Remain in Me – Relationship, Identity, Mission

Sarah Granger // Scripture: A Mother's Lens


April 28  

In today’s Gospel, Jesus declares, Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing (Jn 15:4-5).

Born and raised in a missionary family, I understand the importance of remaining in Jesus. Daily personal prayer with Scripture keeps me connected to Jesus, the vine, and I have seen God bring much fruit from my life of service to him. 

Years ago, I was blessed to attend a retreat where the speaker explained how fundamental remaining in Jesus is to our mission. Quite simply, she said that if we do not put our relationship with God first, and draw our identity from that deeply rooted relationship, our mission becomes burdensome and impossible. That right order, she insisted—relationship, identity, mission—is so important.

I thought proudly that I did not run the risk of getting those out of order—until I had to grapple with dirty laundry.

Only a few days later, I was reflecting on my motherly mission to create a loving home where Jesus is Lord. Part of that mission for me is that I like our home to be tidy as well as holy. I was rushing around tidying up, when I noticed my husband’s dirty pants lying on the floor, inches away from the laundry basket. Instantly, I felt angry that I “had” to pick up the pants. 

I did not feel like doing it lovingly for the sake of my motherly mission of creating a Christ-centered home. 

Instead, my thoughts turned angrily to my husband: “He just threw these pants on the ground, expecting me to pick them up. I’m no more than a servant to him! Actually, a servant gets paid, and I don’t. I’m just a slave in this house.” My mission seemed bitter and unfair.

At that moment, my phone rang. My sweet husband was calling from the office. “Hey babe,” I could hear the smile in his voice. “I just wanted to call you and say how much I love you. I’m sitting here looking at the picture of us on my desk and thinking how you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” All of my anger melted away. I managed a quick, “Thanks, love you too,” and hung up.

I remembered immediately how my husband had been up all night with our fussy toddler the night before, let me sleep in, and fixed the kids’ breakfasts. He loved and served me constantly. In no way did his inadvertently forgetting his pants on the floor signal his disrespect for me. I had been resenting my mission because I wasn’t remaining in the truth of his love for me.

Suddenly, my working for the fruit of a loving home seemed sweet again. Rooted in a loving relationship with my husband who lays down his life for me, and as his beloved, I was happy to do the simple act of serving him by picking up his forgotten pants every once in a while.

I realized then how important it is for me to hear every day from God that I am beloved, to let that sink deep into my heart, and take my identity from that love relationship, so that the service he calls me to do is done out of love and joy, rather than resentment and servitude.

Proclaim the Genius & Share!
  • This is exactly what I need. “ I realized then how important it is for me to hear every day from God that I am beloved, to let that sink deep into my heart, and take my identity from that love relationship, so that the service he calls me to do is done out of love and joy, rather than resentment and servitude.”

    My question is how am I suppose to do that? I have 8 child #in womb, my day is packed, and most nights too, it’s been a long time since I’ve slept a full 6 hours. It’s broken up sleep and sometimes not even in my own bed.
    I feel most days depleted, overwhelmed, and exhausted.

    I just want to sit with Jesus, my heart longs longs for that time, but it seems impossible, out of reach, or a joke of a desire.

    • Oh Cassandra! I don’t know you personally but I know that feeling so well! When I had littles I sometimes put on screens (oh the horror), or quiet time, and read a little scripture while nursing and laying out my struggles to the Lord. If there was a day where I just could not get even 15 minutes with him, I would lay in bed at night and just say “ Jesus, you know how much I longed to spend time with you today, please hold me through the night”, and would wake up feeling closer to him. If your husband can spot you for an occasional holy hour, or a yearly retreat, that is very refreshing as well.

    • This ache and longing is SO real as is your utter exhaustion. Please know, dear Cassandra, that your LIFE is your prayer that he is WITH you in all the difficult, endless, mundane, beautiful, exhausting moments and he sees you and delights in you. You can practice his presence in all the little moments with a glance up, a nod, one deep breath. He is there and he is IN the moments with you. He is not waiting for you to find silence to sit with him, he is accompanying you in the chaos and he longs to fill you up as you pour out. You are giving your body and blood, and your life is SO united to Christ’s! I will be praying for you that you find some rest, that God refreshes your soul in the supernatural ways only he can. I will pray that he is undeniably present to you in this most difficult season. You bring him SO much joy with your sacrifice!

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