A New Song for 2017

Abide. Rest. Comfort. Hope.

Another year gone, another word- but so much more -joins the list.

It was truly a year of practiced hope.

We’ve been raising a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder for about nine years… from foster care to adoption. It has been incredibly difficult and at times, I’ve felt helpless and hopeless.

My family has experienced trauma on a few fronts, all of which affected my marriage, bringing my husband and I to a year of counseling (which greatly helped). We also see individual counselors / mentors to help us navigate the emotional waters of raising a child of trauma (who re-injures in a home with other children.)

We live cross-culturally in a place we love, but in a place, all the same, that differs in language, culture, expectation, money, and norms. We weave in and out of Alemanish Germany, Alsatian France, and Northern Switzerland and a Christian conglomerate of individuals working together from every different denomination, from different countries, and from different cultures with a common purpose and many different ways of getting there. It would be enough to live within one of these cultures, but we daily navigate them all.

And to do that, we have to raise our own salary… which adds another layer of stress (I mean, opportunity to trust and hope and believe).

This is just a sampling.

Needless to say, the words abide, rest, comfort, and hope have been crucial to my last four years. Their deep meaning has carried me and comforted me and challenged me in ways I could never have expected. And as I said last year, each word continues on long beyond December 31st. They weave together into a more beautiful hug.

This year, for awhile, I thought my new word was going to be expectation. It’s close to hope… and I’m fine with a thread of hope continuing to weave through my life story. However, as I was recently on a walk and pouring out my heart to God, I heard myself asking Him for a new song.

Okay, that’s not a word. But I’m going with it.

My last few years have been heartache nestled among great beauty. I have so much to be thankful for, in spite of those things which have challenged me to the core. And, looking back at the me who arrived in Germany nearly five years ago… I’m a different person. Hopefully a better person. Certainly a person, though, that has been to the ends of herself multiple times. Who is clear that she is weak and only He is strong. Who lives in the constant reality of her inability to affect change in the circumstances around her and the incredible ability of God to be the Change-Maker. A person with deeper compassion for godly, loving parents who are struggling, suffering marriages, individuals with depression, the lonely, the lost, and the broken.

And I’m ready for a new song.

There are sweet glimpses of healing and growth and joy in my family’s future. This is where I thought expectation would be my anthem… but instead, I know the Singer and Dancer of my soul delights in this coming season with a new song.

A song of deliverance.

A song of joy.

A song of peace in storms.

A song of love.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

 

A Year of Hope – 2016

hope3

Abide. Rest. Comfort.

All beautiful words that have spoken truth to my heart and soul over the last few years. Words that don’t end on December 31st, but which follow me into forever.
Continue reading “A Year of Hope – 2016”

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)