Friday, January 1, 2010

this new year's post is turning out completely different than i expected.  the subject is the same, but the feeling in my heart is completely different.  now that i am beginning to get a glimpse of what i was being prepared for, i'm clinging even tighter to the promise i've been given.

the week that we got to mom and dad's, i was sitting in a charming little coffee shop, having my quiet time when a thought began to whisper its way into my mind.

it's something i've never done before.

and as a *good Christian girl*, i am trying desperately not to be ashamed of that fact.

but as a woman who has realized being in a relationship with Jesus is so much more important than looking good to those around me, i'll just throw caution to the wind...

it was there in that coffee shop, days before the days without dad began, that i felt the Holy Spirit urging me to enter into this coming year with a verse to see me through the good and the bad days.

i blithely agreed, thinking what a great idea the mighty mind of God came up with.

so, i waited for the verse to be given to me.  because, i figured, if He was going to put the idea in my mind, He was going to supply the words i was going to need.

and He did supply.  that night, i read,

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, 9
the night before i saw my father-in-law for the last time, i read these words:
abiding is more of an unconscious act - where we are not continually thinking about God but He is the first one we think of in times of joy, surprise or sorrow.

whether the surprise in life is a cup of God's grace or a bitter cup of adversity, the person who abides experiences the abundant life of God living in them.  this rich, full life draws on God's provision - strength for the storm; joy in the midst of heartache and love for our enemy.  as children of God, this is the kind of life we are meant to have.  ~micca campbell

and so, as i laid in bed on the second night that dad was missing,  not sure how to pray, not sure what to feel, the promise of abiding surrounded me, and lulled me to sleep on the promise that no matter where dad was, the presence of Jesus was there with him, with us.

it doesn't make this journey of grief any easier.  it doesn't make the confusion over someone taking his own life any clearer.  it doesn't take away the pain in the eyes of my husband as he tries to forget the moment he found his dad.

it doesn't. make. it. easier.

what it does bring, this idea, this practice of abiding, is the reminder that the same arms that surrounded my amazing, godly father-in-law as he drew his last breath are the same arms that are surrounding each one of us as we come to terms with this living without.

without his laughter.

without his wisdom.

without his laughter-creased eyes.

even, and i may regret saying this, without his ice-cream and hot dog combo that he would make, just to see me gag.

it's hard to find the "happy" in this start of a new year, surrounded as i am by grief and raw pain, but i am choosing to believe that through abiding in His love, abiding in my Savior, He will supply the joy when it seems so far away.

so this year, i'll be abiding.

will you join me?