Friday, January 23, 2015

A Brand New Year - January 2015

A Brand New Year . . . 

“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)

It is January of 2015, a brand new year!  It is the time when most of us look back at our lives, and resolve to change, or do things a little better in the new year. I don’t usually make “New Year Resolutions”.  But I do try to look back at the past year.  I look at the amazing gifts God has given to us, and am so thankful for them.  But I also look at those things that brought tears and heartache.  It is in the times of fear and pain - that I see God working the most in my life . . .

“For I know the plans that I have for you”

I wish I could say that in every day, every moment - I have asked God to show me the direction I should be taking.  But I don’t always do that.  I find myself caught up in the every day business of being a wife, a mom, and a gramma.  I often set off on my day, without even thinking about what lies ahead.  “I” make the choices for the day, sure that I need to do this or that.  Some days go just fine,  but others turn out to be terrible choices.  I think we can all find ourselves doing this.  After all, God has given us the right to make those choices.  But it is in the wrong choices, that I find myself praying for help, for guidance, for God’s presence to be with me.  It is then - - - that I find God . . .

“For I know the plans that I have for you”, declares the Lord, “Plans for welfare and not for calamity . . . “

A few months ago, Ted and I were out and about doing some Christmas shopping.  We found some really cute toys for the babies, and then we checked out the stuffed animals.  I love stuffed animals!  We looked around and Ted pointed out a little lion.  It reminded me of the lion from the Wizard of Oz.  He had a disheveled mane, and he really did look like he needed some courage.  Ted picked him up, taking him with us to check out.  He looked at me and told me that he was what I needed.  I needed to find “courage” for the things that had been worrying me.  When I held the little lion, I knew that Ted was right.  I was going to need courage to move on in my life!

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name;
You are mine.”
(Isaiah 43: 1)

As I held my little lion (I call him Leo), I knew that some of my fears were about the future.  There are things that I have little to no control over, like how Alzheimer’s is affecting my mom.  Most days she doesn’t remember who I am.  She also has very little understanding of what every day things are.  She doesn’t know what a spoon is, or even what a “Birthday” is.  She tries hard to go along with things, but every visit gets harder and harder.

Watching my mom deteriorate has not been easy.  The disease has made her angry at times, and she lashes out and even hits people.  The nurses are wonderful with her, but I still get upset - as I watch what is happening to her.  I know that I probably won’t get Alzheimer’s, but I worry about it anyways.  What if I get it?  What will it do to my husband and children?  I don’t have the answers for the questions.  Just like my mom can’t answer the simple questions put before her.  I try not to be afraid, but I am.  Lord, please help me . . .

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you . . . 
For I am the Lord your God.”
(Isaiah 43: 2 & 3a)

This past year has been a roller coaster of emotions.  I have been overjoyed with the birth of each of my two new granddaughters.  When I hold them, I find myself full of hope for their lives.  I can’t wait to see who they will become.  I look at little Ali, and I see her momma in her eyes.  I remember back to holding Jenny and watching her laugh and grow.  Ali feels so full of that same joy and laughter.  Then there is little Faith.  She is the little miracle that was given to Mike and Kelly.  She has beautiful dark eyes that sparkle when she laughs.  And I love holding and rocking her, this precious little one.  These are my joys.

But I also had some lows this past year.  One of them was finding out that I have osteoporosis.  My spine and hips have shed some of the bone that I need to stay strong.  So I started treatment for this disease.  I had the first infusion in November.  But I was also given a packet of information on what I needed to do so that I wouldn’t break my bones.  I have skimmed through the packet.  Most days I don’t want to think about it.  But I also know that my grandmother broke her hip when she was younger than I am.  So I know that it can happen to me as well.  There is this little fear inside,  that I try very hard to hide.  I know that my body is weaker than I would like it to be.  But I’m not sure that it can be fixed.  Some days I have courage and strength, and some days - I am afraid.  I worry about Ted being married to someone who is in a wheelchair.  Oh Lord, please forgive me.  Please give me courage to face the future . . .

“When you walk through the fire - you will not be scorched, . . . 
For I am the Lord your God, . . . 
. . . Since you are precious in My Sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,”
(Isaiah 43: 2b - 3)

My life is full of many blessings.  It also has it’s worries and challenges.  Each morning, Ted and I pray together.  We ask God to be in charge of that day, as well as all those we love.  As we give Him our lives, we ask Him to walk with us through both the joys - and the hard times.

I have a wonderful husband, and a marriage that brings joy to me every day.  I have children who are married and have given me eight grandchildren.  I love each one of them so much.  They have brought laughter, joy, and even some tears to my life.  But I am so thankful for them all!  I have wonderful friends who care about me, and pray for me.  I thank God for the gift of them in my life.  All of these gifts are such blessings to me.  They are the reasons to take courage - and have strength for tomorrow!  

“For I know the plans that I have for you”, says the Lord . . . 

I am not afraid, when I give this moment, this day, this new year - to the Lord.  For He knows the stories I have still to write, the books that will be published, and the family I will hold and love - all the days of my life . . .

I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my supplications. 
Because He has inclined His ear to me.
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
(Psalm 116: 1 & 2)

It is my hope and prayer that you too will ask God to walk with you each day, giving Him your worries and fears.  He knows your pain - and He knows what you need to live your life  - with courage and strength.
God bless you as we begin this brand new year.  May His strength and healing fill you with peace and new life!

In His Amazing Love,

Debbie and Ted Ayers


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