Friday, December 02, 2005

Weekly Word for December 2 - 9, 2005

Weekly Word - December 2, 2005

I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
(Psalm 116: 1 & 2)

“You are going to die!” were the words I heard. They started to tell me each detail of how they would hurt me, and finally cause me to die. But I only half listened, as my mind was racing, and I was trying to figure out how to get away. Every muscle in my body was tense, as I tried to come up with a plan to get free. My wrists were tied, and I was sitting on the floor. The person seemed to be towering over me, smiling, as they tormented me with their words. My fists clenched and unclenched, as I thought about grabbing their feet - and maybe breaking one of their bones! Every muscle hurt - and I wondered if I would actually live, or die! As my thoughts kept racing, and my body tensed for whatever would happen - - - I woke up . . .

The cords of death encompassed me, And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I beseech Thee, save my life!”
(Psalm 116: 3 & 4)

As the nightmare slipped away, I reached out for Ted. As I did, he somehow must have known I needed him. He pulled me into his arms, and softly kissed my head. As I heard the soft rhythm of his breathing, I knew he had fallen back to sleep. Laying there, I wondered why I would have such an awful dream. It had been many years since I had dreamt of the fears from my childhood, or the hurts from my first marriage. Years of counseling - years of praying and seeking God’s healing - years of dealing with terror and fear - - - wasn’t that enough?

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.
I was brought low, and He saved me.

(Psalm 116: 5 & 6)

Fears - Over the years, I have dealt with a lot of the fear and terror that came into my life - from being abused as a child, as well as the hurts of my first marriage. I have been afraid - a lot! But little by little, a lot of those fears have been taken away. But the truth is, I still have times of fear. Some of those times are just ordinary, every day worries - like worrying about those I love - and hoping that nothing bad will happen to them. Or there are times when I worry about doing a good job, and hoping that I am doing everything that I should be. But then there are the irrational fears - - - fears of storms, people I don’t trust, and snakes . . . .

“Do not fear, for I am with you; - - - for I am your God. - - - surely I will help you . . .”
(Isaiah 41: 10)

We had just moved into this new apartment. Every wall and floor was brand new and beautiful. When we had first walked in to it, I loved how clean and pretty everything was. It was a small apartment, and so we had to leave a lot of our things in storage. That seemed a little difficult, but I was sure everything would be fine, now that we had this new apartment. As we settled in, we hoped we would be here for a very long time.

I was dealing with a spinal injury, and so most days I was home in our little apartment. I was able to write each week, even though I had pain every day. We had a small space in the basement where the washer and dryer were, as well as a small area for storage. So on this day, I headed down the stairs to start the laundry. As I did, I wondered what was coming out from under the sheet rock. It looked like a small stick, until it moved! As I saw it move, I called for Ted! It was the week-end, and he was home with me. I was afraid it would slip away before he got there, but instead it seemed to see me and want to attack! It raised it’s head up, and headed straight for my leg! And that is what Ted saw, as he headed down the stairs. This small snake was trying to attack me!

When Ted saw the snake, he ran back upstairs to grab a knife. Running back down, he lunged toward it. As he did, the snake went for his arm. Everything happened so quickly, that it was probably over in seconds - but it also seemed like it took forever! On the second try, Ted was able to cut the head off the snake. As we stood there looking down at it, the snake kept moving - and I turned and ran upstairs. I wasn’t thinking - I didn’t know what I was going to do - but I headed for the closet and my rubber hammer. Before Ted could stop me, I raced back down the stairs, and smashed the snake - over, and over, and over again.

I can’t even tell you why I did what I did! I was filled with an emotion that seemed bigger than me! It was more than fear, and felt a lot like rage, and it drove me to put an end to this thing that had the ability to bite and hurt another person. When it was over, I just stood there wondering why I felt the way I did . . .

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His.
He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.”
(Daniel 2: 20 - 22)

It happened one more time. This time, I was home alone. Again, I was heading down the stairs to start the laundry. And again, a small snake came toward me. I tried to make my brain work in a sensible way. But it just wouldn’t listen to me! As I ran up the stairs to find something to kill it with, I wondered what I was looking for. I grabbed the same knife Ted had found, and I grabbed my big rubber hammer! That snake didn’t have a chance! Again I hit it - over, and over, and over! The feelings were so huge inside of me, and I didn’t know what to do about it. There was fear, and rage, and something else there. It was a determination to wipe out something that could be so menacing . . .

I sought the Lord, and He answered me,
He delivered me from all my fears.
(Psalm 34: 4)

As I retold the story of the two snakes, my family looked at me a little strangely. I couldn’t explain the drive that was inside of me to destroy this creature. But then I looked over at my daughter, and I realized she knew about another story - one from a very, very long time ago . . .

It was late spring, and I was pregnant with Jenny. Mike was almost 4 years old, and a beautiful, bright little boy. We were living in a small house in Massachusetts, and were starting to get ready for the new baby to arrive. I had taken Mike outside to play in the backyard, when I spotted it. It was a very large snake, brown in color, with square patches on it’s back. As I looked at it, I wanted to get my son safely away from getting bit by this big snake. Trying not to scare him, I took his hand and brought him inside. I told him to stay there, as I looked around the house for something to use to kill the snake. To this day, I don’t know why I grabbed my vacuum. It was a small, upright thing - and I ran outside with it in my hands. As I got closer to the snake, it turned toward me - rearing up to try to bite me. I swung the vacuum, and came down - missing the snake. As I did, I heard him. I heard Mike yelling out the bathroom window - “Vacuum it mommy, vacuum it!” he yelled - and I turned with the broken vacuum still in my hands.

I ran in the house to try to find something else to use, to kill the snake. As I came out with a knife, I knew that I couldn’t get close enough to kill it, and not get bitten. As the snake turned and slid away, I was so angry at it. I didn’t want it to ever come back into my yard! I didn’t want it to ever have the ability to hurt my son!

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, and I am helped;
(Psalm 28: 6 & 7)

Storms, snakes, and people who can’t be trusted . . . As I thought about those things that seemed to drive me crazy - I realized that they were things that I couldn’t control. I couldn’t stop the weather from happening and bringing destruction or loss. I couldn‘t stop snakes and other creatures from coming into my home or around my children. And I couldn’t stop bad people from hurting me or those I loved. Feeling helpless, I begged the Lord for an answer . . . .

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!”
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, . . .
For I am the Lord your God,”
(Isaiah 43: 1 - 4)
Quite a number of years ago, I was working in a counseling ministry with a very close friend. The ministry was for adult survivors of childhood abuse. We worked with quite a few women who had been molested as little girls, and who had no idea that they were loved, or had any self worth. During that time, we had one-on-one counseling, as well as bible studies and group meetings. It was amazing to watch as the Lord brought about change in these women’s lives. And then one day my friend asked if I would come into a consultation with a brand new client. I agreed, and we set up the date for the meeting.

On this day, my friend and I got to the office a little early. We decided to pray before the client arrived. As we started to pray, my heart started to pound and terror seemed to take over my whole being. Looking at my friend, I asked her about the new client. She told me that it was an older gentleman, and that his daughters had set up the appointment. She didn’t know anything else about him, but I felt like there was something very wrong with this man. As we finished praying, I told her that I couldn’t stay. As I got up to leave, I told her I would be praying in another office, while she met with the client. And then I left just before he arrived. Watching out the window, I wondered about this tiny, little man that seemed so quiet - and yet made me feel such terror . . . .

“I have chosen you and not rejected you.” “Do not fear, for I am with you;”
(Isaiah 41: 9 & 10)

After the meeting, my friend told me all that she had found out about the man. He was a child abuser, and had molested all his daughters as well as his granddaughters. “You knew, didn’t you?” she asked me. And somehow - I had known. The Lord had made sure that we knew just who this man was - and to keep him away from the ministry - and the women who came there for help.
Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy;
In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever . . .
(Psalm 16: 11)

As I look back over the years, I realize that the Lord has been “with” me through so much! He was there helping me to survive when I was little and abused. He was there bringing healing and life, when I asked Him to be. He has shown me how to pray for my children - giving Him my worries and fears. And, He has brought love and laughter into my life, when I believed I would never love again. Do I still have times of fear and doubt? Yes. But the Lord understands “who” I am and all that makes me afraid. He knows what I need to live a better life.

Ted and I are again facing the prospect of moving. The Lord knows that I absolutely hate moving. The chaos and confusion that it causes, makes me feel very out of control. But the apartment has some difficulties, including mold that threatens my lungs. In the dream, my life was at risk. And that is how I have felt, struggling to breath these past few months. So again, we are trusting that the Lord will lead us and guide us to where we are going. Will I be afraid? Oh yes! But I trust the Lord to show us the way . . .

Jesus said - “Do not be afraid any longer, only believe” . . .
(Mark 5: 36)

On this earth - there will always be times of trials and hardships. During them, we get to see what is inside of us - the fears and doubts - as well as our determination and strengths. As you walk this road of Life - will you ask Him to be there “with” you - - - taking the fears - and bringing forth what is good - and life giving! Will you believe?

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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