"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 (NKJV)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Weeks 24 & 25 (Preview): Don't Complain; Give Thanks

"Do everything without complaining or arguing." Phil. 2:14

"Always [give] thanks to God for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Eph. 5:20

I'm merging weeks twenty-four and twenty-five. I have two reasons for this. First, I expect to be pretty busy for the next couple weeks, and this will somewhat ease the posting burden. Second, these commands go together. Thankfulness and complaining can't exist in the same space, and the idea for the next two weeks is to replace complaining speech with thankful speech.

Within the next couple days, my beloved wife Christina will give birth to our third child and first daughter, Josie Leigh. That's right; "Josie" never appeared on the baby name poll. Sorry. I did say it was a non-binding poll.

The name "Josie" is a short form of Josephine, which is a feminine form of Joseph. The meaning of "Joseph" is "Jehovah increases." Isn't that true? God increases, and He often does it in unexpected ways. There are two major biblical characters named Joseph, and the truth that "God increases" is illustrated by both of their lives. When Jacob's son, Joseph, was young, he had visions that his brothers would someday bow down to him. He never envisioned, however, the path that God would take him down---through slavery, prison, and eventually to Pharaoh's right hand. Jesus's earthly father, Joseph, knew that he was getting a wife and probably looked forward to having children, but he never imagined that his bride would bear the Christ-child.

I'm thirty-five years old, and I'm not living the life that I planned. When I was a kid and a younger man, I had a lot of ambitions. I had no ambition, however, to become a husband or father. I had my plans, but the Lord directed my steps. He's given me much more than I dreamed of. Christina and I have been married for over ten years. She has enriched my life, and I am amazed at how great and growing are the blessings God has given us. To be honest, I was never super excited about having kids. As God has increased my family, however, He has expanded my heart. Now, I think our boys are amazing and precious, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. When I think about the life I wanted and compare it to the life God has given me, there is really no comparison at all. God has given me a life immeasurably bigger, richer, and better than anything I ever imagined.

I still had mixed feelings about adding a third child to the family. To be honest (and I'm still trying to be more honest), I didn't want another kid at all! It's been four years since Christina and I dealt with late night feedings, poopy diapers and spit-up. And, we're four years older. And, I don't remember all that stuff being any fun seven years ago or four years ago. On some level, however, I know that this is God increasing. I know that a little girl is a tremendous blessing. I know that as God increases our family, He will once again expand my heart.

On the other hand, I'm inclined to lose perspective when elbow deep in poopy diapers and spit-up. Being honest again, I'm generally inclined to complain and grumble about life and to not be thankful. So, here is my assignment for Weeks 24 and 25: to do everything without complaining and grumbling, and to always give thanks to God.

There's something else that strikes me about the story of Joseph (Jacob's son). Through betrayal, slavery and prison, he never complained about his circumstances. What was his secret? I think it was that he never stopped believing that God was good and in control. His core belief about God's sovereignty is what freed him to be thankful in all circumstances and even to forgive his brothers who betrayed him. Joseph was able to say that everything that had happened in his life was intended by God for His good purposes. Gen. 45:4-8, 50:15-21.

I hope and pray that as I try to replace complaining with thankfulness in my speech and heart that my daughter's name, "Josie," will serve as a reminder of Joseph's example, that God increases, and that He is good and always in control.


  1. I have been awaiting the reveal of the baby girl Wyatt name for many months now. I am so thrilled to know that it has solid meaning in your lives, and so excited to meet your little girl. And I also pray that you'll be so thankful for her that you don't even have an instance to grumble during a late night diaper change.

  2. I love this. I love how God works. I love the beautiful name you're giving this little girl. And I love to see God expanding your beautiful family. You got me teared up, Nathan Wyatt. You are such a blessed man!

    I agree that these last two posts of yours go hand in hand. It's one thing to be honest and not lie. But to not let that lead to complaining, well, there's a fine line (and one I'm not often very good at walking). Such a heart issue.

    I pray that God will put his goodness and his sovereignty in your heart more. Little Josie will be such a tool in that :) May your joy just overflow and overwhelm any attempt to complain! God is so good!

    Praying for your family in these "last days" :) Sleep!!

  3. After a particularly stressful week at my coffee shop job, I must say I've been failing miserably in the complaining and grumbling department. God has called me out on it over and over, case in point, reading the blog this week. Thanks for being so relevant in every post, Nathan.

    On a lighter and more joyful note, I'm so very excited for your family! I've been praying for you guys for speedy delivery for Christina and stress free first couple of days. We'll miss you this Saturday at the worship team dinner....tell Josie we all say 'hello' and can't wait to see her beautiful face.

  4. Nathan, I pray grace on you during this season of transition and all the work that baby brings. And, I agree, that God is bringing increase to your family in an amazing, beautiful way. Josie is gorgeous! I know she will be the delight of your hearts.

  5. "Isn't that true? God increases, and He often does it in unexpected ways." You're totally correct.