Friday, September 08, 2006

Weekly Word for Sept. 8, 2006

Weekly Word - September 8, 2006

There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven - - -
(Ecclesiastes 3: 1)

This past week was Labor Day - the time of year when we realize that summer is about to end, and “fall” is just upon us. It is the time of year when we have to put away the swimming pools and summer toys, as the children head back to school. It is a time when the days get shorter, and the temperatures get colder. It is a time of change - and also of good-byes . . .

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

It had been a summer full of changes. It was a time of sorrow and pain, as well as hoping for new beginnings. As Labor Day came, and we moved Mike into his brand new apartment, I wondered what the future would hold for him and his three little ones. As emotions washed over me - I couldn’t help but think back to other summers - to other moments that seemed to define my life. As I started to remember - the emotions came flooding back . . .

There is an appointed time for everything . . .
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 was a time of wondering, and excitement. It was a time of confusion, and fear. It was the summer before my senior year of high school. I had been dating a college boy during my junior year, and all the girls seemed to envy me - as I wondered what I was doing. But summer was here, and I couldn’t wait to go up to the “camp”! That’s what we called it. It was a campground, where my parents parked their small camper every summer. It was on a small lake, and the same people seemed to camp there every year. I couldn’t wait to see my friends again. It was as if we had this small group, boys and girls, that got together - for just the summer. So when school finished up, and the weather turned warmer, I started to get excited about seeing them all again.

I guess I should have wondered about my feelings though. Because I didn’t want my boyfriend to be there. He just wasn’t part of that time - or that group. So in between working at the grocery store, and dating a few nights a week - I spent time at the camp. It was there that I could just be a teen-ager. I didn’t have to worry about anything, not my parents - and not my boyfriend. We all hung out together, wearing bathing suits and shorts, and mostly barefoot. We would encourage the boys to do tricks on their water-skis, and we all laughed when one “wiped out”! We walked a lot, and we did a lot of talking during those summer days.

But it was the nights that I remember the most. Sitting at one of the picnic tables down at the beach; with our sweatshirts and jeans on - we spent hours talking and laughing, wondering about each other - and falling in love. It was here, that I first noticed David. Every time he came near me, my heart seemed to race and I couldn’t stop it. He had dark eyes, and dark hair - and I thought he was one of the cutest boys I had ever seen. During the days, we would flirt and swim, and just spend time talking. At night, I knew that he wanted to kiss me. But I guess I knew that I shouldn’t, because there was another boy - who had no clue what was going on at the camp . . .

A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together;

The time seemed to fly by, and the weather was getting colder. Our time at the camp was coming to an end. My boyfriend was heading back to college, and I would be starting my senior year at school. And soon, the camper would be brought back home for the winter. I knew that David liked me, everyone had told me so. But the truth was, I didn’t know what I was feeling. And then David took me for a drive in his car. It was after work, and he had asked if he could drive me home. For some reason, I said “yes”. As I sat in the car, so many emotions filled my being. I could feel how nervous he was, and my own heart was beating way too fast. I knew he wanted to kiss me, and at that moment - I didn’t know what to do.

And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search, and a time to give up as lost;

I never did kiss him. I told him about my boyfriend, and then quickly got out of the car. As I turned and walked away - I knew everything had changed. The simple freedom of summer was gone, and by the next summer - I was married.

And . . . A time for every event under heaven - - -

The memories and emotions continued, as we worked to move Mike. There were memories of summertime with the kids, laughing and playing in the pool. There were memories of making birthday cakes and parties, as we celebrated their lives. And then another memory washed over me. It was August 1985 - and Jenny was turning 4 years old. As I made her cake, I felt as if I would melt in the heat. I had been cooking all morning, and the temperature was nearly 100. The cake was going to have a Strawberry Shortcake doll on it - and I made little flowers to go around the sides. The radio was playing in the background, and I could see my husband and two children laughing and playing in the pool out back. At that moment, I went to the phone and dialed the number the DJ had just mentioned. When I finished the call, I hung up the phone and went back to decorating the cake. But I waited. And soon, I heard the beginnings of the song I had requested. It was “our” song, and I called out the window to my husband. I asked him to come in, as I wanted to surprise him with it. After all, it was also our anniversary! But he just stood there looking at me - with that look that said he didn’t want to be bothered. As the song played, I turned back to the cake - and tried to stop the tears. It was supposed to be a day to celebrate - but my heart was filled with sadness . . .

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance . . .

