People always say it’s in January that they start making or beginning their New Year’s Resolutions, but for me it’s always been whenever I know something old needs to pass and something new needs to start. It is taking out a new sheet of paper for a math lesson that has me confused – I begin again and things start showing through the clouds of eraser dust and making sense. (Okay, that hasn’t been the case for me in 14 years…breathe Anastasia…) Now it’s more like “the day has been full and life has been good but the rooms are left in the wake of all our living;” so, I turn on some instrumental music, push up my sleeves, wash some dishes, and put things back in their place. I might even top it off with lighting a candle and standing and looking around for the brief moment between clean and the dishes the kids bring up from the basement after I’m done.

See, I just can’t wait til some time in the future for change. I don’t know what the next minutes or the next months hold; I must take hold of the now God has given me. I remember being in elementary school – at Pilot Elementary in Thomasville, North Carolina – and each day I would wake up with the thought that I could be new that day. I could be more confident like Laura Ingalls or more courageous like Mandy in her attic or more driven like Anne of Green Gables. At the begin of each new day, I felt like I could overcome all of my insecurities and worn and torn circumstances and be someone…different. As I grew and when I became a Christian, those thoughts were still with me, but the realities of life overtook my dreams. Ideals were often replaced by ordeals and who I was was so often disappointing that I became depressed and even more insecure.

Fourteen years after graduating high school, I am a wife to a guitar playing-web designing-worship loving guy and a mother to five of the coolest kids, and most of these years have been a struggle to overcome all the failures and insecurities and depressions. Over and over again I have come to Jesus with cries of deliverance, courage, joy, peace, confidence. We are promised these things in Him, and I am in Him! I reminded Him how He promised and how I’ve sought and still how I have had naught! (At least not consistently. His promises have seemed hit or miss to me, but He is NOT hit or miss! God is faithful; so, what was going on!?)

This year I have been memorizing out of the book of John. I am very familiar with His “abiding” passages throughout this Gospel, so putting them to memory hasn’t come too hard. Putting them to living, well, that is another story. I would say aloud, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, ABIDE in my love” and “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and your joy may be full.” I would say them, pray them, plead for them! I wanted their Truth more than I wanted my next cup of coffee 😉 – more than I wanted my next breath – because if I couldn’t have His Truth – really own it in my life – living was pointless! Waking every morning to that man and those children would be hollow if I couldn’t wake ready to offer them as much of Jesus as I could. My serving, loving, teaching, kissing, and hugging would be in vain if not full of the leading of His Spirit. I wanted nothing less than Him for myself and for my husband and children and for every person I came in contact with! So, I sought on…

About a month and a half ago, a dear friend and I began sending each other quick emails throughout the week. We are both mommies who stay home and teach our children at our tables every day, so we have little time for long emails or weekly Women’s Bible Studies. Yet, we wanted to fellowship with each other over what God was teaching us; so, we began. Soon after, we started going through a book she had discovered – Abide in Christ. I couldn’t help but almost hearing Jesus reply to my seeking Him on this subject. “Here!” He said with a smile! (Or at least that’s how I imagine it.)

And chapter one began:

You doubtless have never regretted having come to His call. You experienced that His Word was truth; He fulfilled all His promises; He made you partakers of the blessings and the joy of His love. Was not His welcome most hearty, His pardon full and free, His love most sweet and precious?

Aye, friends, it was absolutely all of that!…

And yet you have had to complain of disappointment. As time went on, your expectations were not realized. The blessings you once enjoyed were lost; the love and joy of your first meeting with your Savior, instead of deepening, have become faint and feeble. And often you have wondered what the reason could be, that with such a Savior, so mighty and so loving, your experience of salvation could not have been a fuller one.

I stopped. I may have cried. I had to say, “Yes, Jesus. That is it exactly!” But why and what could be done?!

I read on:

He had destined you to something better than a short-lived blessedness…He had prepared for you an abiding dwelling with Himself, where your whole life and every moment of it might be spent, where the work of your daily life might be done, and where you might be enjoying unbroken communion with Him…Abide in me.

It is our aim to attempt one chapter a week in order to really ponder – as Mary – these things in our hearts and let them be nourished and grow and then lived out. (Though I think I am a week behind…) So, in order to not live sometimes near and sometimes far away from the presence of my Savior (though He never leaves or forsakes…we are the ones who flail and wander) in 2015, I will ABIDE! I won’t just read about it, learn about it, or pray about it. I. Just. Will. Abide.

And this year, I am not alone. Though many women across the world are choosing to own their lives in different ways – however God leads their hearts and minds – we are all standing together and encouraging one another to live for the praise of His glory that our stories will be a reflection of His – the very Gospel lived out throughout the whole world! Will you join us?

Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson