Saturday, June 25, 2005

Weekly Word for June 24 - July 1, 2005

Weekly Word - June 24, 2005

Blessed be the Lord. Because He has heard the voice of my supplication. The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him . . .
(Psalm 28: 6 & 7a)

As we laid in bed the other night, Ted was telling me about his day. He had been working very long hours in terrible heat, and I knew that his days had been very difficult. Because I had hurt my back again, I wasn’t able to work - and so Ted had been working more. As he talked, I listened to him tell me about all that he had been fixing, all the jobs that he had worked on that day. And then he said: “but I also had time to drive from store to store - and so I had time to talk to the Lord.” With a look of wonderment on his face, he said: “I could feel Him, he was right there with me - and I told Him that I was sorry, but I have missed Him . . .”

My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
(Psalm 28: 7)

“I miss Him” - As Ted said those words, I felt so many emotions. We had been praying together since before we were married. There had been times when God’s presence filled the room and we knew that we had touched heaven. But lately, our prayer time had been more difficult. My back and arm hurt all the time, and so when we prayed it was hard to stop thinking about the pain. Ted found himself trying to be careful not to hold my arm or back too tightly, so that he wouldn’t make it hurt worse. Praying together had become awkward and difficult - and God’s presence seemed quite far away.

After we finished talking that night, I thought about what Ted had said. So many emotions were running around in me - sadness, hurt, anger, even jealousy was there! Why had this injury happened - why me? Hadn’t I suffered enough hurt in my life? I felt so alone, even as Ted slept by my side. We had argued and fought the day before, and I had found myself yelling at him - when all I wanted to do was have him hold me and tell me that everything was going to be alright.

I was even angry that we were fighting, as we had so little time together to begin with. Ted just let me fume and sputter, and waited. Finally, after I went in and laid down on the bed, he came in - kneeling down on the floor beside the bed, he took my hand in his. “What?“ I asked - but he just waited. It was as if he knew that the fight wasn’t really with him - but with myself. “I miss you - - - I need you . . .I need you to want me - to need me” came tumbling out between sobs. Ted loved me, I had no doubt about that. But this was a need from deep inside - - - down to the very soul of my being . . . .

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him - for the help of His presence.
(Psalm 42: 5)

Both of her parents were ministers, and always seemed too busy for their little girl. Her father preached - and his loud voice and angry countenance made the little girl want to stay far, far away from him. Her mother, with her sweet voice and pretty smile, was always kissing her goodbye - as she headed off again to classes or whatever meeting she needed to go next. She never heard her little girl, as she cried herself to sleep. She had a big sister, who she wanted to be just like. She was loud and full of energy, and the little one could never keep up. So the little one was forgotten, as she sat in her room - dreaming of the one - who would love only her . . .

I met her when she was just 16 years old. She was about to have a child, a son of her own. She loved his daddy, and it didn’t matter that he did drugs or was in trouble with the law. She loved him. When she gave birth to their son, John (not his real name) was right there by her side. Even though he was drunk, she didn’t care - he was there! On the day he disappeared, she thought she would die - as she rocked her baby boy - and cried . . .

O My God, my soul is in despair within me;
Deep calls to deep at the sound of Thy waterfalls;
All Thy breakers and Thy waves have rolled over me . . .
(Psalm 42: 6 & 7)

She never forgot him. But her life still went on. And soon another came into her life. She found a boy who she thought her heart could love - and he soon became “daddy” to her son. She gave him her home - she gave him her son - but her heart still belonged to John. He was the boy she had dreamt of as a child - - - and only he could heal her broken heart - and the pain that went down to her very soul . . .

As the deer pants for the water . . . So my soul pants for Thee, O God.
My soul thirsts for God; for the living God;
(Psalm 42: 1)

So many wounds - so much heartache - the pain goes deep into the soul . . .

These things I remember, and I pour out my soul within me. Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, . . .
(Psalm 42: 4 & 5)

As I sat waiting for my physical therapist, I thought about the last few days. Maybe I was complaining too much - there certainly were people with worse injuries than mine! I knew that Ted loved me and we had so many wonderful things in our lives - why was I so emotional? When the girl called me in, I hoped that she could help me feel better . . .

She listened, as I told her about the last few days - and the pain that I had been feeling. She had me lay down on the table, and quietly she asked a few questions. As she worked my muscles, I could feel the tension in my neck and arm. She was only gently working them - but my arm was starting to shake. “Are you willing to let the feelings come?” she asked. I didn’t know if I wanted to - but decided that something needed to change.

