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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Matt Redman's Blessed Be Your Name


by Gina Welborn

I like to sing. Give me 40 minutes of singin' and only 20 minutes of preachin' any Sunday. Or maybe 50/10.

Anyhoo, when the Inkies were discussing this theme, Wenda shared a story about how a man in her church was quite offended by the song, "Blessed Be Your Name," written by Matt Redman. Wasn't a worship song. Wasn't uplifting. Had no place in the church. Ouch! There's a bitter porcupine. Wenda said, "Reminds me of me. How I'd rather not let God into the hurting places in my life. I'd just like to lock Him out and only acknowledge him in the good stuff. Seems like it would be the other way around, but for me it's not."

Boy, did she relate to me.

When I found out I was pregnant with baby #5, I wasn't the least bit excited. In fact, I'd say I was majorly ticked off. ANGRY. Hubby wasn't too thrilled either, but he adjusted to it quicker than I did. He's mature like that. While we never found out the sex of our other 4 critters, I told hubby I needed to on this one because I needed something--anything--to help get me excited...or at least help me not be angry anymore. Pink baby girl clothes scream happy. I'd have eaten pink baby girl clothes if doing so would have made me happy.

Well, one Sunday morning for some reason, hubby needed me to fill in for the guy who normally worked the Power Point/Media Shout for the music during first service morning worship. I figured doing it would give me something to focus on instead of worshiping a God I was ticked off at.

The first two songs were no problem. Then "Blessed Be Your Name" came on.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name


Easy to read. Easy to hear. But the next weren't so...

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name


By this point my throat tightened, eyes teared up, my lungs constricted...

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...


By here, I couldn't breath and had to force myself to push the button to change slides...

See, I was okay with blessing God when "when the sun's shining down on me, when the world's 'all as it should be," but I certainly didn't want to bless, praise, honor, glorify Him when I was "on the road marked with suffering." Not that being pregnant was suffering, but being pregnant when I didn't want to be certainly felt like suffering to me. So I could freely say there was "pain in the offering," pain in blessing His name that I felt it was easier to stay angry at God.

Call me crazy, but I'm a pain avoider. I didn't like to hurt for myself so why would I want to hurt for God?

Somehow I kept my emotions bottled until we got home. Which was foolish. I should have felt free to weep at church. Only we hadn't told anyone I was pregnant, and I think I was at least three months along. Shoot, maybe more because I think I'd already been to the doctor and I hadn't gone in until I was 4 months along, which garnered me lots of lectures from the nurses. Actually, I don't think we told many people I was pregnant at any time during the pregnancy because tons of them were shocked when critter 5 and I showed up to church the Sunday after delivering her.

Anyhoo, now when I look at our precious #5, I can't imagine not having her. When I was typing this, she walked in my office and smiled at me. Needless to say, I had to pick her up and put her in my lap. She sipped my Vanilla Coke and said, "Mmm. That's good coffee."

Before I take the confused child to Starbucks, lemme finish my story...

Last spring, I did the Beth Moore ESTHER Bible study. During week four's video session, Beth talked about fear. She said, "We can protect ourself right out of our callings." Boy, do I know how to do that with my writing. But God didn't want me to focus on my shallow writing fears. He decided to smack me upside the heart with my deepest fear. Eventually. Here's what I wrote in my notes:

"Courage is when you look _______ in the face. Don't deny it. Deny it's victory over you. You may be one brave decision away from a new path--from your calling, destiny. The #1 command in the Bible: DO NOT BE AFRAID. We all cherish fear so closely that we can shed it even when told to. Psalm 138:8. Can you imagine living without fearing _______? Do you believe a good week is only a happy accident? Proverbs 31. Most of what we fear will never happen to us. Although this is true, Satan will keep threatening us with it over and over again. WHAT IF is an acronym for I FEAR."

In the listener guide, Beth wrote this: "And if _________, then God will take care of me."

She challenged us to find what that ______ was in our lives. What did we fear on a daily basis? What even was our deepest, most crippling fear?

Ladies all over the room were in tears. Not me. I was, well, kinda peturbed.

How the heck was I gonna confront my deepest fear if I didn't know what it was. Oh, I have fears which you can read if you click on this link. Driving across a bridge. Heights. Swimming in a lake, river, or ocean where human-eating fish live. And so on. But those are only fears I have for to garner sympathy. I don't really fear those things. Well, maybe I do the fish.

So I told my friend Tanya as we were leaving the classroom (paraphrasing here), "I feel abnormal because I don't have any crippling fears. Surely I have a fear. A real fear. In fact, this week I'm gonna pray that God shows me a real fear. Ooh, I'm excited!" I won't describe the "look" she gave me. Just between us, I think she's confident I'm abnormal.

Three days later...NOTHING. Still no fear.

I even complained to my husband. I'm sure he thought I was abnormal for wanting a fear. I was considering pondering the very idea that perhaps maybe I was abnormal. (See note above about Tanya.)

Not but a day after I'd decided to live with my disappointment in not having a fear to conquer in Jesus' name, God opened my eyes. He played a song on my heart. Then again, it could have been on the radio.

