Friday, January 13, 2006

Weekly Word for January 13 - 20, 2006

Weekly Word - Jan 13, 2005

“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)

Ted and I love football! When he first met me, he was so surprised that I shared the same passion that he did. In his experience - he had never met a woman who loved football. But then again, in his experience - he had never met someone quite like me . . .

Ted and I were getting ready for the week-end. It was going to be a week-end of watching a lot of football! It was the “playoffs”! It was the time of year when the best teams from the whole year - played against each other. The winners advanced to play another week, and the losers were done for the year. So as we got ready to watch, we hoped that our favorite teams would win. The first game on Saturday didn’t quite go as we had hoped - but the “big” game was still to be played. The second game was between “Our Patriots” and a team that everyone said was very good. As the sports announcers went over each team’s record and how they had played that year - they seemed to think that the other team might beat us. This past year had been full of injuries - and the team hadn’t played very well. And even though they had won the Super Bowl the year before, some questioned their ability to play now. As the announcer continued, he told us about what the coach had said to his players. The coach had told them to focus on just that one game - just that one day. These were his words: “If you live in the past - - - you will have no future . . .” When I thought about those words - they seemed like words that were very important - for all of us . . .

Thus says the Lord, “Restrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears: For your work shall be rewarded,” declares the Lord, . . .
“And there is hope for your future,” . . .
(Jeremiah 31: 16 & 17)

“If you live in the past” - - - She was 16, and had just started working at the grocery store. It was her first “real” job. He was 20, and was home from college for the summer. He had worked at the grocery store since he was in high school, working his way up to assistant manager. So when he seemed to pay attention to her, stopping to talk or bag groceries for her - she wondered why. She didn’t consider herself pretty, or very popular - and if anything - she felt like no one would really want to go out with her. But he seemed to like her, and she really liked that feeling. So when he asked her if he could drive her home - she said “yes” - even though she knew her parents would say “no”. It was going to be a very late night - as all the employees were required to work that night. It was the night when everything in the store needed to be counted. She had told her parents that she would be late - but lied and told them she was getting a ride home from another girl. As she got there that night, she expected to spend time talking with him.
Instead, he walked right by her. The hours slowly ticked by, and still he hadn’t stopped to say hello. As it got later, she got more and more upset. What was she going to do? How would she get home?

When she finished counting all the candy and gum that she had been told to count, she went to find her boss - wondering what else she needed to do. “You can go home” she was told. And she looked around - wondering where he was. But he wasn’t there. And so she asked another girl for a ride. Sadly, she was sure that the boy had decided he really didn’t like her . . .

“Then you will call upon Me, . . . And I will listen to you.”
(Jeremiah 29: 12)

He wondered why she had left without him. Confused, she didn’t know what to say. And so she apologized, wondering what had really happened. Over the next few weeks, he spent more and more time with her. He took his break when she was on break, and they spent time talking about their lives. She told him she rode to work on her bicycle, and soon he was riding along beside her. Then the day came when he asked her if she would “go out” with him. Would she be his girlfriend? Before she could answer though, he told her that he knew she would break up with him down the road! Confused she wondered what to say. He told her that every girl that he had dated, all of them, had hurt him. And he knew that she would do the same. Looking at him, she told him “I’m the one that will get hurt, because those who I thought loved me, have always hurt me”. As she said it, she turned away. “Let’s bet on it” he said to her. And she turned around to see what he meant. “The first one to break up with the other - will owe them $50” he said. And to this day, I still don’t know why I agreed to the bet. But that was the beginning of our life together . . .

The Lord is my shepherd, . . . He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; . . .
(Psalm 23: 1 - 3)

“If you live in the past” - We were married for 21 years. During that time, we both hurt the other! There were times when I would remember the bet - and determine to stay with him - just to prove him wrong. But the truth was, we had both been hurt in our lives, and we brought those hurts into our marriage. I wanted him to love me - - - I wanted to love him. And sometimes, we did. But a lot of the time, we hurt each other.

The righteous cry and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
(Psalm 34: 17 & 18)

“If you live in the past - - - you will have no future . . .” So many times we bring our hurts from the past - into our future. And then we wonder why we have so many hurts and troubles . . .

Many years ago, I had a good friend I met through counseling. She had come for help, when her marriage was pretty close to ending. Sarah (not her real name) came to the center as a last hope, because her husband had cheated. When Sarah met Ron, she knew that he loved music, and loved a good time. On their wedding day, Ron had gotten into a fight and was arrested. And so she spent her wedding night alone. It was the beginning of a marriage filled with hurts. Ron worked during the day in construction, and spent his nights playing in a band, usually in bars. Sarah was left home alone, with the babies that soon came along. So when I first met Sarah, I was sure that soon she would be divorced.

I thought their marriage was finished - - - but God didn’t! He offered them another chance - for a brand new marriage. Ron turned out to be just a big kid, always wanting to play, and not understanding what he needed to do to be a husband, or even a man. Sarah had spent so much time yelling and screaming, that Ron wasn’t sure he wanted to be home with her. As I got to know each of them, I saw two people who really did love the other person. As I watched, the Lord brought them back together. Sarah and I spent many afternoons having coffee, and talking about this miracle that was happening. Her husband was finally listening to her. She was finally reaching out to him. I loved watching what God was doing. But then - the past just seemed to catch up - with them both . . .

There is an appointed time for everything, And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 3)

My heart always hurts, when I think about Sarah and Ron. I still don’t know all the reasons why they went back to the way they were before. Sarah started to yell and scream. And Ron, again, ran away. This time though, there was no ability to forgive. And the two finally did get a divorce.

When I think about that time, I wonder about the pain that was still in both. It seemed that neither were able to totally let go of the past. And then I wonder, were the scars just too big - to be healed . . .

A time for every event under heaven - - -
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 8)

The other day, I put in a cd that I hadn’t listened to in quite a long time. The cd has quite a few love songs on it. But one song, is very special for both Ted and me. It was the song that was playing, the day when we could have decided to end our relationship. As I listened to the song again, the words brought back so many emotions. I remember driving to his apartment, wondering how the day would go. I remember the feeling of sheer joy, as he opened the door. Then I remember his eyes, as he looked at me as we talked. We didn’t know what to do - as we sat there talking. We were best friends, but should we be more? We loved each other, but would we hurt the other? The song is “Let’s Make Sure We Kiss Good-bye” by Vince Gill. These are the words that I heard that day: Kiss me like you’ll never see my face again - As soft and tender as you can . . . As the song continued, I wondered if the hurts we had both gone through in our lives, were part of how we felt now. As I sat there, I begged God to help us. I loved Ted so much - and I didn’t want to let go - and the Lord heard me . . .

About a month before I ever heard the song, I had to leave to go see my children and my ex-husband. Ted was working at the ministry, and so I told him I was leaving and waved good-bye. As I drove away, Ted could feel the anger build inside of him. He knew that I was always getting hurt by this man, and wondered why I continued to go. And then he stopped, realizing how much he cared for me. “Please Lord, if they are supposed to get back together, it is alright - You can use me” he prayed. As he prayed, he could feel how much he loved me. He wanted the very best for me - and the Lord heard him . . .

“For your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.”
(Mathew 6: 8)

From that day on, we never let go. From that day, we knew that we belonged together. We also knew that each of us had been hurt, through many years of living on this earth. But we knew that together, we could help each other to let go of the hurts - hanging on to the Lord and each other . . .

“If you live in the past” - It took time for me to forgive those who had hurt me throughout my life. And truthfully, I haven’t forgiven everyone or everything. But with God’s help, I try. Everyday, Ted and I ask the Lord to lead us and guide us, taking the hurts, and healing our hearts. Every day, we hang on to each other, and thank God for our love - and the Life that He has given us . . .

“Pray then, in this way: Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done . . .”
(Mathew 6: 9 - 12)

Are you ready to stop living in the past? Are you ready to forgive - and be forgiven? It is my hope, that you will ask God into your life - and into those hurts and pain. When you do, you will finally be ready for a brand new future - and Life . . .

“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)

God bless you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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