Today marks 41 years for me, 41 years in this temporary place that can only come close to feeling like "home" when I am with these 5 most dear to me. There really isn't a "heaven on earth" because here there is hurt and pain and struggle and disappointment and tragedy. Here there are tears and sadness and anger and bitterness and loneliness. I don't want there to be anything here that I can compare to there. We only do that because we have this need to compare or equate life here on earth with what it will be like in heaven but I know it won't compare. We want to try and use the limited words we have to describe it or put it into some kind of context that we can understand, but it's just not possible. Our words fail miserably and I'm good with that.
While we wait expectantly here for that day that we will be there, there is hope and love. Mixed in with the struggle there is joy and laughter and smiles and good times. Coexisting with the hurt there is healing and happiness and contentment and blessings that abound. I have grown and changed and questioned and cried and experienced the realness of God more in the past 6 years than I ever did in the 35 years prior. Through these 4 people God has given me the desire of my heart...to mother. They have changed my body, the way my house looks, my goals and what is important on this journey. FYI it's not the stuff I used to think was important.
I am not alone in my joy and in my grief. God saw fit to bring together two very different individuals in a lifetime commitment to each other and family. For this man who does not take his vow to me or his commitment to his children lightly, I am grateful. In a "me first" society, he puts us before himself. He has accepted our daughter's diagnoses in a way that almost makes me jealous. It's a beautiful thing and I am sadly very far behind him on that. It makes their relationship so strong and allows him the freedom to love without expectation...once again, a beautiful thing that I am learning from the two of them.
"Where 2 or 3 are gathered together"...I am surrounded and supported by family, friends, church and community. These are the folks who are not afraid to laugh and to cry with me. I lean on them in good times and in bad. They listen and pray and do and encourage in ways that refresh me, lighten the load and make me laugh. They get me out of the house and come and sit with me when I can't. They don't want to be somewhere else when I am crying so hard on the phone that they can't even make out the words I am saying. They don't stop calling and checking and praying and doing and loving.
At 41 years old, at the beginning of another year when there is so much talk about resolutions, fresh starts and new commitments, I just want to abide. There is hope in Christ and when I abide in Him I find rest. I find that what I once thought was in my control has always been in His hands. What I continuously fought against and tried and wished with all my might to change, He said to trust.
Abide means to continue in a place. I want to continue in a place where Christ is welcome and real and active and alive and working...a place where love abounds and Christ abides.
John 15:4, "Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me."
Let's continue in that place...