Abide – Word Theme 2013

Abide003It’s still January so I’m not late.

I’ve been “sitting” on this word for a while… all month actually. Which is ironic, isn’t it? Well, even if you miss the irony… this word, abide, struck me softly but poignantly while sitting in church recently. Our pastor must have said it in the first couple minutes of his message… and it leapt at me.

This word.


To wait for. To endure. To continue. To remain.

When the word first announced that it would be my theme word… I only understood it as “living within.”

I read these verses:

Abide 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. I 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…As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

John 15:4-5, 8-9

And wondered how I could abide in Christ. What does that mean? How do you live in Him?

I can come up with some great sounding Sunday-school answers.

And they might even be true.

But the Behavior Analyst that I am, I wanted to know more. The hows. The whys. The practicality of it all.

So I looked it up in Greek. Yep.

Meno (μένω) – to endure, continue, dwell, remain, stand.

Persistent loyalty of continuing in a thing.

So I read it again.

Endure, continue, dwell, remain, and stand in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever persists loyally in continuing in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Dwell in my love.

Reading it this way, something new struck me… as much as He calls me to “abide” in Him… He promises to “endure, continue, dwell, remain, stand, and persist loyally in continuing” with me too…

And perhaps the purpose of this as my 2013 theme word is not just about my learning yet to grow where I lack… but to accept His abiding power and promise in my own life.

So what does it all mean?

  • I can do nothing apart from Him.
  • Without His abiding power at work in my everything… my hard work and efforts will amount to nothing.
  • He is intentional in his loyalty to me as my Savior and Father. This loyalty is proactive and persistent. It will be known.
  • The love shared among the triune God is perfect, pure, and stronger than any force… and it is with that same love that He loves us.
  • I can make my “home” and dwelling within this love… which is not based on feeling or experience alone… but the perfect trust that comes from the security of knowing the power within which I reside.
  • My gratitude compels me to respond with this same kind of intense persistent loyalty to stick with Him… no matter through what I must endure.

Abiding is far more than crawling into a spiritual cave of coziness, nestled up among the fluffy comforters and pillows and warm-fuzzies and calling that home.

It is a commitment to follow the every movement of our Savior… when it’s cozy, when it’s not, when it’s familiar, when it’s foreign, when it’s terrifying, when it’s secure, when it’s logical, when it seems senseless… to be purposeful about staying within the shadow of His great wing as He spreads out His feathers and embraces the lost, the hopeless, the destitute, the unlovable, the dying, the incapacitated…

An unwavering promise to take up residence on the rocky shores of this commitment, come wind and rain and waves.

And yet, even when I miss a step, get distracted and fall behind, or trip on fear…

He abides in me.

He’s at my side, trudging through the mud of my off-road adventures, whacking at the weeds of my garden, walking the end of the line with me… lovingly committed to a persistent loyalty in remaining with me.

So here is to 2013!

(You can read what my 2012 Word Theme was here)

Five Minute Friday – Cherish

5-minute-friday-1I’ve never known the true depths of cherishing until, once formed and ready, he left my womb and entered my arms. And heart.

This was new.

This looking at another human and feeling the sting of tears meet the sweat of hard work as love overwhelmed.

As gratitude took hold, blessing drew in its breath, and a mother pondered what she could have possibly done in the world to deserve this joy.


Even through the frustration and discomforts of learning him, studying him. training him… this joy so deep it hurts finds an echo from this moment into eternity. And I realize that there is nothing I wouldn’t lay down for this little tiny man-child. This being gifted to me to love, to raise, to usher into the world with purpose.

And then, in mid sensing of these deep things which are mostly felt and rarely understood… a halt.

A silencing of my thoughts as His voice breaks in.

“Sweet daughter, this is a drop in the ocean of how deeply I cherish you. This gift of a child is more than just the child… but a chance to stand in my shadow… to experience the heart of a parent for their child. Magnify it beyond reasoning, purify it above all depravity of this world, and remove every condition that creeps in with fear… then you will see how deeply my own heart beats for you. For him.”

I am cherished.

So are you.


Five Minute Friday – Dive

5-minute-friday-1 It’s Friday!

I missed the last Five Minute Friday… the day, the week, the whole month of December… flew by. And here I am, almost missing it again.

But not.

I watch so many people… myself sometimes too… standing on the edge of everything beautiful and good and true. Seeing that, within reach, lie our hopes, our dreams… thrills that usher life into our hearts and souls.

Yet our feet stay rooted.

Because those dreams and hopes are within reach… but first a step is needed. One small step. And it happens to lead off of a cliff of all things familiar, known, and comfortable. This step becomes a dive into a sea of all that we’ve longed for.

Fear nails us to the stoney edge. The wind beats at our faces, tells us that to let go and dive in will lead to ultimate ruin, disappointment, failure. Because who are we to have what we hope for?

Inadequate. Insufficient. Insecure.

What would happen if we could actually live the life we want? Ruin? Sabotage? The wind is strong and convincing.

If we let it be. If we listen to its voice and agree.

But it’s a lie.

We must dive in! Who are we not to give it a try? Failure is no end… only an ushered step onto a better path… a guard rail that keeps us going the right direction. Closed doors are not rejection… no, they are direction. Our fears deceive us into thinking that the cliffy edge is a better place to stay… gazing upon our possibilities with hopelessness.

But not me, not this year. I want to dive in. I want to flail and fling and fail… so that I can get closer to succeeding. I want the doors to close like the formation of a grand arrow pointing me to my destiny… the purposes and plans for which God has already determined for me. How easily I would be distracted and lost if there weren’t bowling “bumper guards” of life to keep me from going down the gutter. Missing the pins altogether.

2013 will be a year of diving. Diving into a large city of other writers, strangers yet, to see how I can be stretched, grown, and mentored in my craft. Diving into teaching a Creative Writing course to missionary high schoolers… when I’ve NEVER been a teacher. Diving into new languages, new cultures, new experiences… all of which are terrifying and thrilling… knowing that there are so many opportunities for failure… for direction. For purpose.

Without diving in to the scary, uncontrollable possibilities of life… there is no purpose greater than the small, feeble ones we can manage on our own.

A fun video by Steven Curtis Chapman… Diving In 🙂

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXqXIicm8uU?rel=0]