Sunday, April 3, 2011

Amazing Grace

Today in church, we sang "Amazing Grace."  I probably couldn't even guess at how many times I have sung this song, but I don't know that I have understood the fullness of these verses until today.  Perhaps I had to walk out, in the flesh, what it means to know grace and to receive it in order to completely internalize and resonate with these words.

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.

The last month or two, it's been a time of brokenness.  I've seen my sin, the thorns in my side, the ugliness behind what I show to the world but cannot hide from God.  I've been wandering in this wilderness, but He has found me and I see more clearly now, this beauty from the ashes, than I ever have in my life.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

I have the fear thing down, you know, but I realized today that rarely have I allowed myself to receive the grace that truly lets my heart rest in the fact that He loves me.  Fully and completely.  Imperfect and broken.
I've spent so much of my life just wanting to do the right thing because I was afraid of what God would do to me if I didn't do everything just so.
But did you know this?
Mostly what God does is love you....He (Jesus) didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us.
Ephesians 5: 1

I think I would have gotten just as much out of the rest of the verses, had I not suddenly had the realization that this was my grandmother's favorite hymn.  And that on Monday, April 4th, she will have been gone a year.

A year, I have been without my grandmother.  And while it seems like eternity, it also seems like I could still pick up the phone and call her at any moment.  And as I tried to hold it together for the rest of the song, I marveled at how time seems to have lessened the frequency of these grief pains, but that the pains themselves, whenever they occur, are still so deep.  

The waves still crash down and, when I have a moment to myself, I will let them take me for a short ride.


  1. a list for you:
    1. love the new look here!
    2. i'm sorry about your grannie. i know it's been a year. but....
    3. i love that you share with us your journey

  2. I love you Jen...just wanted you to know are one perfectly imperfected perfectly made Jesus girl...and I just love you :)

  3. Jen,
    A year without your grandma -- I am so sorry.

    Thanks for sharing the way the grief tide still hits you. Not as often but still deep. It will be a year on May 16th that we lost my brother-in-law. I can't believe it has nearly been a year. Thank you for sharing your journey, by doing so it frees me to ride the waves of grief when they come for me, too.

    May the God of all comfort, comfort you.

    With love, Kathleen

  4. please check out my new posting on my blog: Our friend has suffered a sudden loss of her 19 year old son and I did two entries titled "our friend" sharing my testimony and her loss and "a grief filled cry" about god at work in our church. jennifer

  5. Love the look of your blog.....and that is the BEST song! The story behind it is amazing....if you don't know it, google it.....truly astounding.

  6. Of all the inspired songs there are, my husband still loves that one more than all others put together. When I sing it, my heart is always so warmed.

    I love what your heart heard while singing it yesterday. I also understand the love and loss of a precious grandmother. When I sing "In the Garden" I always think of her, and when I sing "I Am Thine Oh Lord", I am almost positive I can hear her creaky old lady voice singing it with me.

    Be covered with the grace and goodness of God today, Jen.

  7. How gracious God is to take a old familar some to gently show you how far you have come and to give you a reminder of your grannys faith.

  8. I'm sorry about your grandmother, Jen. What you did with the hymn is beautiful. I do that sometimes with Psalms. I personalize them and re-write them to speak of my circumstances.

    Love the new look with your drawings as a header.

  9. I cry EVERY time I sing Amazing Grace, every time. Walking with you in pain and grief, Jen. A year has gone by, but the missing remains. I so get that. A special prayer for you today.

    And thanks for linking such a beautiful, heartfelt post today.

    P.S. LOVE the remodel here!!!

  10. I never met your grandmother, but I love her because of what she meant to one of the most wonderful young ladies I know. Grieving alongside you, Jen.

  11. My favorite hymn. Such a favorite it is my children's favorite lullaby!! We sing it all.the.time.

    Ephesians 5:1, I'll be camping there for awhile.


  12. who can sing this song without getting choked up? I'm sorry about your grandma. I know I will go thru the days and then just one little thing like a scent, another grandma, a song will set me off and I begin to miss my grandma with tears and memories. I hope you spend your day reflecting. I will pray for you today.

  13. I too am missing my grandmother. I just want to tell you that you have a beautiful heart. Thank you for sharing so openly on your blog. I love the verse in Song of Solomon 1:5, "I am dark, but lovely". You see, we often see ourselves as dark, weak, sinful people. But God sees us as lovely. You delight His heart and you bring Him pleasure. May he wrap you up in his perfect love today!

  14. A favorite of mine also:) I echo with the others that I too love your heart. I always have...out of these He will bring beauty...there is so much He wants us to know He loves us and longs to just spend time. He really does know we are imperfect. I, personally, am learning that the OT is ALL fulfilled in Jesus. Due to my HUGE love for the OT but it is law talk which is right up the list maker and ruler follower's thinking:) It has been in the last couple of years that He is teaching me that Jesus took care of all of that and now when I read the OT I do it with a new appreciation and new to speak. I don't know how to explain it here but it has made a huge impact on me recieving grace.
    love you,

  15. Oh Jen,
    Praying for your peace, comfort, and rest as you reflect today on the blessing of your grandmother. I know this kind of loss, but I also know we don't mourn like those with no hope, because we know we will reunite again.

  16. I often don't extend grace to myself either. I get caught up in that cycle...I think that is why the song Amazing Grace always calls me to cry (and Chris Tomlin's version...oh my) I pray that in the days ahead you learn that His Grace is suffcient all things.

    One year. Oh Jen. My heart hurts for you today. I am so sorry. I know well how the pain comes and goes and it happens when least expected. I pray that you remember the beauty today. I know the day will be filled with pain too but I hope the beauty outshines that pain and lets you remember how special she was and is to you. Her love never ends...even though she is no longer here. You carry her with you in your heart. Sending love and hugs your way.

    And lastly I just have to say...the new look is fabulous!

  17. I remember the first time I began to realize that there is nothing I could do to make Him love me more, and nothing I could do to make Him love me less... I hope your heart is comforted by warm memories tonight.

  18. Yes, loss. Sigh. So hard on the the birthday and the day they left this earth, eh? There are other pockets of days in between but nothing is as bittersweet as those two.

    And grace...The single-most reason I became a Christian. Yet. I absolutely have a difficult time giving it - something I'm working on DILIGENTLY right now as we speak.

    Thinking of you and praying for your strength of heart.

    On another note, LOVE the new look over here, girl!

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire

  19. Love, love Amazing Grace, one of the greatest of the hymns!

    Love the new blog design!

  20. I love reading your heart, Jen! Amazing Grace, a song that has been so near and dear to my heart. This past year, my life has been, more than ever before, a journey of faith. Like Hannah Hurnard's Much-Afraid. But before that, grace. Grace marked my life. I spoke on it often, shared it, lived it, gave it ... and it has been on my heart lately -- telling that side of the story, for I've not written about it.

    I'm so sorry for the ache in your heart, missing your grandma. I can only imagine the loss. Just the thought of my Gram heading Home, and I'm a heap of tears. Praying for you tonight, Friend.

  21. Is a gift to share this path with we all walk different, and yet oh-so-achingly-similar tangled trails of wilderness walking and respites of light.

    "O Lord my God, in You do I put my trust..." - Psalm 7:1

  22. I don't know if there can ever be a better song than Amazing Grace. I have a memory of my grandmother and that song, too. It's a gift to have been loved so well and to have loved someone so deeply that, after they've been gone a year, the emptiness still aches.


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