The year 2021 held this word for me: ABIDE. I received it from the Lord at the beginning of the year. I did word studies on it, I looked up scriptures that contained it. I wanted to know more; I wanted it in my heart. I read John 15 over and over again. He is the Vine and we are the branches. A branch must abide in the Vine or it will not bear fruit and will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.
Fearing God in a good way leads to a life that you can live in and be satisfied with and you shall not be ashamed or afraid of things to come.
I liked that.
It is only now that I can look back over the year and see that God was teaching me what it means to ABIDE in Him. Now, many times I think of that lovely Mommy He showed me while I was wrestling with my healing. (Read blog posts 44-45). I think of how wonderful her love was toward the baby and how the baby responded to this love. It completely unravels me every time I picture it! That is abiding in Him! It was a beautiful word picture of His love.
Abiding in Christ means to live in His love. It’s that simple and poetic, but it wasn’t until I went through this past year with cancer that I had a greater understanding of abiding in Him. All that seemed to matter were the close relationships I had and that’s it. Especially the relationship with my heavenly Father. With Jesus. With the people, I love most in this world. All else fell away. It had to. I needed to survive the worst year of my life. And the only way was to abide in Him. His love is available but not to be bought, taken, or stolen. It is to be received.
To: “Just be held,” like the song from Casting Crowns. This song written by Mark Hall, Matthew West, and Bernie Herms, spoke to my heart all last year:
“Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on’
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
there’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and the answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held
If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will
And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in my hands
just be held
Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go
just be held”
After I had supernatural healing in my heart, I had a better idea of what it meant to abide. Now I can look back on a vision of a mom who completely and wholly knows how to love beautifully and allows her baby to trust her so much that even though there might be times the child doesn’t feel that love, the love is still there. . . holding on to the baby.
I was beginning to understand that I cannot abide in Christ without knowing His love. The whole thing. His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection, His Return. His banner over me is love (Song of Solomon 2:4). God is Love.
If you could rewrite your story, and especially the places where you felt unloved, you would write it with God’s love; and then you would understand it too!
He gave me this opportunity this past year. With His help, I went back in time and took the pen out of the writer’s hand and asked God, ‘How do you want this written?” And He showed me. And I wrote it. And I learned how much He loves me. Because He showed me what went wrong: where and how, and when, I could see this wasn’t His original plan for me, but a twisted, perverted plan that happened because sin came into the world thousands of years ago. But He came into the world to help me with that. John 3:17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He came that I might have life and have it more abundantly. John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. In fact, He came so I could learn to receive His love well. And that He might give me exceeding abundantly above what I could ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…
His love is so deep and complete that I don’t need to add anything to it. 1 John 4:15-16 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Dwelling is ABIDING! Abiding in love is abiding in God, in His love.
Living or abiding or dwelling in His love. This is what I was struggling with. But there were times this past year that I allowed myself to “just be held” in the moments, just lying in His arms. Soaking in his love. I was assuming He had me. And He did!
I was not “crushing it,” “nailing it,” or “killing it.” I couldn’t. Most of the time I chose to “just be held.”
Did I do it perfectly? No.
Could I maintain it for long? No.
But I trusted Him more times than I ever had in my life.
Abiding means living in His love. It’s so much more than just trusting, believing, and having faith. It is all those things and more. It is a knowing. It is an intimate knowing how much He loves me. I can breathe His love. I can fathom to a greater degree than ever before, His love in the design, skill, and energy He used when He was creating me. He has shown me His love in ways that I would have never known if I hadn’t gone through this suffering to get here. (Read blog post 36 The Revelation of Psalm 139)
I could be asking questions like:
“Why did I have to go through this?”
“Couldn’t You have just changed the problems as they were happening?”
“Couldn’t You have changed the people who created some of my problems?”
I keep forgetting that God’s time is not like my timing. One day is as thousand years and a thousand years is as one day to Him (2 Peter 3:8). What does time mean to us? We often let culture tell us what time is; and what we should have accomplished in a certain amount of time or by a certain age. But that’s not how God operates. He has all the time in the world to teach us important lessons about Himself. And that’s what this life is really about. He wants each one of us to abide in Him. So, we have to go through suffering and pain to learn to lean on Him. That’s the best way to learn to trust Him, through suffering and pain. When we cannot “crush it,” “nail it,” or “kill it.” When we have to “just be held.” All that fight goes out of us and we give up to a God who loves us beyond what we could ever imagine. But that’s how we got here. By His love and He wants us to know His love here and now, so we can share His love with others, and then share in His love forever after.
If you are suffering and in pain, which we all are to some degree within ourselves, stop holding on and “just be held.” The thing that you are holding on to sometimes is a weight pulling you down into the depths of death. Let go of that thing! And “just be held.” Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
This weight is usually a belief.
Or someone else’s opinion of you.
Or how you perceived a situation.
Or sometimes it’s just evil that got into your life by your sin or someone else’s.
(Forgiveness is key to most of this.)
I didn’t use to believe in forgiving myself. But I do now. I held some beliefs for years. I had to forgive myself for holding those beliefs. I almost tried to beat myself up, calling myself stupid, for believing certain things about people or about myself, then when the truth came in, and love followed hard behind it, I had to forgive myself, let go of it and grab onto that truth and love. The LOVE I am talking about is the love that Jesus displayed on the cross for me and for you.
Asking God to walk you through your stuff is the only way out. The only way out is through His love for you as you ABIDE in him, you don’t have to be afraid.
In order to feel like I could abide somewhere, I needed to know I belonged there. I was welcomed there. I had to understand Jesus had a place for me with Him. I was and am secure in Him.
It’s part of understanding my identity in Him.
What keeps you from understanding how much Jesus loves you? If you knew you were truly beloved, how would your life change? What would happen in your heart?
John referred to himself in The Gospel According to John, as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” I think John had a grasp on how much Jesus loved him. What if I started to refer to myself as “the disciple whom Jesus loves?” What would happen in my life? I wouldn’t hesitate to say there would be great changes in my heart and there would be fruit from this.
Why don’t you try it? Ask God to show you how much He loves you. You are not challenging God, but simply asking Him with a pure heart. No ulterior motives. Just like a child would ask, “How do you love me?” Wait on Him to give His answer. He is not afraid to tell you this. If you are having a hard time with this, try asking forgiveness for the things that might be keeping a wall between you and God. Sometimes you need to ask what sins are standing in the way of His love outpouring. John the Baptist who was: The voice of one crying in the wilderness said: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight…” Mark 1:3
He was telling the people that it is their responsibility to clear a path for the Lord to come in. Let’s do this. Simply ask God, "What is standing in the way of me receiving Your love?" Once that is clear, ask Him to show you how much He loves you.
(I’d love to hear what He shows you. Please comment below or pm, dm, or email me.)
By Monica DuBois