“What sayest thou, O my soul? Shall I longer hesitate, or withhold consent? Or shall I not, instead of only thinking how hard and how difficult it is to live like a branch of the True Vine, because I thought of it as something I had to accomplish — shall I not now begin to look upon it as the most blessed and joyful thing under heaven? Shall I not believe that, now I once am in Him, He Himself will keep me and enable me to abide? On my part, abiding is nothing but the acceptance of my position, the consent to be kept there, the surrender of faith to the strong Vine still to hold the feeble branch. Yes, I will, I do abide in Thee, blessed Lord Jesus.”
– excerpt from Andrew Murray’s Abide in Me
I’m a doer. A pull up your pants and just push on kinda girl. Somewhere along the line I learned that it’s better to just push through than to linger or let someone help. Head strong?
I remember when my husband and I were dating. We argued a lot. Some thought marriage was a horrible thing for the two of us. But here’s the thing, we never argued about things the other had done or not done. We argued about what we believed or were passionate about and most of the time it was out of exasperation because I just wanted to be right already. Even when I blatantly knew I was wrong in my opinion I would defend it as if it were my last day. I didn’t want to fail.
When I was growing up and we would get into trouble my dad would ask us into the living room or some far away, private place and let us know how much we had disappointed him. And because my parents were divorced early on in my life and there was probably some innate need for approval, this disappointment hurt so much. So much that I learned to cover my back in order to get out of “the talks.” Instead of learning to grow and being offered grace, I learned how to avoid, displace, and defend my misjudgments to the end. And though I had grown so much before meeting my husband, I still hadn’t been rid of this choking pride.
And as the days of our dating went on, I learned more and more what it meant to submit and to forgive and to admit that I was a flawed sinner, without perfect knowledge, and that I couldn’t do it all on my own. I learned more and more that I couldn’t trust a person to be more than what the person was physically, emotionally, and spiritually able to do. My husband, then boyfriend, couldn’t and wouldn’t be my God. I learned quickly to be realistic in my expectations, to offer grace, and to be realistic about who I was. The Lord grew me more and more and my husband taught me about grace and forgiveness firsthand. He met my pride word for word, talking about it for what it was, not beating around the bush with sin and then as soon as he outed my wrong, he offered grace. Humble grace. Something I had rarely ever met before.
I don’t deserve him even today.
But what became even more apparent from the time of my lost love to my wedding day and beyond, was that I wasn’t really in control. And I didn’t really want to be in control. What I really wanted deep down in the deepest part of me was for someone to love me and lead me and help me and keep me and show me the way despite of who I was just because they cared so much for me.
I needed to abide. I needed to rest my weary prideful heart right at the feet of Jesus because He loved me more lavishly and beautifully and perfectly than I had ever known before.
And somehow in His kindness, in our short 7 years of marriage, the Lord gave me this fallen, grace filled man to point me to Him. To attempt to lead me and love me and help me and keep me and show me the way despite of who either of us are because he cared for me and more than that he wants me to see Jesus.
I’m always continuing to learn that I’m just dust.
Just a feeble little branch,
Who needs the TRUE VINE to keep me.