Abide with me–fast falls the eventide.
Even after leaving the church, a piece of my faith in Christ that has kept me going has been the songs that I learned while I was in it. Those haven’t left me.
And lately–especially the past couple of weeks–I have found myself singing Abide with Me quite often. It has always stood as one of my favorite hymns–a great reminder that when darkness comes, when comforts flee, when change rattles your world–He will always come to abide with us. To sit at the edge of our bed. To extend warmth to a lonely heart. To be constant. To be the slight angle of light that cuts through your shutters and into a dark room.
Often I have found comfort that He is present when others are not. Or when others don’t understand. But lately I have found different meaning in the word Abide.
Long story short, it’s baby season. I swear, everyone is having a baby. My great niece was born yesterday, my sister is going to pop any second, and every photo session I’ve done this past month is either maternity, pregnancy announcements, or newborn shoots. Those who have followed my blog over the past six years know that as a sufferer of stage IV Endometriosis, getting pregnant is no cake walk. I’ve had some specialists shake their heads and tell me it’s not going to happen. Only until a six-month bout of intense hormone therapy have I been given the thumbs up that I have a window of time where we actually have a normal chance at conceiving. And although I’m excited and hopeful–infertility–and the grief and inadequacy and embarrassment and pain that piggybacks on top of it–is very real. And it doesn’t go away over night.
So baby season is difficult.
Being a step mom while trying to be a biological mom is beautiful–yet sometimes excruciating.
The trial, even during periods of hope and relief, can be all consuming.
And sometimes it takes a lot of self-talk, hymns on the playlist, and deep breaths to make it through another baby shower or another family conversation about happy “baby” memories, births, or events.
And usually, during these times, I fall heavily on the silence.
Christ has abided with me in empty closets, lonely nights, and tear-filled car rides. He has reminded me of His love during times where I do not love myself. He has given me strength when I’m anything but.
But lately–He has taught me something else: I can be reached.
I don’t have to always lean on the silence. Sometimes–he abides through someone. Sometimes, I can trust that I can lean on others.
I woke up this morning hurting. My heart, that is. I didn’t want to get out of bed.
And my sweet husband knew.
He didn’t talk about it with me or paint me into a corner. He didn’t try to talk me out of my funk or rationalize it or give advice. He didn’t say, “Don’t feel bad. It’s going to happen for us!” He didn’t try to get me to think differently or try to erase my insecurities.
He just came in as I made waffles in the kitchen and hugged me from behind, kissing my hair. He told me I was beautiful and that he was lucky. He made me laugh and gave me that wink that stops my heart and even texted me after I left for work that he missed me already.
He was just there.
Abide with me.
Not because he can necessarily empathize–but because what I needed in that moment was someone to just share the kitchen floor with me and remind me I’m loved. What I needed in that moment was simply–someone.
And the Lord’s hands were his.
He sends helpers often that we sometimes don’t even recognize. Our sweet co-workers. The barista at your favorite coffee place. A DJ on your favorite radio station that says what you needed to hear. Our spouses. Our children. Our parents.
We would be selfish and ungrateful to chalk up our trials to lonely tests that require one set of footprints. We’d be ignorant to forget there are people who do understand, who do love you–and who do hurt with you. We’d be prideful to think we’re in this alone and that the silence makes for a better companion than those He wants to work through.
I think I got used to playing a solo act and picking myself up by the haunches for the sake of not wanting to be a bother or a nuisance to those around me. I got used to Him abiding in the silence. And that was prideful of me. I recognize it now.
Sometimes I can even be combative about those who try to understand. But this morning–over waffles and rushed morning routines and morning cartoons–I was reminded how the Lord abides. I was reminded through the partner in life that He himself provided.
It’s a tender mercy.
He will bless you with the desires of your heart.
It will get easier, and it will be worth it.
Stick with it, friend. Okay?
But until then–let others abide with you. Let all the love in that you can possibly muster and fill your heart to the brim until someday, you can abide with someone else. You can be the one sharing their darkness.
And you can give all that love back.
- Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
- Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
- I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
- I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
- Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.