The Macs

Friday, November 6, 2009

my heart will choose to say

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful,
Where Your streams of abundance flow, blessed be Your name.
Blessed Be Your name when I'm found in the dessert place,
Though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be Your name.

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.

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.
Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering,
Though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.

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.

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

I have always loved this song. It was so easy for me to sing these words at the top of my lungs when my world was all that it should be. I had my sweet little girl in my arms and life was good.

But, as we walk this road marked with suffering and pain, it suddenly changes the meaning. Joel and I chose to sing this song at Cora's funeral because we wanted the words to really ring true in our lives, even in the darkness. I remember singing the words quietly that day, still so numb and in shock as to what had just happened. I remember thinking,
Can I still honestly sing these words even with empty arms?

After a sweet time of worship on Sunday morning of the retreat, we ended our time together with this song. I just sobbed through the whole thing. I wanted so badly to go back to life as it was a year ago. I wanted so badly to not accept the fact that I was spending a weekend at a grief conference. I wanted so badly for Cora to still be here with us. Is this really part of your plan for my life God? Did this really happen? Am I really supposed to say blessed be your name when the most precious thing in my life has been taken away from me?

And during that time I felt Him simply saying,

I will never fully understand His ways. And I am learning that is okay. Even though it seems like it would be so much easier if I could just understand His purpose and plan in taking Cora home. I am learning that I have to trust. Because I know who God is, I can accept what He gives and takes away--even when I don't understand. That doesn't mean I like it though! I have to determine to keep walking towards Him in the darkness. It is a choice I have to make every day.

My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name.


Blogger Angie said...

Love, love, love this post. It is the year anniversary of my daughter's death today and I have those same feelings. I dont have to like it but as Job says - the Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord Job 1:21.

my heart will also choose to say - Lord blessed be Your name.

Praying for you!


November 6, 2009 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

Hi Jess, I've been reading your blog for months, but have never left a comment. Just wanted to say that your blog is one of the most encouraging, faith building blogs I have ever read. Reading your journey has strengthened my faith and I'm confident (I'm sure it has happened already) that people will come to Christ because of your story.



November 6, 2009 at 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so open and honest. I pray that as people read this and are touched by your grief and your hope, that they would see it is not of your own strength, but (as you clearly say over and over) from Jesus. Like Tara, I pray that many would be touched through your ministry of vulnerability and your reliance on the Lord. May many come to trust in Jesus because of your and Joel's faith!!

November 6, 2009 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger dawn said...

I often wonder that if I knew my humanness would I be able to accept that reason as good enough? Maybe that's why I don't know WHY. I do know ways God has redeemed my son's death in ways only He could.

It is a choice. A choice to bless God anyway. A choice that blesses us too.

Hugs to you. Wonderful post.

November 6, 2009 at 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful post!

I, myself, have sobbed through this song during worship, but for different reasons.

Thanks for sharing this!

November 6, 2009 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

I love that song! Those words really hit home when we had a Celebration of Life service for our beloved pastor and his oldest son (out of 6, 14 and under) who tragically died in a plane accident. And then a couple months later when our larger then life music minister died at a young age. It was so hard for our church! And I remember, like yesterday, hearing those words sang mixed with tears of grief. Yet, we contiune to praise! And know that God will use it all for His glory!

I love reading your blog! And I keep you, your family and soon-to be here on earth baby in my prayers!

Hugs from Florida,

November 6, 2009 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Beki - TheRustedChain said...

I still cannot make it through this song in church without crying.

Your story this year has completely changed the meaning of it for me as well.

God bless you Jess.

November 6, 2009 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

That song is amazing and can speak to you on soooo many levels!!!!

November 6, 2009 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I just posted something like this on my blog yesterday...a dear friend lost her battle with H1N1 and I was reflecting on the same thing. By faith I CHOOSE to believe that God is good...

God bless you and this journey.

November 6, 2009 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Robin in Benton said...

Blessed be the name of the Lord - and blessings to you Jess. Throughout your journey and others that I know of I too have questioned the why and am still working on accepting without questioning God's will. You are such an inspiration and I pray every day for you, Joel and Baby Mac.

November 6, 2009 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger LL said...

Hi Jess, and those who love Jess...I usually just read the updates, and sometimes the comments, spend some time reflecting, and then move on. However, today there is resonance for some reason.

I haven't lost a child, but I did lose my father to alcoholism. They are such different circumstances, but Dawn's comment, along with Jess's post, may have helped to put a piece of the grief puzzle in place for me. Dawn wrote, "I often wonder that if I knew my humanness would I be able to accept that reason as good enough? Maybe that's why I don't know WHY."

