Friday, June 23, 2006

July 4th - Independence Day- 2006

Weekly Word for - Independence Day 2006

“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)

Plans for the future . . . my plans . . . they didn’t quite seem to be going the way I had hoped! I had planned on setting up a schedule for the summer. I was going to write each day, between the hours of 10am and 2pm. That way, I would get the book done by the end of summer. It sounded like a good plan to me. But somehow, the past few weeks didn’t work out that way. There had been company, and kids to watch, and other demands on my time. Nothing was going “right”! And then Ted and I went to a party last week. As we sat with some friends, one of the women started to tell us how happy she was - now that she had decided to become “an independent woman”. “I am not letting anyone boss me around any more!” she said. As I listened to her, I couldn’t help but wonder at that statement. And then, she turned and looked straight at me. “You should be able to do whatever you want to do!” “No one should tell you what to do . . .”

“No one should tell you what to do . . .” As I thought about that statement, I couldn’t help but think back over my life - to the times when I thought I knew just what I was supposed to be doing - - - but found out, that I didn’t have a clue . . .

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)

I was living on my own - a single mom - working hard to take care of my daughter. I had rented a cute little house, close to where Jenny was going to school. I had been working and volunteering for quite a few years in ministry, and had been studying to become a full-time Christian counselor. So as Jenny began her sophomore year of high school, I figured this was the perfect time to finally “do” what I wanted to do. I approached my friend about joining the ministry full time, and was so disappointed when she told me she wasn’t so sure that’s what I was “supposed” to be doing . . .

My friend’s daughter had just given birth to a little baby girl that summer. I had visited her, bringing a present over to the new baby. As I sat on the floor holding the baby, her mother told me that she believed I should be the one to babysit - when she went back to work. I have to admit, I wasn’t very happy about that idea. And I told her so! I told her that I would pray about it, but that I didn’t think that I was “supposed” to be babysitting at this point in my life. As I got up to leave, I was so angry. I didn’t want to admit it - but God’s presence was all around me, as I held that little girl. “I don’t want to babysit!” I told Him as I got in the car that day! “I want to finally work in ministry!” “I want to do something more important . . .”

Bring me back - that I may be restored, For Thou art the Lord my God.
(Jeremiah 31: 18 )

I didn’t want to watch Kerri Joy, but that’s exactly what I ended up doing. I couldn’t deny that God’s presence was right there - every time I would ask Him what I was supposed to be doing. I didn’t understand why - - - but I decided I would watch this little girl anyways.

Bring me back that I may be restored, . . .

Kerri Joy became part of our family. She was there every day and sometimes overnight. When I look back at the pictures, there she is in her highchair - in the middle of our kitchen. Even as Jenny got ready for her prom, little Kerri was holding on to the bottom of her legs. I couldn’t help but laugh as Jen danced around the room in her beautiful gown, holding on to Kerri and spinning her around and around. The memories are pure joy! It was as if she was a part of that house or that period of time - and she added so much to our lives.

For two years, Jenny had a baby sister - and I had another little daughter. Neither of us realized that she was a gift that we needed at that moment. We weren’t even sure we wanted her, at first. But then - - - she became a huge part of our lives.

I have to admit, I didn’t realize how much I received - from the gift of that little one. It wasn’t until later on, that I realized the “freedom” she actually gave me. When my own children had been born years earlier, they had been born to a very wounded momma. I was afraid to hold them too much, or let them sleep in my bed, or do any of the things that mothers get to do. All because my husband told me it wasn’t good or right - and I didn’t have the strength or courage to fight with him. But with Kerri - there was a freedom to just love her. I rocked her and held her - and even let her fall asleep in my arms. The things I didn’t get to do with my own babies - I was finally able to do with this little one.

I guess it hit home how much I loved Kerri, the day that Norma brought me a gift. It was all wrapped up with a beautiful bow on top. When I opened it, I pulled out a beautiful pink baby outfit. It was for Kerri - but also for me. I would put it on her, on the days she stayed overnight and week-ends. It was an outfit I could keep - - - forever . . . .

There is an appointed time for everything. 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)

Kerri Joy was between 2 and 3 years old when I stopped babysitting her. She had a new baby brother, and her mother had changed jobs. It all seemed to happen so quickly, and before I knew it - - - my life changed again! But to this day, I have that little outfit hidden in a bureau drawer. And I believe that “who” I am today - was changed because of that little life . . .

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven - - -

As I look back over my life, every single time that I “think” I know just what I am supposed to be doing - I really do find out that I don’t! I finally did become that full-time Christian counselor. Jenny headed off to college, and I moved in to an apartment on the ministry property. My life seemed to be heading down a certain road - and then I met Ted again . . .

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)

When Ted came back into my life, our friendship seemed to grow so fast. His wife had just left him, and he needed a friend to just listen. That’s how it began. Soon, we were talking on the phone every single day - telling each other about our hopes and dreams - talking about everything. But both of us had beliefs and thoughts about what our futures would hold. He believed that I would stay single - and become a partner and minister with my friend. I believed that he would get married again - and become a wonderful husband and father. But our lives took a very different turn. Instead, we fell in love with each other - and I have a partner in ministry with him. And he is a wonderful husband - and father and grandfather - to our children and our grandchildren . . .

“For I know the plans that I have for you, . . .”

This past week-end was Father’s Day. It was a time to honor the fathers in our lives. I wanted it to be a special day for Ted. But the week-end became very busy with Jenny coming down for the week-end, and Mike coming over to visit. Ted and I found ourselves cooking on the grill, and running back and forth getting things for the kids. As we went to bed that night, I told him that I was sorry that he ended up having to work so hard on his special day. He looked at me and laughed. “Don’t you understand?” he asked me. “It was Father’s Day - and I got to be a dad and take care of my kids . . .”

“No one should tell you what to do . . .” As I think about what my friend said, I realize that the very best gifts I have ever been given in my life - have been the ones that God has given me. They haven’t come from the things I went after - or that I planned for. They came, because I asked God to “be in charge” of my life.

Last night, as Ted held me in his arms, I realized how wonderful my life is - “because” he is part of it. “You make my life fuller and richer” I told him. Because you are in my life - I am so much more . . .”

My friend is working very hard to become an “independent woman” - someone who stands on her own. But for me, I have so much more - because I “depend” on the love of Ted - and the Lord. Have things been going the way I had hoped they would? No! I don’t know why, but what I do know is this: God’s plans have always been better than anything I have ever dreamed or imagined . . .

“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)

I don’t know when I will be back to writing the stories each week. But until that time, it is my hope and prayer that as we celebrate this July 4th - Independence Day - you will choose to ask the Lord to be part of your life - and all of your plans. When you start to “depend” on His Love - - - your life will become full of amazing possibilities . . . .

“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 and keep you - until we meet again . . .

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is pure joy to read,and very true that God needs to be a part of our everything in our lives.

10:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home