When My Daughter Sings Me the Gospel

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…

This article is by James Rickenbaker:

I have had anxiety for almost as long as I can remember. It manifests in different ways. And in this stage in life, it has been pretty high for a while. You see, one of the things about anxiety, as you may or may not know, is that it is sometimes hard to manage. When it takes over, fear can invade and bring with it a panoply of other troubling things. It gets better, then worse, then better, then worse. Worst of all, it affects everybody around you. Thanks be to God, I know that it doesn’t last forever.

In the midst of all of this, I drove my four year-old to school this morning. We have our daily ritual: we listen to Christian metal on the way (Not Stryper) and headbang. She almost always asks for the same songs. It’s a bonding thing. But this morning, I asked for some quiet. My little girl immediately knew something was off. So she asked if she could sing to me instead. I’m not someone who cries frequently. But I about lost it.

She sang me every, single word of “Amazing Grace” to start out. I sing it to her every night before bed. I have to say, that song hits differently when anxiety is high. I more easily associate myself with the “wretch” of verse one. But then I hear in my child’s beautiful voice the Gospel that though I am a wretch, God saved me by his amazing grace. I hear that grace relieved my fears. It is a conscious reminder that even in the midst of anxiety, God is with me, holding me fast, keeping me close, and drawing me to himself. God’s grace never seems so amazing as when you feel like it’s the one thing holding you together.

As if my heart wasn’t full to bursting by that point, she then proceeded to sing something that my wife sings to her. But she changed the words to help her Daddy. “All night, all day, angels watching over you, my Daddy.” God protects me. God watches over me. God fights off the devil who is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour me. Lord knows, I really needed to hear that.

After those two beautiful Gospel reminders, she then transitioned to some old favorites: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz and “Let it Go” from Frozen. It was a good ride to school.

There’s no denying that the world in which we live is ripe with things for which we can be anxious. As a priest and preacher of the Gospel, there are very few times in life where I get to hear the Gospel myself. I am always reminding others of it. I am always conveying it to my church and my family. But I need to hear every day that I am loved by God, that God took on human flesh for me, that God took upon himself in Jesus my sin and my brokenness, wretched man that I am, and crucified it with himself. And that when he took upon himself my sin, he gave me his pure and spotless righteousness so that when the Father looks upon me, he doesn’t see a wretch. He sees his son.

Whether or not you have someone who sings to you, it’s forever true that you are loved. Jesus died and rose again for you. And even in the midst of anxiety, God is there, especially when you hear the beautiful, sweet voice of a child singing about how amazing is God’s grace for you.

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2 responses to “When My Daughter Sings Me the Gospel”

  1. Connie Chase says:

    This is so beautiful, James. God loves you and I love you, too.

  2. Katrina R says:

    Amen, Amen, and Amen. I, too, struggle with anxiety, and am in the midst of a very difficult season, with depression piling on top of it all…Christ is my only rest. I need to hear of His sufficiency in my place again, and again, and again. Thank God for His grace and His mercy that knows no end – in and through the gift of His perfect and precious Son, Jesus Christ. Our children are such sweet blessings….

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