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.

Abide.

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)

2012

CHRISTMAS Merry Christmas and Happy NEW YEAR!

Today is the last day of 2012. We’ve taken the kids to play in a newly discovered park. We’ve eaten lunch. I’ve worked on a photo album for my three-year old… I’m still finishing her first year *sigh*

Tonight we head to one of the student dorms… now rather silent and empty as the students have gone home to over 52 countries to spend the holidays with their families. We will shoot off some fireworks with new friends, eat lots of yummy food, and enjoy some time of worshipful music and the company of “brothers” and “sisters.”

Other than that, this last day of 2012 hasn’t been so utterly different from the days preceding it.

In fact, it’s sort of a quiet day compared to the others.

One year ago today, I was sitting in the home of my husband’s Aunt, Uncle, and cousins in Oregon… soaking in the sounds and smells of a family gathering… something I didn’t have growing up.

We brought in 2012 together… having no real idea all that this year would hold. We stood on the threshold of much unknown, mountains to climb (or move), drastic change… staring off into the universe of blackness with stars to light the way.

Now here I am, a year later, smiling back on all that stood before the Marcy of December 31, 2011… a year older, wiser, and very far from “home.”

The Marcy of December 31, 2011 gazed into her foggy future… knowing there was an impossible amount of money to raise, a household to sell, jobs to leave, friends to cherish and treasure, and less than a year to do it.

  • God has once again made the impossible, possible and funded our ministry in Germany. We didn’t do it. He did. And His people.
  • We’ve moved across the world to Germany in order to partner with Black Forest Academy, TeachBeyond, to meet and love on Germans and local missionaries, and give our children the experience of their lives.
  • I ended a job with The Academies… a job I loved with ladies I loved even more.
  • I began and ended a job that I never expected to have! Serving alongside a woman who became a friend… helping her change the life of a six-year old girl forever.
  • We moved twice and spent a month on the road.
  • My husband and I took and completed the course Perspectives on World Christian Movement.
  • I completed my re-certification for my Rehab Counselor Certification.
  • My husband graduated with his Masters in Education.
  • We visited and shared about our move to BFA in over sixty places… homes, sunday school classrooms, life groups, in our own home over meals shared.
  • I left my church worship band after seven years of singing with them… this was so hard to do! It still is.
  • I had a book published with SNAP Learning!
  • I attended writer conferences/seminars in Fresno, CA, Rocklin, CA, and Stuttgart, Germany.
  • I began a second “freecycle” group on Facebook… this time for my community in Kandern, Germany. Together, there are around 700 people utilizing the two groups I set up.
  • Did I mention moving across the world? Selling just about everything we own, living in furnished places, traveling to any place that would have us share about the vision of BFA… helping kids transition to a new life, new language, new culture… while trying to do the same myself?
  • We were interviewed twice with KGED 1680 on the topic of Foster Care and Adoption… both of which continue to get replayed on the radio.
  • We’ve shared meals with over twenty of the families we’ve come to know (in the four months we’ve been here).
  • I accepted the position of “Counselor” with TeachBeyond for local missionaries wanting mental health services.
  • I have joined a worship band at our new local church, Black Forest Christian Fellowship.
  • I completed three major writing challenges in the months of October and November… 31 Days in 2012- a daily blogging challenge in which I wrote 31 Confessions (& Lessons) from {Dad}.
  • I completed Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), coming up with a different picture book idea for every day of November.
  • AND, in November, in one month, I completed the very first draft of a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Somehow, I manage to look over that list and think Is that it? In a whole year, is that all I did? Does my life matter?

Crazy, right?

It all matters.

And so does your 2012… whether it will be used to remind you of how good God’s grace is, how desperately you need His mercy, or simply ending in praise that it’s OVER… it matters.

And now, here I am, the Marcy of 2012. I stand on a threshold, once again, of much unknown. I’m filled with wishes, hopes, and dreams… and a very foggy picture of what this year might hold. The Marcy of 2013 is already on the other side, looking back with that same smile, grateful that THIS Marcy doesn’t know what THAT Marcy knows… the things yet to come, the hurdles yet to leap, the mountains yet to move… the songs of joy and praise yet to sing, the gratitude yet to be lifted…

On this, my last day of 2012, staring into a universe of unknown, I grasp the hand of One who knows all… and it’s okay.

It’s okay that I don’t know.

And it will all matter.

Happy New Year to each of you as you reflect on your past year and the year yet to come. May you find God’s grace and mercy in abundance, and your joy over flowing.