The tears were right there, and I wondered why I was crying. “I can’t pick up the grandbabies - I can’t do so much right now” and I continued to cry. “I feel so useless” and I knew that I was telling the truth. I hated how I felt right now! She continued to gently work the muscles - and I continued to talk. We talked about my life - about the times when things hurt - and the time quickly slipped by. When she helped me to sit up - I felt so much better. “Sometimes touch and pain can trigger old wounds” she said - and I looked at her and laughed. I had told so many doctors that same message - and they always had looked at me as if I was crazy! This woman knew! She knew about me - she knew about people who had been wounded through their lives - she knew!

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

It took years for my friend to finally open her heart - and find healing. Over that time, she and her son went through a lot. There were men who came and went - babies lost - and hearts broken again. But God knew all about her hurts and pain - and He was waiting. She is now married, and she and her husband have given her son a baby sister. Is she totally healed of everything? Probably not - but God knows when the time is right - and she is ready.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises up those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous.
(Psalm 146: 8)

Lately, I have been in pain - and it felt as if God was very far away from me. I couldn’t feel Him - I couldn’t feel much of anything - except pain! But God is with me - and He knows how to heal me. In my pain - I didn’t even feel loved! But I am! And that love is bringing healing to where I was hurt. Am I totally healed of everything? Probably not! But God knows when it is time - and when I am ready.

“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)

Is my life going the way I planned it to go? No! But Ted and I are on this road before us. It is constantly changing - but the Love is always there! It is going to be an amazing journey!

Are you willing? Will you allow the Lord to be part of your life - coming into your heart and bringing healing where you have been wounded. Are you willing to let the feelings come? He is waiting - just for you . . .

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)

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers

Friday, June 17, 2005

Weekly Word for June 17 - 24, 2005

Weekly Word - June 17, 2005

“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)

As I went into the Post Office, I said hello to the girls behind the counter. I still liked coming to this little post office, even though I had moved into the city - with it’s big post office downtown. “Oh Deb, I put a letter into your box - instead of forwarding it” Donna told me. I had a post office box for the ministry, but everything else went to the house. I wondered what the letter was about - and quickly finished buying my stamps. Then, I turned to the box. I could see it was a long white envelope, as I started turning the combination. An uneasiness started to fill me - and I wondered why. At the last number, I turned the key and opened the box. It was addressed to me, with flowery writing on the envelope. I didn’t recognize the name and address - - - or even the writing. God’s blessings! it told me - but I wasn’t so sure about it . . .

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make our abode with him.”
(John 14: 23)

My hands were shaking as I opened the envelope. As I pulled out the paper, the dark red words hit me first. “Jesus is coming!” “Get Ready!” the words seemed to scream at right me. As I looked at the paper, I could feel my anger growing! “Can you believe this?” I asked (to no one in particular). And then I realized that both girls were looking at me a little strangely. I took the letter over to the window, showing them why I was so angry. “Oh, it’s like one of those Armageddon warnings” Donna said. As I looked at each of them - I wondered if they thought all Christians felt this way. And then I realized how differently I felt about my faith - about my friend - the Lord. This paper was all about fear - all about dire warnings - if people didn’t obey . . .

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, . . .”
(Proverbs 8:13)

I had lived my life being afraid - - - for so many years! Fear had gone into my being - not from God - but from people. They were people who for all sorts of reasons - hurt me. Each wound, each betrayal - left their mark - and I lived in fear. That is, until God came into my life - - - and taught me to trust. He taught me about love - - - and healed my heart. He taught me about faith - - - and how to listen to Him . . .

“But for you who fear My name - the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth . . .”
(Mal. 4:2)

It was 1999, and everyone was getting ready for the “Millenium”. We were going into the year 2000 - and none of us knew what to expect. At the time, I was working in the counseling ministry. My friend, who was head of the ministry, watched mostly Christian programs on television. On quite a few of these programs, the ministers were warning Christians to “Get Ready” . . . For “Y-2K”! That was the term used for when 1999 would become 2000. The ministers were sure that something terrible would happen when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. Power was going to go out - - - computers would crash - - - and our country as well as the world would be in chaos . . .

My friend asked me what I thought about what the preachers were saying, and I have to admit, I didn’t know. But I did wonder why God didn’t seem to be telling us what to do. There were lists put out - with everything from food - to gasoline - to generators to be used, when disaster struck. There were so many people afraid at the time. And then I heard a preacher say: “Well, if we are wrong - it won’t matter, people can use the supplies later on.”

