When my daughter was born, I developed postpartum depression pretty immediately. One of the devastating parts of that illness was me not wanting anything to do with my perfect, precious newborn. I didn’t want to hold her. I didn’t even want to be around her some moments. My brain was creating what felt like an insurmountable distance. I needed space. I felt numb. I felt broken. I was so, so, so sad. Thanks be to God for allowing me to live in an age where medicines have been capably produced to help with brain connectors! With His guidance and grace, I was able to overcome so many of those early feelings. I loved my daughter so much even in those scary moments, but I grieved over what I knew I should have had. Surely it was supposed to be different – having a baby. Everyone said it would be.
Now, after the birth of my son, I know that it should have been different – because wow is it different now. God has delivered me and withheld PPD from my experience this time, and I am so very thankful. But now, being able to fully soak in all these newborn cuddles and kisses, knowing it wasn’t like this last time, it’s making me cuddle even more and kiss even more and hold even tighter. I’ve definitely got a sorry-not-sorry mindset when it comes to hogging all the hugs for myself. I know it won’t be like this for long. I know he won’t stay little forever (he’s already a month old!!). I know, and so I cling to him. I want to soak it up because I know it could be different. I praise God because it IS different. I am free from the chains of depression right now, and I am living in the moment. Every single one.
In his letters, Paul often reminded Christians of where they had been. When he wrote to the Corinthians, he reminded them of exactly what they had come out of (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). They had been consumed by sin – fully engaged in sinful lifestyles and habits – but they had been washed; freed from the bondage of sin that was dragging them toward depths of despair that are unfathomable to our earthly minds. To the Romans, Paul wrote about their weakness and hopelessness. He reminded them that they had been enemies and the objects of the wrath of God (Romans 5:6-11). He told them of their bondage and slavery to sin, then praised God for freeing him and them from such terrible chains (Romans 6:17-23).
So much of my praise and thanksgiving to God stems from the fact that I remember who I was without God. I know what hopelessness feels like. I know what weakness feels like. I know what sin-sickness does to you. But now, having tasted the free gift of God, I know that it doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t have been that way. I shouldn’t have chosen sin, but I did. And yet, despite my choice, God provided a way back. He told me the way. He offered His Son. He did everything and I deserved nothing. I could pay him nothing. All I could offer was myself, and my sinful self wouldn’t do. He stepped in and He offered. God the Son offered Himself. For me. That fills me with awe, how about you?
So, because I know the difference — the difference between a life in Christ and a death away from Him — what do I do? Do I soak it up? Do I praise? Do I devote every minute to His glory and goodness? That’s what I should do. I shouldn’t squander the gift of grace. I shouldn’t squander this blessed state I live in – saved by the blood of Jesus! I should be using this life for His glory because I remember too well what life away from Him was like. He deserves all praise, all glory, all energy, all of me.
What a waste if I didn’t soak up these days with my little boy. But because I know how it could be (deep in the depths of depression), I do soak them up. I hold him close. I kiss and kiss and kiss! I don’t want to waste even a second! How much more of a waste to spend my life — my redeemed-at-awful-cost life — complaining or focused on self or trying to justify sin? How much more of a waste to live this life as if I deserve it, and therefore I squander it by not praising God for His free gift of amazing grace?
Christian, don’t waste today. Don’t squander these days you’ve been given to live in His grace. No more complaining. No more complacency. No more backbiting or bickering. Praise Him. Thank Him. Glorify Him. Don’t waste it. Remember where you came from and fall on your face in gratitude for the wonderful, matchless love of our amazing God. Spend your days offering all of you (Romans 12:1-2) to the One who brought you out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Don’t spend all of your time and effort focused on this life and its pleasures. Spend and be spent for Him.