So, what does Abide, IF, and Lent have to do with each other? Well, I am glad you asked! I’ve shared with you how my one word for 2016 is abide. Heading in to 2016 I knew that God was calling me to abide in Him, to sit at his feet like the picture we see of Mary in Luke chapter 10, and just to simply soak. As soon as the calendar turned January 1st, I was so eager to hit the ground running and find the word that would set me in motion, but I kept hearing Jesus call me back and say, “the most important thing is for you to abide in me, so that you will know what the next right thing is for you each step of the way in this new year.” So abide, that’s my word. I even had Selma Gray Jewelry Designs (yes, shameless plug for my talented mama) make me a one-of-a-kind cuff with the word ABIDE stamped on it to remind me daily.
Here is where IF enters the picture, which I am actually referring to the IF: Gathering that took place a couple of weekends ago. Women from over 67 countries tuning in from 60,000 live streams gathered together all around the world to listen and watch some of the most influential and spirit filled women of our generation share with us on the topic “What IF we lived like Jesus.” It was so amazing; I am still digesting and sorting through everything that I learned which was over two weeks ago. Anyways, there I am sitting at a round table with other women, I of course have my abide cuff on, and low and behold a group of women from IF start discussing John 15, the passage on the vine and branches, this whole idea of abiding in Christ. Seriously, I couldn’t write fast enough. My friend even nudged me and said, “This is for you. “ Two things that really spoke to me during this session… 1) was something Rebekah Lyons said, “The nature of a vine is that it takes anything it’s near and wraps itself around and around to make it one. Christ says I will wrap myself around you and we will be one.” I love that image; such a tangible image of what happens when we abide in Christ, He wraps himself around us and we become one. 2) Vivian Mabuni shared, “Let the Bible be your primary source of spiritual nourishment.” When she said that, I was a little freaked out because I seriously had just had this conversation with my husband less than 24 hours prior to the IF: Gathering. He was asking how my heart was, and I shared with him how I felt like I had been relying too much on blogs, books, podcasts, etc. lately to be my spiritual guide. Almost like I was depending on those resources to “digest” the scriptures for me and regurgitate them back to me, instead of taking the time to meditate on the scriptures myself and allowing room for God to speak to me through them. Now hear me out, those resources I mentioned are great and have been such an encouragement and blessing to me in my spiritual walk, but I believe there is a time and season for them.
Enter my last point…Lent. Hopefully, you are still tracking with me. During my morning quiet time just a couple of days after Ash Wednesday, I was reading a blog by Ann Voskamp that was on Lent. She was calling her readers to a soul revival over the next 40 days during Lent. She created these 40 “sticky notes for the soul” for people to use that contain a passage of scripture and a prayer. Encouraging us to “linger with the word, reflect on it, return to it throughout the day, and let it shape us.” I liked the sound of it; simple and getting back to the scriptures being my main source of spiritual nourishment. So, I downloaded these said sticky notes and read the one for that day, low and behold, it was John 15 AGAIN! When I declared abide as my one word for the year, I asked God to show this word to me and teach me the ins and outs of it. I’d say He was off to a pretty good start with having this word and even this specific passage pop up so often already. So, I sat there and reflected on the passage and then it hit me. I hadn’t really nailed down what I was giving up for Lent this year, but in that moment I knew. I decided to give up blogs, which kind of sounds like an oxymoron since I am writing this blog and hoping someone reads it, when I myself am giving them up. For 40 days, I am not going to read any blogs and I am going to focus solely on the scripture, using Ann Voskamp’s “sticky notes for the soul” as my guide. I am going to read the passage that is provided three times slow, reflect on it, ask how it convicts me, and then live it out.
So there you go; now you know what Abide, IF, and Lent have to do with each other. I apologize if all that was confusing, seriously the trail of thoughts ran rather smooth in my head but not so much as I typed them out. I am excited and expectant that God is going to do great things in my heart over the next 40 days as I prune back even the good things in my life, in order to relish (abide,soak) in the best.