A Quick Praise

I just wanted to say a quick praise today!

9 years ago today, we brought our second born home from the hospital after a 3 month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She was discharged from the hospital on her original due date, though she had been born in late July. We came home with an apena monitor so we’d know if her heart stopped, some medications, and lots of instructions on how to follow up with eye exams, weight checks, physical therapy, doctor visits, etc.

I say we brought her “home,” but in reality, we brought her to my mom’s house. She had been born in Memphis, though we lived in Virginia at the time. I had been visiting my mom that summer when the pregnancy deteriorated to the point of hospitalization in early July. And there in Memphis, we stayed for the next 5 1/2 months.

How wonderful for God to provide this place for her birth, where I had grown up and had a loving church family and friends to surround us, my family to care for my oldest while I was in the hospital the month of July, an OB/GYN as my mom’s next door neighbor who God used to save our lives, outstanding doctors, familiarity with where I was. We had been living in Virginia for my husband’s doctoral program at the university there, but we did not have this kind of network, and I actually am not convinced my daughter or I would be alive if the pregnancy had proceeded there where my doctor dismissed everything in this extremely rare, life threatening situation. He did not even want to do an ultrasound, and he wouldn’t have referred me to a high risk doctor. We weren’t even at the UVa hospital, but a lower level one called Martha Jefferson which could not have met our needs. And my doctor was ever reluctant to pass his patients off to anyone associated with UVa.

I see God’s provision in being at my mom’s house with this doctor who came by every day, understood the situation, and got me the care we needed.

I praise the Lord today for His kindness and mercy, for His love for us. I praise Him that He uses hard times, times of suffering, to draw us to Himself in ways we’d never do otherwise. I praise Him that He uses these things for His glory. I praise Him that He allowed my child to live, and I pray she will bless His name always and follow Him all the days of her life, loving Him with all her heart, soul, mind and strength.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 113:1-3
“Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

I woke up this morning watching the sunrise as I prayed. I love watching a sunrise, and I get great views of it from right where I live. One of my favorite things about this house, actually. Today that sunrise brought this verse to mind: “From the rising of the sun, to the setting of the same, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”

Wow, I wonder what my days would be like if I spent them praising His name from sunup to sundown. We are commanded to rejoice evermore and give thanks in everything, after all, in Philippians 2 and I Thessalonians 5. Some constant praising, rejoicing and thanksgiving… that should lift any spirits that are down!

God Almighty, a song from Chris Tomlin, was also stirring in my mind this morning:

Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning we will sing
Holy, Holy, we bow down before Thee
All Your children love to sing Your name
God Almighty

You’re the breath of life
You’re the God on high
Your song shall rise
And never pass away

O, Your Majesty
Evermore shall be
The earth, the skies, the sea
Shall bring You praise

And I hide my eyes
With my face to the ground
In the presence of Your Majesty
And I clap my hands
And I lay my crowns
In the presence of Your Majesty

I want to both praise Him and bring Him praise today, by the power of His Spirit, in His strength. Early this morning and every morning, may I sing my praise to You, Lord!

Our Perfect God

I love this new song from Natalie Grant, Perfect People:

“There’s no such thing as perfect people.
There’s no such thing as a perfect life.
So come as you are, broken and scarred,
Lift up your heart and be amazed,
And be changed by a perfect God.”

I unintentionally dropped the ball on something at work this last week. It exposed my subconscious desires to be and do everything just perfectly. Yet, in the midst of my failing, I felt led to trust God as the One who assures me in His Word that this would be for my good. How could I not accept this misstep as part of His plan for my life to teach me a valuable lesson? Not only did God provide for my need that resulted from my mistake, but He also taught me in the process more about trusting Him and more about who I am in Him.

It has caused me to rejoice all the more in His perfection and His sovereign ways.

He is also in the process of perfecting our faith, in spite of our imperfections.

It’s such a beautiful picture, and I praise our perfect God for Who He is, for His perfect ways and His great love for us.

Deuteronomy 32:3-4
“I will proclaim the name of the LORD.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hebrews 13:15 “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

I’m a day late. But how can I hope to give praise to the Lord through this blog and skip this holiday of giving thanks? It was a great week having family in town, going to a school praise night on Tuesday, going to a Thanksgiving eve service at church on Wednesday, and celebrating Thanksgiving with extended family yesterday. What a full few days it has been!

How can I measure the fullness of what God has done and for which I should be thankful? For starters, I think of the amazing list in Ephesians 1 & 2 of what is ours through Christ; in Him, I am:

loved,
blessed,
chosen,
adopted,
accepted,
redeemed,
forgiven,
predestined,
sealed with the Spirit,
called,
rich,
given grace,

and I have:

obtained an inheritance,
been brought near by His blood,
been made alive,
been raised up with Christ,
been seated with Christ in the heavenlies, and
been given access by one Spirit to the Father.

My mind can’t totally comprehend, my eyes don’t often clearly see, and my heart too often fails to even acknowledge it. I too often sit “full, but unfulfilled,” a phrase I just picked up from a book called Making All Things New by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen suggests we are full, meaning busy with our lives, yet unfulfilled, as in bored or depressed in the midst of our being busy.

Nouwen urges his reader to seek the things above and His kingdom, and set our hearts on Christ through the spiritual disciplines of solitude and community.

Solitude. Time alone with God in a small room or area of a room or prayer closet where we close out the distractions, begin reading Scripture, pray, and allow ourselves to hear the voice of God’s Spirit. Even just 10 minutes a day — it can be in small doses, but needs to be consistent & regular. It’s something we can dread to start until we begin to see what God does through time spent with Him.

I need to go back to cultivating the discipline of solitude. (Although since “solitude” is about being alone, I guess it’s not really solitude since the Lord is there!) But time with Him to read the Bible and pray and let His Spirit lead and speak.

I find I am forgetful, just as the Israelites of old were. Thus the many reminders throughout Scripture to “remember:” “Remember what great things He has done for you.” I want to remember. I want to meditate on His greatness and power, on who He is, and on who I am because of Him.

And in remembering His great mercy and love, lavishly poured out on me through Christ, I want to give Him thanks and praise Him today and always.

Praise Proclaimer

I only recently became aware of the world of blogging through the blogs of a few friends. Though I found it intriguing, I wasn’t sure it was a world I wanted to enter. The last week or two, though, it has been more on my mind, and I’ve wrestled with reasons for and against blogging.

I couldn’t seem to escape though a nagging thought that I wanted to blog. Someone encouraged me to have a purpose for a blog. That came easy, too, with a verse that returned to my mind over and over last week. I didn’t know where it was in the Bible, but the words were fresh in my heart: “to proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

On Sunday, with my Bible open in my lap awaiting the sermon, I looked down to see those very words leap off the page! There they were in I Peter, and they represent my purpose for this blog: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” I Peter 2:9

I am reminded of the lyrics to “Blessed Assurance” by Fanny Crosby (1873): “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”

So my hope is to share the story God has given me while praising the One, Jesus, who called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light! He, our Creator and Redeemer, is worthy of all praise!