It was again summer, and the emotions were of confusion and fear. I had set things in motion, to leave my husband. Jenny had finished her freshman year of high school, and was staying overnight at a friends. As the day began, I said good-bye to my husband. Watching him drive away, I knew that nothing would ever be the same again.

That summer, Jenny and I hid away at a friend’s house. We didn’t have much, and I felt so alone and afraid. But I knew that things needed to change. The marriage had been full of anger and hatred, and the hurting needed to stop. As the summer went on, Jenny and I spent our days walking in the park, and visiting the petting zoo. We also learned about ourselves - and our friends. It was that summer, that we met Ted. It was his wife, who had said “yes” to letting us hide away in their home. Over the summer, we spent our evenings watching tv with Ted. His wife didn’t like television - so it was just the three of us. He was always laughing, and just seemed to make things lighter and easier. He made it safe, for Jenny and I to live there. To this day, I know that he was the one to teach Jenny - that men didn’t have to hurt! He taught us both - to trust. And then, fall seemed to be upon us - and we needed to find a new place to live . . .

A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted . . .

That summer changed our lives. It started a friendship, and it ended a marriage. I learned to live on my own, and to believe in myself. And then, just a few years later - things changed again . . .

It was summertime, and we both were falling in love. We tried not to, but it happened anyways. Ted and I were in love, and we weren’t quite sure what to do. He had just been through his own divorce, and our friendship grew quickly. We talked and talked, every night. And when we got together, my heart seemed to beat so much faster. We promised to stay away from each other - and quickly broke our promises. And then one day in July, my car had a flat tire. The frustration I felt was huge. Most of my time was spent working in ministry, and that didn’t pay very well. So as I looked at my tire, I wondered how I would get it fixed! I somehow made it to the tire place, and quickly asked to use the phone. As I dialed, I prayed he would answer. And when he did, I burst into tears. I tried to tell him about the car, but he just told me he would be right there - and he was. As the garage worked on my car, he took me down the street to the local diner. As I sat there with my coffee, and couldn’t help but stare at this sweet, gentle man. I watched his lips as he talked, and wondered what they would feel like, if I kissed him. I couldn’t believe I was thinking these things, as I sat there worrying about the bill for replacing my tire. As we headed back to the garage, he asked if he could help me out and pay the bill. I just looked at him, and then I nodded my head. After all, we both knew I couldn’t afford it. Driving back to the ministry, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. When we got there, we both headed into the kitchen. To this day, I don’t know why I did it - but I jumped up and sat on the counter. As I sat there, I just looked at him - standing in front me. And that’s when I asked him if I could kiss him. When I said it - I remember wondering if I had really said those words out loud. My heart was racing, and I was sure he could hear it. And then - - - we were kissing. It was one of those moments - that seem to stop time. I had never felt anything quite so wonderful, and yet so terrifying. In that moment, our lives became connected - - - forever . . .

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time for love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 8 & 9)

The past few weeks, or maybe I should say the past few months, have been full of changes. There have been times of sadness as well as good-byes. But there have also been times of celebration and joy. We were able to take our granddaughter on vacation with us. I will never forget the moment she ran into our arms - greeting us with pure joy and happiness. The time we spent with her was full of laughter and hugs. It was so much fun. And then it was over. When it was time to say “goodbye”, we watched her slip away - unable to actually say the words. As we turned to leave, it was such a contrast from the “hello” we had gotten a few days earlier. As we drove away from the house that night, so many emotions were there. But the memories - the hugs and laughter - will last with us forever.

There is another memory - another moment - that I will never forget. It is the moment when I found out that Mike’s marriage was ending. It was a day in May, and she had called me on my cell phone. As I listened to her, I could feel my chest start to hurt. When we finished talking, I sat there staring out the window of the car, as the sobs overtook me. I knew there had been problems before, but this time, it felt like the end.

a time for every event under heaven . . .

This summer has been filled with many changes and emotions. We spent it helping out with the kids and Mike. We worried and we tried to help - whenever we could. And we grieved - for what was lost. And then it was time to help Mike move. As we stood there - that last day - I knew that one chapter had ended - and another was just about to begin. I don’t know what lays ahead for Mike or the children - but I do know that there is always hope - after the storm . . .

“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)

Each and every one of us will face times of heartache and pain. We all face changes - during our lives. But we also have choices - to walk it alone - or not. It is my hope and prayer that you will ask the Lord to be with you - always. With His help - you (as well as my son) can face - - - anything . . .

God bless you and keep you - until we meet back here again!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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