Thursday, September 11, 2014

Weekly Word for September 10,2014

Weekly Word - September 10, 2014

“For love is as strong as death
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
Its flashes are flashes of fire, 
The very flame of the Lord.”
(Song of Solomon 8:6)

I have met so many wonderful friends while I visit my mom at the nursing home.  One of them is Faith.  She works as the Activity Director on mom‘s floor.  She is full of energy and fun, and I love to watch her with the patients.  When I first met her, the word “cutie pie” just came into my mind.   I liked her right away.  In short little snippets of time, we have somehow found a way to talk about everything!  We talk about life - we talk about God - and we talk about “love” . . .

On this day, I was trying to help with making some sort of craft.  Mom had found the stickers, and she was trying to take all the pretty ones she could find!  The little lady next to us had somehow gotten the glue all over her hands.  There were pieces of colored paper everywhere, and I wondered how it would all turn out.  Somehow though, Faith made it all work!  The patients actually finished their pretty art projects, and it was finally time to clean up.  As we did, Faith and I chatted a little bit.  Faith told me about breaking up with her fiancé.  I could see how much her heart was hurting.  I wanted to give her some hope, some faith that everything was going to be OK.   I told her that He had given me the most amazing gifts in my life.  As she stopped and looked at me, I told her that God had given me gifts of love - - - when I least expected it.   That’s when she asked: “How did you fall in love?”   As she said the words, my mind seemed to slip back in time.  To times that seemed so uncertain, and yet - - - so full of miracles . . .

“Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor will rivers overflow it;”
(Song of Solomon 8: 7)

As I drove home that day, I couldn’t help but think about Faith’s question.  “How did I fall in love?“  I really didn’t have just one answer for her.   My mind seemed to be filled with many moments in time, moments that had changed my life.

Maybe it was because of the project I was working on - I was making a picture collage for my daughter‘s baby shower-  but my mind was full of moments from when I was so much younger, from when my children were just a hope - a dream I had within my heart.

And if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13: 2)

If you had asked the young 20 year old version of me “what is love?”   I would have thought that I knew the answer.  After all, I was married to a man that I loved.  But what I didn’t know, is that “love” can happen in a blink of an eye.  It is most powerful, when we least expect it . . .  

I was so happy when I found out I was pregnant.  I had wanted a baby - well - for as long as I could remember.  I had no idea what having a baby really meant.  I was just a young girl, who had a dream.  But as my belly grew larger, and the baby became more real - I found myself  talking to God about all that was happening inside of me.  I would put my hands on my belly, asking God to make sure the baby was healthy and strong.  Tears would come, as I begged God to take care of my baby.  I didn’t understand the emotions that seemed to be filling my life.  That is, until the day I held my new baby boy . . .

For Love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
(1 John 4: 7)

I didn’t know that you could fall in love with a baby, but that is just what happened!  I fell in love with my son.  As he grew, I loved everything about him.  He amazed me, this little being that was growing into a little boy.  We took walks and talked about everything we saw.  I started to see life, through my sons eyes.  He was learning and growing, and so was I.  He could make me laugh, and then worry about him, all in the same 10 minutes.   At that period in time, I didn’t think I could be any happier than I was at that moment.  And then - - - things changed again . . .

And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.  God is Love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 
(1 John 4: 16)

As I continued to work through the old pictures of my children, the memories kept washing over me.   There were so many pictures on the floor in front of me.   And each one brought me back to another place, and another moment in time . . .

God is Love, and the one who abides in love -  abides in God, 

I was pregnant again!   I was so happy, and so worried, all at the same time!  I knew I wanted to have another baby;  but there was this fear inside of me.  “What if I can’t love this baby as much as I love my son?”   “What if having this baby takes away from what he needs?”  The questions kept rolling around in my head, as I prepared for the new baby.  “Lord, please help me to love both my babies” I prayed . . .

God is Love . . . 

Picking up one of the pictures from the floor, I saw my beautiful baby girl smiling at me.  As I looked at the picture, I couldn’t help but smile back.  There she was with her big, beautiful eyes!  They were eyes that laughed easily, as she pulled me into her heart.  I fell in love with her - the moment I held her.

The memories just kept flooding my being.  Memories of my children laughing together - as they played dress-up with our clothes.  There were moments of sheer joy, as I tucked Jenny into bed with all her teddy bears.  I would kiss her eyes, and tell her they were beautiful ears.  As she giggled and laughed, my heart was filled with joy.   I was so blessed to be given these two beautiful children.  I was so blessed to fall in love - - - with both of my babies!  

And if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing . . .

How did I fall in love?  When my friend asked me that question, she was asking about falling in love with Ted.  It was a time of questions, and searching, and wondering about the future.  It really wasn’t what either of us had planned, or expected for our lives . . .

The very first time I met Ted, I had just left my first husband.  He and his wife were part of the group of people who helped me to find a place to stay, and to feel safe during that terrible upheaval.  At that moment in time, my life was about taking care of my 14 year old daughter, and keeping us safe as we started a brand new life.  Ted became a good friend, who listened as I struggled to find a new direction for my life.  When summer drew to a close,  and I needed to move north with Jenny, I felt really sad to leave.   Those few months had brought some healing -  and hope - into my life.

A few years went by, before I saw Ted again.  His wife had left him, and he was hurt and struggling, when he came to the bible study that night.  When he walked into the room, he took my breath away.  And then just as quickly, my heart went out to him.  He felt so broken and full of grief.  He was in need of a good friend, and I really wanted to help.  It didn’t take long for our friendship to grow.  Ted needed to talk about the pain and hurt he was feeling, and I found it easy to listen.  We talked all the time, and I understood the pain he was going through.  I had felt the same way just a few years earlier.

And if I - do not have love, I am nothing . . .

Best friends, that is what Ted and I became.  So it was a shock when each of us realized that we also had feelings of  “falling in love” with the other.  Neither of us wanted to hurt the other, and so we struggled with what we believed was best for the other.  I truly believed Ted needed to find a wife and have children.  He had never had children in his first marriage.  Ted believed that I was to be a minister and help others.   We both prayed, we spoke to our pastor, and we struggled with loving the other with all our hearts.

I remember praying to the Lord, asking Him to let me move somewhere else - so I wouldn’t have to see Ted marry and have children.  I was sobbing as I begged God to give Ted the life he deserved.  Ted was also praying, asking God to help him to wait for me - until God decided we could be together.  He told Him he would wait until I was 80, if that is what God wanted.  We begged God to give the “best” to the other.  And we continued to “fall in love”!

For Love is from God; . . . 

The day we were married, it was the most wonderful day in my life!  As we pledged our lives to the other, the Lord seemed to fill the room.  Tears were everywhere, as we joined our hearts as “one” with each other - and the Lord.

Ted now has a wife and children - and grandchildren!  And I am a minister, giving my life to bringing hope to others!  God helped us to “fall in love” -  and He is helping us to walk in that love every single day . . .

. . .  and everyone who loves . . . knows God.

Not quite two weeks ago, Ted and I traveled north to Burlington, VT.  There, we headed to the hospital to meet our newest grandchild.  Jenny and Dan had their very first baby that morning.  As we drove, I was so excited!  My little girl was having a little baby girl of her own!  When we walked into the hospital room, Jenny was resting on the bed, and Dan was holding the baby.  I stood there clasping my hands, tears in my eyes.  Dan stood up and handed little Alexandra Catherine into my arms, and again - “I fell in love” . . .

The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, 
“Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,
For the Lord is good.
For His loving-kindness is everlasting”
(Jeremiah 33: 11)

“How do you fall in love?”  The answer to that question is in knowing and loving God.  There is nothing that we ourselves can do to make love happen.  But when we give God our everything - He gives us the gifts that are full of “love”.   Each time I “fell in love”, I had sought Him - giving Him my hopes and fears.  And each time, He gave me back more than I ever expected - Loves that have filled my heart and soul - forever!

“How do you fall in love?”  It is my hope and prayer that you turn to the One who “Is Love”.    Please ask the Lord to guide you, walk with you, and fill your life with His Gifts of Love!  When you do - your answer to the question - will be amazing . . .

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

In His Love,

Debbie & Ted Ayers