I’ve never really gotten into the whole New Year’s “word of the year” movement. You know what I mean, right? It’s when people pick a word to focus on to define the rest of the year?! I’ve never done that before. Or had any interest in it.
I guess maybe I sorta felt like picking a word for the year was too narrow minded…like there should be more words than just one? Or maybe everything around the new year is always just so busy and I didn’t care to stop long enough to really pray and think through what my goal word for the year should be?! I don’t know…I’m not really sure why I disliked it actually…I just never did it before.
But this year was different. I had read a blog post by another girl I adore where she had explained her word and the reason behind it…and then did a recap for all of the words from years past and the fruit that come from staying focused on one word/theme. And if I’m honest this was the first time I felt a bit sad that I hadn’t ever done that. I stopped reading, closed my computer and right then and there began to pray. I asked God to give me a word.
I asked Him to give me one word that would not just be a goal, but something that I could keep close and “hold” as the days and months went on. Right away a word came to mind, but I thought that it couldn’t have been that easy so maybe I should just wait and think through it some more before really saying that was the one. I didn’t tell anyone about it and sort of just tried to move on with life. Well, now it’s May and I have seen over and over and over again this particular word continue to come up.
The word is…abide.
Webster defines the word “abide” in this way:
- to bear patiently, to endure without yielding
- to wait for
- to accept without objection
- to remain stable or fixed in a state
- to continue in a place
I originally thought abide was a gentle reminder to stay close to the Lord and not get overly distracted with things like blogging, homeschooling, fitness, the kids, or just life in general. I imagined “abide” being similar to a word picture of a baby bird tucked safely right by its mama watching a huge storm all around. But wow, when I actually looked up in Webster’s Dictionary the definition itself makes it that much more clear just how fitting (and practical) it is.
I know that in this season of church planting I have to confess that in many ways I have had one foot in and one foot out the door. I truly do want to be here, in this place, and with these people, but the reality is that we are living in one of the most expensive places in the US with a family of seven and aren’t sure how to make that work day in and day out. I mean, can we really raise 5 kids in Orange County??? The cost of living here is beyond ridiculous.
I went to Texas a few weeks ago and my friend drove me around to look at the massive properties. She showed me amazing houses with land and neighbors more than half a mile away! There were fences and cows and…well…space! And for the same amount of money here you can get a tiny fixer upper with neighbors close enough you could hand them a cup of coffee through the window. It’ll take all our money to get IN to a house like that and then the reality is we’d be super limited in how much we have left to fix it up! It’s just absolutely mind blowing how costly it is here.
And the church itself…has had a ton of ups and downs. I’ve heard people say that planting a church is crazy difficult when you’re starting from scratch, but I really didn’t get it until now. It most certainly is. I’m not sure if other pastor wives sometimes question whether or not their husbands are truly in the right place, but I sure have at times throughout the past year.
We have seen the Lord provide in crazy amazing ways and direct us so clearly to this point, yet in the back of my mind I have doubted that He would continue to do so. I haven’t trusted He would follow through. I have become distracted in many ways with thoughts of living somewhere less expensive or moving somewhere that would be “easier” to raise kids. Deep down I long for a slower place without so many people.
But this ‘half-in’ mentality is so. insanely. destructive.
I now believe it’s wrong for me to think that way and it needs to stop. It short changes the work we need to be focusing on, it doesn’t serve the people in our care, and ultimately it just shows that I am taking my eyes off of Jesus. Waffling back and forth kills the joy in being here, as I am often imagining how “easy” life could be somewhere else. I’m pretty sure that others around me have been impacted by my non-committal attitude and have possibly questioned whether or not they want to be here too. And if that is the case, then to you all I would say…gosh…guys, I’m so super sorry.
This word ‘abide’ makes perfect sense to me right now:
- To abide means to be in the Word, not letting the pace of the day take away from the relationship with the Lord.
- Abide means to hold fast and to draw near to Him, knowing that He is the one to make a church, or anything else for that matter, grow.
- It means to take my worries and concerns and even my doubts to Him because He is a good Father that cares.
- Abide means I need to endure without yielding right where He has us, trusting Him and pursuing Him first.
- Abide means I am to wait on Him to continue to provide and I need to have hope and faith (even if it is just the size of a mustard seed) that He will.
- Abide means I need a steadfast resolve to accept where He has us without reservation, without doubt, and without wavering, until He makes it clear otherwise.
This word carries over into other areas of life…in motherhood, with homeschooling, the dreams I have and the plans I want to see happen, and with this blog even. Sometimes it is easy to get distracted with everything I feel needs to be done, but what good is that if I am not abiding in Jesus?!
The word is clear about this and the word abide shows up more times than I can even recount at the moment. Obviously the most popular is John 15:5…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.
Gosh that word is strong: Nothing. Apart from Him I can do nothing.
Oh Lord, teach me this year what it means to truly abide…
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7