The other night I had my first post grad “forgot to study for a test” dream. Of course, in my dream I got my test back and had royally failed it. As you might guess, my dreams are usually quite dramatic.

But something was different this time.

In my dream the teacher gave me some pretty great news despite my failing test grade. Yes, I had failed, but it was not my final grade. There was grace grading — I actually was not going to flunk out in the end after all! I was thrilled — amazed — How could it be? I failed the test, yet I was walking away not just with a passing grade, but with an A in the class. I had done nothing to earn it, yet it was given freely anyway. A dream come true!

But at face value it seemed almost too good to be true. Then I woke up and thought about how this dream felt more than just a college test. It pointed me straight to Jesus — our Lord, our Teacher.

True. He doesn’t test us like a college exam. Instead, He sees us. He sees our successes and our failures. He meets us in the exam room, and when we fail (and we will as we already have), He picks us up. He says, “I will never fail you or forsake you. You belong to me because I paid the price to free you from your failures. You don’t need to pass a test to be with me. There’s more than enough grace to cover you here.”

Though we fail, God never fails us. He sent His Son so we could be near to Him. So when we remain in Him — ABIDING in His grace — we have everything we need to live for Christ. No passing grades or entrance exams needed. Success and failure aside — we can enter His presence when we ABIDE!

Bob Goff says something about how choosing Jesus is trading up. In our sin we deserve every bit of that failing grade. But God — Yes! God, in His great love for us, sent His Son so we would not perish [fail] but have eternal life.

When we choose Jesus, He redeems our failures with His own blood. We are free! Jesus paid it all. He took that grade for us on the cross. When we remain in Him, we remember our past life and let it go, knowing He is our sustainer and keeper. No matter the trial or failure, He is our true constant. Our victory! And guess what — it’s already won.

Failure does not get the last word because grace gives us a new letter — a new word — a new story to write.

For me in 2020 this word happens to start with the letter A.

Last year BETHEL was my word — a word God rooted in my heart to remind me that He is my home no matter where I go. He goes before me to make a way. He is my firm foundation; sure and true and constant no matter what changes come. Now with those truths, the next step for me is to ABIDE in this new year. To follow and acknowledge Him as I walk into a new season and decade.

“ABIDE in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it ABIDES in the vine, neither can you, unless you ABIDE in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever ABIDES in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” -John 15:4-5

ABIDE — Remain, hold, follow. My prayer for 2020 and this new decade for me and Winnefred Austin and all who hold our products in their hands. ABIDE — a reminder that God holds us and whatever we’re trying to hold ourselves. He holds us and our futures. When we remain in Him we can let go of holding everything on our own, and hold fast to our God. And you know what? We bear fruit and do more than we could imagine.

ABIDE — To know without a shadow of a doubt through cloud and sunshine, He ABIDES with me and I with Him.

Will you join me? Let’s spur one another towards ABIDING in this new year. What’s your word for 2020?

Happy New Year!

xx, Ashley

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