Thursday, January 19, 2006

Weekly Word for January 20 to 27, 2006

Weekly Word - January 20, 2006

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks;
For this is God’s will for you . . .
(1 Thessalonians 5: 16 - 18)

Happy Birthday! I love saying that! I love birthdays! Quite a few of my friends and family would tell you that it is because I love cake! And to a certain degree - they are right. I absolutely love cake! But that is not why I love birthdays. For me, it is so much more . . .

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
(Philippians 4: 4)

I was making a birthday cake, for someone very special to me. As I poured the ingredients into the bowl, I thought back over other birthdays - and other lives I have celebrated . . .

It was late April, and it was Norma’s birthday. She was a year older than me, and somehow I always thought of her as more knowledgeable and having much more wisdom than I did. So on this birthday, we were getting together for lunch. I had her presents all wrapped, along with her card. (I was never as good at picking out cards as she was, but I tried.) As we sat down, the girl brought over some coffee for us. We both absolutely loved coffee! So after the girl took our order, I gave her the presents I had brought. As she opened the first present, I waited to see what she thought. For some reason, when I saw it in the store, I had to buy it for Norma. It was a figurine of a little girl, sitting on a suitcase. There was a bible passage on the bottom, that was about the Lord leading her and guiding her. As she opened it, she said: “I guess I am going to be traveling!” And I laughed as she said it. We never guessed the road that was laying before her . . . .

Rejoice always . . . In everything give thanks . . .

I remember the last birthday celebration with Norma. Again, we went out for lunch - just the two of us. She wasn’t feeling very well, but we decided to go out anyways. I had a present for her, and I wondered what she would think of it. So after taking a sip of her coffee, and placing our orders, I gave her the present I had with me. As she opened it, I hoped she would like it - although I knew that it wasn’t an ordinary gift. After removing the wrapping paper, Norma opened the box. Inside was a small plate with a picture on it. It was a Thomas Kinkaide picture of a lighthouse. In the picture, clouds were heavy in the sky and huge waves were crashing against the rocks the lighthouse was standing on. There was a passage underneath the picture, and as she read it - I could see the tears in her eyes.

On that April day, the cancer in Norma was growing pretty fast. She and I knew that it was going to take her life, at some point down the road. This was her 2nd battle with it, and this time - there was no treatment left to try. As we celebrated her birthday - the day she started this life - we were also getting ready to say goodbye . . .

For who is our hope - or joy - or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming?
For you are our glory and joy.
(1 Thessalonians 2: 19 & 20)

Norma left this earth three months later, on July 15 1998. She had slipped into a coma, and as I sat talking with her - I asked her how I would go on without her. Who would be my friend, the one that listened to me - and prayed with me? As I said goodbye, I couldn’t help but wonder at this amazing lady, and why she was leaving us. Her life, changed mine - - - forever . . .

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! . . .” “For I am the Lord your God, . . . Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, . . .”
(Isaiah 43: 1, 3 & 4)

As I put the cake into the oven, I continued to think back over the years - to other birthdays - and to the people who had touched my life . . .

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

It was all there on the video, “our” birthday from so many years ago. Jenny and Mike were still young, about 8 and 12 at the time. My whole family was there, my parents, my brothers and their families, as well as my grandmother. As I watched the video, there she was. It was a party for me, my husband, and Nana (as we called her). It was a birthday party for us all! Nana was sitting with her presents stacked in front of her. Smiling and laughing, she opened one. As she did, Jenny inched forward to help her. Nana let her pull on the paper, and together - they opened it. Inside the box was a white lace blouse and purple vest. Lifting them up, a soft “ooohh” came from her lips. Excitedly, Jenny asked her if she liked them - as the gifts were from us. “Oh, I love them!” she said. Picking up the next present, she shook it and asked Jenny what she thought it was. As I watched the video, I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched my Nana enjoying the party. She again let Jenny help her open the present. But this time, she slowly opened the box, letting only her and Jen peek inside. She then pulled out a black and white jacket saying: “I love it!” as she put it in front of her.

The video continued, and there on the television I saw the three of us sitting in front of a cake. “Happy Birthday” was written on the top, and candles were already lit. As everyone sang - my Nana smiled and laughed - and soon we were blowing out the candles. She smiled and she waved, and then the tape ended. And my Nana was gone once again . . .

But let all who take refuge in Thee be glad, Let them ever sing for joy;
And mayest Thou shelter them,
That those who love Thy name - may exult in Thee.

(Psalm 5: 11)

As I took the cake out of the oven, I hoped that it would turn out alright. I wanted the cake to be perfect, as it was for a very special person. The cake was for Ted’s birthday. Putting the cake on the racks to cool, I remembered the very first time we celebrated Ted’s birthday.

His wife had left him, his marriage was over - and I wondered what he would be doing for his birthday. He looked at me a little strangely. “Nothing” he said. I wanted to have a cake for him at the bible study, but he really didn’t seem to care either way. “Birthdays are special” I told him. But he didn’t seem to agree with me.

As the friendship grew, I finally learned about this man who’s heart had been hurt so many times. I asked him about his birthday, and if he had ever had a party. He told me about a few times, but that was about all he could remember. I asked if he had any with his wife, and again he shook his head. And just then, he told me about one birthday, a very special one - when he had been a boy . . .

you are precious . . . you are honored - and I love you”

She had just married his dad, and was going to make him a cake! As his birthday drew near, he was very excited. All his family was there, his brothers and sister, as well as his step brothers. As they gathered around the table, she brought out the cake. The look on her face, said she wasn’t very happy. She had just frosted the cake, only to have it fall apart as she was finishing it. Disappointed, she wished she had done better. But to Ted, he didn’t care what it looked like - - - she had made him a cake! As everyone sang, he smiled and laughed. And then with his hands, he scooped up the cake . . .

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice you righteous ones, And shout for joy all you who are upright in heart.
(Psalm 32: 11)

As he told me the story, he started to laugh. She had gotten so angry with him, as he ate the cake from his hands. He didn’t understand why she got so mad - because to him - he loved his birthday cake . . .

Until now you have asked for nothing in My name: ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.”
(John 16: 24)

Happy Birthday! I love to celebrate birthdays! But I especially love to celebrate Ted’s birthday! His life and my life - are now “our life.” My children are now his - and our grandchildren are a huge part of our lives. He loves me - - - and I love him. He knows my flaws, and loves me anyways. Because of him, I can be “me”. Our love, makes each of us better. Our hurts are healed - by the love we share, and together we have made a brand new life. And on his birthday? I want to celebrate his life - the life that he gave to me - so that we could become “one” . . .

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for a night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
(Psalm 30: 5)

Birthdays - They are celebrations of “life”. They are times when we thank God for those who have touched our lives, and changed them forever. I thank Him everyday for the gifts of Norma, and my Nana, and all those who I have loved. And I thank Him for every moment I have been given - to be Ted’s wife . . .

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.
(Psalm 100: 1 & 2)

What do you celebrate? It is my hope and prayer that you will celebrate Life and Love - - - that you will say “yes” to the gifts He has waiting - just for you. When you do, your life will be changed - forever . . .

“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 as you celebrate - each brand new day - that God has waiting for you!

In His Amazing Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


Blogger Melanie said...

Hi Deb! I just wanted to say thanks for your weekly words. I read them faithfully every week and i love them!! I love this one especially. Birthdays are so special and need to be celebrated.
Thanks for being such a great friend!!

7:14 PM  

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