Thursday, October 29, 2009

His Name

My mama ears instinctively perked up at the sound of his name. "Drew?" she called out. He answered and followed the instructions. It was my son -- responding to the name that his father and I chose for him. His teacher was merely asking if he'd turn out the classroom lights. It was by no means a monumental request, but my heart skipped a beat, nonetheless. For it was his name.

The power of a name spoken aloud amazes me. I still get a girlish butterfly thrill when Jamie calls my name across a crowded room. I inch a little closer to join a conversation when I hear that friends are using the names of those I love. I feel loved and treasured when my dad calls from California with his familiar, "Hello, Julianna," as he warmly draws out the name that he and my mom created for me.

I am also aware of how precious my name is to my heavenly Father. Isaiah 49: 16 still astonishes me as it takes this familiarity a step further. I am so precious to Him, that I have been engraved on the palms of His hands. There I am held, there I am permanent, there I am protected.

I have mulled over this revelation from time to time, marveling at its vastness, knowing that I will never on earth fully grasp its import or be able to appropriately respond to its depth. But when I heard my son's name called the other day, my mind suddenly visited a question that I believe carries an even greater significance.

How does Jesus respond when I call on His name? Does His heart thrill when I lift my voice in adoration, ignoring the chaos of a crowded room? Does He inch a little closer when He hears me join my friends in a conversation about our blessed Savior? Does He feel loved and treasured when I call with my familiar, "Hello, Lord," as I warmly draw out the Name that He alone can claim?

The answer? A resounding yes. And how do I know this? Because He assures me again and again. The words of Zephaniah 3:17 are beyond incredible:

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

It's more than my human mind can fathom. Not only does the Lord save me, but He rejoices over me and He sings over me. So what happens when a girl calls on the powerful Name of her Savior? He absolutely loves it. And so will she.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Moment of Gratitude

Choosing gratitude yesterday when . . . .

Driving home from grocery shopping, crunched for time, music blaring, and I look in the rear view mirror to see my Aidan and Avery singing with all their might. The song? Jesus Paid it All.

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow.

And then their voices hush. They simultaneously gaze out the window as the Columbia River zips by, a blue-grey ribbon twisting through the gorge, bordered by dazzling splashes of orange and yellow. Their eyes have carried them away. Yet their lips still move, silently proclaiming the everlasting truth:

Oh praise the One who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead.

My heart swells. Thank you, Lord. I continue to choose gratitude.

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Monday, October 12, 2009


I sharply sucked in my breath in an attempt to compose myself. Anger had risen to the surface at a surprisingly fast rate. The children had been put to bed. Finally. It was quiet. It was my time. (Oh, self.) And then like little pinballs they took turns spilling from their rooms, bouncing from door to door, stomping on that hardwood floor at a cringe-worthy decibel.

After herding them back to their rooms, I returned to the kitchen. My solitude did not last. Once again, the unmistakable step of a barefoot boy sounded in the hall. He avoided my gaze. "Guilty," I silently sentenced the child. He walked right past me. Going to feign innocence, are we? I watched. The nerve! And then I realized what he was doing. Grabbing a pen, he squatted in front of the dishwasher to add to the list. My eyes closed and I sighed a deep, weary sigh. Back to bed padded the child.

I approached the yellow poster, and a wave of the guilt that I was so quick to assign washed over the deserving one. We had started the list several weeks ago. I didn't think they still used it. But as I began to read, I realized that they had not forgotten. "Thank you Lord . . ." read the title. And then the entries sprawled kid-style across the worn page. Many I had not seen.

"Thank you for giving Aidan clothes for school." "Thank you for giving us money when we needed it." "Thank you for protecting (our friend) Sophia when she could have died." And then, "Thank you for having a nice Mom." (Ouch.) "Thank you for protecting Aidan." "Thank you for giving us a new home to move to . . . ." The thanks continued, but I felt heavy-laden.

When did I cease to give thanks? When had I forgotten? At what point in life's tension did I buckle and decide to choose anger over thanksgiving? It was a poor choice. It was selfish and life-draining. And it accomplished absolutely . . . nothing.

But thankfully, I can choose again. Each day I can choose gratitude. Each day I can choose to die to self and gaze instead on my Savior's face. Each day I can respond to my Friend's irresistible invitation: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Indeed, my soul will find rest. For that -- and for countless other blessings -- I am grateful.
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