Abiding Love

Can I just have a minute to speak into your soul today? I want to talk to you about the kind of love I hope you had today, the kind of love I hope you have everyday, abiding love.

Abiding love is safe, enduring, permanent, sacrificial love.

Our worship pastor this morning read from John 15, verses about abiding love, the love of the Father that Christ demonstrated for us through his life of purity and sacrifice.

and I just wanted to sit down in the middle of those verses and ABIDE.

Like curve into an cozy chair by the fire, swathed in a rich blanket –

ABIDE – continue, remain, survive, last, persist, stay

I wanted to hang out in those verses, because I never knew how to love purely, without all the human confusion we put into it, until I knew how deeply I am loved by Him.

I was wiping away tears by the time he finished sharing today. God’s love has a way of touching my heart that makes me want to drop everything and just stay in His presence.

John 15:9 ESV  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Christ invited me – you – to abide in His love, the kind of love God has for Christ. I can only look at my daughter and imagine God’s pure love for Christ. I wanted to rest there and be held by His truth.

I wanted to sit down in those verses wrapped in a cozy blanket and rest in His abiding love. Click To Tweet

Can I just have a minute to speak into your soul today? I want to talk to you about the kind of love I hope you had today, the kind of love I hope you have everyday, abiding love.

John 15:16a ESV  You did not choose me, but I chose you . . .

Powerful stuff – Being chosen. We tend to think in this Christian walk that we made some big decision to choose God, but we really just surrendered to His already having chosen us.

He chose us before the formation of the world. While I was a dirty mess of a sinner, I was already CHOSEN, set apart for His purpose.

How differently I have lived since understanding this truth. There is a confidence to knowing I am His beloved daughter.

And I really like that.

But when I heard this verse, I wanted to lean over to my husband and whisper “I chose you.”

John 15:9 ESV  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

I my still human way, I’m trying to learn how God has loved me and love him with that kind of love, love that gives up me to serve him.

I chose him the day he proposed in the middle of “an arrest”. I chose him the day we said I do. I choose him the days he is grumpy and selfish. I still choose him when his dreams and mine don’t match.

But I wonder if he really understands how much I choose to remain in his arms, seek his presence, ache for him. Does he understand he can rest in my love?

The confidence I have in Christ is the confidence I want to share with those I love. I want my husband to know my love is abiding love.

He can rest there. It is permanent because it’s God’s love for him through me when I remember to get out of the way.

I try to love my friends with abiding love. They know that I am the soft, squishy place to rest from a prickly world. A place that forgives when feelings are tender and communication gets lost.

I pray that you have Christ’s abiding love, a real love on this day we often celebrate the wrong things, that His love abides in you. I pray you abiding love through friends and family too.

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Rejected Rock or Cornerstone

Do you ever feel rejected?

I have been really struggling with rejection the past few weeks: gossip, slander, unkind messages, ignored phone calls. Praying and working through this issue, I’ve realized feeling rejected has colored on the canvas of my entire life (but I’m in good company).

I remember being happy and confident as a child. Then the first day of kindergarten, I somehow didn’t fit. I was called cruel names. No one asked me to play during recess. A cruel boy ruined my new ‘cowboy’ boots in second grade when I left them in the coat room. I was rejected and bullied mercilessly throughout elementary and middle school.

Sophomore year, it eased up some as my braces came off and my hair grew out from an unfortunate Dorothy Hamill bob that was NEVER a good look. But rejection followed me to college, into adulthood, even as a military spouse. And I internalized being rejected as definitions of ME.

“I am weird.”

“I am unlikable.”

“I am ugly.”

“I am fat.”

“No one will ever really love me.”

“My thighs touch.”

“I always mess things up.”

“I’m a failure as a mother.”

“I’m not worth loving.”

“I’m not a good enough Christian.”

And Satan uses it all, whispering fiercely into my head and heart.

As Revelations 12:10 says, our enemy accuses us day and night. He is the constant liar.

Do you ever struggle with feeling rejected? Between gossip and judgmental 'friends', we all do from time to time. But what is God's truth?

Even just a few days ago, I lay sobbing from the painful sting yet again. If I am doing this Christ-thing right, why do people reject me? Am I even a good person? Am I a good mom? Am I a good Christian even though some people don’t like me?

1 Peter 2:4-8 ESV  As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”

I read this passage from 1 Peter and realized that I’m chosen and precious to Him. Then I wondered why am I giving these people so much power over my life? What gives them credibility? If it isn’t God, why am I listening!?!

1 Peter 2:4-8 'rejected by men, but in the sight of God chosen and precious. Oh <3 this! Click To Tweet

God chose ME as precious. He reached into my miserable little life and calls me beloved child. He is building me into a spiritual house. If I am being transformed by Him, their definitions do not matter.

“. . . whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

I am so easily manipulated by today. I forget that in the end God won’t let me be put to shame if I’m following His will for my life. Just keep taking one step toward Him each day, the rest will take care of itself.

Jesus was rejected and offended people; He made people angry. They rejected Him to the point of crucifixion. And He was perfect.

I’m not perfect. I can’t expect for everyone to love me. I sometimes have ‘openmouthinsertfoot-itis.’ I can keep growing as a person and Christian, but what I cannot keep doing is letting people dictate how I define myself when God already gave me His definition.

1 John 3:1-2 ESV “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

God’s love defines me. He carves my beauty out of the mud and muck in which I’ve so long been mired.  The Master of the universe chose me before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

How dare I hold onto these labels of lies, of blame, and rejection, questioning who I am, when what I will be has not yet appeared?

Oh, the hope in that appearance, that I will someday appear like Him as I labor to be transformed by Him.