Blessed be his name

I will never forget reading the care page of my friend Kathy sharing with us that their 11-Gerrietyear-old son Gerrit died after an 18 month battle with brain cancer. It was tragic in so many ways. He had the best smile and vibrant spirit, and it felt wrong and hard to make sense of.

And the next day Kathy asked people to listen to a song and come ready to sing it at the funeral…Blessed be your name! It was a bold request from a mother whose heart was shattered. And it has stayed with me over all these years.

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 desert 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, oh
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
God you give and take away
Oh you give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
And how I remember the feeling in my body when we sang the words on that Spring day remembering Gerrits life.
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
God you give and take away
Oh you give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
I am keenly aware of these words in different seasons of my life. In this past year, I often remind myself that if I am going to feel the pain of what is taken, I can not forget the gifts I have been given. There is a balance for gratitude and grieving. Both are critical to peace, and it is imperative that we do not live as if one cancels the other out.
Grief/sorrow is powerful and real and deserves space in our lives for what we lose.
Gratitude is sincere and abundant and life-giving. To live a life with gratitude is to become healthier in all areas of our being (physical, social, emotional and spiritual)
IMG_8722As I have reflected on words that bring comfort on hard days, I have found that my Dad would often sign off his emails with these words.
Blessed be His name
And so tonight, I carry with me a message offered to us by Kathy and Jeremy in one of the most painful seasons of their days and words from my Dad as he came face to face with the reality that his life was drawing to an end. Gerrit was only 11 years old and battled a brain tumor for 18 months. My Dad was 78 and battled a brain tumor for 7 weeks. Today I received this message from Gerrit’s grandpa who was also a friend of my Dad. I smiled when I read his very good words, he had no idea I planned to write about Gerrit today.
“Stay strong. Your dad, brother, and Gerritt have actually seen Jesus! I can only imagine!”
Blessed be His name