Friday, July 22, 2005

Weekly Word for July 22 - 29, 2005

Weekly Word - July 22, 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, 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, & 4a)

You are precious, honored, and loved . . . Words that I always wanted to hear growing up. Words that I have trouble believing, even to this day . . .

We were driving home from visiting with Jenny. It is about a 4 ½ hour drive to get to her house, and with my spinal injury - a very difficult trip. So as we drove, to take my mind off the pain, Ted and I talked. We talked about ourselves, our hopes and dreams, and even our worries and fears. As we talked, I knew that Ted was worried. He was worried about the surgery that I might have to face. He was worried about the pain that I seemed to have constantly. So when he told me he wanted me to rest as much as possible, to take it easy and not do too much, I told him I would try. But then I told him that I wasn’t sure that I could do that - “I’ve always worked.” “I’ve always wanted to be worth something . . .” When I said it, he looked at me so strangely. “You don’t understand!” I told him - and he didn’t. I knew that he loved me, and he would do anything for me. But the feelings were still there - I wanted to know if I would be loved - even if all I did, was love him back . . .

“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; Neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, . . .”
(Isaiah 54: 4)

It was Easter! And I had on my new pretty dress, with matching purse and shoes. I couldn’t wait for church, and for everyone to see me! My mother had put little curlers in my hair the night before - and now my straight red hair - was curly! My two younger brothers had on suits and ties, and the three of us had stood outside to have our pictures taken. Now we were headed off to church.

When we got to church, all our relatives were there. Our Nana and Grandpa, our aunts and uncles, cousins - everyone was there! We were all having our pictures taken, looking our best for this Easter Sunday! Then my three aunts came over to say hello. They looked at me all dressed up and said: “You really do take after your Grandpa!” “You have his behind!” As they said it, my heart started to hurt - and I didn’t like how I felt or looked - anymore.

“Fear not , for you will not be put to shame; . . . For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the Lord of hosts: And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.”
“For the Lord, has called you, . . .”
(Isaiah 54: 4, 5, & 6a)

His name was Arthur, but everyone called him “Red”- as his hair was the color of a fire engine, when he was younger. But when I knew him, his hair was white as snow - in the few places that he still had hair! When he was younger, he had played basketball - and the pictures and trophies showed that he was pretty good at it. He still loved to bowl, and there were pictures of him with his bowling team as well. But the man that I knew - well, he was the Grandpa that rocked me and my brother to sleep in the hammock. He would gently stroke our arms, all while he quietly hummed or told us a story. He was always quiet, listening to us and carrying us around the house. When Grandpa was around, I wasn’t left to walking - as everyone carried my two brothers. He would pick me up!

Grandpa also loved God. He was an usher and a deacon at our church, and we always saw him there - passing out the collection plate, looking handsome in his suit and tie. But his faith was also something very personal. He would write poems and prayers, all about his faith and trust in God. These he only shared with a very few. I was one of the few. He made me a book of his prayers. The day he gave it to me, we sat going through each of the prayers. They were typewritten on small pieces of construction paper, that he had bound together with brass colored fasteners. I loved that little book and my Grandpa!

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But my lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken.”
(Isaiah 54: 10)

But on that Easter morning, as I headed into church, all I could hear were those words: “You really do take after your Grandpa!” Those words rolled around in my head, throughout the whole service. I didn’t hear what the pastor had to say. I didn’t even remember all the good things that I knew about my Grandpa! All I could see as he walked up to the alter, carrying the collection plate, was how his suit coat stuck out from behind. I didn’t want to be like him - - - like my Grandpa . . .

The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word; . . .
He awakens my ear to listen . . . And I was not disobedient, Nor did I turn back.
For the Lord God helps me,
(Isaiah 50: 4)

A number of years later, we went to visit my grandparents. I was 14 years old, and not very social at the time. My grandparents had promised that we would all go together to visit a local tourist area, the very next day. But on this day, my grandpa was helping out at the local church. They had moved down to the Cape three years earlier, right after he had retired. Now he was involved with a little church in their town. They were having a rummage sale, and he was helping them to set it up. My brothers and I wanted to do something fun, but were told “no” as we whined and begged to go to the beach. As lunch time came, my grandpa came home for lunch. He was tired and had banged his head while helping at church. I watched as he sat in his wooden rocker, holding a cloth over his head, trying to stop the bleeding. My mother was checking it and putting on a bandage. I just stood there, watching him. That’s the last picture I have of him in my head. He ate lunch, and despite our wishing he would stay home, he headed back to the church to help out. It was there, that he collapsed. Dieing of a massive heart attack. My grandpa, who everyone called “Red” - with his big behind and even larger heart - had died.

