At our church annual meeting, the worship pastor asked about songs that are meaningful to us. He said he noticed that the church seemed especially responsive to the song "Blessed be the Name of the Lord."

Am I that transparent when singing?

Clara's birth and infancy was a stressful time for our family. Her labor was 3 days (no, I'm not exaggerating), Stephen was still a baby himself at 21 months, and Brian was in a dead sprint towards the finish of his Masters project. Clara was a great nurser, yet wasn't gaining any weight. At her 4 week appointment she was still less that 6 lbs - nearly the same as her birth weight. Looking back I also was probably facing some post-partum issues and directing most of my hormonal energy at poor Brian. Our house was messy, smelly, loud, and tension charged.

Enter - positive pregnancy test. Two babies in one year.

Brian heard my sobs from the kitchen and came around the corner. He lifted me from the floor, comforted me through his own shock, and left for work.

After a few deep breaths, I turned on the radio for a distraction. At that same moment, Brian turned on his in his car.

"He gives and takes away,
He gives and takes away,
My heart will choose to say,
Lord, blessed be your name."
It became my mantra. "He gives and takes away... my heart will choose to say." With one hand He was giving us an unexpected baby, with the other He was taking away our plans.

Then came the request to move to the other side of the world. Only 6 months, but 6 very big months in the lives of our little family. We would have a 2 year old, a 4 month old, and eventually give birth in Tokyo. Brian was given warnings of an intense work schedule.

"Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name."

We accepted in faith - and even excitement. (What can I say - we're a little nuts.) And He provided. And provided. And provided. We were allowed a nanny. For the first time ever, we didn't have any money worries and were able to save enough to purchase a van outright when we came home. Everyone was healthy. Brian's job was even strangely quiet during our 6 months.

"Blessed be your name
when the sun's shining down on me
when the worlds all as it should be
Blessed be your name."

I wish I was a quick learner. I wish I could say that I learned some great lessons while we were in Tokyo. That I had the perspective to see (as Sarah Groves says) that God was recycling my trials to bring me gain. That He was providing us abundantly to show that He can. That He is reliable. Dependable. Loving. Protective.

No. I didn't really get it. I had a glimpse. An inkling. To be honest, I was mostly just surviving through that time and working hard to make it through the day without a cultural disaster.

But now - when I hear that song. When I sing over and over...

"Every blessing you pour out
I'll turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in Lord
still I'm gonna say -
Blessed be the name of the Lord."
I learn something new. Each and every time, He shows me something new. Photos flash through my mind. Things that I didn't - couldn't - see. Perspective.

What a wonderful gracious God to continuously remind me of His love. To let me remember that he is My Rock and My Redeemer.

And I praise, and praise, and praise.

"Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name, Jesus.
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name."

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