None of it seemed right, but I wanted to ask God. So we prayed and prayed - and still it didn’t seem like the Lord was telling us to “Get Ready!” Finally, I told my friend that I believed that God would tell us - - - if we needed to do something. And so we didn’t do anything - except to keep on working - and keep on trusting . . .

“From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.”
(John 13: 19)

Quite a few years ago, early 1995 to be exact, I had a dream. In the dream I saw myself as a reporter. I had a camera and a microphone, and I was walking through a very large building talking to different people. In the building, there were families. There were children playing and adults walking and working everywhere. Everyone was very busy, living their lives. I liked them all, very much. And then in the dream, I left the building. But I had somehow left my camera inside, so that I could still watch the people. As the dream continued, I was in my bedroom watching the people on my television. I somehow knew that something bad was going to happen - but I wasn’t sure what. So I kept watching, and that’s when the explosion happened. I could see these beautiful children and families - and they were in this horrible explosion! It was as if I could look directly at this beautiful little girl - - - and then I knew she was gone . . .

When I woke up, I was shaking from head to toe! It had all felt so real, and I didn’t know what to do about it. I went to my friend, and told her all about the dream - hoping she would know what it all meant. But she didn’t. We prayed together, and wondered - trying to figure out what the dream meant.

“See, I have set before you today - life and prosperity, and death and adversity;”
(Deuteronomy 30: 15)

“in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and keep His commandments”
(Deuteronomy 30: 16)

It was April 19, 1995 - and a man by the name of Timothy McVeigh drove a van to the federal building in Oklahoma City. He parked the van, and left. As children played in the daycare overlooking the road, adults bustled inside doing their jobs. When the explosion happened, the entire building shook - and children and adults - lost their lives . . .

As I watched the news on my television, I again found myself shaking! It was just like my dream, and I watched as one of the fireman carried the little girl out in his arms. The sobs started deep inside, as I asked Him why it had to happen - - - and then I realized it didn’t - it was one man’s choice - and he had chosen death . . .

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live . . .”
(Deuteronomy 20:19)

To this day, I am not sure why the Lord told me about the Oklahoma City bombing. What I do know is: He tells us about the important things in our lives! He shows us what is good - - - as well as what is deadly. And if we ask Him to - - - He walks with us - and talks with us - for the rest of our lives . . .

“by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life - and the length of your days, . . .”
(Deuteronomy 20: 20)

A few years ago, when Ted and I were first falling in love, we weren’t sure what God wanted each of us to do. We both had been told by our pastor that the other needed something different for their lives. Both of us wanted to do what was “right” for the other person. We each loved that strongly, wanting the very best for the other . . .

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
(John 15: 13)

We loved each other so much - - - and we loved the Lord as well. We prayed - we hoped - and we asked the Lord what to do . . .

“You are My friends, if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father - I have made known to you.”
(John 15: 14 & 15)

We prayed - we hoped - we asked God what to do . . . And then I had a dream. In the dream I saw both Ted and myself. I knew that I loved him so much. And then I saw a pool that was full of what looked like jelly! I stood there looking at it, wondering what to do next. And then I heard it: “Jump in” - and so I did! It was so sweet and so wonderful - and I knew that this was Ted. He is sweet and wonderful, and God was telling me it was alright to love him - to “jump in”. When I woke up from the dream, I started to laugh. It was OK to love Ted - to marry him. From that moment on, I knew that God was showing us what to do - telling us that He would be there - in our lives and in our marriage.
“for all things . . . I have made known to you.”

He tells us about everything, showing us what is good as well as what is deadly. That is the Lord that I have come to learn about - the God who is in my life. Have there been times when He has given us warnings? Yes. He told us when prayer was needed for my daughter - as she and friends were being chased by men who could have killed them. He warned when a friend was in danger - and Ted and I prayed. Later we found out that she had gotten lost on a foggy night - and nearly died when she made a wrong turn - and a truck was coming toward her.

God loves us! He talks to us, and warns us - so that we can make choices - for life! He is not the God of fear - but of Love. So when I looked at the sheet of paper that was mailed to me - I knew that it was meant to bring fear to those who read it. The person wanted people to “choose God” - by making them afraid. But that wasn’t the Lord who I knew - the God who walked and talked with me - everyday! He took my fear - and replaced it with Life . . .