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


I had a fear. A real fear. Getting pregnant. My fear began after baby #3. He wasn't planned. After I had him, I began to dread when Aunt Flo was late in visiting. I know: TMI. Do you know how much pregnancy and babies cost? Several years, a miscarriage, and a traumatic deliver of baby #4 later, I was emotionally crippled with the fear of getting pregnant again. So can you understand why I was so angry at God when I realized I was pregnant with #5? All my fears were answered with her.

Oh my satellites dishes! That was not the fear I'd wanted to face. I figured God would show me I had a fear of creepy crawly things or not making it to the potty quick enough when I was in the middle of Wal-Mart. I wanted a cool fear.

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say


Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name


I had to pray my way though the song, though my fears, though my lack of trust in God knowing what was best for me. I had to reach a point where I could say "If I got pregnant again, God WILL take care of me and I WILL be okay."

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name


Funny thing is this past fall when I was at a doc appointment and the nurse said, "Is there any possibility you could be pregnant?" (a routine question), I shrugged and said, "Probably not, but if I were, it's no biggie."

So I'm back to where I was when I walked out of the Esther video session four: happily relishing my fake fear of driving on bridges and swimming where the human-eating fish live.

Boy, does it feel nice.

Love the song? Listen to it HERE

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name


"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

To read more about Matt Redman's inspiration behind the song, click here.

What do you fear? What lesson has God ever taken you through to teach you not to fear?

12 comments:

  1. Thank you, Gina. This was a great devotion. So much food for thought. I will say that Blessed be Your Name is my favorite song. It ministers to me in a deep way, and refocuses me on reality. Not the physical things that we think are reality. You know, those things that cause us to groan when a book reviewer says a book is full of 'gritty realism'. Because we know that that means the book will be depressing and possibly violent. I'm talking about the real reality of the spiritual realm, which is way more 'real' than this fleeting, spinning planet.

    No matter what, I WILL choose to say-Lord Blessed be Your Name!

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  2. I loved this post! And I have to say this is my favorite worship song! It has meant soooo much to me and has brought me healing through a difficult 4 years. My husband and I started a church plant 4 years ago (had definite confirmation on it) and it failed. We ended up going into debt while using up all our savings and retirement. We closed the doors almost a year ago and God gave my husband a preaching job at a fantastic church, but we are still struggling with financial chaos. (which was MY biggest fear) I have learned to praise God through it all and he has taken my fear away. We will survive. He takes care of us through it all. May HE be blessed and praised!!!!

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  3. Thank you, Gina. That's a wonderful post and I love the picture of #5 and her idea of coffee. Yum! :)

    As you know, I've walked that road of suffering through 10 difficult years of my oldest child's mental health issues and know how that effects "everything" else in life.

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

    I'd have to say that I haven't conquered my biggest fear yet, and doubt I ever will, but for the grace of God. That fear is that some day my oldest will chose to no longer walk this planet.

    He gives and takes away. We had a difficult night and Satan knows how to twist the knife, but I hang on and we hang on to HOPE. I'll remind her of this scripture today.

    "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

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  4. I don't want to name any fears lest God make me do them. LOL. Seriously, having another child would be way up there, but I think we have too many fail safes in place for that to happen.

    When I was younger I was very uncomfortable around handicapped people, and one summer I was offered a job at a camp for kids with spina bifida. So I took it. It was hard for the first week, but I ended up falling in love with the kids and overcoming my fear. That was a neat experience.

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  5. Beautiful post, Gina. I can relate to your angry eyebrows response to pregnancy #5. I did the same with #4.
    I love this song, too, although I prefer the Newsboys version.
    I'm going to have to look into that Esther study now. Ouch. I'll have to dig through so many layers of faux-fears I don't even want to know what's at the bottom of it all.
    Thank you, dear Gina, for sharing your heart with us today. You blessed me.

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  6. What a great resource!

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  7. Thanks for sharing your story, Gina. I think if we are honest we can all relate on some level. I know at various times in my life that song has been the release point for whatever it is I've been afraid to face.

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  8. Gina, I love this post; it's so powerful. I appreciate your transparency, as so often we live as if we're isolated and alone in our fears, anger, and Christian journeys. I'm blessed by your story. Thank you!

    I'm blessed by others' stories here in the comments, too: Sherrinda, Dina and Jill, along with Gina's stories encouraged me. I've written and deleted some personal stuff, and I'm just going to leave it deleted, but please know that your stories touched me.

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  9. Gina, I love the song and I love your post. I, too, am going to have to look into that Esther study. I'm praying for all of us with our fears and the knowledge that, in His name, the Lord will help us conquer them. Sometimes, like Dina, I'm afraid to think too hard on what they are, lest God makes me face them. But I know, because I've experienced this, when He carries me through whatever the situation is, my faith is always stronger and I'm filled with peace.

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  10. What a wonderful post! I can connect on soooo many levels!

    This year I've facilitated the Beth Moore study of Esther, which REALLY emphasizes the trusting even when you're not seeing concept.

    Fear of death for years kept me in chains. God has really worked on my faith in this area.

    Thank you, Gina!
    Patti

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  11. Just a quick question: if another pregnancy is what you were so afraid of then why did you not take precautions as to not have one? I am afraid of tornados, so I do not live where they frequently occur. Other than that, I enjoyed reading and love that song.

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  12. Thank you. That was beautiful and absolutely uplifting. :)

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