Friday, August 12, 2005

Weekly Word for August 12 - 19, 2005

Weekly Word - August 12, 2005

“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments . . . That you may live . . .”
(Deuteronomy 30: 15 & 16)

“I am afraid of death” “I am trying to follow the commandments - but I am afraid . . .” were the words from a girl I had just met. I had met her on another web board, and I knew she was trying to be the “best” person she could be. But her fears were still there. She didn’t want to be angry or hate, but she did. She had been so hurt growing up, and the anger that followed was understandable. She wanted to be good - - - because she feared punishment and death. As I read her words, I wondered what to say. Death was such a scary word - and one we all had to face . . .

“I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statues and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you . . .”
(Deuteronomy 30: 16)

I had met Jean (not her real name) before either of us ever had children. She and her husband had gone to school with my first husband. They didn’t live far away, and Jean and I would get together for coffee about once a week. Over the next few years, we both had a son - and then a daughter. Each of our children were only months apart from each other, so when we got together, our children would play while we visited and talked over coffee. During those visits, we talked about our own lives, our husbands and children, as well as our own childhood. Both of us had been hurt by our parents. She had grown up with a mother who was very hard on her. Jean felt like she never did anything right, in her mother’s eyes. Her mother had done a lot of yelling and hitting, while her father kept his distance - never saying a word. Over coffee, we talked about the kind of mothers we wanted to be. We wanted to be different from our own mothers - we wanted to be loving and giving - hoping that our children would have better lives - - - and fewer hurts . . .

As the years went by, we got to know each other pretty well. We knew the hurts and pain that each carried from childhood. We shared each other’s secrets, knowing that the other understood. Then one day, Jean called to tell me that her mother had finally gone to the doctor. Even though Jean, as well as her brothers and sisters, would ask her mother to go to the doctor - - - her mother always refused. She told them she didn’t believe in doctors. So by the time they found out she had cancer, it was too late to operate. The cancer was beyond treatment. As she told me all this, I felt so bad for her and her mother. And then she surprised me! “My mother seems so happy!” “She is loving getting so much attention!” she told me. When she said it, I wondered about this woman, and her choices in her life . . .

“But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish.”
(Deuteronomy 31: 17 & 18)

Over the next few months, I would check in on Jean and how things were going with her mother. By then, we both could be honest about how we felt - about ourselves as well as others. I told her I just couldn’t understand her mother, and the choices she had made. Jean just shook her head, knowing how hard she had tried to push her mother to go to the doctor and take care of herself. Her mother just wouldn’t listen.

As her mother got sicker, and the cancer spread, Jean and her sister took turns caring for her. Her brothers would also stop in to visit, trying to help their sisters deal with this new burden. Their mother never changed though, she still continued to yell at them, as they couldn’t please her.

The day finally came , when Jean called to tell me her mother had died. She told me about those final days, and how hard it had been, right up to the very last moment. All the children were there. Their father sat quietly in the background. There had been a nurse present, around the clock, as it got closer to the end. As they waited for the end to come, each of the children had their own feelings toward this mother who was leaving them. They sat by her bed, talking and waiting. Then the moment came, when they knew it was almost time, and each started to say “good-bye”. Each one of them told her they loved her. As they did, she yelled at them one more time. Fighting for each breath, she told them “No, I won’t go”. At that moment, the irony of who their mother was - hit them. She had fought everyone - and everything - in her life. And now, she fought again - - - but this time, she lost . . .

“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 30: 19)

It has been many years since that day when Jean told me about her mother. At the time, I didn’t understand why her mother could be so full of anger. Since then, I have had to look at my own life - and the hurts that caused anger in me. I have had to understand my own life, looking at what is life - and what causes us to choose death . . .

“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 30: 20)

I have told about the picture that I have of me, from years ago. It is a picture of a girl with dyed blonde hair, who is way too thin. Her eyes are hard and angry, and looking at the picture, you know that she keeps everyone very far away. The picture is from a time in my life, when all the hurts and betrayals, were more than I could bear. I didn’t think I could live, anymore.