God is love, and the one who abides in love - abides in God, and God abides in him. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear . . .
(1 John 4: 16 & 18)

God is love - He loves you! The Lord is just waiting for you - to heal your heart and to take your fears. He knows just what will bring you alive - what is sweet and good - and full of Life forever . . .

“But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” (John 17: 13)

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Abiding Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers

Friday, June 10, 2005

Weekly Word for June 10 - 19, 2005

Weekly Word - June 10, 2005

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises up those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous.
(Psalm 146: 8)

They were all there, the children and grandchildren. He looked at them, wondering what they would think, after he told them - all about her. He was going to tell them the story of when he first met her. It was the story of who she had been and all that she had been through. It was the story of his wife - - - and their mother . . .

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then - face to face . . .
(1 Corinthians 13: 12a)

He was going to tell them all about that first day, when he met their mother. The day he met “me”. . .

It was about 9 years ago, and at the time Mike had just turned 19, and Jen was 14. Mike worked full time 3rd shift, and was in the army reserves. His life revolved around his friends and dating, and I would catch glimpses of him here and there. Jen had just finished up with school - having a terrible time in her freshman year of high school. On this day, Jen was at a “sleep-over” at a friend’s, and Mike was already sleeping - having worked the night before. I hadn’t slept all night, knowing that this was the day! As the alarm went off, I turned and looked at my sleeping husband. He looked so peaceful - and I really wished that things had been different.

I made his breakfast and wondered why he didn’t see my hands shaking or the fear in my eyes. But he didn’t seem able to “see”, as he got ready for work that day. As it came time for him to leave, my heart was pounding in my chest - and I was sure that he would hear it. Instead, he turned and kissed me goodbye, and I struggled to keep from crying. I waved from the door as he backed out of the driveway. And then he was gone. He didn’t know, he didn’t see . . .

Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully . . .
(1 Corinthians 13: 12b)

As his car disappeared from sight, I turned and looked at what used to be my home. The pictures on the walls, the curtains and furniture - I had decorated it all. But it wasn’t “mine” - and soon I would be leaving it. Then I turned to Mike’s room. He had been away at “basic training” for six months and I had missed him so much. When it was finally time for him to come home - I had cleaned and decorated his room myself. I had picked out the bedspread and curtains to match, and had hemmed them all myself. But I don’t know if he even knew I had done that. As I walked into the room, I looked down at my first born, and started to sob. I had to say goodbye - and I didn’t want to do it. But it was time . . .

Love is patient, love is kind . . . Love - bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;
(1 Corinthians 13: 4, 7 & 8)

I loved my children, with all my heart - but they were just that - children. And on that day, so long ago, they were doing their best to live their own lives. They were being exactly how they were supposed to be, children learning about themselves and their world. They were learning how to become adults - and hadn’t quite gotten there yet.

I picked up Jen that day and took her far away from all her friends - to a place where I would feel safe. I left Mike in the middle of that house, sitting there wondering why his whole world had been turned upside down. All of this is how I remember that day, so many years ago. But I don’t know how they remember it - or if they even saw “me” - as they were forced to deal with their own lives changing . . .

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;
Perplexed, but not despairing;
(2 Corinthians 4: 8)

Ted was going to tell them - - - all about that day! He saw himself standing there, and he knew what he wanted to tell them - - - and then he woke up . . .

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
(Mathew 13: 16 & 17)

So many times in our lives, we do not see what is around us. We don’t see what others are feeling or going through, we can’t - because all we see is our own problems - our own lives . . .

Many years ago, when I was about 13 or 14, I wrote a letter to my mother. In it, I told her about “us” - my brothers and me. Our household was very strict, and my mother was always yelling and punishing us. For the three of us - we were always trying to fight our way out of being trapped in the house. We wanted to see our friends, to go places - and it just wasn’t allowed. And then I wrote the letter. In the letter, I told my mother that she had “good” children - that she didn’t see us! Because if she did - she would know that she could trust us. As I wrote the letter, my hands shook - and I wasn’t sure if I should give it to her. But things were getting worse, and the yelling and fighting was happening every day! So on this day, I left the letter on her bureau as I headed off to school.

To this day, I have never heard a word about that letter! It was gone when I got home that night, and I have always wondered what she thought about it. For a while, I worried that I would be punished, but then it was forgotten. Soon, I was married and could leave the house forever . . .

For the heart of this people has become dull, And with their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes
Lest they should see with their eyes - and hear with their ears - and understand with their heart and return, . . .
(Mathew 13: 15)

I had decided I would never go back home. All those years - I had made vows - to stay away. And then my life started to change. I grew healthier and stronger, and decided it was time to leave another home . . . And start living - without fear . . .

Praise the Lord - O my soul!
How blessed is he whose hope is in the Lord his God;

The Lord sets the prisoners free.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises up those who are bowed down;
(Psalm 146: 2, 5, 7 & 8)

It has been 9 years since I left my first husband - - - and many, many years since I left the home of my parents. Did I see clearly during those times? No. I saw and felt “my hurts” and pain. Since that time, there have been so many changes - so many places where I have asked the Lord to heal me and set me free . . .

“Lest they should see with their eyes - and hear with their ears - and understand with their heart and return,
And I should heal them.”
(Mathew 13: 15)

A few months ago, my brothers and I had a 50th wedding anniversary party for my parents. When we first thought about doing this - I have to admit I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that much work - or spend that much money. After all, I hadn’t been that close to my parents for many years. But it seemed “right” - and so we started the plans.

One of my brothers suggested that we give our parents a video for their present. It would be a video of pictures. Pictures from the very beginning, from when they were children, to now. So the work of finding all the pictures began. As I looked through my photo albums, I wondered what the video would be like - and if I would even like it. I thought that my parents might like it - but didn’t want to have a copy for myself. And then the day came . . .

On that day, we (Ted, myself, and my brothers and their wives) worked so hard! We decorated and cooked and set up tables - all in preparation for when our parents would arrive. And then we waited. Soon the guests were arriving, and I could feel my nervousness as it was getting closer to when my parents would be there. It was a surprise party - and so we had arranged for them to come a little later.

When the “big” moment finally came - we watched as my parents came through the doors of the hall. As they did, I felt Him - I felt the Lord there! I wondered why, but was soon busy with the party. There was the toast, and the food, and cutting of the cake - - - and then came the time for the present. As everyone settled down to watch, I felt Him again! The music started and there on the screen were my parents - as children and then as young people getting married. The pictures continued, and the music changed. There were pictures of “us” as children - and we watched our lives unfold. The music and the pictures continued to change - as we did - on that screen. Until the song “Remember When” by Alan Jackson - and we saw ourselves as we are now - with our parents and having children of our own. As the video ended, I wiped away my tears and realized that the Lord was still there. The video was not just a gift for my parents - - - but a gift of our own lives as well.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully - just as I also have been fully known.
But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; . . .
But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13: 12 & 13)

We don’t always “see” the whole picture around us. But the Lord does - He sees how to heal us and bring us to Life. I didn’t have perfect parents - but they are my family. I didn’t have a perfect marriage - but the Lord knew what each of us needed. He knows what my children need - how to help them to “see”. And He knows what you need, to bring you alive . . .

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, . . . “to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29: 11)

Are you willing? Will you allow the Lord to open your eyes and help you to see? When you do, He will be there to heal your heart and set you free! That is my hope- - - that you will open your eyes - and see Life!

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers

Friday, June 03, 2005

Weekly Word for June 3 - 10, 2005

Weekly Word - June 3, 2005

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)

As she shut the door, all the pain and all the horrors were forgotten - behind that door. She locked it tightly, making sure none of the terrible secrets would be remembered. And then she went on with living - skipping and running - playing like any other little girl her age. Now she could laugh - now she could smile - as the pain was gone - and she went on living . . .

He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
(Psalm 91: 4)

She was such a beautiful young woman, and soon would become his wife. She was so happy as she looked at the beautiful white dress she would be wearing. She didn’t care that her mother had made all the arrangements, as she was going to marry the boy she had loved for so long! He hadn’t noticed her in high school, and even when he went off to college - until the day her picture had been in the local paper. She didn’t know how it happened, but she had won a beauty contest. She didn’t consider herself beautiful, but her mother had pushed her, and so she had entered. When she had won, it was such a surprise. That’s when her picture had been in the paper, and “he” had seen it! She had been infatuated with him since she was a teenager, and now . . . They were going to be married!

As the day grew closer, her excitement also grew. Her mother was feverishly planning the wedding, and her fiancé had planned the honeymoon - while she was planning the rest of their lives . . .

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

It was her wedding day, and everything seemed to be a blur! She knew she was wearing the beautiful white dress, and there were so many people in the church, but the ceremony seemed to last but only a minute! And then they were off to the reception. She remembers dancing and cutting the cake, but again - it flew by in an instant! And then, she was there, in the hotel . . .

