Friday, September 09, 2005

Weekly Word for September 9 - 16, 2005

Weekly Word - September 9, 2005

A joyful heart - makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.
(Proverbs 15: 13)

He had told me about the tape he had found, and how it had been hidden behind some books in his truck. He had played it all day, finding the music soothing to listen to. It was a tape from many years ago, and a singer we both had known back then. As he mentioned the names of the songs, I wasn’t sure if I knew them. So as I got ready to leave the next day, he went running to the truck to get it. As he handed me the tape, he told me to tell him what I thought about, when I got home that night. I told him I would, as I kissed him goodbye. As I drove away, I pushed in the tape. As the music started, my mind wandered back. The soft sad notes, brought back memories of my “melancholy friend” . . .

There is a time for every event under heaven - - -
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 4)

I first met him, when he had been gracious enough to let Jen and I stay in his home. But his wife had made sure that I understood that he had issues with women who left their husbands and children. She wasn’t sure that he would be alright with me living in their house. And so I was very careful when I first met him. I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable, so I tried very hard not to talk about all that I was going through at the time. But he was so nice to Jen and me, and soon I found myself talking to him as if he were a friend. We didn’t talk about deep personal issues, but we talked about simple everyday things. I liked him. I liked who he was, and the quiet caring that I saw while I lived there. As the months went by - I wondered about this man, and the hurts that his wife had told me about. And then Jen and I moved away.

A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together;

(Ecclesiastes 3: 6b & 7a)

It was three years later, when I heard his soft, gentle voice on the phone. His wife had left him, and he didn’t know where to turn, or who to call. He was seeing my partner for counseling - - - but right then, he just needed a friend . . .

But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken

He had been so broken and so wounded - when his wife had walked out. He had been so full of sadness and loss. As I listened to the music, I heard those feelings again. Feelings I had hoped - - - had been healed . . .

He was only 5 years old, but he was going to have a sleep-over! He was so happy and so excited. It didn’t matter that she was a girl, she was his very best friend in the world! Her name was Debbie, and they played together all the time. So on this day, as they laid on the grass, looking up at the sky - he didn’t have a worry in the world. As they looked at each cloud, they found animals and shapes, and laughed as they talked to each other. And then the day changed, and darkness seemed to overwhelm him, as Debbie was sent away.

She was sent home to her parents, as his own parents continued to fight. He didn’t understand why, but he was being asked questions - that he couldn’t answer. And then she too was gone. His mother had also gone away . . .

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; . . . For my life is spent with sorrow, And my years with sighing;
(Psalm 31: 9 & 10)

The stories and heartache came rushing back, as I continued to listen to the tape. I had hoped and prayed that his heart would be healed - but as I listened to the music, I wondered if it had . . . .

for I am in distress; . . . For my life is spent with sorrow

As he walked into the bible study, his face was drawn and tired. And I remember looking at him, and wishing I could comfort him. He was the man who I had remembered from before, but now he was filled with sorrow. We talked a little, and then the bible study started, and I watched him as he sat quietly in the corner. When the night was about to end, and everyone was milling around and talking, I waited to talk to him before he left. He was leaving, but I wanted to say something, and so I caught his attention. “Call me, whenever you need to” I said. And nodding his head, he left.

That was the beginning of our friendship, our true friendship. The kind that shares heartaches and pain. His life had been so full of losses, that I wondered if he would ever trust anyone again.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, . . . You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy.”
(John 16: 20)

After his mother left, the house became much quieter. The fighting and the yelling had ended. And the kids didn’t have to worry about being hit - anymore. But he missed her - - - and he wished she would come back. He was a little boy, who missed his mother, and he didn’t know what to do!

For the next few years, his life continued on. He had his dad, and his grandparents, and his sister and brothers, as well as friends. He knew he was loved! He never doubted it for a day. But still, something was missing inside. Then one day it happened, he didn’t go to school, but took his bike and rode away. He rode, and he rode, and he rode. He was going away - but he didn’t know where. All he knew, was he was heading out of town . . .

