a resolution to read

Reading is one of the three R’s of new year’s resolutions and I have noticed there are quite a few people who are committed to reading a few books this year – everyone is sharing their lists! I notice because I love to see a good book list, and because I am a reader myself.

Ever since I was a little girl, if  I wasn’t outside playing, I was inside, on my bed, with a good book in hand. Nancy Drew and Babysitter’s Club gave way to Max Lucado and then Elisabeth Elliot.

College was full of books that still fill our book shelves and my list on amazon “to read” is quite. long.

I tell people that I read like some people run. I have conditioned myself to read a lot of books over a short period of time. I like to read capital G “good” books and that often means non-fiction Christian. I do love good literature but right now in this learning+growing season of life I just cut to the chase with the books that present flat out propositional truths. Capital T “truth.”

I don’t typically start the year with a year-long list, that seems crazy to me… but as friends recommend books, as I come across one book in another, I add the title to the “to read” list, and ask the Lord what I should read next. and with whom. Often times I am reading “this book with her” and “that book with these girls” and these couple on my own.

However, I did start this year with a pile in mind, one I thought connected the themes of life that were filling my thoughts – on growing, living brave, and getting to the good work the Lord has prepared for me. 

Before I share my January book list with you and how I go about reading through the pile, I want to list a few considerations concerning reading.

I said I’ve noticed people sharing their book lists. and I am gonna join in on the fun and share mine, too. But here’s the thing – reading is not the thing. books are not IT. With that made clear here are some consideration…

  1. If you’re gonna read any book, read The Book of books. Read the Bible. If you read a bunch of others but neglect this one, the others don’t matter. THIS is the book that matters. These Words are truth and life. This is the book you can build your life on; you can completely recommend to anyone and everyone. This is THE book. Read it.
  2. If you’re gonna read some other books – before you begin, answer these “why’s” and repent when you realize that “yep, I’m reading for all of the wrong reasons
  3. Funny enough even something as wholesome as reading can be messed up by sin. One way is you reading for all the wrong reasons. The other way is by a bad book. Don’t read bad books. Now, if you read point one and you think – well the Bible is full of awful stories with terrible characters, what of that!? Remember this – the protagonist in scripture is Jesus and right and wrong are correctly understood; the antagonist is actually bad, and the story is True and points you to Truth. Plus, scripture is well written. It’s high literature. Think through this sort of lens when you are determining if a book is good or bad. And then with a repentant, righted heart, read good books.
  4. Once you’ve gotten yourself into the practice of reading the Bible, once you’ve repented and now you’re on the way to reading 📖 well and good books, – which by the way, I’m writing this in list form, but of course the experience of it all sort of may swirl around – repenting and reading and righting all mingling together – I would love to share with you the books on my January list
  5. I would also love to know A. what you’re reading and B. If you’ve read any/all of the books on my list, what you think about them. I mean maybe you have another suggestion or perhaps a helpful critique of one of them (my list isn’t “ultimate” you know 😉
  6. Here’s my January Book List
  • bible with a year long bible reading plan
  • Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines
  • Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson
  • Falling Free by Shannan Martin
  • Unseen by Sara Hagerty
  • The Peace Maker by Kevin Sande

Have you read any of these? Thoughts? Which one do you want to add to your book list? And, what books do you currently have on your list? I want to hear from you 💙💙💙💙

Like I said, I read like some other people run. I read a lot. I read at a steady pace and lap through each book. I am going to leave the running analogy now because – I don’t run. I chose these books because most of them were sitting on my shelf already, not-yet-read, and that in and of itself is enough motivation for me.

To get through the books this month, with the exception of the bible which will take the entire year, I simply read one page at a time. Often. I started with Capital Gaines because I thought it would be a quick, easy, non-life.changing but still encouraging read, and I was wrong for the most part (it was a quick read.)

*Full disclosure – I read Capital Gaines before the month of January began, but didn’t plan to, and had it on my January list, which is where it stayed. So, feel some relief, if you need to.

Then I moved on to the book Unseen because even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it, I was gifted it, my sister said she loved it, then another good friend pulled it out of her bag and asked me if I had read this book… and I felt like maybe I just should! So I did. It was so good. I know it took her so much more time to write this book than for me to read it, … which is like any book,… and part of me wants to go back through it slowly so that Sara can know how much I truly appreciate the work she put in and the heart she poured out. I am still sifting through the message of the book and hope to share a cup of coffee with the friend who gave me the book in the first place.

