Friday, September 26, 2014

A Lesson in Abiding

1 John 4:1
By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

The end-of-August tree-climbing accident is drawing to a close, thank the Lord. My son got his neck brace off on Monday. He can read two school books (historical fiction and non-fiction history) as long as the print is not too small, and he can do about 5 to 10 math problems, before getting a headache. That's progress!

It didn't look like we would be this far even a week ago; I'm very encouraged and also a little ashamed.

Did I abide in the Lord well during this crisis? Did I display the peace of the Holy Spirit, or did I search for information on concussions and neck sprains, wanting to know how long will he be like this, Lord?

I failed to abide. Abide means, in the KJV Bible dictionary, to rest or dwell.  I did not rest in the Lord. There were certain moments I got it right, but mostly I felt overwhelmed at multiple crises occurring simultaneously--it was almost like I was being set up for failure. 

Does the Lord teach us to abide by giving us one difficulty at a time? 

Well, no, I don't think so. Because wouldn't we be able to deal with one thing at a time pretty well? 

The Lord seems to teach us abiding by flooding us--thereby teaching us that we never had any control in the first place, so why not put our trust in (and spend adequate time with) the One who said: 

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13

As we complete the final stretch of the tree-climbing disaster, and start therapy for some nerve-wracking childhood anxieties that have given me the most unpleasant summer on record, I can honestly say, abiding is easier than worrying about (and researching) what-ifs.  
And abiding strengthens and frees us to do God's work. 

Think of worrying as being in chains in prison. You're grounded

During our crisis, our 12-year-old neighbor girl, Lexie, had one of her own. Her grandmother died suddenly of sepsis. Lexie became, not surprisingly, very needy, visiting here daily, crying, asking to come over for dinner almost nightly, and wanting to come in the house after school. I love that young lady, but I don't love her ODD, which drives me to tug at my own hair and lament the sin curse and all that it entails.

I comforted Lexie and her brother and we sent a meal, and we prayed and I listened to every report on her grandmother's condition, but the whole while I was falling apart with worry over what was going on here, and very stressed over my son's deteriorating behavior because of not having any structure or routine anymore (concussion brain-rest).

I felt awful that I was doing little to meet our young friend's ever-growing needs, especially after she revealed the fear that her mother would commit suicide. Lexie revealed that once when her mother was drunk, she talked about committing suicide (first mention of any drinking in the family). Based upon another comment uttered to Peter, I figured out that the grandfather and Lexie's mother both drink, and that they probably lost their enabler with the grandmother's passing.

The same day my son could read a chapter in a book again without a headache (and I experienced intense relief), the Lord spoke clearly about Lexie. Your own mother abused alcohol and you're still reeling from it. Lexie's mother abuses it too, and Lexie needs you to help her understand it. Soon, she will look to boys to comfort her. Show her the right way. Leave the outcome to Me, but put your neck out there and try. Let her know it's not her fault. She is not to be ashamed. She is not to try to solve it. She is to look to Me for comfort. 

For a few weeks Lexie's been asking to bake brownies with Mary. They like to play pretend cooking outside with pieces of plants and flowers and plates and utensils, but thus far I've said no about the baking due to being so overwhelmed with all I had to do (we started school last week and the lessons take all day now with chores starting late). But tomorrow, I will invite her for baking and ask how things are going and slowly begin to counsel her, one baby step at a time.

I will abide--I will rest in the Lord, because doing so strengthens me and frees me to do the Lord's will in my world. 

The Lord Jesus did not die on a tree so that I could focus on:

~how clean my house is and what Lexie will think of the messes, 
~how long it will take before my son can do a full school load after a concussion, 
~how long it will be before my son's infected mosquito bite looks improved, 
~whether superbugs will ever develop for which we have no effective antibiotics, 
~how long we will have to continue with speech class, 
~how long my daughter will look at the skies and cry about the dark clouds
~how long my son will be worried about throwing up from sugar, fat, heat exhaustion, germs...

There are so many things, so many bunny trails I can get lost on. And they all distract me and the enemy is so happy, isn't he? He loves it when I Google mosquito bites turned staph infections for 60 minutes (yes, I took him in and it is healing). God's Kingdom is certainly not growing when I am preoccupied with what might happen. So much easier to take three deep breaths and exhale...abide...abide...abide...

Your turn. When was the last time you had a lesson in abiding? Was it a time of flooding--many things going wrong at once, during which you learned you never had any control in the first place? Did you spend more time in the Word? Did you just sit quietly at the Lord's feet and listen? How did you abide?


Anonymous said...

Praying for you all and for little Lexie. So hard to be in this cruel world without feeling so much sorrow it's overwhelming. Poor little mite :-(

As for abiding in God, I think this is why I am ill - so that I can truly learn how to abide. Every time I do something that steps outside the boundaries (imposed by my health) I know about it because I'll often be bed-ridden afterwards (which means I can do even less for others and become dependent rather than giving). God knows what He is doing. I am sure that the anti-depressants have helped, though, as I don't get plunged into enormous pits of despair any more. I think God was trying to tell me to take them for a while and I refused... We say we love him but how stubborn we are!

Nonetheless, you sound like you're actually doing a wonderful job. I really mean that. I know it's hard, but you get out of bed every morning and strive to meet the challenge and I know God values that, even if you don't get everything 'right'. God bless you.
Sandy x

Christine said...

Sandy, illnesses are wonderful for teaching us to abide, I agree. Unfortunately the depression that accompanies the longest ones and the chronic ones can be so hard to handle.

I think a fluxing between being independent and then dependent again would be very spiritually grueling. I heard a sermon on spiritual athleticism this morning and it was so inspiring. You could probably preach sermons on spiritual athleticism yourself--on how you survive month after month with everything you deal with.

I appreciate your input, insight and prayers. Love to you on this Sunday evening, Sandy! Praying now for a restful, sweet week for you and yours.