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


Post a Comment

<< Home