Friday, August 05, 2005

Weekly Word for August 5 - 12, 2005

Weekly Word - August 5, 2005

Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
(Psalm 100: 3)

I had just left a friend’s house, where I had been helping out. But now it was time to leave, and I was heading home. As I got there, my children were waiting. They both told me how they had been waiting a long time for me to get home, and they were all packed and ready to leave. Mike was somewhere around 12 or 13, and he moved so quickly, almost running to the next place he wanted to be. He seemed happy and excited about his plans, as he showed me all that he had packed. Jen was still my little girl, around 8 or so, always talking so fast that nobody else seemed to understand her. But she was my joy, and listening to her laugh made my heart sing. I loved both of them so much!

As the two of them continued to tell me their plans, I asked if I could make them some lunch. “Sure” they both said in unison. Laughing, I started to prepare some food. I loved being “mom” to these two children, who were just starting to grow into little people. There in my kitchen, with the two of them talking and laughing, I wanted so much for them. For their whole lives! Just as I was getting the food for the kids - - - the alarm went off - - - and I woke up . . .

But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father,
We are the clay, and Thou our potter;
And all of us are the work of Thy hand.
(Isaiah 65: 8)

As I woke up, I wondered about the dream - and what it all meant. This week-end was Jen’s birthday party. She was turning 24, and was going to be staying with us for a few days. I couldn’t wait for her to be there, as I missed having her close by. She lived over 400 miles away, and for me, that seemed too far away!

It was such a busy day, as I cooked and got ready for her and her boyfriend to arrive. They were driving down, and I was busy getting the house ready. Ted was off helping a friend move, and so I was alone with my thoughts. Both of my children were now in their 20’s and had lives of their own. Mike was 28, married and the father of three. Jen was turning 24, and had graduated college. She now worked with little children, trying to help them to have better lives. As I thought about these two young adults, I wondered if I had done all that I could - to help them to grow healthy and strong. Had I given them enough love? Had I been a good mother - a good parent . . .

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs, And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
(Isaiah 40: 11)

I wanted a baby so badly - but I was so sick! I hadn’t told him that I was “late”, or that I might be pregnant. I knew that he didn’t want a baby right away, and so I didn’t say a word to him as he left that morning. As I laid in bed, in between running to the bathroom, I wondered what to do. We had only been married a short time, but already his anger scared me. I wanted someone to tell me everything would be alright. I needed to hear a comforting voice. And so I called my mother . . .

When her voice came on the phone, I started to cry. I told her how sick I was, and that I might be pregnant. Sobbing, I told her I couldn’t keep any food down, and asked her what to do. “I’m sorry you are sick, but you will be alright” she said with a laugh. And then she told me about the weather, and the week of vacation they were going on. As I hung up the phone, so many emotions ran through me. Why had I called her? I should have known better! I was hurt and angry, and wishing that things were different. It was then - that I determined not to be like her! I wanted to be a good mother - - - which I had no idea how to be . . .

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; . . . Does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, . . .
(1 Corinthians 13: 4 & 5)

It turned out that I wasn’t pregnant after all. But after that, I knew that in my heart, I wanted a baby more than anything else in the world. I wanted a child to love, someone to take care of - and who might love me back. At 19, I really didn’t understand about loving and being a parent . . . .

Love . . . Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things . . .
(1 Corinthians 13: 6 & 7)

He was only 5 years old, but he knew he loved his mother! He was the oldest, and so he would try to help out with his younger brothers and sister. He would help washing dishes, or doing small chores around the house. He loved to make her smile. But on this day, no one was smiling. There had been fighting, and he somehow found himself in the middle of his parent’s anger. As he stood in the middle of the kitchen, wondering how to get out of the room, they turned to him. They wanted him to choose, and he didn’t know how. He loved her - but he also loved his father. Unable to answer, he started to cry. Through his tears, he watched her go through the door. Never to come back . . .

Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things

He was 17, when he finally searched for her. So many things had changed. His father had re-married and started a new family. He was living with his grandparents. And now, he wanted to find the missing pieces of his life. He had so many questions running around in his head. Why had she left him? What had he done wrong? Did she still love him? All questions, that only she could answer. He had grown over the years, but the hurt was still there. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for - but he knew what he hoped for. He hoped to find the mother, who he loved when he was 5 . . .

When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
(1 Corinthians 13: 11)

He spent the whole summer getting to know her, and the new family she had made. He lived with them and worked with them, hoping that somehow the years they had lost - could be found. He had hoped in something - but wasn’t sure what it was. And when fall came, and it was time to leave for college - the young man left his mother, still wondering about so many things . . . .

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3: 5 & 6)

Over the years, I have come to understand, that quite a few of us are born to “flawed” parents. They are people who make mistakes, and sometimes have quite a few hurts of their own. We then wonder about becoming parents ourselves. Can we be good parents? How do we learn about loving and caring? How do we learn to forgive . . .

Trust in the Lord . . . With all your heart,

It had been a wonderful party. Everyone had come! Mike and Becca with the three little ones - Jen’s father as well as her grandfather - the neighbors - all had come to celebrate Jen’s birthday. But now, it was time for Jen and her boyfriend to go home. As I was getting their breakfast ready, we talked about the party and just simple things that came up. “What time was I born?” Jen asked. I thought back to the moment this young woman had come into my life. I knew the exact time each of my babies were born. “9:03am, on a Sunday morning” I told her. And then I told her what time her brother was born. Those moments were imbedded in my mind and heart - forever. As soon as I held them, I knew that I loved them. I had loved them even before that. As they grew inside my belly, and I felt them moving inside, I couldn’t believe the miracle that was happening in my life!
Each of my babies felt like such miracles. I really wasn’t sure how to be a mother, never mind how to be a good mother. But somehow, I knew how to love them. I made mistakes over the years, but I always loved them.

So as I said good-bye to Jen, I hugged her close and kissed her. She lived too far away from me, and I knew I would cry as soon as the truck started to leave. As I held her close, she told me she loved me. And then I let go. I don’t know if she saw the tears, as I waved goodbye - and prayed that the Lord would keep her safe. As they drove away, I remembered the dream again. In it, I wanted to give my children “food” as they were getting ready to leave. As parents, that is all we can hope to do. We try to give our children what they need, to grow strong and healthy. And then, we need to let go . . .

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, . . . It does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, . . . Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails;
(1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 8)

How do we become good parents? I have to admit, I am not sure. What I do know, is that I love my children with all of my being - I pray for them every day - and I do my best. I ask the Lord to forgive me for the mistakes I have made - and also to help me to forgive my parents - for their mistakes as well.

As for the young man who was left wondering why his mother left him, all those years ago - - - he grew into a man who wondered if he would ever have children. Through the years, he waited and prayed. And then the Lord brought me into his life. Ted is now a wonderful step-dad and grandpa. My children became “our children”. Each of us has learned how to love - by being loved.

None of us can be the “perfect” parent. But if we put our trust in God, He does know how to love us - perfectly. Will you trust in Him - the one who loves us no matter what - and in loving us, teaches us how to love . . .

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 Everlasting Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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