The girl in the picture was finally looking at her marriage, and the husband who didn’t seem able to love her. She had been betrayed by a good friend, and she wondered if she would ever trust again. She was also looking at her childhood, and the pain and abuse that she knew was there. As she withdrew from all those around her, she stopped loving, she stopped caring, she even stopped eating. She did know she loved her children, but in her pain and anger, she wondered if they would be better off without her. The girl in that picture, thought about dieing . . .

“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 30: 20)

I thought about dieing, and that’s when I realized - - - I wanted to live! I wanted to really live, but didn’t even know what that meant. And that’s when I begged God - - - asking Him to help me to finally live my life . . .

“The thief comes only to steal and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”
(John 10: 10)

It has been many years, since that picture was taken. Through those years, the Lord has healed my heart of so many hurts and wounds. In healing my hurts, He has helped me to let go of those who hurt me. It didn’t happen right away, and looking back, I realized that in taking the time - He let me be real about my anger. God let me be angry, and then asked - “now, will you give it to Me?” As He did this, and when I said yes, He was then able to replace the anger, with compassion and love.

I have told about my friend Norma, who helped me through that very difficult time in my life. She listened, she let me be angry, and then she prayed with me. I don’t know how I would have gotten through that time in my life, without her. And then Norma taught me one final lesson. She taught me about life and death. Norma battled cancer for three years. During that time, we talked about everything. We talked about our sons, and our hopes for their lives. We talked about our marriages, and our hopes and dreams. We talked about silly wants like clothes and pretty things all around us. Norma loved to collect things. And so, over the years, we would give each other small gifts that meant something special for the other person. She gave me small collectible “teddy bears” that had sayings on the bottom of them. I gave her small houses, that she loved to think about living in. And then one day, I saw a figure of a girl sitting on a luggage trunk. We had been talking about traveling, and seeing different places. When I picked it up, it had a bible passage on the bottom. I can’t remember the exact passage now, but I do remember what it was talking about. It said that “wherever you go, I will be with you” and so I bought it for her. I didn’t think about what it could really mean, but later on - we both did . . .

For I am already being poured out . . . and the time of my departure has come . . . in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness . . . and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
(2 Timothy 4:6)

A few weeks before Norma died, we talked about dieing. We talked about where Norma would be going. She told me she was a little afraid, and I have to admit - I was too. I didn’t want to say “good-bye” to her - but time was running out. We both knew that it was almost time, for her to leave. That’s when we remembered the little girl on the luggage case. We both tried to smile, wishing things were different, but knew she was taking a trip - and the time of her departure was coming soon . . .

“And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, . . . For I will not leave you . . .” (Genesis 28: 15)

Norma left us on July 18, 1998. The Lord took her “home” to live forever with Him. He never left her. From the moment she asked Him to be in her life - He was there. When her and I were laughing over clothes we wanted to buy, or were worrying over our children - He was there. When she was sick and battling cancer - He was there. And on that day in July - He was there . . .

“Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, . . . Do not fear, for I am with you;”
(Isaiah 43: 4 & 5)

“I am afraid of death” “I am trying to follow the commandments - but I am afraid . . .” she wrote. My new young friend was afraid - and I wanted to tell her not to be. I wanted her to understand what “life” really was. It isn’t choosing to follow all the rules - it is choosing God. It is choosing to love God, and let Him into our lives. When we do, we will stop being the “walking dead”! When we ask Him to “be with us” each day - that is when we finally become full of life- - - until that day we walk with Him - to the other side . . .

I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, . . .”
(Deuteronomy 30: 19)

It is my prayer, that you will hold fast to Him - for all of your life . . .

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Abiding Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


Blogger Cristina said... post comments plz

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie!! You always manage to say the right things at the right time! thank you so much and i love to read your weekly word every single week.


1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Melanie!

6:57 AM  

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