by Megan Johnson
I think one of the hardest and most important things we can do as parents is to ABIDE in Christ. Abiding is trusting that God is working when I don’t see it. Abiding is confessing my sin and seeking forgiveness when I’d rather not. Abiding is admitting my need and weakness and lack of control. Abiding is knowing and resting in the ONE who holds me – and holds my kids – in the palm of his almighty hand.
Abiding is hard work. I dare say it is the work. We can’t produce the fruit of the Spirit in ourselves or in our kids. But, we can remain in HIM, the One who can. It is work to abide in quietness of heart when the well-thought-out plans get messed up. It is work to abide in his rest and presence when the new box of Cheerio’s is spilled, a poopy diaper is removed by the toddler, the baby is crawling towards it, and multiple kids are screaming. It is work to abide and ask the Lord to show me my own sin even when my child’s seems more glaring and in need of correction. Abiding is a good work; cupping those small faces with my hands and responding in peace and love and joy – knowing my response is either pointing them to or from a loving Savior who can handle their every need.
And, THEY are watching my abiding: my kids, my husband, my friends, my neighbors. Not only the people I can see but the angels and the demons. What beauty – to glorify God in my abiding in Him – even when I think no one else sees it! The angels and demons look on in wonder when we choose to glorify God in our response of abiding. Angels cheering us on and demons maddened as we plunder the gates of Hell with our abiding in Christ in our lives and parenting.
Not that we could ever, hear me, ever do it on our own. That ‘being kept’ is by the Lord. Andrew Murray says it well:
“He says ‘Abide IN ME’. He offers Himself, the Keeper of Israel that slumbers not nor sleeps, with all his power and love, as the living home of the soul, where the mighty influences of his grace will be stronger to keep than all their feebleness to lead astray … that word abide is even so the band with which He holds you fast and binds you to Himself. Let the soul take time to listen to the voice of Jesus. ‘In me’, he says, ‘is thy place – in my almighty arms.”
(Andrew Murray, Abide in Me)
I can’t give you a check list for abiding. That’s why it’s hard. But you’ll know it. And it’s worth it. So, stay. Do the hard work of staying, remaining, abiding. He will produce the fruit. He will grow the roots deep and unshakable in the midst of the earthquaking storms of no sleep, spilled Cheerios’, unforeseen diagnoses, depression, slandering words, broken relationships, and yes, even poop on the floor.