Now I am in the middle – literally – of Falling Free, a book I purchased as my sister was still lauding it, but it took me a few months to start. I am so glad I did now and I am sad I didn’t sooner. It is a hilarious, hard to hear, hurts real good book. You should read it. I told another friend it’s sort of like a girl’s Radical by David Platt. See what you think 😉

My sisters and I are reading Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. Let me tell you, when I first saw the title of this book. I was IMMEDIATELY completely PUT OFF by the title. I still feel a lingering tinge of “ew” towards it. But one I realized Sally was in her sixties and hopefully not too affected by our culture’s god-of-this-air named Productivity I felt a little bit better. Then, so many friends recommended it, I thought… ok. I can at least skim it. Plus, with my sisters whatever is always better. I wanted to FLY through this book, but my sisters want to sit in it, so I have paused around chapter four.

I have yet to start The Peacemaker, but plan to by the beginning of next week.

If I don’t finish the January list, the books roll on over to February, where my list is shorter. March doesn’t have a list yet, and would like one, so your suggestions are welcome!

(links for the books : BibleCapital Gaines / Unseen / Falling Free / The Peacemaker / Own Your Life) PS when I was inserting the links to purchase these books from amazon, I noticed that each one of them are considerably less money than I remember them being a couple of weeks ago. So, seize the day! and buy the book!

the end of january is (finally) here

so i have heard some place that this week of january is the most depressing week of the year. and you might say, huh? or heck yeh it is… because you know. for me it’s been like any other week, and mostly good, thank the Lord.

one reason i speculate that this week can be depressing is because so many people left the holidays in a huff, said see you folks later! (family, friends, all of the people that are so close to us, close enough to send us into a temper tantrum like a 2 year old with their glances and responses against whatever we are for), packed up, and with a pen and paper, made mighty high resolutions for yourself. not all out spite, and some honest to goodness good resolutions, but then it’s cold and dark and well – January – and you realize that you’re only 3 weeks into the new year and have already failed in all of your high and mighty. OR you made great resolutions and you have kept them. Shoot, you’re already five pounds lighter. But, you’re not any happier or any more satisfied.

Now, like I said, for me, it’s been a pretty good week -we’ve had some fun; we’ve had some not so fun, and I recently sliced open the top of my middle finger on my right hand, so it’s funny and it’s seriously annoying – but I started this new year about half way through January without any resolutions, so maybe that’s why. I was sort of “meh” to the whole hype of 2015, which maybe isn’t good, or maybe it is… I was just happy for a new day, cold as it was, and happy that the Lord had gotten me to the day, and beyond that His mercies are new for the day. And I also feel like I’m in a holding pattern in my life – diligence is what is required, a steadfastness, a holding firm – and in that way, I don’t exactly know what or how to feel….

but I don’t take depression lightly, so here are a few links to a few beloved blog posts that I pray encourage your soul… because depressed or not, we all need encouragement.

 

http://solideogloria-emily.blogspot.com/2015/01/let-us-hope.html – y’all, this is my favorite blog that I actually consistenly read right now, and this is a fabulous post on HOPE.

http://www.toshowthemjesus.com/2015/why-we-must-read-like-bereans/ – read. if you have one resolution, read. and she tells you how and why. and that the Bible is to be your book of books, because it is THE book of books.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Lamentations+3&version=MSG – Lamentations 3 in the Message. Need some encouragement; this will do it for you.

Also the film and book, Unbroken.

“It is this deep confidence about your future that frees you from the fear and greed that kill love and make you into a cookie-cutter human who has to have security and safety and ease and comfort….Our confidence comes from Christ–what He did perfectly on the cross and at the resurrection, what He is doing now for us in heaven, and what He will do for us at the 2nd coming and to all eternity…All we ever hope for is owing to Christ.  We receive it not by earning it or meriting it, but by banking on it…We need to ponder the superiority of Christ as our great reward over all that the world has to offer.  If we don’t, we will love the world like everyone else and live like everyone else.  Everything the world has to offer, God is better and more abiding.  There is no comparison.  God wins–every time.”  – also this quote from a good ole man, John Piper. Take that to heart!

