Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Weekly Word - Dec. 28th to Jan. 7, 2005

Weekly Word
Dec. 28 - Jan . 7, 2005
“behold, I bring you good news of a great joy - which shall be for all the people;”
(Luke 2: 10)

This past week-end was Christmas - a celebration - with family and friends. The days were spent visiting with the family - exchanging gifts - and telling stories of times gone by . . .
As we were visiting with friends - I overheard these words: “I never back down - or run away!” and he kept on talking. As I thought about those words - I remembered back . . .

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you;”
(Mathew 2: 13)

He was about 13 years old - and I really wished I was more like him! We were only a year apart - but my brother had so much more courage than I did. Forever - I was always comparing myself to him! He was tall and thin - with dark hair and beautiful dark eyes. He was always smiling and laughing - and seemed to have so many friends! While I seemed awkward and round - with red hair and freckles - and eyes that seemed too small - - - at least to me!
We both were teen-agers - but being the oldest - it was my job to keep track of “the boys“! And that wasn’t an easy task! On this one particular day - I didn’t know where he was! Until the moment he came running into the house. His face was swelling horribly - and there was blood everywhere! It was as if someone had used him as a punching bag - and for an instant - I wondered what to do . . .

I knew I was afraid - - - but I also knew I had to take care of him. And so I did! Somehow, I cleaned up his wounds - called my mother - and put ice on the eye that was swollen shut. Slowly, he told us what happened. He was with some friends - when older kids started to taunt the younger ones. His friends ran away - - - but he didn’t! As I looked at him - I wondered why he didn’t - - - and knew I would have . . .

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge, and my fortress, My God in whom I trust!”
He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge;
(Psalm 91: 2 & 4)

So many times during my life - I wished for strength to stand up against the things that made me afraid. So many times - I found myself praying - hoping - that somehow I would have courage . . .

She was my best friend - and I wanted to help her and her family - any way I could! When she asked me to help with the children - I said “yes”! When she asked me to take care of her husband’s business - doing the financial and secretarial work - - - I said “yes”. When she asked me to do her cleaning and care of the house - - - I said “yes”. Slowly - I found myself working for her - every day! And slowly - I found myself losing out on what I wanted to do - - - losing out on “my family” and “my wants!”

Then the day came - when I called another friend up, crying. “What do I do?” I asked her. “You need to stand up to her - to say no!” I remember that day - and all that I felt - - - as I stood there shaking - trying to tell my “friend” that I couldn’t put her needs first - that I needed to stop!

She looked at me with such cold eyes - and I wanted to take back the words I just said. I wanted to run away - I wanted to try to make my friend understand - - - but I couldn’t. She told me if I left - that I was never to come back. There was so much I wanted to say - to defend myself - but I couldn’t - - - I just turned - tears pouring down my face - and walked out the door . . .

You will not be afraid of the terror by night - - - Or of the arrow that flies by day;
( Psalm 91: 5)

So many times - I prayed for courage - and hoped . . .

I was always afraid of my first husband - - - I loved him - but was afraid. So on this one particular day - we were again fighting. I can’t remember the details of the fight - or even why we disagreed - but I remember what happened next. He had gone storming up the stairs to our bedroom and slammed the door. The children were somewhere in the house - hiding from the anger that was everywhere. And then it happened - - - I wasn’t afraid! I stood at the door asking him to open it - as he had locked it - wanting to keep me out! Screaming on the other side - he told me just where he wanted me to go! I was praying silently - as I found the words to ask him to please listen to me. I was amazed as I heard the words from my mouth - words of wisdom and strength. Words that only the Lord would know to give this man - who was so full of anger! Then I waited - knowing that God was right there with me . . .

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.
(Psalm 91: 11)

The door flew open - - - and I immediately burst into tears!! Where was the strength? Where was the courage that had been there a moment before? As I walked over to the bed where my husband was sitting - I couldn’t stop the crying. Even so - I went to him. Kneeling before him - I told him all that I felt in my heart . . .

There is an appointed time for everything - - - A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 2)

Kneeling there - before my first husband - it was as if the Lord had opened up his heart - and for a moment - love and hope were present. I don’t know why things went the way they did. I had prayed for strength and courage - to face this man - to force him to listen! But I had also prayed that God would put me just how I needed to be - so that he could hear me. And that’s what God did - - - He helped me to be soft and gentle - and He opened the way for the words to go in. There seemed to be a seed planted - one that I won’t get the chance to watch grow. But that moment happened - and God was there . . .

And there is a time for every event under heaven - - - A time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; - - - A time for war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 6, 7, 8)

“I never back down - I never run away” - Those words brought back so many memories! I wish I could say that I never was afraid - that I didn’t run away - but there are times when I have run away - and when I am afraid! There is a wonderful line in the movie “The Princess Diaries” - This is what it says: Courage is not the absence of fear - - - courage is taking that step even though you are afraid!

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High - Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I trust!”
(Psalm 91: 1 & 2)

We are coming to the end of one year - and the beginning of a brand New Year. As we begin this new year - whether we are afraid - or believe we are strong - if we look to Him - - - He will guide our ways. Will you ask Him? Will you make Him your refuge - your fortress - your God in whom you trust!

“For I know the plans I have for you . . .” says the Lord; “for a future and a hope” . . .
(Jeremiah 29:11)

God bless you in the beginning of a brand New Year!

In His Love,

Debbie & Ted Ayers


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