It was mid-morning on a Saturday. I’d already taken the boys to their soccer games and returned home. The afternoon had been claimed by the three teens, who needed to shop for school spirit week items. I was their transportation. After that, I would fix dinner, run a younger child to-from a party, and finally collapse.
It was going to be a long day, much of it filled with shopping crowds–always a stressor for my introverted side–and I knew I needed a space of solitude before I plunged into the second part of it. I shut myself in the downstairs bathroom and tried to quiet my mind, to stop the responsibilities and concerns that shout so loud, that so often drown out the Spirit’s whispers.
Into the stillness came a verse, each word in it distinct, like the notes in a simple melody.
I realized it was a melody, was the Scripture I’d set to a tune so I could sing it over my younger daughter each night. “May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of our God, and the fellowship of His Holy Spirit abide with you, now and forever. Amen.”*
That was my prayer, my gift for that time, for the day ahead.
Again I prayed it. Again, focusing on phrases: Grace of Christ, love of God, fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Forever.
And then on the one word: abide.
May grace, love, and fellowship abide in me…
as I abide in God.
Help me to abide, I prayed, and an image appeared now in my mind: a life-giving Vine, its clinging branch strong and vibrant.
“Mom, when are we leaving?”
The quiet was broken, and the next, crazy phase of the day began. It was full of traffic, of driving, of crowds, of noise.
Yet Abide ruled the day, inserting itself again and again…
And this led to miracles
Calm in the thrift store. I get jumpy so easily when I have to shop, when I’m in crowds, when I see no end in sight to the shopping. Abide, I heard. And I enjoyed time with the three older girls as we hunted for crazy items for spirit week: tutu skirts, Hawaiian leis, “mom jeans,” ugly sweaters. I even found myself some jeans—ones Em approved of, definitely not “mom jeans”—and didn’t go nuts in the process.
Twelve hours after praying in the bathroom, I was close to sleep. I readied my computer for shutdown, clearing all my screens and then closing my Web pages one at a time. The final page to close: Bible Gateway. The previous day’s verse-of-the-day was still on the screen. On a sudden whim, I refreshed the site to read the verse for the current day, less than one hour before it would change to the next day’s Scripture.
God had worked miracles as I’d shopped in crowded stores and while my car guzzled gasoline and I was stuck behind its wheel. Why was I surprised that the last one of the day was delivered via technology?!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of our God, and the fellowship of His Holy Spirit ABIDE with us, now and forever!
So be it.
*I made the song with the word “abide” in it, but I can’t find a Scripture version that actually includes that word (I have no idea why I began singing it with “abide” included). BUT the morning I prayed that verse, it came to my mind with the word “abide,” which then led to my envisioning the vine and branches and thinking about Christ’s words about abiding in Him. SO, I’m using the word “abide” in the song version, but not, of course, in Bible Gateway’s verse of the day. That link includes a couple parallel versions.