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness. It is like hiding the talent in a napkin and for much the same reason ‘I knew thee that thou wert a hard man.’  Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.

and one more, a hymn, and as if that was not enough download for you, all of the above links, quotes, and scripture, let this hymn sink deep into your soul.

He Giveth More Grace by Annie J. Flint

  1. He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
  2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
  3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
  4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

He gives and gives and gives again…. so this year, depressed, or meh, or happy happy happy, open your hands, sweet child, lift your face to your Daddy, and receive His good gifts.

summer loves, summer reading

An avid reader since I was a young girl, I have continued to enjoy reading grown up, married, and a mom. I lean heavily towards non-fiction, towards Christian-living, towards books that will preach the Gospel to me because I need it any and every way I can get it.

I just love the summer for reading, warm, sunny weather, and dripping bathing suits after fun at the pool.

This summer I am reading many different books with many different friends.

my pile of books : you will notice, careful eye, that Jesus, One and Only cannot be seen because it's on the bottom of the pile, that there is a book The Mother at Home (I'm reading this and not sure on the verdict yet), and a Welcome Baby! book, which is Grafton's baby-memory book... My planner is somehere in this pile, along with a J. Crew style guide. ...
my pile of books : you will notice, careful eye, that Jesus, One and Only cannot be seen because it’s on the bottom of the pile, that there is a book The Mother at Home (I’m reading this and not sure on the verdict yet), and a Welcome Baby! book, which is Grafton’s baby-memory book… My planner is somehere in this pile, along with a J. Crew style guide. …

I am finishing A Chance to Die with my friend Page. (I started the book with my friend, Carolyn, and didn’t finish it – it was a lot bigger than I expected!! and Page is a girl on a mission – to follow the Lord and do with her life what He says. What inspirations and models Amy Carmichael, the book’s subject, and Elisabeth Elliot, the book’s author, are for us!)

I am reading Restless by Jennie Allen with a girlfriend, Sarah, from church. We are excited about reading together for the first time and meeting sans-kids to discuss the book. 😉

For the 3rd summer in a row, My friend, Lauren, and I are reading a book together. This summer we are reading The Privilege of Being a Woman by Alice von Hildebrand, a woman, philosopher, and self-proclaimed enemy of feminism (the number one, to be exact) and praise God for her because she’s not only anti-feminism but she is also PRO-GOSPEL. We are giddy to read this. together.

With my good friend Carolyn, who I mentioned above, and who I constantly read books with, and I are reading and going through Jesus the One and Only by Beth Moore. Yes, Lord, yes. Jesus. I wrote a little bit about that here.

I plan to finish by myself Ruth Bell Graham’s biography – she’s Anne Graham Lotz’ mom, Billy Graham’s wife, and a daughter to missionaries. A life, for sure, and I have already been so humbled by what I have read so far, and I am excited to finish this book. The book is called Ruth, A Portrait: The story of Ruth Bell Graham by Patricia Cornwell.

Tyler is reading The Praying Life by Paul E. Miller, a book I recently finished and LOVED, so I am excited to talk through it with him. My mom is reading another book I recently read, One Way Love, which I also wrote a preview-blog to, and hope to one day write a thorough review. I am looking forward to discussing this book with her. Both of these mentioned books, The Praying Life, and One Way Love, were mind-changing, heart-moving, very timely books for me. I recommend them wholeheartedly to you.

There are a few other titles that, if I finish these books, I hope to start before the summer’s end. It’s all so very much by God’s grace, I just say… somehow…He gives me the time to read and He pours into me through others’ edited thoughts and writings Himself and their insight into the Christian walk, the Gospel life. I am so thankful to these authors who have disciplined themselves to write and to edit and to publish their work. I do read critically and think through what these people offer…And I am so thankful to the Lord for speaking to me His Good News through so many different means, … Remembering always that His Word is preeminent and all sufficient. I stick my nose and my whole self into His Word unhindered and without criticism. In the Word I can let His Good Word wash over me and run through me, no criticism, no holding back.

So as I read these other books, I stand stayed in His Word, deep and over my head, running through my ears and filling up my heart, drowning in His grace.

And I encourage you, the Word is the Book of books. Read, above all else, His Word.

