Friday, February 03, 2006

Weekly Word for Feb. 3, 2006

Weekly Word - February 3, 2005

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
“For I am the Lord your God, . . .”
(Isaiah 43: 1 & 3)

There was a knock at the door, and so looking up from what I was doing, I asked whoever was there to - “come in”. As the door opened, our neighbor came into our apartment. Ted was sitting on the couch watching the television, while I was sitting in my big, comfy chair crocheting. I had stopped when she had walked in, and so now I sat holding my needle - waiting to hear what she wanted. She opened her mouth to say something, but stopped before any words could come out. She was looking at what I was working on. “That’s so beautiful!” she said. “Is it for anyone special?” I nodded my head, and she looked a bit disappointed. She then told us what she had originally meant to say - and then she turned to leave. As she did - she looked at what I was making one more time. “But it’s my colors” she said. Smiling at her, I could only shake my head as she finally left. I knew who I was making this for - someone very special. As I looked down at what I was making, I thought back through the years - to other gifts - and other times . . .

“Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, . . . Do not fear, for I am with you;”
(Isaiah 43: 4 & 5)

I was going to have a baby! My little belly was too small for most people to notice - but as I told my Nana about the baby - she touched my belly and smiled. I had asked her to help me. I wanted to make a baby blanket - something that was just from me - for my baby. We didn’t know if it was going to be a girl or a boy - so we picked colors that could be for both. I decided the blanket would have yellow, blue, and pink in it. The blanket was going to be made of small squares that would be put together later on. Each square had yellow around the outside, and a pink or blue rose in the middle. So with Nana sitting beside me, I started making the blanket.

As my belly grew, the bag with all the squares in it - didn’t grow quite as fast. I really wanted to do a good job, but I was having trouble finding the time to work on it. I worked all day at an insurance company, and when I got home at night I was exhausted. The week-ends were spent looking for a house, and getting ready to move. When I did find some time, my work came slowly, as I was still learning how to crochet. So on this day, as I sat down to rest, I watched the baby moving inside my stomach. As I watched - I saw a little foot sticking out. I was so amazed - it looked so perfect! Putting my hand where the tiny foot had been, I knew I already loved this baby! I had so many hopes and dreams for it. The blanket was just the beginning of all that I wanted to give to this new little life . . .

“Before I formed you in the womb - I knew you, And before you were born - I consecrated you; . . .”
(Jeremiah 1: 5)

Mikey was born on June 19th. Somehow I finished his blanket just before he was born. As I laid him in his little cradle, I put the blanket over this tiny new life. As I looked down at him, he looked so perfect! And so did that little blanket I had made for him.

That was the very first blanket I made. I have made quite a few since that day, almost 29 years ago. Each one, is as different - as unique - as the person I have given them to . . .

The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
(Jeremiah 31:3)

Her family had just moved in next door, and her mother had asked if I would watch her before and after school. She was only 5, and the oldest of three little girls. She had huge brown eyes - that seemed so sad when she looked at you. She was tiny in size, and I immediately loved her! Each morning she would run from her house, gasping a little as she ran inside. She never said very much, but headed upstairs to play for a little while with Jenny’s dolls and toys. I would make her some breakfast along with Mike and Jen’s breakfast - and then I would get them all off to school. As she left, she always gave me a hug, and off she went.

Then one day, she asked if I would make her a blanket like Jenny’s. I had made each of my children blankets to match their rooms. Mike’s blanket was blue and white, while Jenny’s was purple and pink. Each blanket had taken months to crochet. So I wasn’t really sure what to tell her. But soon I found myself checking out yarn, and thinking about what colors to use. Every day I would work on “Leelee’s” blanket when she wasn’t around. That was the nickname we gave her - Leelee! I decided her blanket should be all pinks with a little bit of white - and so I started on her special surprise.

It took a few months, but finally I finished it. I wrapped it up, and waited for the next morning when she would be there. She seemed happy, when she opened it, but I really didn’t know what she thought. She was always so quiet and shy. So as she stuffed it into her backpack, I hugged her and got her ready for school. As she left that day, I couldn’t help but wonder about this little one. I wanted her to be happy, but she seemed so sad all the time.

