See that tired woman in the picture? You may not be able to see it in the photo, but the woman in the picture suffered from anxiety.
My younger sister had just died, and I knew the sky was going to drop on me. I had chest pains so severe, some days I had to pull the car over onto the shoulder and wait them out. After my cardiologist ran all the tests. He asked, “Have you experienced any trauma lately?”
“No.” I said.
“Yes, her sister died.” Jay, my husband, said.
“But no, this is physical pain, not sadness!” I said.
My cardiologist told me I suffered from the aftershocks, of the loss. He likened it to the quakes that occur after a major earthquake. Probably ptsd from jumping every time the phone rang waiting on that call or hoping planes with a newborn to rush to her side.
At the same time, there were riots and fires exploding on the television. I felt how can I, at 45 years old, protect this little baby? Furthermore, I had a torn tendon in my shoulder. All of this piled together making me feel extremely vulnerable for the first time in my life.
I Wanted a Gun:
A friend of ours who we called “Sniper” (because that’s what he was), trained me at the gun range. I wanted to start carrying a weapon, thinking I’d feel better armed with my pistol. So, I got my concealed permit.
After one of our lessons, Sniper slipped a plastic dagger on a chain to me.
“Here, it won’t set off alarms because it’s plastic, but it’s sharp enough you could take out an eye and everyone will think it’s a pen. Wear it on your neck.”
I wore that plastic dagger tucked into my bra for months. When I felt vulnerable, I pulled off the cap and had it ready.
Then Came Abiding:
Soon after, I attended the Abiding Study retreat one weekend at the farm. Richard and Linda Case came into town to lead us in it. At the end, we all went off separately to read an assigned passage in the Bible and journal which verses stood out to us.
The ones I journaled made no sense to me at the time. I couldn’t explain why when I read those verses, I was drawn to them. I just scribbled them down. I found my old workbook, and this is what I wrote:
“I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.” Ezekiel 34:25 (ESV)
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:6-9 (ESV)
When we gathered back in Ed and Becky Kobel’s family room and we took turns reading our scriptures. When it was my turn I laughed nervously, “I have no clue why, but these were the verses that stood out to me.”
I read them.
Richard sat back in his chair and thought. “Well, it seems to me God wants you to know you are safe. He’s protecting you.”
My mouth fell open.
I would like to say it happened over night, but soon after utilizing what I learned in the Abiding class, little by little I’d forget to arm myself. I couldn’t tell you where that plastic dagger is right now. Probably buried in the kitchen junk drawer. Yes, I hate to admit, but I have a junk drawer.
I left the Bible study and continued utilizing what I learned, and one day, it stopped being a Bible study and became a way of life for me and my husband. Every morning, first thing we grab our coffees go to our individual offices and have our quiet time praying, reading God’s Word, and journaling what He tells us.
What is Abiding Truly?
When I asked some of my friends to give me testimonials on what Abiding has done for them, Ed Kobel texted me, “Abiding is not a Bible study, it’s a lifestyle.”
Abiding is a lifestyle, in which you seek God daily with the intention of hearing from Him, learning who He is, and developing a relationship with Him.
I remember Ed’s wife Becky stating, “Once you begin learning the Father’s voice, you can’t wait to sit down in front of His Word to hear it again.”
Just yesterday morning, God reminded me that my older children are His, and He’s watching over them, and I needn’t worry. Then, last night Christian and I had a conversation about his year in Tally worthy of fifty new gray strands on my head.
Afterwards, I laid in bed and asked the Father, “Did you just hear THAT?” And His words from my abiding time came back to me. “They are mine. You can trust me with them.”
Cause God’s got him and through my abiding time, I’ve found God worthy of my trust.
So, that’s what this study has done for me. It’s changed my life, and I know it’ll do the same for you.
Join us Monday for our first Bible study podcast Abiding in the Vine: Hearing the Voice of God. You can get your workbook here.
Note: This blog has been posted in its unedited original form.
Tammy Carter Adams is the founder of The Hallelujah House, and host of the podcast Abiding in the Vine: Hearing the Voice of God scheduled to launch February 14.