I shared with you in another post that throughout this summer, I read with a few friends the book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. This book truly has shaped my thinking, and to Ann I am so glad that she wrote it. Along with this book, I sang over my baby boy Ten Thousand Reasons by Matt Redman and the refrain goes like this, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, oh my soul, worship His holy name. Sing like never before, O my soul, worship His holy name.” (Another one of my friends wrote a blog post on this song today.) I would sing it over and over again over him, rocking him to sleep. And I could hear the Lord singing it over my soul, rocking me into His rest.
In all that the Lord brings in my life, I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to give thanks in all things.
And I was struggling through this. Ann writes about giving thanks over stuff that we don’t usually give thanks for. Hard stuff. Bad stuff.
I knew in my heart to choose thanksgiving to the Lord. I just wasn’t exactly sure how it all shook out. How to describe it to someone else.
And then I read Anne Graham Lotz in her book, Why. She writes, “There is more to life than being healthy, than being happy, than being problem free, than being comfortable, than feeling good, than getting what we want, than being healed.” – and friends, I knew all of this, but what she goes on to say next is what really struck me.
She continues, “There is more to life even than living! And the ‘more to life’ is the development of our faith to the extent that our very lives display His glory! So Jesus is glad, not that we suffer, but that we have the opportunity to grow in our faith and display His glory, which is (get this, girls) the fulfillment of the very purpose for our existence.”
Remember I shared, too, with you that our home’s verse is Psalm 115:1, which declares, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name be the glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and faithfulness.”
Well, we mean it! And we mean it in life and in the more than life. We mean it in the hard, and the sad, and the tough, and the terrible. We choose to bless, to thank; we choose gratitude as our loving response to the Lord.
In 1 John, old-man John writes to believers, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”
And here I am, through the first year of mommy-hood and onto the second, realizing that this whole thing – living for the Lord – is life for life. He gave His life for me in death; I give my life for Him in life. For me to fulfill my role as a wife, I give my life – my self, the individual that perhaps I could have been – to Tyler to be his helpmeet. My identity is in Christ and the roles that He has called me to – wife, mommy. And as a mommy, in a way that I simply have never experienced before, I give my life for Leland’s life. My body, my heart, my sanity sometimes, my mind, my everything, so that he can grow up in the grace and admonition of the Lord. As a wife, when I make dinner, I make dinner as unto the Lord. When my feet and my back and my wrists ache, I humbly, lovingly think about how precious my Savior hanging on the Cross ached infinitely more. And I am so glad that I can share in His sufferings, which are as nothing compared to the eternal weight of glory.
And it’s in this, it’s in Christ, it’s at the Cross, that I see His glory and am so overwhelmingly thankful to the Lord.
So in all of life and even when the Lord holds our hand into the ‘more than life’, I will sing
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, all creatures here below!
Praise Him, above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! — Amen!