My birthday is on Saturday. I am proud to celebrate it. Reaching this birthday is a triumph for me.
As I’ve mentioned before, I battle depression. It is a constant part of my life, and I fight to not allow it to consume me. Some times are better than others—and this past year of life has been hard. So I want to share what has gotten me through the past year(s): God’s grace.
My favorite Christian song is “Amazing Grace.” Hearing it is like catching a breath while drowning. Hearing it is like being wrapped into the most secure hug, the hug that protects and that doesn’t let go. Hearing it is like time stopping to give a glimpse into what eternity might feel like.
I have come to tears so many times while singing or listening to “Amazing Grace.” No other song has ever resonated so strongly with me. On days when it feels like depression is winning, I listen to it in a desperate need to remember hope. On days when I’m feeling better, I listen to it in praise and thankfulness.
It is a simple song, yet so complex. It has lines of pain and of hard times, and it has lines of peace and of joy. But in each line is confidence.
May I share some of those lines with you?
(This is a rhetorical question. It’s my blog and my birthday. I can do what I want!)
Okay. Here you go.
’twas grace that taught my heart to fear: God gave me grace when He taught me that I needed Him. He showed me that I had sinned, that I couldn’t do anything to make up for my sin, and that my sin doomed me to separation from Him. He gave me grace by teaching me fear so that I would seek Him.
and grace my fears relieved: God gave me grace by showing me that He would do whatever it took to make sure that I didn’t have to be separated from Him. He gave me grace by dying for me and then coming alive again to make sure that I can live forever with Him. Physical death is not my end. Instead, my gracious God made it possible for me to live after I die. That promised life will never end and will be free from the pain I have right now. There will be no depression, no darkness, no tears. No pain.
Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come: Life is hard because we live in broken bodies on a broken earth with broken people. Broken things hurt. It all broke a long time ago, in a perfect garden. We are the shards of the beautiful thing God created.
But not only are we the broken, we also do the breaking. Cruel words and actions from one broken being chip away at other broken beings, and we hurt each other.
The “dangers, toils and snares” that we have walked through have been different for each of us, but each of us has walked through them.
’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far: But God walks through the brokenness with us. He feels the pain with us. Safe here doesn’t mean untouched. Life will beat us up at times. But God keeps us through it all. Sometimes I wonder why it is worth staying here on earth when I know that my pain will end when I die. With the promise of Heaven . . . why should I wait? God isn’t afraid of that question, and He answers me when I ask. For some people, God allows their appointed time of death to come at their own hands. But so far, my time hasn’t come. God gives me grace to see that I still have a purpose on earth, to see the people who love me, and to trust His timing for my life and my death. His grace secures me.
and grace will lead me home: God will care for His children. He will never let go of our hands. And when we’re just too tired to keep going, He will carry us. He takes our brokenness and heals it. When our time here on earth is complete, He’ll take us to our forever home, a place where we will belong completely. A place where we will be completely whole, not broken anymore.
God promises good to us. He speaks hope to us. He promises peace.
He has amazing grace.
This birthday is a triumph. I am proud to celebrate it. Here’s to another year!—I don’t know what will happen in it, but I’m confident that God will walk with me through everything.