You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
. . . It shall not approach you.
(Psalm 91: 5, 6, & 7b)

It was her wedding night, and the hotel room was beautiful - but her mind was filled with confusion. The bathroom seemed “different”, and so did the room, as she wondered what was happening in her mind. Her groom was waiting, and she trembled inside, wishing she knew why she was afraid. She loved him so much, and believed he loved her - - - so what was the matter with her?

“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.”
(Psalm 91: 14)

It wasn’t until many years later, that my friend sought out a counselor. When she did, she found the answers she had always been looking for. Her fears and doubts, her wedding night, all the confusion - they all had a reason - and that reason was because - she had been raped . . .

So many women (and sometimes men) have been raped or abused in their lives. As little children, they don’t know what to do with the fears and threats that come their way. And so, it gets buried - until something stirs it up - and the confusion starts all over again . . .

“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble;”
I will rescue him, and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him.”
(Psalm 91: 15 & 16a)

Not too long ago, I was talking with a young woman. How the conversation got to this topic - - - only the Lord knows. But I listened, as she told me about her life. “I didn’t know that it had happened to me” she said. “until my world was shaken - and I couldn’t eat, or sleep, or even take a sip of water . . .” she went on. As I listened to her, I knew what she meant - I understood exactly what she was saying - and I told her this story:

We live in a house, with doors and windows. When something terrible happens, we close the door tightly - and never want to look at it again. We go on living in the rest of the house - growing and trying to live our lives. But then - - - an earthquake happens! And it shakes the whole house - down to the foundation. And the door - is cracked open . . . .

When I told her those words, she looked at me amazed. “Nobody understands that!” she said. But I did understand - because I had lived it. But I also understood something more - - - I knew that God can heal us - - - because He healed me . . .
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper, and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge;

(Psalm 91: 2 - 4)

Many years ago, my friend Norma helped me through a terrible time in my life. I was confused and wondered what was wrong with me. And then, when I found out what had happened to me - I was angry! I wanted to know where the Lord had been! That’s when she gave me this bible passage - Psalm 91. She helped me to understand that God hadn’t been asked to be “with” me during the awful times in my life. But He did love me - and had felt my pain and hurt. And it was Him - who had given me a way to survive - to get on with living my life. He had helped me to “hide away” all that had hurt when I was a little girl. And it was Him - who was waiting - to heal me and help me - to live . . .

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands, Lest you strike your foot against a stone.
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
(Psalm 91: 11 - 13)

As I was going through that awful time, I found a song that I would play over and over. It was a song by Amy Grant. These are some of the words:

Ask Me by Amy Grant

I see her as a little girl hiding in her room - - - she takes another bath and she sprays her momma’s perfume
To try to wipe away the scent he left behind - - - But it haunts her mind
Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heaven - - - where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask me if I think there’s a God up in the heavens - - - I see no mercy and no one down here’s naming names - - - Nobody’s naming names.
Now she’s looking in the mirror at a lovely woman face - - - No more frightened little girl, like she’s gone without a trace . . .
But no one’s left to harm her, she’s finally safe and sound - - - There’s peace she has found.
Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heaven - - - where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask her how she knows there’s a God up in the heavens - - - She said His mercy is bringing her life again.

When I met Ted, I wondered what he would think, if he knew everything about me. We were falling in love, and I knew I had to tell him. I had told him little bits and pieces of my life - but I wondered if he should read some of my journals and notebooks that I had written while I was going through my counseling. So on this day, I sat down with him, placing my journals on the table before him. He opened the first book and then closed it. He pulled me into his arms and said: “I don’t have to read all about you - to know I love all of who you are!”

I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces shall never be ashamed.
(Psalm 34: 4 & 5)

On the day that Ted and I were married, I gave him a gift. It is a key chain that reads: To the Love of My Life - - - From all of me - to all of you. Ted accepts who I am, the good, as well as what I thought of as bad. I love Ted, who he is - knowing that he too has been hurt through his life. Together, we face our lives - - - asking God to lead us and guide us - forever . . .

“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 my hope that you will give the Lord your whole life. Not just “now”, but all of it. He knows how to open the doors that hide the pain - and heal the wounds inside. He knows how to give you a future and a hope! The Lord is waiting - for you - all of you. Your past, as well as the future - are standing before you - waiting for you to say “yes” to God’s healing and Life . . .

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers