Saturday, January 1, 2011

Abide in Him

Wow, 2010 is gone.  Now it's time to write down resolutions for the new year and reflect on what has happened in the old one.

This has been a hard year.  I'm not going to lie.  It has been full of question, waiting, question, and waiting some more.  We've seen loved ones go through intense physical and personal pain.  We've said good-bye to a precious grandmother.  We've had to wrestle with some very dark doubt.

But it's also been a good year.  A great year, actually.  In the pain, we have seen God's amazing comfort, power, and strength along with the beauty of Christian fellowship and bearing one another's burdens.  In the loss, we have celebrated True Life.  In the questions & wrestling, God has verified who He is and who we are as His children.  He has brought to light many of our own gifts & desires along with revealing places in our hearts needing His touch.  God gave us our precious little man-o, Brandt.

It's been a great, hard year.

When I was challenged to pick one word for this coming year, my thoughts immediately went to what I want to happen:

The Year of CHANGE
(okay, that's 4 words and one is a contraction...)

I knew that wouldn't work.  I'm an action person, but sometimes there is nothing else to do but wait.  Argh.

And so I thought of a word.  It was a good word.  I even started to write about it.  But I wasn't at peace.  I left my writing and went to scrub dishes, rolling the word over and over.  It wasn't right.  

I wasn't right.

Grabbing my coat, I hoped the children would nap just a little bit more, and I walked, really stomped, out to our pond.  Tears were streaming.  I was angry.  Angry with the way this year was ending.  Angry that I didn't know what this next year holds.

I sat on our rickety old picnic table, I put my head in my hands and sat quietly.  God does not speak to me audibly but His Spirit certainly speaks to my heart.  This is part of our conversation...

"Put us where we belong, Lord."  
(I thought this was a pretty submissive sounding request)

You don't belong anywhere here on earth.  Your home is in heaven.

"Yes, but it seems so far away.  Everything seems so far away."

Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.

"We're still seeking Your will?  Can't I have a sign? Just something?  Anything?"

I've already done that.  You're here.  Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.

I smiled, of course He is doing something.  He always is, I just need to be quiet, strip my heart and see it.  I stood and walked back to our house to finish making dinner.  "Abide in Me..." 

I haven't heard that verse recently and I know the last time I heard it the translation of "remain" had been used. 


I looked up John 15 in the ESV, which uses "abide" (NASB, KJV, ASV, ERV, & a few lesser known translations use it as well).
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love."


1. to wait for
2. a. to endure without yielding
    b. to bear patiently
3. to accept without objection

I had always thought of the word abide in the sense of living in an "abode".  Like to "live in Christ and He will live in us".  That is accurate, Christ does live in me, but this word has an even richer meaning.  God has shown me such mercy and love by abiding in me throughout this last year.  I've been hard, even rebellious to what I know I ought to do.  But He has loved me patiently, accepting me for the ornery, pouting, temperamental child I am.

So many Resolutions are based on the thought that "if you can believe in yourself, you can do it."  But for me, a "doing" person, it is very easy to fall into the trap of self-sufficiency.  And anyone that has tried that for very long has probably been slapped in the face by their own weaknesses.  I know I have.  I know I'm a work in progress. 

This year, I am going to practice abiding in God.  I am asking Him to help me wait, endure, bear patiently and to accept what the Lord brings without objecting to His sovereign plan.  I am going to seek after my root in Jesus, the vine, and grow as God the "vinedresser" (isn't that a cool term?) determines, training my unruly tendrils to the trellis of His choosing and pruning as He sees fit.  I have a long way to go in my non-enduring, impatient, unaccepting self.  But He is with me, I know He is working through me. 

μείνατε ἐν ἐμοί, κἀγὼ ἐν ὑμῖν
"You abide in me, in you I will abide."

What is your word for the coming year?  
What about a verse?

This is the blog that gave me the idea of a word for the year.  
I realize it isn't Wednesday, but it's taken a while for this to solidify :-)

1 comment:

Craig said...

Hi, I found you at Ann’s.

Wow, such a journey to your word. And I heart your year of “abiding”. Couldn’t be more biblical – or important.

I have prayed for your year of “abiding”. That Our Lord be there help you wait, endure, bear patiently, accept his will, that you live “in” him and abide, that you continue to know he is with you, working in you.

My word was “connecting” – praying for you is a humble start :)

May God richly bless you, and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.