 

 

gracious habits and a recommended read

“Walk in the Spirit…” Galatians 5:16

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap,if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:8-10

A Woman's Guide to Making Right Choices
available on amazon * this is a simple, straightforward read that helps to articulate what it means and can look like to make right choices, to live rightly before the Lord

In her book, A Woman’s Guide to Making Right Choices, Elizabeth George describes the fruit of the Spirit, or the fruit of righteousness (Philippians 1:11), as “‘those gracious habits which the Holy Spirit produces in the Christian.'” 

And as I read through Elizabeth’s description of the fruit of the Spirit, I thought, I just have to share this with my friends.

She writes…

The fruit of LOVE is the sacrifice of self.

Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates His own love toward us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

God asks us to choose to…

– give love when you want to withhold

– reach out to others when you are tired

– serve when you want to be served

– help others when you yourself are hurting.

The fruit of JOY is the sacrifice of praise.

The scripture that this description of JOY makes me (Rachel) think of is : Hebrews 12:2 “…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I (Rachel) have learned that we find JOY as we fix our eyes on Jesus, not the world, ourselves, our circumstances, all for His glory, so that we may know Him as our friend, eternally.

This is certainly helpful for me (Rachel), something that I learned from a friend : JOY – Jesus . Others . You .

The fruit of PEACE is the sacrifice of trust.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

I just ordered this print for my laundry room, and thought, oh wow!, what perfect timing as I'm reading this book and hanging this on my wall. Oh Lord, plant these words in my heart!
I just ordered this print for my laundry room, and thought, oh wow!, what perfect timing as I’m reading this book and hanging this on my wall. Oh Lord, plant these words in my heart! to order : jones design company

The fruit of PATIENCE chooses to “do nothing.”

patience aka long-suffering

Psalm 46:10 reads, “Be still and know that I am God.” A command with a promise. Listen and obey, sweet child, and the Lord will bless you with patience.

The fruit of KINDNESS chooses to “plan to do something.”

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” This is one of my most favorite scriptures, but how often do I stumble with putting it into practice. Thankfully, the Lord continues to help me by His Spirit to do something kindly.

The fruit of GOODNESS chooses to “do everything.”

Just like that Scripture verse that I quoted at the beginning of the post, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

John Wesley writes…

Do all the good you can

by all the means you can

in all the ways you can

in all the places you can

in all the times you can

to all the people you can

as long as ever you can.

The fruit of FAITHFULNESS chooses to “just do it.”

This is the other print I ordered for my laundry room, which of course you can see why, but I do have a strong conviction that laundry done with the right heart translates to an act of worship before the Lord. When I read Elizabeth's "just do it" attitude, I immediately thought of the laundry! And, today, I have been doing the laundry, girlfriend!
This is the other print I ordered for my laundry room, which of course you can see why, but I do have a strong conviction that laundry done with the right heart translates to an act of worship before the Lord. When I read Elizabeth’s “just do it” faithfulness-attitude, I immediately thought of all of my laundry! And, today, I have been doing the laundry, girlfriend! to order : jones design company

The fruit of GENTLENESS chooses to “take it.”

1 Peter 3:4 encourages, “Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

Elizabeth George writes, “Gentleness grows from trusting the Lord with what is happening – or not happening – in your life. A woman who is characterized by gentleness finds her refuge and strength in the Lord. The strong faith and trust enables her to endure the unkind behavior and suffering knowing she belongs to an all-knowing, all-wise, caring Father and trusting fully in His love… Gentleness is like velvet-covered steel.”

The fruit of SELF CONTROL chooses “not do to it.”

Romans 12:2 reads, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As a mature child of the Lord, not as a spoiled child, let us choose not to indulge self-gratification and our fleshly sense of entitlement. Instead, with happy, grateful hearts full of self control, let us glorify the Lord in all that we do, and not do anything that would not bring honor to His name and long-lasting happiness in our lives.

**

I am so thankful to Elizabeth for describing the fruit of the Spirit in this way. When we walk with the Lord as His child, the Spirit will fill us and will bear fruit in our lives that glorifies the Lord and blesses those around us, today and for generations to come, into all eternity.

This Spirit-filling living all only can be done in the Spirit, by the Spirit, and through the Spirit. We must confess and repent of our sin, trust the Lord that when we do He forgives us and cleanses us, and walk in the newness of life that He gifts us with. Yesterday’s grace is not good for  today. That’s why His mercies are new every morning and we must look in His face, ahead to eternity, to experience His grace day by day.

after all, that’s what the Lord wants for them

Growing Up :: Isn't he so big!? And handsome!! {photo courtesy of always autumn studios}
Growing Up :: Isn’t he so big!? And handsome!! {photo courtesy of always autumn studios}

I just finished reading through this great, little book right now by Rachel Jankovic entitled, Loving the Little Years : Motherhood in the Trenches. I love it. love it. It’s short, sweet, to the point with room for grace, and Gospel-Centered.