Dawn - I think you got it. I think that is the very essence of why we must have faith in God's plan for each one of us, because even if we knew the reasons why tragedies occur, comprehension and acceptance may just never come.

Thank you so much for your ministry. I've learned so much.

November 6, 2009 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

You are amazing. God bless you for using your pain to BLESS Him. You are such a testimony and I hope that in the times you are overcome with grief, that will give you at least a little peace.

November 6, 2009 at 11:01 AM  
Blogger Kari said...

That song has been a tear-jerker in my life too. Those words never rang so true until my mom's cancer diagnosis 4 years ago. I just remember over and over "He gives and takes away". Such a gut-wrenching feeling because it was so true. We aren't promised anything by Him but love and eternity. I hope God continues to heal your broken heart.

kari in colorado (cousin Renae's friend)

November 6, 2009 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger The Sieberts said...

Amen :)We love you guys!

November 6, 2009 at 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your words have brought me closer to God during a time that I so desperately needed to feel His presence. Thank you for that. Know that you are spreading His word and bringing people closer to Him every day. Your strength and honesty in times of weakness are inspirational. May God bless and keep you and your precious family.

November 6, 2009 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

what a beautiful post. each time i sing that song...i cry. He gives and He takes away and it is MY choice to keep saying blessed be His name.

i have to tell you that i read the comment right above mine from anonymous. not that it makes things any easier but when you can see how your pain has helped someone in their walk with the Lord - that is the eternal reward.

praying for you now.

November 6, 2009 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

Thank you so much for posting this today Jess. I have been struggling SO much this week. I can't tell you how many times I have said that I don't understand His ways.

I really needed to hear the words you were lead to write. Thank you so much.

I think and pray for you often.

November 6, 2009 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger meg duerksen said...

i wish we could go back to a year ago also.
for you.
and joel.
that song will always mark a change in my faith too jess...when i had to really think about what it meant.

love you jess.

November 6, 2009 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

You know, this is one of my favorite songs ever. And I have often wondered if I would think of it the same if the road was suffering and pain. I really feel blessed to have found your blog (through Etsy, months ago). I continue to be amazed at your faith and your witness for the Lord, even though your heart is aching. My heart aches for you, and I still pray for you and your family often. Thank you for sharing your faith and trust in the Lord, even through your wilderness.

November 6, 2009 at 1:43 PM  
Blogger Ravan said...

Jess- I know you don't understand why God would take your sweet baby from you so early...and neither do the rest of us, but I don't think you will ever truely know what a huge impact your story has had on people you don't know, and people you'll probably never meet.
It's because of your story, and your Cora, that I have a renewed relationship with God. It's because of yours and Joel's strength and faith through all of it. I am forever in debt to you, Joel, and Cora.
Thank you so much Jess for letting so many people in on such a hard time in your life.

November 6, 2009 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Nikki B said...

I will never sing this song again the same way. I am grateful for this post even though in my gratefullness comes your sadness. You are such an instrument for the Lord.

November 6, 2009 at 3:26 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

My husband and I chose this song for our son's "celebration" service as well. For the same reason - we wanted those surrounding us to join us in living the words. We frequently discuss how difficult it is now to sing the songs we once sang so freely in worship service. The words have a weight and depth now that they didn't have before.

We are hoping to go to the grief conference you and Joel went to. I think it will be good for both of us since we are handling our grief so differently.

I visit our site often, but I post rarely. I think of you every day. Praying for you...

I hope Ayden has met Cora. I believe they would be a cute little team together.


November 6, 2009 at 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my life song. I have been challenged so many times when it's tough to CHOOSE to say. It was a apart of my wedding, it was apart of my 3 year struggle to have a baby, it came on in the car right after we found out we were expecting. It's been a hard song this past year as we have had many heartaches, none that can compare to yours but heartaches all the same. I think sometimes this song becomes my final release to God. He has it played in my life at the just right moment to remind me whom I belong to and whom I receive blessings from. Blessed be His Name

November 6, 2009 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Madison Sanders said...

Yes. We are still supposed to praise Him through the good times and bad. God is still Holy, mighty, awesome, etc. no matter what we go through. He doesn't change.

My mom has always said that I get to choose whether I let my circumastances make me bitter ot better. I choose to let them make me a better person. I'm glad you have too.

November 6, 2009 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

You are truly an inspiration to all of us and I can only hope and pray to have your grace and faith during difficult times.

God Bless you always.

November 6, 2009 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Gail said...

Hey sweet friend--thanks again for sharing your heart. Sure love you, and continue to hurt for you.

November 6, 2009 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Jane In The Jungle said...

I too love this song...and it is a choice to make daily, to trust but not understand.