Blessed are the gentle, - for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteous, - for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, - for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, - for they shall see God.
(Mathew 5: 5 - 8)

So many times throughout our lives, we struggle with “who” we are and what we want to be like. Was I like my grandpa?

Blessed are those who mourn, - for they shall be comforted

Throughout my childhood and into my teen years, I struggled to find out “who” I was, and why I wasn’t good enough, or pretty enough, or whatever it took to be loved. My parents were only doing the best they knew how, but for whatever reason - I couldn’t clean the house enough to make my mother happy - or take care of “the boys” well enough to make them think I was good. I was always trying . . . But never felt worth anything . . .

Since you are Precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, . . .

Those were the words that I wanted to hear! I wanted him to love me. But he didn’t know how. We were so young when we got married - and we didn’t know how to be a husband and a wife. He wanted me to take care of the cooking and cleaning, just like his mother did. And he wanted me to work hard and make lots of money - just like his sisters did. And I tried very hard - to do both.

We had only been married for a short time, when one night I decided to make hamburgers for supper. I really didn’t know how to cook too many things, but hamburgers were something I had learned to cook from my mother. I would make big, juicy hamburgers for my brothers - and they loved them. So on this night, I made them. And proudly I waited for him to say something. He hated them! His mother had made them flat and without any red in them! As he threw it against the wall - he screamed at me - telling me how stupid I really was. As I sobbed and cleaned up the mess that was dripping down the wall - I made him another hamburger - determined to “be” the wife he wanted me to be!

By the time we had two little ones, I knew that pleasing him was almost impossible. I wanted to stay home and take care of the children, but he wanted me to work and make money. I tried. I found part time work, nights and week-ends. And still he wasn’t happy. I don’t get to stay home and do nothing! he would say. It didn’t matter that I told him what I was doing each day, taking care of the children and the house. So finally, I decided that I would write down exactly what I did - during one whole day. I wrote down when I changed diapers, and when I did the laundry. I wrote down when I vacuumed or dusted, and when I made lunch and cleaned up afterwards. Everything was written down. And nervously I waited for him to come home . . .

I have chosen you, and not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you;

It didn’t matter what I had written down, he still didn’t “see” me - or listen to what I said. In his eyes, I was fat and didn’t work at all. After many years of trying to make him love me - years of trying to make me into “who” he could love - I finally gave up. I realized I couldn’t make anyone - love me . . .

“Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and - I love you, . . .”

You are precious, honored, and loved . . . Those were the words I always longed for - and really didn’t know how to believe . . .

As Ted and I continued to drive home from Jen’s, we continued to talk. I knew that Ted really did love me. But I also knew the hurts that I still felt. I told him about those hurts and always trying to work hard - and find a way to prove I was worth something. He looked over at me as I finished talking, and took my hand. As he did I asked him “Would it be alright if all I ever did was be your wife, and make you a home that you were happy to come home to?” He squeezed my hand, “That is what you do!”

When I look back at all that has gone into making me “who” I am - there are some good things - and some bad things. I really am a lot like my grandfather. I do look a little bit like him - with the same red hair and freckles. But I also know that some of my faith and trust in the Lord came from him. He also wrote - and I love writing! But I also have doubts and fears - and trouble with believing I am alright just the way I am. Those came from years of hurts. It takes time to undo those hurts - - - but the Lord has been doing it. Little by little - I am learning to believe that “who” I am is precious, honored, and worth loving. Each time I hear “I love you, just as you are” from Ted’s mouth - wounds are erased - and love goes in.

The Lord knew what Ted and I both needed, for the rest of our lives. He gave us - each other! He knows about the pain and injury to my spine, as well as the trials that are before us. Together - we will get through them. Ted and I, with the Lord - will walk this path that is ahead . . .

The Lord knows what you need as well. In His eyes - you are worth everything! That is why He gave everything - Himself - just for you . . .

“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, . . .”

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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