I know it's Saturday, but I still wanted to participate in the invitation I received from my Spiritual Journey Thursday friends. Between the demands of the week, trying to do some of my first Christmas shopping of the season, and attending a Christmas concert (Mark O'Connor and his family band), I never got around to reflecting on my OLW on Thursday. Each year, I set a goal to write about my OLW on 5th Tuesdays. There are usually three or four fifth Tuesdays scattered throughout the year. However, I only managed to write on one 5th Tuesday this past year. It's been a tough year for me and ABIDE. I wrote about abiding in my field in January, and then abiding in faith in March. And then somehow I never got around to writing about abiding in the Savior's love. But what better time than now? Especially during the Christmas season?
Before I do that, I want to be honest about what kept me from writing more often about abide this past year. I had this dream that this would be the year that I made my personal study and prayer time a priority. I managed brief stretches, but ofttimes I found myself charging off into the day without the rejuvenating power that comes from sitting quietly, from studying the Word of the Lord, and then spending time with Him in prayer. It's hard to admit that to this community, but that's where I am.
I serve in our women's ministry at my church, so why is my personal study time such a challenge for me? I remember Ruth Ayres' words to me once, that reaching for her phone and reading the word of God is the first thing she does every morning. Maybe it's hard for me because I always want it to be more, you know . . . more spiritual, more filled with inspiration, more light for my daily walk. I'm always waiting for that perfect time to have a perfect appointment with the Lord.. It's why I toss my scriptures on my pillow if I charge off without this routine. I commit then that I will spend some time reading and meditating and praying before bed. However, being the lark that I am, night time is not the best time for me to spend quality time with the word of God.
Given my disappointment with the outcome of my hopeful year with ABIDE, I must admit that abiding in the Savior's love is a lifelong pursuit. I plan to continue my quest to seek and long for, and to cherish daily time to abide in the Savior's love. One of my favorite holiday traditions is reading a book of Advent readings, Christ, the Light of the World, by Thomas Kinkaide. Early in the book, during Week One, is a reading about thwarted expectations, explaining that the Christmas story is full of disappointed expectations. Mary and Joseph did not expect to give birth in a stable, they didn't expect a virgin birth, the shepherds didn't expect angelic visitations that urged them on a nighttime journey. Perhaps the most important words can be found in the response of the shepherds: "Let us NOW go . . ." and "they came with haste and FOUND . . . " " And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God . . . " Each day's devotion ends with a prayer and I love these words from Week One, Day 6 - " . . . And thank you for your love which always exceeds expectations." And to the words of this prayer, I add my desire to always abide in this love, to continue my journey to go now, to find the joy the comes from daily devotional time, and to abide in His love which is everlasting.
Thank you, Holly, for starting this journey. And thank, you, Irene, for continuing the journey. Irene, I'm happy to take September and the topic will be my OLW (not chosen yet, but will let you know ASAP).