That’s where his dad found him, riding on the sidewalk, riding where he had never gone before. His dad didn’t say a word, but took the bike and put it in the car, and then took him with him to work that day. All day, the little boy wondered about the feelings deep inside, and how far away he felt from his heart.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalm 34: 18)

Loss and pain were part of his life, and he didn’t know what to do with it. So as the years went by, the boy grew older. At 14 he knew he was in love. Her name was Maggie, and he spent all his time at her house. He loved to visit with Maggie’s family, especially with Maggie’s mom. She was always cooking, and always sweet - and he just knew that he loved being with Maggie. And then one day Maggie asked him to go to a church camp - and of course he said he would. At the camp he heard the stories about Jesus - and he decided right then - to follow the Lord.

He dated Maggie for almost 2 years, before they finally broke it off. He still loved her, but she said it was time to move on. Still, he never forgot that feeling that he had when he first fell in love - with Maggie! It stayed buried, deep in his heart.

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.
(Psalm 34: 15)

He had given his heart to the Lord. And from that day on, his life was never quite the same. He wanted to find a church, and follow God’s teachings - wherever that happened to be. And so when it was time to go on to college, he chose one that was a Christian college. He wanted to be a pastor, or maybe a missionary - whatever the Lord wanted for his life. But he also wanted “her”. He met her that very first year. And she was pretty and smart - and he knew right away he wanted to date her.

They dated for years, and he left college to follow her. All the way to Connecticut he went. They married a few years later, and soon bought a house. And it was to here, that Jenny and I went to live.

The righteous cry and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.
(Psalm 34: 17)

I was in pain, and hurting, and that is how he first met me. I had left my husband and my oldest son - to try to find my life. And still, somehow, we became friends. I knew he had pain, locked somewhere deep inside - but at the time, all I could feel was me. He listened and smiled, and I liked him.

So years later, when he came to that bible study, I knew that I liked him - but he was broken - and hurting - from wounds throughout his life . . .

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
(Psalm 34: 18 & 19)

As I listened to the tape, I wondered about Ted’s heart. He had been hurt so many times throughout his life. Did it still hurt? Was he still sad? Was there anything I could do?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.”
(Mathew 5: 3 & 4)

He was my “melancholy friend”, as he would listen to sad music and watch sad movies. His heart hurt, and I would listen to him as he told me his stories. As he did, my own heart would hurt as well. I found myself praying for him, begging God to help him. We talked every day, and I found myself listening to him pour out his life to me. And that is when things changed for us. My heart felt his heart - and love started to grow. We wanted so much for the other to be loved - truly loved - forever . . .

And the ransomed of the Lord will return. . . . with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
(Isaiah 35: 10)

When I got home that night, Ted asked me what I thought about the tape. I wasn’t sure what to say. “The songs make me feel sad” I told him. And then I asked him: “Are you still sad?”

And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

As he pulled me in his arms, I could feel his warmth and love. In Ted’s arms, I could feel his heart. Our love had brought so much healing into our own lives. Did he still have hurts? Of course. We all do. I know that my husband is “who” he is, because he has been hurt - as well as been loved - in his life. . I am “who” I am - because I have been hurt in my life as well. But our love, and the Lord, brings healing to our lives every day.

Are there moments of sadness? Yes. Sometimes they are from things that happen now. And sometimes they are from wishing that things had been a little different. Sometimes I wish that my children had known him when they were little - and sometimes I wish that we had been able to have babies of our own. Ted has his own times of “sometimes wishing . . .” But God knows those as well. He knows how to heal our hearts - and answer our “sometimes” wishes . . .

“Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy.”

“Whenever a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; But when she gives birth to the child, she remembers the anguish no more, for joy that a child has been born into the world.”

“Therefore you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you.”
(John 16: 20 - 22)
Our new life, came from being wounded. It was born out of sadness and loss. Many awful things happen in this world. But the Lord knows how to bring healing and Life out of the hurts and pain. Right now, many lives have been changed because of a terrible hurricane. There is so much sadness and loss. But I know that God will heal our hearts - and our land - if we will just ask Him. He is just waiting to heal our wounded hearts . . .

“ your sorrow - will be turned to joy.”

Will you give Him your heart? He knows your hurts and wounds. He is just waiting - - - for you to say yes . . . .

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Amazing Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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