Sunday, June 29, 2008

There is a time for "everything" . . .

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

“There is an appointed time for everything” - I have to admit, I don’t always like that passage! There have been so many times in my life when I wanted to do something, have something happen - and it didn’t! It wasn’t until much later, that I realized that the Lord knew when the timing was right - or what I needed . . .

Over the past few months, I have sat here at my computer - determined to write a new story. There was always something on my mind, and the words would flow. But then, so would the tears. Each time I wrote, I realized that the story had no ending - it wasn’t finished yet. And so each time I tried to write , I would end up shutting down the computer - angry that I had failed - - - one more time . . .

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

Over the past 6 months, I have watched - as God’s work has continued. But it hasn’t happened the way I thought it would. Each day we have prayed for all those on our prayer list. And each week, there are more who ask to be on it. There are more people who are hurting, and asking for help. And it has amazed me, how strong God’s presence has been there - for each one! But it is in the quiet moments, when I am all alone - that I feel so overwhelmed by the personal tasks that are before me. You see, personally - I am facing some huge losses. And it is taking time - to know what I need to do.

My dad is on his third battle with cancer, and the doctors have no more treatments for him. My mom gets more and more lost, as my dad’s sickness gets worse. For my two brothers and myself, we are trying to do our best to help them. But each day is another challenge. And sometimes, I just don’t know what to do. That is, until yesterday - when I decided to paint . . .

And there is a time for every event under heaven -
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance . . .

I have never been very artistic, that gift was given to my dad, my aunts, and my brother Wayne. They could paint and draw, and I really did envy them. My dad could also play music, and again - I wanted to do that as well. But even though I took piano lessons, I never could play like he did. And so, through the years, there was always music and art, flowing all around me. All of which I wanted to be a part of - but I wasn’t.

As I grew older, my energy was spent on my family, my husband and children - as well as ministering. I was always busy, and there never seemed enough time in the day to do much else. I had learned to crochet from my grandmother, and that seemed to be my one outlet that was a little bit artistic. I made blankets for friends and babies, and I loved seeing the work take shape. It made me feel like I had my own artistic talent. But that was all I had, until just recently . . .

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

I have to admit, I really hadn’t spent much time with either my mom or dad - through most of my life. Both worked full time, and when they were home - well, I didn’t want to do things with them. There were all sorts of reasons why - - - I was a kid, they were parents, hurts had happened - it didn’t matter what the reason was - - - I just didn’t spend time with them. And when I got married and had my own family, I put my energy and emotions into them. I visited my parents when I was supposed to - but that was the extent of it. Until this past year.

I can’t even tell you why, or what changed. I can only tell you that they seemed to need me. And I didn’t mind helping them. I would work on their finances, or my dad’s computer - and my dad would play his keyboard for me. As he did, he told stories of the songs - and what they meant. I would just listen, as he played and talked. He couldn’t play for very long, as the pain would soon take over. But each time, I learned a little more about my mom and dad. And then one day he gave me one of his music books. It had the songs he would play for my mom. “Do you want to practice this?” he asked. And at that moment, I did. I wanted to learn the songs of his life, the songs my mom would need - - - after he was gone.

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

When my dad retired, he stayed busy by making crafts. He did wood working, and painted ceramics - and sold them at craft shows. My brother Wayne, as well as my aunts, helped my dad. They worked together, and went to craft shows together. And I would hear all about them, when I visited. My dad and mom always told me when the shows were, but I never went. So when my father handed me one of his ceramics a few days ago, it surprised me when I said “sure” to painting it. I had never painted anything like it - in my life! But at that moment, I wanted to! And so yesterday afternoon, I sat holding my dad’s paintbrush, slowly painting the lighthouse he had given to me. As I did, I could picture his hands holding that paintbrush, carefully painting each color . . .

“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)

My dad is getting ready to leave us. And truthfully, my mom is leaving us as well. It won’t be long before she has no clue “who” I am. And when that happens, I won’t have a mom - or a dad. But right now, I have them both. And God knows this. He knows what I need to make memories and moments. He knows what my parents need as well - to get them ready for their own tomorrows.

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

I haven’t written many stories lately for the website. And yet God’s work is continuing - in others - as well as in me. I haven’t always understood what was happening, and sometimes I have let fear take over, but God has been right there - through it all.

A few weeks ago, Ted and I watched a Disney movie with our grandbabies. At first, I thought it was one of those ordinary “princess” movies, where the prince saves her and they live “happily ever after”. But the movie surprised me. The princess became a “real person” in the movie. She learned about anger, and having feelings, and the meaning of true love. As we watched the movie, I couldn’t help but be drawn into it, feeling the tears every now and then. During the movie, the princess sings a song about love. The song seemed to stick in my head, and days later I was still hearing it. These are the words that I kept hearing:

How do you know he loves you,
How do you know he cares . . .

How do you know, how do you know,
You are loved?

In my own life, I never really thought much about “loving” my mother and father. I told them I did, but inside - I couldn’t help but wonder if they loved me. That wonder, had been there all my life. But over the past few months, there have been these moments when my dad is sharing something, and I feel his love. There are moments when my mom is lost, and I take her hand and try to make her feel safe. And in that moment, I feel so much love.

Right now, in my life, it isn’t time to write lots of stories. It isn’t time for sharing God’s words. It is a time of learning and growing, and knowing that I am loved. In the midst of losing my parents, God has given me a time of healing - and life . . .

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord . . .
“. . . to give you a hope and a future.”

It is my hope and prayer that you will ask God to be in every part of your own life. When you do, things may not happen the way you had planned them. But God’s plans are always for the very best - your life can be!

“How do you know - He cares?” Ask, and He will show you . . .

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

In His Love,

Debbie & Ted Ayers


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Debbie, this is a beautiful and touching story based in truth and kindness and love. I especially love your acknowledgement that this is a time for YOU; your learning, growing re-assurance of being loved. You are so loved, dear Debbie, by myself, your great husband, your many friends and even your parents--probably especially your parents; they must be so proud of you and the pillar of strength and wonderful woman you are! Nothing but nothing in this world replaces the love or embrace of a parent, and my heart goes out to you during this difficult time, I cannot even imagine what you're feeling and going through. But I do know this: I know that God is with you, with all of us, and I know that you know that! I know that you are in my prayers each and everyday and I pray for your parents as well! I know that nothing in life is quite as precious and grand as the gift of love, and no matter how or when it is felt, it is real and miraculous! I wish you lots of luck and peace and strength and healing during this time in your life! Thank you for sharing what's on your mind and in your heart with all of us, reminding me to count my blessings and be easier on myself and my mother! You take care of yourself and please don't stop writing completely, even if it's a private journal right now, you are so gifted with writing, and I congratulate you on your new found talents with painting and arts and crafts! Enjoy your parents, soak up the moments with them, the new memories being made and the love that I'm sure you'll always feel! God Bless you, Debbie, and thanks again for this beautiful message! Very well done!
-Sarah Liz :)

5:45 PM  

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