I recently finished reading a book I was given a couple years ago, “The Magnolia Story,” by Chip and Joanna Gaines. It is their life story about how they met and the beginning days of starting their business in Waco, Texas.

At the end of the book Joanna states how she wants her family to not just survive but to thrive. I want that for myself. When I closed the book, I asked the Lord what that looks like for me. Truthfully, I feel like I’ve been in survival mode since Bill’s diagnosis of a brain tumor over six years ago. At first I was focused on trying to get him better, then I watched as  the love of my life give up the battle he couldn’t win. After that I was trying to learn how to live without the love of my life, the new normal as everyone called it.

More recently it has been living with COVID-19 and all the ramifications we are all faced with. All of my new normals have made me question how I could thrive and not just survive. I’m afraid if I take too much time to reflect I start thinking about on all I miss and have lost.

That night when I asked God to show me what thriving looks like for me, I heard Him whisper, “Abide.” Then my next question was, what does that look like for me?

That Sunday, which was the next day, our pastor preached on John 15 and the passage talks a lot about abiding. These verses tell us that:

1) God has given us His Spirit to abide with us forever. That’s His promise.

2) Like the branch that abides in the vine, when we abide in Jesus we will bear much fruit. For without Him we can’t do anything. (Good news: we don’t have to make fruit on our own. It happens as we are abiding in Jesus.)

3) When we are abiding God promises to hear our prayers and to answer.

4) The Father loves us and wants us to abide in His love. Sometimes I forget this as I go through struggles in my life and I need constant reminders of the Father’s love for me. Those reminders come to me through fellowship, songs, reading His word and the peace and presence of His Spirit.

5) When we are abiding in His love, we will live lives pleasing to Him.

1 John 2:17 tells us this, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.”(NKJV)

I also need this reminder, that the life here is not all there is, but as I keep abiding  in Jesus and the Father‘s love, they are preparing a home for me in heaven that I will “thrive”in for all eternity.”

I am still learning what it means to thrive by abiding but I know that taking time to sit in God‘s presence and let Him love me and commune with Him is a big part of it.

– Pat Estes

Photo by Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash