Friday, March 31, 2006

Weekly Word for March 31 - April 7, 2006

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”
(John 14: 1)

The results of the tests had come in, and the news wasn’t very good. As she told him the news, he listened quietly. But as she hung up the phone, he let his true feelings show. “Why Lord?” he asked. “She has had so many other troubles throughout her life - why one more . . .”

Why Lord? It is a question that most of us have asked many times throughout lives. During the difficult times - as well as the good times - we wonder why. And just like everyone else - - - I’ve wondered - all through my life . . .

“In the world - you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16: 33b)

I had only known Norma for a little bit, and I really didn’t know what to think of her. She seemed so full of knowledge and confidence, and I knew that I didn’t have either of those. We were both supposed to work together, running a crisis center for women. But we were both so different from each other. She had her degree, and she knew how she wanted things to be run. I had been trained by other volunteers, and so my way of doing things always seemed opposite of her way. At every turn, it seemed we butted heads. I questioned every choice and every decision she made. And when I did, I really thought I was doing the right thing. (It wasn’t until much later - that I learned how much I had hurt her at the time) And so the relationship wasn’t really a friendship that very first year. She seemed so cold and distant, and I really thought she was all wrong for the job!

Then one night, I got very sick. The next day, I called up Norma to tell her I couldn’t work that day. I told her I had been up all night with the stomach bug. As we talked, she asked me if I needed anything. I did - but I didn’t tell her that. I didn’t think she should come anywhere near me. I didn’t want her to get sick as well. So as we talked, I told her I would get along fine. But she didn‘t believe me. She just laughed , and told me she would be right over!

As we sat in my living room, I remember asking her “why” she wasn’t afraid to be there. She just laughed again, and told me that she never got sick! I remember wondering about that - but then we started talking about other things. It was just a simple visit - but it changed our relationship. I started to see her differently - and a friendship started to grow.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16: 33)

Over the next few years, our goals and beliefs for the ministry became central to our lives. We would talk about all the things that we hoped for - for the families and girls we saw every day. There were moments of pure joy, when a young mom would come back with her baby - and the two lives seemed to be better because of the ministry. There were also moments of great sadness, as we wondered if we could have done more to help - when a girl just seemed to be so “lost”.

Over those same years, we also started sharing our personal lives with each other as well. Norma heard all about my troubles with my husband, as well as my children. I listened when she told me about her own life as well. Over coffee, we would talk about anything and everything - trusting each other with our hurts and secrets. It was to Norma that I found myself asking my questions - about faith, and about why I had lived through some tough times. She seemed to have this quiet strength - that made you feel like everything would be alright - as long as you kept trusting in God. It was to her that I turned to, when my life seemed to spiral - out of control . . .

Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses.
(Psalm 25: 16 & 17)

Norma was with me through it all. Through facing the reality of my past - the reality of being abused as a child. She helped me believe that I could make it - that I could get healthy and strong - even when I felt like I was going to die. I remember taking a walk with her one day. As we walked, I turned to her and asked: “Why?” “Why did he do this to me?” “Why did God let it happen?” The tears were streaming down my face, and my chest felt as if it was about to cave in - it was so hard to breath at that moment. I turned to my friend, and she didn’t turn away from me. I had collapsed on to the ground - and she sat down right next to me. Then, she slowly started to speak. She didn’t offer an excuse for “why” - but she did offer me hope. She told me she didn’t know why people do the things that they do. But she did know that God was in the process of healing me. And she also knew - that my life was very important to not only her - but to the Lord. As she told me all this, I didn’t know what to think. I could still feel the pain - but I wondered what she meant by saying I was “important”. When I asked her what she meant, this is what she said: “When you get healthy and strong, your life - will bring hope to others . . .”

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
(John 14: 27)

“Why?” There have been so many times in my life, when I didn’t know the answer to that question. I was in therapy for 4 years. During that time, Norma was always right there, when I would call her. She listened, and she encouraged me. And then one day, she called me. She had been sick, on and off, for a few weeks, but on this day she seemed to feel much worse. As we talked, I asked her if she needed anything. She told me she didn’t think so, but I told her I would be over in a few minutes anyways.

When I got there, Norma was sitting in her big, comfy chair. She looked so sick, and I wondered what to do. Norma had always been the one to pray for others, to encourage and bring hope. This time, it seemed I was to be the one to pray. I really did feel like so many others could have prayed better than I did - but I was the only one there. So taking her hands, I started to pray. I asked the Lord to help the doctors find out what was wrong. And then I asked Him to take care of my friend. That was the day - when the doctors found out that Norma had cancer . . .

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He leads me beside quiet waters . . .
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil; for Thou art with me;
(Psalm 23: 1,2, & 4)

“Why?” Norma never did ask that question. She never once asked why she had to fight this battle. The battle lasted 3 years. During that time, we talked almost every day. Near the end, when she was in the hospital, she would call me late at night - after her husband had left. We would talk about simple things, like her husband and her son. We would talk about difficult things - like when she asked me: “how will I know when it is time to go?” I have to admit - I didn’t always have the answers to her questions. But I always knew that God was right there with her - and that He would show her the way.

A few weeks before she died, she came home from the hospital. I went over to visit her almost every day. Some days, we just sat and watched the birds eating from her birdfeeder. Other days, we talked about simple things that mattered to each of us. And then one day I asked her a question. I asked her why she had forgiven me all those years ago. Why had she become my friend, even though I had hurt her? She looked over at me and smiled. “Because you were genuine” she said. “You were honest, and you believed in the things you were trying to do . . .”
Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
(Psalm 23: 5 & 6)

The other day, I went to “see” Norma. I know that sounds strange, but I was missing her - and so I went to visit her grave. There, I stood before the stone that told the day she was born, and the day that she had died. On one side of the stone - is a small vase with a hummingbird on it. Norma loved birds - but she especially loved hummingbirds. As I put the flowers that I had brought into the vase - I stood back and closed my eyes. When I did, so many memories came flooding back. Watching the birds, talking about our kids and our husbands, and talking about the Lord - they were all part of our friendship. Opening my eyes, I read the bible passage that was inscribed on the bottom of the stone. It is from Joshua 24:15 - and it reads: “choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: . . . As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I don’t know if Norma ever knew how much her life touched others. She had a way of knowing just when someone needed a card or note to lift them up. She knew just what bible passage to put - to touch someone’s heart. As I stood there, the tears started to fall. I wanted to call her up and talk to her. I wanted to tell her all about Ted and the grandbabies - all about the things that she never got to see. As I stood there, I found myself praying. I thanked God for her life - and the friendship that we had. I thanked Him for all that I had learned from knowing her. And then I asked Him - why . . .

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
(John 14: 1 & 3)

I don’t know all the answers to the questions of “why” things happen the way they do. What I do know - is that I will see Norma again - someday. Norma had a faith that was part of her everyday life. She wasn’t a preacher, and she didn’t go around pushing her beliefs on other people. She just simply lived her life - knowing that God was a part of it. She taught me to trust - and she believed in me. Because of her, I had the strength to get healthy and strong. Because of Norma - my life - can bring hope to others . . .

“Let not your heart be troubled . . .”

Throughout my life, there have been some tough times. And through them all, somehow, the Lord has given me the strength - as well as good friends - to get through them. Ted never met Norma. But he has heard about her life, and knows a little bit about her - just because he loves me.

The other day, when Ted heard the news that my test didn’t come back as well as we had hoped - he was pretty upset. It meant that I was going to have to take more medicine, and face the fact that my body has another problem. Is it going to be difficult? Maybe. But I know I am not facing the future alone. I have a wonderful husband who loves me. Together - with the Lord - we can face anything . . .

All of us will face troubles during our lifetimes. There will be moments of heartbreak and sorrow. But there will also be wonderful times of joy and celebration. Through it all - God gives us a promise. He promises to be with us always - helping us to Live life - until we walk with Him - into forever. All He asks - - - is that we believe . . .
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11: 25 & 26)

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
(John 15: 11)

God bless you and keep you in this coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers

Friday, March 24, 2006

Weekly Word for March 24 - 31, 2006

And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts . . . (Romans 5: 5)
"I haven't kept a diary in many years! But I have started to have dreams again - the ones that come with sleeping - as well as the ones that come with hoping and believing in things that cannot be seen . . ."

These were the words I wrote in my journal a few weeks ago. I hadn’t kept a journal in about three years, but there were things I wanted to remember - - - things I hoped for. Now, as I looked at the pages that I had written, I remembered back through the years. I remembered back to times when I was afraid to remember - - - times when I was afraid to even hope . . .

For Thou art my hope; O Lord God, Thou art my confidence from my youth.
(Psalm 71: 5)

She was just a little thing, somewhere between five and six years old. She had just been given a room of her own, being told that she was now a “big girl”. But as she lay there in bed, she didn’t feel so very big - in fact, she felt quite small. Fear seemed to close in around her, and the sounds of the sleeping house didn‘t comfort her. She tried so hard to stay awake, tried to keep her eyes from closing. But soon, exhaustion overcame her, as did the dreams she couldn’t escape . . .

There, in her dreams, the black car was again coming after her. She was alone, and on a street she didn’t recognize. She tried to get away, but the car was coming at her so fast! Inside the car were two men she didn’t recognize. They were dressed all in black, and they had no heads. As they kept coming toward her, she screamed with no sound - and tried somehow to get away. And that is when she woke up! Her little body shaking with fear and terror.

She had tried running in to her parents’ bedroom one night, hoping they could chase the nightmares away. But all she got was a scolding, and told to get back in her room. So quietly she waited, huddled under her blankets - waiting and hoping for the day when she could finally get away . . .

Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man.
For Thou art my hope; O Lord God, . . .
(Psalm 71: 4 & 5)

As she grew older, the nightmares somehow faded away. She was becoming a teenager. She felt awkward and shy, and wondering about the changes she was going through. She wanted to be like the other girls, who seemed so pretty and popular. But she felt so different, with her short red hair, freckles, and braces. She knew that she wasn’t pretty, after-all she could see what the mirror was telling her. But even though she felt ugly, she still found herself daydreaming about boys. She thought about what it would be like to date one. She had crushes, and secrets - that she kept hidden away - never telling anyone how she felt.

Then one day, she was given a diary. It had flowers on the front, with a lock on the side of it - and a key that came with it too. As she held it in her hands, she wondered about writing in it. But didn’t dare let anyone know how she felt. She put it away, where no one could find it - and never dared to open it again . . .

O Lord God, Thou art my confidence from my youth. By Thee I have been sustained from my birth; . . .
My praise is continually of Thee.
(Psalm 71: 5 & 6)

I never did write in that diary. I had all the same feelings and emotions of most girls my age. I had crushes on boys, and had a few friends who I could talk to. But I didn’t write them down for others to see. I was too afraid of what I might write, too afraid to know the things I didn’t want to know . . .

In Thee, O Lord, I have taken refuge; . . . Incline Thine ear to me, and save me.
Be Thou to me a rock of habitation, to which I may continually come;
(Psalm 71: 1 - 3)

I was 36 years old, and wondering what to do. Nothing in my life seemed to be going very well. My marriage was so difficult, and I didn’t know how to fix it. My children were going through the normal teen and pre-teen troubles, and I worried about them constantly. And then one day I got a phone call. It was from my boss, and my husband had answered the phone. When I took the phone from him, I wondered what my boss wanted. But never in a million years would I have guessed what he was about to say to me that day. As I listened to his words - I started to shake. I couldn’t believe what he was saying, as he crudely made his proposition. That was the day when I seemed to lose control of my feelings. I shook, and cried, and felt like I was going crazy. Nothing made sense - - - and I finally sought help . . .

Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, . . .

She gave me a notebook, and told me to write in it. And for weeks, all I did was look at it. It was small, and the cover was brown, and I would hold it in my hands and then put it away. I had found a Christian counselor, and told her what had happened. She listened, and we prayed - and then she gave me the book. Over the next few weeks, I would go to my appointments and tell her my feelings - but still I didn’t write in that book. Then one day, I did. I remember laying on the couch, and crying and crying - and wondering what I was crying about. I called up my therapist, and she told me to do something. And as she said it, I thought she was the dumbest person I had ever met! She told me to write down my question in the book - and then wait for the answers to come.

The answers did come, over time. But it started with that question. I took out the book, and found a pencil. And I wrote down the question at the top of the page. From that moment on, I started to write in the book. But at first it was always in pencil. I guess I thought that I could erase what I was writing - because truthfully I didn’t want to know all the answers.

I have become a marvel to many; For Thou art my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with Thy praise.
(Psalm 71: 7 & 8)

It took a few years for me to understand what had gone into making “me” the person that I was. The very first time that I wrote down about being a little girl who had been molested and raped, I tore out the pages of the book. I hated how it felt to be that girl, to have those nightmares - and no one to comfort her. I didn’t want to believe it, and so I ripped up the pages. But I had prayed to the Lord, asking Him to help me. And so the feelings kept coming and coming. I was afraid, and full of terror - I was angry and full of hatred. And then I realized what that little girl had hoped for all those years ago. She had hoped for a time when it was finally safe to come out from under the covers. She hoped that there would finally be someone to comfort her - and put an end to the nightmares . . .

My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
(Psalm 62: 5 & 6)

After that first little brown notebook, there were many more that I wrote in. It was where I wrote my heartaches, my sorrows and pain. In those books, I told the Lord my secrets, and He gave me back - my life. There were poems that spoke of darkness and terror, and sometimes I didn’t want to read them. I would write in my journals, and quickly close the book - and pray silently that God would heal me. I told Him about everything - my marriage, my children - the things that were on my heart. And each page was a letter - that I wrote just to Him.

Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge - for us.
(Psalm 62: 8)

“hoping and believing in things that cannot be seen . . .” Those were the words I wrote in my new journal. The little girl who had nightmares all those years ago - she never gave up hoping! The teen-ager who never believed in herself, she also had hopes and dreams. All of my life, somehow, I kept hoping - kept believing - that my life could be better. I hoped in a God - who could heal me . . .

But as for me, I will hope continually, . . .

A number of years ago, while I was praying, I asked the Lord if I could have two arms to hold me. I had just gone through divorcing my first husband, and I hoped that God would give me someone to care for me - to love me. That day, when I was praying - I heard “no”. I was so disappointed, but decided that I would try to build a better life for myself and my daughter. For three years I lived on my own with Jenny. During that time I learned so much about myself. I learned about my strengths, as well as my weaknesses. I became a minister and a counselor - and learned how to help others. And just as I thought I knew how the rest of my life would go - - - Ted came back into my life . . .

At the time, I remember writing down in my journal about this man who took my breath away. He had been one of the group of friends who helped me leave my first husband. He and his first wife had offered Jenny and I a place to live when we were homeless. But when I moved out, I didn’t see him again for 3 years. That day, when he walked into that bible study, I couldn’t believe my reaction! I wanted to talk to him, to get to know him better - and I wondered what was wrong with me! His wife had just left him, and I knew that he was dealing with his own heartbreak.

It didn’t take long for Ted and I to become best friends. We talked on the phone every day. As we grew closer, we wondered what we were supposed to do. We had both been told that we were on separate roads, and that we could only remain “friends”. But the feelings we both had, well they were much more than just friendship. It was such a struggle, trying to figure out what was “right” and what was “wrong”. We talked and prayed, we wondered and worried - and finally, we gave our love up to Him. As we did, we waited - - - wondering if He would take that love away from us . . .

Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.
(Romans 12: 12)

“hoping and believing in things that cannot be seen . . .” The Lord never took away our love. It was a gift to both of us. He had heard my hopes and dreams from years earlier. He had heard Ted’s hopes as well. And that “no” I had heard? It seems it was meant for just that moment - - - only until I was ready to love again.

Sometimes I find myself wondering at all the things I have lived through in my life. Over the past 14 years, I have written in quite a few journals. Most of them are gone now. They held the pain of years of hurts and abuse. As Ted and I started out on this brand new life together, we prayed about the old hurts we had both experienced. We asked the Lord to take them, and heal them. As we did, we also prayed about the hopes and dreams we have for the future before us . . . .

“Then I will give her - her vineyards . . . And the valley - as a door of hope. And she will sing there - as in the days of her youth, . . .
As in the day when she came up - from the land of Egypt.”
(Hosea 2: 15)

It has been a few years since I have written in a journal. It has also been a few years since I destroyed most of the old ones. Before I did, I held each one in my hand - knowing that they were the prayers and hopes, as well as the pain and suffering, of a life that I gave over to the Lord. He took each moment of terror, and replaced it with such wonderful Life. I could never have imagined having the life I am living now - way back then! As I destroyed each book - I thanked God for healing me down to my very soul, bringing life to the very core of my being.

It is my hope for you - that you will ask God to heal your pain and sorrow, and bring comfort and joy into your life. That you will never give up Hope for the Life you were meant to live. The Lord is waiting for you - with outstretched arms - to heal you - and make you whole . . .

“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)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15: 13)

God bless you and keep you in the coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers

Friday, March 17, 2006

Weekly Word for March 17 - 24, 2006

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

Wherever you go . . . A few weeks ago, we took a trip to visit Jenny up in Vermont. It was a wonderful visit, but way too short! As we got ready to leave, I felt that feeling again. It is the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach, when I have to say “good-bye” to someone I love. As Ted started to bring the suitcases out to the car, I wanted to stop him. I wanted to somehow make time stand still . . .

It was difficult to keep the tears from coming, as Ted and I drove away that day. As we left, I knew how much I loved Jen - and I also knew she loved me. And even though it was hard to say good-bye, I also knew that she was living right where she was supposed to be. She was living where her heart had led her.

“I am with you, and will keep you - wherever you go,
And will bring you back to this land . . .”

Yesterday, I felt that same feeling again in the pit of my stomach. We were helping Mike and his dad move some furniture. Mike’s grandfather had died just a few months ago, and the family was selling the house. As we drove into the driveway, the memories of that place came rushing back. It had been so long since I had been in this house. But as I walked up the steps to the back porch, it felt just like yesterday . . .

Trust in the Lord, and do good; . . .
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37: 3 & 4)

I was only 16 when we started dating. He was 20, and going to college. He seemed so grown-up to me, so much more knowledgeable than I was. As we started dating, I started to hear a little bit about his family. His mom had always stayed home, taking care of him and his sisters. Now she babysat for his nephew - her first grandson. As he told me more and more about his family, I really began to like them.

Then one day, we had a fight. I was sure he was going to break up with me, and I didn’t want that to happen. So that night, when everyone thought I was in bed, I snuck out my bedroom window. As I did, I really didn’t think about how I would get back in. All I could think about was - I didn’t want to lose him! So as I walked up those steps to his back porch, I wondered what to do. Nervously, I knocked on the door. And when his mother opened it, I didn‘t know what to say. That was the first time I met her, standing there on the back porch in the dark - with my eyes puffy and red from crying. She quietly told me to wait there, while she went and got him. When he came outside, I started to cry again. We sat on that back porch talking that night. And later, he walked me home. Lifting me up to the window, I climbed back inside my room. As I went to bed that night, I wondered what his parents had thought about me. The crazy girl who had shown up at their back door.

The next day, when we talked, I asked him what his parents had thought about me. He laughed as I asked him. “You want to know what they said?” he asked. “Yes” I said. “My mother told me that I had better take good care of that little red headed girl!” he said. And I laughed when he said it. But inside a hope grew. It was a hope to someday belong to this family - - - that maybe they would be the ones to take good care of me . . .

Love . . . Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things . . .
(1 Corinthians 13: 7)

As I walked inside the house, the memories were everywhere. I was 18 when I married their son and became part of the family. At first, I wasn’t sure what to call them - as mom and dad didn’t seem to fit. But as soon as Mikey came along - Buppa and Gram did fit. That’s what all the grandchildren called them - and soon that’s what I called them as well. Walking around the kitchen, I opened up the cabinet doors. There inside, were the dishes we had used all those years earlier. The smells of turkey and pies seemed to fill the kitchen - and it was Thanksgiving all over again. There in that kitchen, Gram was again cooking. Buppa and Jenny were hovering nearby, waiting to steal the skin from the turkey. Scolding them, Gram shooed them into the family room. In the living room, the tv was on, and the cousins were all laughing and talking at once. The house was full of life.

As I walked into the family room, it was as if I could see Jonathan again. He was just around 14 or so - and had that nonchalant look that young teen-agers get. With one leg over the arm rest and his shoulders slumped down in the chair, you could tell that he wanted to be older. As we talked, he offered only quick one word answers and then pretended to ignore us. That is, until Gram came into the room. To her, he was her first grandbaby - and she was his “Gramma”.

Looking around the room, I continued to remember back. It was in that chair that Buppa was sitting, when we got the call that Gram had died. He had come home from the hospital that day, so sick with bronchitis, and when we all left - she had died. It was only a few years later, when Jonathan was killed in a car accident. And again, we all found our way to this house and this room. During the good times - and the bad times - they all came home . . .

Love . . . Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,
Love never fails;
(1 Corinthians 13: 7 & 8)

It is never easy to say good-bye to the ones we love. It was ten years ago, that I left my first husband. I never did say “good-bye” to him. I didn’t leave a note, I just packed up what I could and left with Jenny. For the next two years, I hoped that we could work things out. But it never happened, and soon we were divorced.

After the divorce, I wondered what his father would think of me. There were still parties for the children, and graduations as well as other events - where we all would be together. I worried that I would be hated, but I wasn’t. Buppa was still that quiet, gentle man he had always been. He loved his children and grandchildren, and as the great grandbabies came long - he loved them as well. With each graduation, each wedding and new birth - Buppa was there. And always behind his eyes, the tears were there as well. He never stopped missing her - - - his sweetheart - his wife . . .

And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to give birth, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 2)

As we stood in the living room, we got ready to move the couch out to the truck. Mike was taking that old couch to his own house. As I looked at it, I saw the pictures flash before my eyes. There on that couch sat Gram and Buppa with Jonathan and April sitting between them. Then I saw Mikey and Jenny sitting between their grandparents - holding their hands and smiling at the camera. The pictures continued, and it was Christmas in that living room. All the grandchildren were there - all six of them - and their parents sitting all around the room. The couch, the chairs, the floor were filled - as the family celebrated together. Now, as I stood there - I realized how many from the picture - had already left this world . . .

A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
(Ecclesiastes 3: 3 & 4)

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; . . . Both had been part of this house. As we got ready to move the couch into the truck, I saw a picture lying on the floor. I picked it up and turned it over. It was a picture of Joe, my first husband. In the picture, he was about 2 years old. It had hung on the wall of the family room for years. It was the same picture that we would point to and ask Jonathan (who was about 4 at the time) who that was in the picture. “Me!” he would say. And we would laugh, because the picture of that blonde little boy with beautiful eyes - did look a lot like him. As I held the picture, I showed it to Ted. “Keep it” he said. “We’ll give it to Zachary when he is older.” “After all, this is his family . . .”

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together;
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 6, & 7)

It isn’t easy saying “good-bye”. As we moved the furniture out of the house, I looked at Joe and asked him how he was feeling. I knew this couldn’t be easy for him, selling his family’s home. His dad and his mom were now gone - and the house was going to have a new family living in it soon. He shrugged and walked over to help Mike and Ted with the couch. As I watched, I realized how strange this must seem to someone outside, looking in. But for me - this was my family. My husband, my son - and the man who gave me this family. I don’t know if he will ever understand how much his parents taught me. They taught me how to love - how to be a mother and a grandmother. I don’t know if he will ever understand the gift he gave to me.

And there is a time for every event under heaven - - -

Saying “good-bye” - it isn’t an easy thing to do. Over the years, I have said good-bye to some very wonderful people that I loved. They were people who taught me how to love others and love God. They taught me about myself and about life. And when they left, I missed them terribly. But to this day, I am glad to have had them in my life. I loved my Nana so much, and through her she taught me about loving others and being loved. I miss Norma, she taught me how to have faith and trust, and that God is with me no matter what. And I miss Gram and Buppa. They taught me how to love my children and my grandchildren. Each of their lives - affected who I was. And their lives - live on through not only me - but my children as well.

The other day, I saw a sign outside of a church. On the sign were these words: Go with God - - - Until we meet again! That is how I feel about my grandmother, Norma, and those I have loved. I know I will see them again - someday . . .

As Ted and I drove away from that house yesterday, I wondered what he was thinking. As I watched him, he looked over at me and smiled. I knew at that moment that we had a love that I never thought could be possible. Silently, I thanked the Lord for the life that we shared. Do I know if there will come a time when we have to say “goodbye” to each other? No I don’t. But if that day ever comes - I know that it will only be - until we meet again! I know that our love - is a love that will last - forever . . .

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully - just as I also have been fully known.
But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13: 12 & 13)

It is my hope and prayer that you will have a life full of love and joy. Will you face times of saying “goodbye”? Yes. But as you do, hold tight to the hand of God - knowing that our goodbyes are only until we meet again . . .

God bless you in the coming week ahead - may you Go with God - until we meet back here again . . .

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers