Monday, September 18, 2006


You give and take away...

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

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 by Tree 63 (and all the other copyright stuff I'm not saavy enough to enter but just know I didn't write the song)

Okay, but what about when my heart doesn't choose to say "Blessed be Your name"? Just being honest here. Remember my friend? As it turns out, God's number of days for the life of their child was few. I've only read of this and haven't actually talked with our friends about it. Chicken? Not really. Ironically, I am acting like the people who told me, "I'm sorry I haven't called, but I just didn't know what to say" when our Owen died. And truly, I don't KNOW how our friends are feeling. Yes, I know the kind of pain they are going through, but not the exact nature of it. Because for some reason, when it comes right down to it, it seems like Rob and I only had to imagine what it would be like to be pregnant again and BAM! there I was. Pregnant, that is.

I struggled yesterday morning. I found out that Coralie had miscarried just before I left for church. How my heart argued with me for reasons to stay home! If I'm being candid, I would have to admit that I was struggling with the premise that "God is good." I mean, we all know of people who have children and don't want them, don't provide/care for them, don't love them, abuse them, and even abort them. And here are two people who are committed to the Lord and would raise this child in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord." So now what? I was wrestling, folks, plain and simple.

So I made it to church and then began our corporate worship time- opening with the above song. Uh-huh. Then the message began with the following:

"So often we hear the question, 'Why do bad things happen to good people?' (Fast forward a bit) But that is the wrong question to ask, because it assumes that people are inherently good. We should really be asking, 'Why do good things happen to bad people?'" Alrighty then. Why was I surprised that God would appoint that sermon to be preached on the very day I would struggle with his sovereignty? Well, that's just God for ya!

None of us deserves any of the blessings God lovingly chooses to bestow upon us. I do not deserve any of the children I have. I don't deserve my wonderful husband. I don't deserve loving parents. I don't deserve my great sister. I don't deserve our pastor and church fellowship. You get the idea. What I deserve is hell. How does that grab ya? Well, it surely grabbed me yesterday. Probably more so because this is something that I know textually, but obviously the Spirit saw need to apply this truth to my heart in a fresh sense.

So I am encouraged. I am encouraged through the teaching of the Word foremost. But I am encouraged by my friend's incredibly thankful heart. She says it best in this way:

"I thought of all the parents who wish they could just shield their children from pain, suffering and sin. I realized that I have a child who is permanently shielded from those things for eternity. It was the first time I realized that regardless of the earthly reality, I am a mother. The thought brings peace, and pain at the same time. How strange."

Please read her entire post here. I am encouraged that she will choose to say, "Lord blessed be Your name."

Monday, September 11, 2006


I remember...

I remember September 11, 2001. I have only lived for 34 years, so I don't know what it was like when Kennedy was shot, or when "the Eagle (has) landed." And frankly, I never really understood when people, like my mom and dad, commented about how they will "always remember exactly what" they were doing during those moments. Sure, I remember when President Reagan was shot. I was in the third grade, and I didn't hear about it until 3:00pm or so. I remember when the Challenger exploded. I was sick that day, and I didn't go to school. I was on the couch in my dad's office, sipping Red Rock, watching the launch. Everyone else in the office was working and not paying attention to the TV. I remember sitting up very quickly and saying, "Uh, Dad, I think something bad just happened."

But I remember September 11. I remember what I was wearing (Old Navy bluejean overalls and a cranberry t-shirt), what I was driving (1994 Ford Explorer), where I was on the road (Old Salem, about 1/4 mile from our church), who was with me (Eli and Sophia, because Harrison was in kindergarten), and where I was going (to our church for a Precept Bible Study). I even remember sipping an English Toffee Cappuccino. The radio announcer from AM750 remarked that, "It appears that a passenger jet has accidentally crashed into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center. Since we broadcast from there, we don't have full details yet." I remember thinking, "How terrible. How could anyone 'accidentally' crash into something that size? I bet the pilot had a heart attack or lost control or something like that."

But as Bible study continued, it became clear that something more devastatingly horrific had happened. I remember our teacher, Barbara, removing her glasses and giving us more details:

*a second plane crashed into Tower 2
*another plane crashed into the Pentagon
*(at that time) approximately 22 planes were unaccounted for on radar

Barbara calmly said, "Ladies, we need to pray. Hold tight to the truth that God is sovereign and is not looking the other way." We went into the hallway to watch television coverage.

I remember standing against the wall thinking, "Should I check Harrison out of school?" (He attended kindergarten at our church, so he was in the building) I could not reach Rob on his cell, so I must admit I was growing a bit panicked. After all, the CDC is located in Atlanta, and wouldn't that be a likely hit too? As I watched the footage on TV, a retired Army colonel on staff at the church remarked, "We are at war. Strange thing though, we have no idea who our enemy is."

I remember finding out, later in the day, about United flight 93 and the heroes like Todd Beamer and others who gave their lives for others. I remember watching the footage of President Bush in that classroom full of elementary students as he was informed of the attacks. I will never forget the look on his face. I was proud, humanly speaking, of our President, but not for the first time, and certainly not the last. I remember the following night when Mr. Bush addressed the nation and how he kindly and respectfully greeted Mrs. Lisa Beamer. And her. Have you ever seen a more gracious and dignified widow? I remember President Bush's words that night and have been surprised that it didn't develop into Kennedy-like or Churchill-like mantra: OUR STRENGTH IS OUR RESOLVE, AND OUR RESOLVE IS UNWAVERING.

I remember when the first troops were sent out. I remember being filled with sadness for the families left behind, while at the same time being so incredibly thankful for the willingness of our soldiers to go. No matter what your political leanings are, the point is this: the people in our military are defending those who are unable to defend themselves. Thank you.

When my children see footage of this event and ask, "Momma, why would somebody do something like that?" I can only tearfully shrug. They do not understand the full implications of total depravity, or that it lurks in everyone's heart, not just those we can easily call "enemy." But I can, and do try, to point them to the gospel and to the glorious cross and to Jesus. And I tell them, "Remember."

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