Amazing grace! how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I’m running on about two hours of sleep today.
I’m almost seven months pregnant, and I’ve been away from home for the past five days working. I’m doing work that I love, but today I miss my little girl. I miss my husband. I miss my community. I missed Mother’s Day and my little sister’s birthday. And now—because of a flight delay—I’m even missing out on the morning I was supposed to get to celebrate my sister before we pick up my daughter at school. On top of it all, I’m writing this in the back row of an airplane that does not recline, next to a man who does not seem to notice or care that I am pregnant because he’s taking up about half of my seat with his elbow room. For some reason, his lack of concern that I have any space at all, even though I am technically two people right now, is what has sent me over the edge.
The tears are flowing—which is fine, since said man next to me is paying no attention at all. I am maxed out. Spent. Exhausted. I can feel the discontent rising up in my heart. It sounds like inaudible curse words that I want to spit in anger towards this man next to me hogging the armrest.
I know part of this is due to lack of sleep, but I also know that deep down, it is a heart issue for me. I have gone too hard for too long, and once again, I have tried to do too much of this life in my own strength. Yet here is the Lord in His kindness, reminding me to write about His amazing grace. I am cursing in my heart at a stranger, and God is calling me deeper into His grace—to receive it for myself, and to repent and offer it to those around me, even the armrest bullies. He is calling me to believe the truth of Romans 5:20: where sin abounds, grace abounds even more.
I am ashamed of my gut reaction to my circumstances and grieved by my lack of gratitude, my fierce desire for independence, and my pride. But God loves me enough to meet me in my heart’s sickness (Jer 17:9). He leads me to write about His grace today that I might experience it again-—with eyes refreshed and sight regained (Jn 9:25). Amazing.
So what does grace sound like?
From where I sit in the back of this airplane, it sounds like the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit asking me to let go of my anger, admit my weakness, and allow Him to replace my deficit with the surplus of His love. It sounds like God seeking me with His truth when I am lost in my sin (Luke 15). It sounds like God beckoning me to write about this strong, old hymn-—even when I’m feeling more wretched than redeemed—so I can experience, once again, the beauty and power and relief of His grace washing over me.
Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved.
It is because of God’s grace that I am able to see my weakness, my pride, and my not-enough. It is His grace that is more than enough to meet and cover me in all my broken, messy places (2 Cor 12:9). And it is His grace that brings me rest, as He tenderly instructs my heart to worship Him alone (Ps 86:11).
Dear sisters, there is unmerited, undeserved, and unbridled grace for us today and every day. It sounds like an invitation to rest in Jesus. It sounds like this beautiful, old song—a song we get to sing today, tomorrow and forever! And that truly is amazing.
Father, would You continue to show me the offensive ways in my heart, that I may see my deep need of Your grace and know more deeply Your great sufficiency to meet my every need. Amen.
John Newton, 1779
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.