In one of her chapters, she writes about growth spurts. You remember, as a child, just being bored all of the sudden? With all of your toys – all of your ideas – all of your imaginations. You were growing. Nothing was wrong with you, but you might have felt like it. And your mom may have made you feel worse. Or made you clean your room. Or given you a new toy. Whatever the case may be, it was a growth spurt.

Well, right when Rachel started to write about this, I knew exactly what she meant. It’s happening in my own home. Growth spurts embody my son. That’s what the last fourteen months and a few days have been all about. We got into the swing of things from the moment we left the hospital doors. And six weeks later, little love was sleeping in his own crib, in his own room. Peaceful living. Windows welcoming the breeze, suppers eaten with friends. It was great.

And then, growth spurts. Seriously, NOBODY told me about these. He was fussy. Crying. Agitated. Not the little doll I knew. And I was ok with that except I didn’t know what in the world was going on!

Thankfully a friend filled me in.

And we went along our merry way. Growth spurt after growth spurt.

Until about six months of age. He hit a major one! We needed activity and fun and excitement. And so we enjoyed new toys and books together; we learned to listen to music and dance. He crawled – He walked around the furniture – he walked! And we turned one years old.

And then, the second major one. And boy, we started running! (Ok, so Leland’s running is more like our fast walking, I must admit,…) but what I’m saying is that he loves being out! outside! at the park! in the dirt! swinging in the sky! sliding down the slide! Playing in the water!

Having a big ole big boy time.

Rachel ends her chapter with this, “Growing, after all, is what God wants them to do.”

Man, it hit me. That’s right, Lord! I amened her. And it reminded me how I struggled through during when I was pregnant whether or not it was right and good to pray for a healthy baby to the glory of God.

It’s not that I thought, I’ll pray for a sick one.

It’s just that we have many friends who have sick little loves. Physical deformity and mental issues. And, girl, I’m not any better than they are. I don’t deserve and they do. Or they do and I don’t. It’s truly based on the LORD. And to God be the glory!! in those baby’s and family’s lives – So, I really did struggle through how to pray about this whole thing.

And do you know, through the same friend who advised me to ‘run with it’ with Leland’s growth spurts because he is a big, growing boy – he is vivacious and quick – and we want to cultivate strong, godly men; not mischievous, up to nothin’ good boys. And running with it will help…

This friend led me to the Word – and to the Lord. The Lord wants us to pray against the Fall. The physical deformity and the mental retardation. It’s not a health-wealth -prosperity gospel. It’s just that as much as suffering is promised, the Lord doesn’t ask us to seek it. He commands that we seek Him, His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

And in heaven, healthy people live.

So I prayed for a healthy baby. And the Lord did give us a healthy baby boy. And to Him be all of the glory, and honor, and praise.

And as Leland lives, and grows, and his more and more active, honestly my prayer is that I will enjoy and love the reality that the Lord wants this growth and good for him.

And that I will grow along with my son. That I will learn what it means to parent him today, in the grace that the Lord gives freely and new each morning. I pray that I will be proactive, that I will accomodate, that I will come alongside him and learn new ideas and put my mind and hands to new projects.

I so long for us to both grow in the grace and admonition of the Lord. We truly are both equal at the Cross; we are truly both children in front of the Lord.

All of this growing does come with pain sometimes and it does come with the need for physical and spiritual nourishment.

And I pray the Lord keeps my nose to His so that I can continue to love well and fully give glory the Lord all the days of our lives.

Growing Up :: We LOVE this baby-moment captured and we wait in anticipation to see a photo like this of a little boy grown into a man. Won't that be so marvelous!?
Growing Up :: We LOVE this baby-moment captured and we wait in anticipation to see a photo like this of a little boy grown into a man. Won’t that be so marvelous!? {photo courtesy of always autumn studios… our favorite!}

more than life

Today I Choose Joy
Isn’t this true!? – Click the image to see where I’ve pinned this, and many more inspirational quotes & Scripture verses

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!