“I have chosen you and not rejected you, Do not fear, for I am with you; . . . I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, . . .”
(Isaiah 41: 9 & 10)

I didn’t see that blanket again, until many years later. Leelee would come over to play with Jen, and I would see her outside riding her bike or just playing in the neighborhood. Her mom didn’t need me to babysit any more, but I still worried about her. As the kids were getting older, I saw less and less of Leelee. Then - about a year or two ago - Jenny told me about that blanket. She had named it “Mrs. Gardner” - after me. That was my name before I met Ted. The blanket went everywhere with her. As Jen told me about it, she looked at me a little strangely. “Don’t you know mom?” she asked. “Leelee loved you. You and the blanket - were her strength, her security - when things were bad at home . . .”

“Do not fear,- - - for I am with you; . . .”

I have made so many blankets through the years. Sometimes I know “who” I am making the blanket for ahead of time. And sometimes - well, the blanket is made first - and somehow “fits” the person . . .

It was just about 20 years ago, and my husband at the time was very sick. He couldn’t eat, and slowly was losing weight. At times, he couldn’t even swallow water. Jen and Mike were only 4 and 8 at the time, and they really didn’t understand what was happening. We had just moved to Connecticut - and so all our relatives and friends were living very far away. Going back and forth between doctors and hospitals, our lives felt so out of control. And that’s when I made the biggest blanket I ever crocheted!

I picked a yarn that was called “variegated”. It was a mixture of browns, off white and white. It fit how I felt - confused and afraid. I feverishly worked on that blanket, while he went through tests and doctors visits. As the doctors tried to dilate his esophagus, I crocheted in the waiting room. And on the day they took him in for surgery, that blanket kept me company. As the hours ticked by, the blanket got bigger. After he came out of surgery, I sat beside his bed - still crocheting. He had tubes and monitors everywhere - and nervously I tried to ignore how afraid I was. That blanket seemed to symbolize that time in our lives - it was ugly, and huge, and it became our “family” blanket - sitting on top of our couch for years . . .

“For I am with you,” declares the Lord, “to save you;”
“For I will restore you to health - and I will heal you of your wounds,” declares the Lord,
(Jeremiah 30: 11 & 17)

There have been blankets I have made - out of love. And then there are blankets I have made - because of other emotions . . .

It was June, 1996 - and I had just left my husband. It seemed like all I wanted to do was cry, but I couldn’t - I needed to be strong and take care of my daughter. We had moved to a city where I knew no one, and so I asked Jen if she wanted to go shopping. We had been told about a small strip-mall just down the way, and soon we were parked and going inside. We walked through the mall looking at clothes in one store, and puppies being sold in another. And then we went in to a small store that carried household goods and home furnishings - - - and yarn! As I stood looking at all the different colors, I wanted some! I wanted to get some yarn, and crochet. That summer I made a blanket. It had reds and blues in it. And as I worked on it, I could feel the emotions going into the blanket I was making. All the hurts and pain - went into that blanket. All the love that somehow seemed lost - went there as well. When I didn’t know what else to do with “me” - I crocheted. And when it was done - I gave that blanket to my ex-husband. That blanket held all the emotions from years of hurts - as well as the love I felt - for this man who I couldn’t live with anymore . . .

“For I will restore you to health - and I will heal you of your wounds,”

And I will heal you of your wounds . . . He did! The Lord healed my wounds - and He restored my life to me! Since that time, almost 10 years ago, my life has been filled with so many blessings! I have a wonderful husband who loves me - I have children and grandchildren who I adore - and a life that I love!

As I sit here looking at the blanket before me, I can’t help but smile. Making it, has been easy for me. Because this blanket is for a very special friend. It is for one of my “best” friends. The main color is a soft beige. And then there is deep blue along with hints of burgundy and green. The blanket feels so warm and also vibrant - just like my friend. It is a gift to celebrate his life - and our friendship . . .

For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16: 7)

Over the years, it seems that I have made quite a few blankets - for so many different people. Not one of them, is the same as another. Each time I gave a “gift” away - I was given a gift as well. As I look back, I realize that the “gifts” to me - were the gifts of friendship, love, healing and Life . . .
As I get ready to give this new “gift” away - I realize how much my life has been changed - because I allowed my heart to love and to care. Each time I have given my heart away - - - my own life has changed, forever . . .

Will you choose to open your heart to another? Will you choose to care, to feel, and to make a difference in this world? Will you say “yes” to the Lord, to Love? When you do, not only your life will change - - - but our world changes - forever . . .

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
“For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;”
“Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and - I love you, . . .”
(Isaiah 43: 1, 3, & 4)

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity - to give you a future and a hope.”
(Jeremiah 29: 11)

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Perfect Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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