Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit because you can do nothing without me.
I love being a grandma (Mia) to our grandson, Declan! He just turned 2, so it’s a pretty new role for me. On our playdates, since he was old enough to sit and eat in his highchair, I have sung to him while he eats. I would sing, “You are my sunshine,” Barney’s “I love you,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and other fun songs. Last week during our playdate, as I was preparing lunch and sat him in his highchair, he began singing to me. I cried! Our time together matters! He remembers me and the things we do together. After we part ways, I always thank God for our time together. I often try to remember if I marveled at each new thing that our, now grown, three children did when they were his age. I think about all I used to juggle while raising children and what it felt like to celebrate days end and that they were fed and thanked God they were safe.
Along with being “Mia”, I’m a wife, mom to adult children, daughter to aging parents, an employee for two non-profit organizations, a friend, and a volunteer. I love each of those roles, but some weeks, it’s overwhelming. My days are so full and busy. I must be very intentional in getting tasks completed and do all the necessary things. People are my passion, but somedays, I am depleted and searching for God and questioning my true purpose.
When I get the chance to get refreshed, I go to the Ocean, the Gulf, or any large body of water. When I’m there, I never question my connection to God. I have always said it’s my “God place.” What is it about my God/Jesus place that makes it so special to me? I believe it’s the vastness of it, the rhythm of the waves, the beautiful layers of blue. Since we live in Indiana, it’s always during a vacation, and I strive and long for that connection every day. It’s easy for me to feel connected to Him near the water, and it’s easy for me to feel connected to Him when I hear Declan’s sweet singing.
As my faith journey deepens and my quiet time with God happens almost daily, I realize my true connection happens every day, no matter where I am. I consult with Him as I care for my mom, am overwhelmed by Him during a beautiful sunrise or sunset, and praise Him for a meaningful conversation with a friend. I thank Him for my husband, our kids, and grandson daily and brainstorm with Him about work solutions. I celebrate with Him during family gatherings and milestones, negotiate with Him over prayer requests, and worship Him during church. I discuss with Him my plans for the day and sit quietly with Him during prayer, quiet, meditation time. When I stop and think about it, I’m just as connected every minute, every day in Indiana, as I am by the beach! What an amazing realization and gift! Everything I do, I do with Jesus!
Christ is our lifeline, and He calls us to abide in Him and bear fruit. Abiding in him, the fruit I bear matters. The simple everyday things matter. I listened to the podcast, That Sounds Fun, where Annie F. Downs was interviewing long time author and teacher, Beth Moore. They talked about what it means to “Abide in Christ.” “Abiding is a way to live.” Annie and Beth described Jesus as the city. “The city is where you go for everything you need – if you’re hungry, looking for work, looking for help…. Jesus is the city! Live in it.” Jesus is where I go for everything I need – for energy when I’m depleted, for guidance when I don’t have the right words, for wisdom in my everyday choices. Abide in him and see what fruit you will bear!
Loving Jesus, thank you for walking with me every second of every day. You are a part of me in the good minutes, the hard minutes, and the minutes that just seem to happen. Like a branch is attached to a vine and depends on it for life, I want to be devoted to living in you Jesus – with my whole heart. Help me be fruitful and live a life connected with You everywhere I am. I want you to be my “city”! Amen
Tammy Varner is an active volunteer and serves as an elder at Commonway church. She keeps busy with work at Muncie Area Youth for Christ, the YMCA, and going on adventures with her adult children and grandson. She is married to Steve and loves to travel to the beach as often as possible.
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