I turned 26 today. At 11:02 AM to be precise.
In my short 26 years I have known great love.
I’ve experienced adventure.
I’ve wept bitterly and laughed deeply.
I’ve had greater joy and pain than I ever thought possible.
I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes and experienced measures of grace that I am wholly unworthy of.
I’ve said goodbye to loved ones and welcomed beautiful new creatures into the world.
I’ve wandered the streets of Athens and New York.
I’ve walked bare foot through the woods behind my parents house.
I’ve watched the sun set over the ocean and the cornfield.
I’ve said words I wish could take back and I’ve swallowed words I wish I would have said.
I’ve watched my siblings fall in love and get married to godly spouses.
I’ve witnessed my parents’ love for each other grow deeper and more closely mirror Christ and the church.
I’ve watched dear friends move away from home.
I moved away from home…and came back again.
In short, I have lived. Too often for myself. So in this, my 26th year, I’m praying for grace to abide in Him. This is how I love better. This is how I serve better. This is how I bring glory to my Father in heaven. And it all begins with Him. “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”
True life begins the moment I let it go; the moment that I realize that I was bought with a price. I am a child of the King. This life is not my own.
And with this knowledge comes freedom. Because I can rest in Him, knowing that He will orchestrate the lives of His people in ways that are beyond our puny imaginations. And I can let go of my plan and all of the worrying, manipulating, and frustrations that go into trying to accomplish my plan; I can trust God to use His means to accomplish His purposes. Because all God asks of me is to abide in Him and to do so by His grace, His strength, His mercy, His love.
Life begins in Him.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” –John 15:1-11