There was a time—not so long ago—when the only way I could fall asleep at night was with worship music playing in my ears. I would try to keep my thoughts captive to the truths of the lyrics instead of being overwhelmed by the storms raging in my life. One night, right before bed, I said aloud to my husband, but really more to God, “This wasn’t supposed to be my story!”
I felt that I had been faithfully following and serving God for decades, and I didn’t think it was fair that He seemed to be cueing one storm after another, storms that threatened to pull me under in despair. Right after saying “this wasn’t supposed to be my story,” out came the headphones so I could try to fall asleep by listening to a new worship album. I soon heard these lyrics being sung over me . . .
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, sweet whispers of love.
This is my story, this is my song . . .
As those beautiful promises washed over me, I started singing the song out loud, tears streaming down my face. I looked over at my sweet husband and tears were in his eyes, too, as he held me close. Just after crying out to God, “This wasn’t supposed to be my story,” He was saying to my heart, “Judy, your true story is that you are an heir of My salvation. You were purchased and washed by My blood. You are born of My Spirit. THIS is your story, this is your song! Even though storms are raging right now, all is at rest . . . because of Me!”
“Blessed Assurance” was written in 1873 by one of my heroes, Fanny Crosby (1820–1915). Fanny was blinded in infancy by a botched medical procedure, later married, and had only one child, who died in her sleep soon after birth. Fanny could have easily cried out to God, “This wasn’t supposed to be my story!” Instead, she wrote over 8,000 hymns in praise to God. She was a gifted poet, lyricist, and composer who famously said, “It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”
Echoes of mercy and sweet whispers of love fell over me on that dark night in 2003, over 130 years after Fanny penned the words. I am forever grateful that God put that song in her heart, and that he put it in mine, reminding me that He is my story and He is my song.
Here’s a link to the version of the song I listened to that night. You can also learn more about Fanny Crosby here.
I would love to hear what song(s) have personally redirected you to God’s goodness and faithfulness in a tough season! Please share with me by commenting below.
Thanks Judy.The first thought that came to mind is the song, There is room at The Cross For You.I was searching, wanting to know Jesus in a personal way. This song was part of my search.
Oh, how I love your story!
You are such a beautiful writer. This one brought me to tears, as I remember you sharing how difficult that time in your life was. Keep writing and ministering to us, Judy. You have a gift and it invariably lifts me to the Throne.
Sweet Sandy – Thank you for your kind words.
Such beautiful and real words from a beautiful daughter of the King! There have been so many songs the Lord has brought to my ears over the years as I work through the storms of my life but the one that still brings tears to my eyes every time is It is Well With My Soul. The history of that song reminds me that no matter HOW many storms come or how dark they get…it does not change the fact that God is GOOD and I am FOREVER His child…and as you so sweetly put it – an heir to His salvation . I can’t wait to read more of your thoughts on this blog. Love you!
Blair – Thank you for your sweet comments, friend! I love your heart!
Thanks Judy for sharing your story a wonderful encouragement. Yes, Jesus is mine and I am thankful for my story. We serve a big God who loves us immensely.
Thank you, Cindy!
It was the summer of 2006 and I was alone in Dallas Texas for medical treatment. Every night for 2 1/2 months the song I listened to as I climbed into bed was Casting Crowns “Praise You In This Storm”. I remember crying out to God, night after night……and it was still raining…as the song says. I remember singing “I will rise my hands,(and I did) and praise the God who gives and takes away…..I lift my hands for you are who you are, no matter where I am. Every tear I cried you held in your hand you never left my side.” Those words were what I held on to in one of the darkest times of my life.
Pam – Thank you for sharing your heart and those beautiful lyrics of “Praise You in this Storm.” I love how our God met you in the midst of the downpour in your life, even as it continued to rain. I just listened to the song on YouTube and added the link at the bottom of “My Stormy God” post.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord and There Will Be A Day both lifted my head from the grief of losing our 3 year old son. Thank the Lord for the songs that heal us. Beautiful post! Can’t wait for more.
Kim – You’ve shown me what it means to praise Him in the darkest night and “bless His name” no matter the cost.
More and more I am coming to realize that escape from life’s storms, if possible at all, is only fleeting. And yet the more I turn to face my Jesus, the more I find peace despite crashing waves all around me. Last night I slipped out of our church service with my tiny communion cup and a cracker piece. I drove to hilltop, watched the sunset, and sang at the top of my lungs, “Through it all, through it all my eyes are on you. Through it all, through it all it is well …” I love your heart, Judy. Your words articulate so much of my own journey and your spirit reflects our Lord.
Dianna – Thank you for sharing your heart, DiAnna! I love your hilltop story. It IS well!
This is both beautiful and eloquent. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. This life is our story, and our song should be one of praise to Jesus! Because Jesus is everything!!
Misty – Thank you so much for your encouraging words!
I so, so get this. I have had times in my life of screaming at God “This isn’t supposed to be my story.” I don’t know when, but at some point I stopped screaming. I couldn’t even pinpoint a time. Before that time, I was like Shasta in The Horse and His Boy – “But why?” and “What about them?” and Aslan’s answer: “Child!” said the Voice “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own” For me the verse was “I would have fainted if I had not seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Somehow, through clouds, he healed my eyesight enough to see his goodness. Thanks Judy – am loving reading your words.
Marilyn – Love what you’ve shared. Thank you!
My goodness, Judy! For starters, you are such a gifted writer and I was moved again tonight by reading this story. In addition to Blessed Assurance, the song I have held onto throughout my life is Great is Thy Faithfulness. Many years ago a girlfriend of mine was going through a horrible divorce. She had been through a particularly difficult week and we had shed many tears together. That Sunday morning I was singing on the praise team and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” was on the list. As we sang the familiar hymn, I looked out at the congregation and saw her, hands lifted, eyes closed, huge smile on her face singing at the top of her lungs. It was one of the most beautiful and encouraging images of faith I had ever seen. She had every reason to feel abandoned by God, but she was proclaiming His faithfulness instead. That image stuck with me for years and grew me in my own faith, so that I can now praise with the same abandon, knowing my faithful Father has me in the palm of his hand.
Oh Jennifer, Thank you for your kind works and for sharing that story. “Great is Thy Faithfulness” is truly one of my favorite hymns as well. So grateful that we met at She Speaks!