November 6, 2009 at 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

Thank you Jess. That is one of my favorite songs as well. Thank you for writing this post.

November 6, 2009 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger Anderson Family said...

It has been a bit of a rough week and Jack(5 yr old) asked me to take him to the cemetery so he could leave some flowers and toy cars at Knox's grave. As we were driving there, I was thinking about the group of us singing this song and what an indescribable thing it was. I really don't have the words for it. Those word can be so hard to say, but then He is all we can cling too so yes we can say them. It was incredible to sing those words with you all and everyone else and to know we shared that gut-wrenching feeling of having our child taken away, but at the same time feeling the presence of the Father while we blessed His name....Rachel

November 6, 2009 at 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Diana said...

Amen! And AMEN!

Prayers daily for you guys.

November 6, 2009 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger Courtney Cloud said...

Praying for you daily. Your blog gives me so much hope for the future. We are choosing to say "Blessed by Your name" along with you.

November 7, 2009 at 5:27 AM  
Blogger Tricia said...

Deuteronomy 4:29-31 (New International Version)
29~ But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30~ When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. 31~ For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.

This is a passage that I have been thinking of a lot lately. The Lord is faithful, even in the most difficult times. What an amazing gift. Your continued faith through the most painful time a parent would never dream fills my heart.

Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us.

With love and prayers,

November 7, 2009 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

every time i sing this song, tears well up in my eyes. it is a hard song to sing when struggling with pain and grief. with that being said, i feel that some of those tears are tears of joy that even through those hard times, my God is still a constant in my life!

the ladies at my church are doing the Esther bible study by Beth Moore. LOVE IT! It's about woman and an interesting fact is in the book of Esther God's name is not mentioned once. It seems as though he is not there. But even when he chooses to remain silent it does not mean he is anonymous. He is there and faithful.

i love reading your posts... you wear your heart on your sleeve and to read your pure honesty during your darkest days is heart wrenching, but at the same time, I catch a glimpse of the Holy Spirit alive in you!

Blessed be HIS name!!!

November 7, 2009 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Al's World said...

I love this song and I think the fact that you can sing this with certainity during our lows in lives is exactly what the Lord wants us to do. You are an inspiration...keep singing those praises!

November 7, 2009 at 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You give new meaning to the word FAITH.

Thank you for sharing.

November 7, 2009 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger The Schilling's from Cimarron said...

Love you! You always make me think clearly and reinforce for us what is really important! We miss you and am glad you can still be so open with your feelings with us on your blog. Once again I am so proud of the you and your faith. You have continued to teach us so much! Hope to see you soon, and as always we love you and think of you daily!


November 8, 2009 at 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. I needed these words right now. We buried our fourth miscarried baby this week. Our hearts are broken, our arms aching to hold these babies.
You know that pain better than anybody.
And yet *you* are the one encouraging us to praise the Lord in our pain. To *choose* to rejoice in Him and in His plan.
Thank you.

November 8, 2009 at 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are an amazing lady Jess.

Krissy Hunecke
Batavia, IL

November 8, 2009 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger Linkis Family Love said...

we sang that song today at church. i will always remember you now, when we sing of my favorites, too. you are one heck of a christian woman, and inspriation...never forget the difference you and joel are making in this world, and you don't even know it.
from: edwardsville, IL.
-Kelli Linkis <><<

November 8, 2009 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Still praying for you and loving you even though we have never met.

November 9, 2009 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger La Familia Garcia said...

I LOVE this song and it is so good to sing on good/bad/any day! I love your pictures of your sweet Cora sometimes I think she looks JUST like Joel and sometimes JUST like you!! Congrats on the new little one!

November 9, 2009 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger TheConnorClan said...

you are an inspiration! I follow your blog and your faith is inspiring. We lost a baby when I was four months pregnant and I know that our little girls are in heaven praising Jesus! God Bless You ;)

November 11, 2009 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Bill and Jenn said...

One of my best friends just recently lost her infant son only 90 minutes after he was born. This same song has been their rally cry throughout the whole pregnancy, and I cannot hear it without crying. Your title hit the nail on the head.... My heart will CHOOSE to say, Blessed be your name. What a discipline-- to CHOOSE to praise in the midst of grief. My heart goes out to you-- and countless others-- who make that choice daily.

Recently heard a sermon by John Piper that was so encouraging re: suffering.... you can find it on his website ( if you search under the title "Live to Die". I think you might enjoy hearing his perspective.

Blessings to you and Joel and Baby Mac!

November 12, 2009 at 11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thinking of you both today. This song is one of my favorites, too.
I will be praying for you during this holiday season.

November 13, 2009 at 7:43 PM  

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