way I can deal with life.

I went back to check on her and I knew as soon as I saw her something was terribly wrong.  I had never really seen a dead person that close before but there was just something so different about her sleep. It was just so unnerving and yet peaceful all at the same time. It wasn’t until later in the day, after the police, after the ambulance, after going to the hospital to tell my dad what happened, that I remembered her last wish and how I had just brushed her request aside. I was no longer smiling anywhere.

I go back to that day often and wish that I could just change my mind and stay with her. Not so that she wouldn’t die, that was going to happen anyway, but so I could reassure my Mom just how very much she was loved. I live with that guilt everyday of my life. It was like I had been studying for a huge test all my life and then when the test came, I failed. I failed to give a little more of myself because I deserved to have some rest. The worst part for me as a Christian is that I don’t know for sure if she also loved Jesus.

Is there someone you need to put before yourself today? Don’t wait. I know there are times when you need a break. But please, please think about the impact of putting yourself first before others, especially those you love. I would never watch a tv again if I knew it would bring her back.

The end.