Friday, May 19, 2006

Weekly Word for May 19 - 31, 2006

Weekly Word - May 19, 2006

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; . . .
O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Thy praise.
(Psalm 51: 1 & 15)

“Oh Lord, thank you for the gift of yesterday - and for being with us throughout the night - now we give you this day. Be in charge of today . . .” those were the words Ted started our morning prayer with. As he prayed, I listened to the words - feeling his arms holding me. His voice was soothing, surrounding me with not only his love - but the love God had for both of us. As Ted prayed for the day ahead, I had my own plans mapped out in my mind. When he was done praying, we ate our breakfast and headed out the door. He was dropping me off at the garage to pick up our new van - and then he was heading to another part of the state - heading off to work. As Ted drove away, I asked God to take care of him, to be with him the whole day - and bring him home safely to me at the end of the day. Then I turned to go into the waiting room - already planning for the rest of the day in my head. And then - - - I was reminded that things don’t always happen - the way “I” plan them . . .

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it - but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
(John 3: 8)

The new van needed only a few minor repairs, and the girl had told me it would be ready in a little bit. So as I waited, I read the newspaper and watched the television that was on in the “waiting room”. People seemed to be coming and going, and still I was sitting there waiting. I was starting to get a little worried - and that’s when the girl called me into the office. “We’re sorry . . . But the technician has dropped one of the bolts into the engine. It is going to take a little longer than we expected.” As she finished speaking, a man came forward to help me arrange for a “rental car”. Confused, I didn’t know what to do or think. But with the man’s help, I soon had all the paperwork done - and then he handed me the keys. As I got into the car, I adjusted the seat and mirrors, making sure that I was all set to go. Finally, I was ready to go home! This wasn’t quite how I had expected my day to go. Half the day was already over, and I still hadn’t done any work at home! “Oh Lord” I prayed, “please be in charge” I asked Him - as I fumbled to find the windshield wipers on the car. As I drove home, I realized how often I find myself asking God to be in charge of what is happening in my life. And then I thought back - to a time when things were very different - to a time when I didn’t trust anyone - - - not even the Lord . . .

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly
from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
(Psalm 51: 1 & 2)

He had me pinned against the file cabinet. As he kissed me, he pushed his whole body against me. I tried to push him away, but he was so much bigger than I was. After he kissed me, he stepped back - and I quickly turned away from him. But not before I saw the look in his eyes. His eyes seemed to say that I had asked for it - that it was my fault that he kissed me. I searched inside of myself, wondering if it was true. Hiding my feelings, I turned back toward him - telling him he had better not try that again! I said it with as much force as I could, all the while shaking inside. As he left my office, I went and sat down at my desk. What was wrong with me? Why did these things seem to happen to me? As I turned back toward my work, I decided not to tell anyone what had happened. After all, I was married with two children - and I really needed this job.

According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out transgressions.

My husband had asked me to get a “real” job. One that actually paid money. I had worked for a ministry, and volunteered at a crisis center - but I didn’t actually make much money. So when a friend from church told me about a job at their farm, I took it. I was to manage the business aspect of the farm. I took care of the billing, and the taxes - as well as payroll and advertising. It was my job to work up budgets and find ways to make sure all the bills were paid. I also oversaw the functions that were scheduled on the farm. It was such a beautiful place - the farm itself. I loved walking around it. But I found out quickly - that there were things that I really hated about that job . . .

My job was to make sure that everything on the farm ran smoothly. And that didn’t happen very often. My boss seemed to drink too much, and I didn’t trust him at all. I fought with some of the employees, as I tried to make sure that they did their jobs. On the day of an “outing” - it was my job to oversee everything! The caterers and waiters, the workers on the farm, and the people who came to enjoy themselves - - - all were my responsibility. It was my job to make sure everyone was paid, and all went smoothly. But it never did! And so by the end of the day - it was easy to say “yes” to a drink - trying to ease the tensions. On this day, after fighting with some of the workers, I found myself in my office with one of the other bosses. He had come in to talk about the day - but soon we were laughing and teasing each other. And then he told me how pretty he thought I was. It felt good to laugh - it felt good to be told by someone that I was pretty. But I really should have known better! I should have never trusted him! So when he tried to kiss me - I had no one else to blame - but myself . . .

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned.
And done what is evil in Thy sight, . . .
(Psalm 51: 3 & 4)

Over the next few years, I continued to work at the farm. I started to lose weight, and I was always stressed. My marriage wasn’t getting any better - and frequently I would hear about my faults as a wife. Every jab, every nasty comment - went in like a knife wound. Each day, I wondered how I could fix things. But nothing seemed to work. I kept most men (and actually almost everyone) at a distance - not wanting to get hurt again. And then I met Brian (not his real name). He was a contractor that I called when we needed help at the farm. He was always quiet, and seemed to listen to me when I talked. I didn’t see him very often, but when I did - he was always friendly. I started to think of him as a friend, someone who understood some of the things I was dealing with. What I didn’t realize, was what he was really seeing - when he looked at me. He saw how unhappy I was. He saw my hurts and pain, and for some reason - he believed he could rescue me.

Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man.
For Thou art my hope; O Lord God, . . .

(Psalm 71: 4 & 5)

I had set up a meeting with him, wanting to go over what we would need during the next few months. As we sat at the table, I went over the schedule and payments. We sat there for quite a while, easily talking about work and our families. And then things changed. I saw it in his eyes, and in the way he reached for my hand. At that moment, I jumped up from the table - putting some distance between us. As I gathered my things together, getting ready to leave - I wasn’t sure of what to say to him. His eyes were full of hurt and confusion - and I felt awful as I drove home that night. We hadn’t done anything wrong - but I felt like I had done everything wrong . . .

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me . . .

Our relationship changed, after that day. We were careful with each other, and a huge chasm stayed between us. It wasn’t until years later - that I found out how much he really knew about me. He had seen how hurt I was by my husband as well as those I worked with. He knew my heart was in pieces. But what he didn’t know - was that I was too wounded to trust even him . . .

My soul, wait in silence for God only; For my hope is from Him.
He is my rock and my salvation, . . .

(Psalm 62: 5 & 6)

It was around this time, that my boss’s wife realized that I wasn’t doing very well. She had gone to church with me, and also to bible study. And so one day she stopped me as I headed up to work. “You need some time for yourself” she told me. “You need to get away” she continued. She offered to give me a day off each month - with pay. It was a day just for me. She told me not to tell anyone - not even my husband - and so I didn’t.

On that very first “me” day - I went to see Norma. We met at our favorite restaurant for breakfast. As we sat there over coffee, Norma and I started to talk. We talked about our kids and our husbands. We talked about her work at the crisis center. And then we talked about “me”. Slowly, I started to tell her about the things that had happened. Little by little, I started to tell her the truth. I told her things that I hadn’t told anyone else. And then I told her how much I hated my life - how much I hated “me”!

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there - Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me.
(Psalm 139: 8 - 10)

Norma listened - and she didn’t judge me. She let me talk about anything that day. As we left the restaurant, she asked me to go with her to her house. When we got there, she asked if she could pray with me. I have to admit, at that moment - I was afraid. I knew that I had made some bad choices, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted God to know about them . . .

O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me, . . .
Thou dost understand my thought from afar.
(Psalm 139: 1 & 2)

That day was the beginning. Norma helped me to find a Christian counselor, someone who could help me. Each time I went to the counselor, she would ask me if it was alright to pray first. “Can we ask God to lead us and guide us?” she would ask me. I knew I could say “no” - but I always said “yes”. I wanted to get better. I wanted to get stronger and healthier. I wanted to stop hating myself. I wanted to finally - be happy . . .

But it didn’t happen over night - or even in the very first year. I had a lifetime of hurts and abuse, and all of them had left their wounds inside my soul. To this day, I remember the day I realized that God had known about “me” all along. He knew that I had been sexually abused as a little girl. He knew about “everything”. As I realized that fact - an anger started deep inside of me. “Why didn’t He stop it?” Why did I have to go through so much pain and abuse?” “Why did He let it happen?”

Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all.
Thou hast enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Thy hand upon me.
(Psalm 139: 4 & 5)

I am so glad that God lets us be angry, even at Him. During that time, Norma let me rant and rave about my anger. She listened to me when I cried about how much it all hurt. And then when I was done crying, she asked me if I wanted to pray.

Norma prayed with me a lot during that awful time. She helped me to see that God hadn’t meant for me to get hurt. That “others” had made some terrible choices. And then she helped me to see myself a little better. With Norma’s help, I learned to trust the Lord with everything - my hurts, my fears, my entire life. And then I had to trust Him, when He took her away from me - - - and took her “Home” with Him . . .

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself;
That where I am, there you may be also.”
(John 14: 1 & 3)

“Oh Lord, please be in charge of this day . . .” that has been my prayer each day, since all those years ago. Each time I have prayed those words - He has been there. He was there - holding my hand - when I had to say good-bye to my friend. And He has been with me, helping my heart to heal - - - helping me to trust and to love again - as He brought Ted into my life . . .

“For I know the plans 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)

“Oh Lord, please be in charge of this day . . .” that has been our prayer each and every day. It is my hope that it will become your prayer as well. Through the difficult times, when you face heartbreak and pain, He will be there. He promises to be with you always - helping you to Live life - until it is time to walk with Him - into forever. He is just waiting - for you to ask: Lord, please be in charge . . .

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
(John 15: 11)

God bless you and keep you in the days ahead!

In His Amazing Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers

Ted and I will be away for the next few weeks. We are traveling to visit Ted’s family - and we ask for your prayers during this time. We also ask for prayers for Ted’s dad, who will be having surgery in the next two weeks. Thank you all so much.

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted


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