This year I will turn sixty years old, a milestone to say the least. I have been thinking about this since last year. In fact after my daughter’s wedding in September I have thought myself into a pit! Now that both of my children have married and have their own families to build apart from me, I am left in a bit of a funk. Nothing seems to remain the same. Children grow up, friends move away, jobs change, bodies change, and the world seems to take on a whole new look.
Speaking of new, that was my word for 2015. I had some wonderful new experiences including becoming a new grandmother and adding a new son-in-law to my family. But I failed to prepare for the “hard” that comes along with “new.” It is kind of like those new heels that look so awesome when you buy them, but result in sore, blistered feet the first couple of times you wear them. That has been my experience of new this past year. What I thought was going to be new and exciting, turned into new and hard. It’s hard to see your last child really leave the nest, no longer needing your immediate attention and to go from mom to grandma can be exhausting, especially if you try to keep up with all the other creative and gifted grandmas!
But God. Pushing ahead through these emotions is like walking in mud up to your knees. James’ words always cheer me on, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” But it is the second part of his statement that really spurs me on: “ . . . Wash your hands, you sinners and purify your hearts you double-minded.” (James 4:8) The Lord gently, yet firmly, told me not only to wash my hands through confessed sins, but also to purge my heart of “other things” that were distracting me from a fixed, fervent focus on Jesus. I was grieving the loss that accompanies the new in my life rather than anticipating God’s answer to my “so what’s next?” He led me to the word “abide.” This year I am focused on abiding in Christ and learning what it practically means for Him to abide in and with me.
The first lesson that Jesus is teaching me is that to abide in Him is to wait on Him. Instead of using my own strength to push through this muddy place in my life, I am learning to rest, wait, and trust Him to work while I wait. He gave me an acrostic to remind me of this first lesson in abiding: Ask Before I Do Every time! I am not going to push through the mud any longer. Before I allow my mind to go to those despairing thoughts or worse, put steps to those thoughts, I will ask the One who is Abiding in me, “what’s next?” As for me, I am abiding – no more pushing through mud!