Woven Together

Woven Together

Fourteen years ago, I visited one of my best friends for a week and decided that I wanted to learn how to make a quilt. My friend helped me cut out squares of fabric and lay out the quilt that I intended to make for my then four year old daughter. I arrived home from that vacation eager to begin. For the next four years, I painstakingly hand sewed every square, every row until all of the pieces were sewn together. Then I made a butterfly template and hand quilted most of the quilt. My labor of love was nearly complete by my daughter’s 8th birthday, so even though it was not completely finished, I gave it to my girl who was (thankfully!) delighted.

I had every intention of finishing that quilt, but soon after Lindsay’s 8th birthday, we began planning for a move to a new state and a new church. The quilt was forgotten. For years. At the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the fact that I needed to finish that quilt. Meanwhile, my eight year old was growing up and the pretty pink princess quilt was becoming less and less of a delight. All of those years and all of that work felt meaningless.

But then God surprised me in the best possible way! He chose to give me another daughter, a gift that I had not anticipated. I didn’t immediately remember the quilt that was now stashed in a closet somewhere. I enjoyed the baby stage and the toddler years, but when my baby girl turned four, I remembered the old, nearly finished quilt. I knew I needed to finish it, but maturity had taught me that I should ask for help. I had learned that while I was satisfied with my work, I did not actually love sewing. I knew that a finished quilt would be better than trying to learn how to finish a project that was no longer a priority for me. And so, I asked my brilliant quilting friend to finish it for me. What had been unfinished for six years was completed in a week!

I was reminded of this story yesterday when my now eight year old baby girl came downstairs with the quilt wrapped around her. She sleeps with it every night and the flaws in my handiwork are evident as some of the thread holding the squares together has unravelled. But she loves her quilt and there is great joy for me in knowing that my work is meaningful.

I didn’t know when I started working on that quilt fourteen years ago that it would be used by Ainsley and not Lindsay. It’s a reminder to me to keep being faithful with what the Lord lays before me each day. I won’t always know how He intends to use my faithfulness, but that’s the beauty of trusting in God. I know that He WILL use it. Sometime. In some way. In HIS way!

His plans for me are always good. I know this because I can look back over the course of my life and see his faithfulness and his steadfast love woven through every part of my life. In the way I was born despite the doctors encouraging my parents to abort me due to possible complications. The way He drew my heart to Him at the young age of four or five when I knelt by my parent’s bed and asked Jesus to come into my heart. In my parent’s willingness to make sacrifices that would allow me to go to a Christian school for two years, a time that would solidify my love for Jesus. In moving our family to a small country town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania where I would sink down roots and be encouraged to fly. Through my youth group and camp and a missions trip that would give me a foundation for desiring to serve the Lord with my life. In leading me to Moody Bible Institute where I would meet the love of my life. In allowing me to be a pastor’s wife even though I thought I would NEVER be one. In the precious gifts of my four children who give me the greatest delight (and have taught me more about my need for Jesus than I could have ever imagined!). In the way He continues to pursue my heart, giving me a greater desire to know Him more and more.

Jeremiah 29:11 seems to be a “life verse” for many people and I understand this. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s a great verse, a beautiful promise. What is not talked about as often is the context of this declaration. The exiles who heard these words would not see this promise fulfilled for 70 years! This means that there were some who heard the message who never actually saw it fulfilled.

I intended to make the quilt for my oldest daughter, but instead it is used by my youngest. It is good for me to remember that God is the Author of my story. He knows all of the chapters and He knows how it’s going to end. While most of my story has been incredibly amazing, there are some chapters that have been deeply painful. Would I change those parts of my story? No. As hard as they have been, miscarriage, difficulties in ministry, losing my Dad and my Mom, I can honestly say that all of these things have drawn me closer to Christ. My love for Him has grown deeper through the difficulties and I would not change that for anything.

God has a plan for my life and it is good. I won’t always know what it might be, but I do know that I want to keep being faithful today, because the opportunity to look back and see how His plans for me have been woven together is worth it! Thankfully, His Handiwork is perfect. It will not unravel! He is a trustworthy God.

 

Summertime

Summertime is finally here! I have longed for the sunshine and the peaceful rhythms of summer for so long, but now that it’s here, I’m realizing that I have not prepared for what I would like this summer to hold.

My oldest two plan to work at camp for most of the summer which completely changes the dynamics of our family. A family of six feels very different than a family of four. I have grown accustomed to having another driver in the family and being able to make plans with friends without concern for the littles being taken care of. Our chore schedule, though loose, is affected as well. I will be doing more loads of laundry again, BUT washing clothes for four instead of six actually sounds amazing.

There will be two weeks when we will be a family of three- one when my younger son goes to camp and one where my youngest daughter does the same. They are both excited for their weeks of camp and I am excited for them. Camp was a huge part of my summer for all of my growing up years. I’m thankful that the Lord has made it possible for my kids to have these similar experiences.

My husband and I both worked at camps as well and the impact those summers have had on us affect us to this day. Serving the Lord, growing in our faith, serving others, developing leadership skills, being poured into by wise and godly men and women, handling unexpected difficulties, working with many different personalities and learning to submit graciously to the authority of others in leadership helped to prepare us for ministry today. It’s exciting to consider how God intends to use this time in the lives of my kids. But honestly, it’s a little terrifying too. I know the trajectory of my own life and the reality that following the Lord’s plan for my life took me away from my beloved parents and my beautiful Pennsylvania.

This summer is a further opening of my hands as I release my children to the Lord and not only allow, but encourage them to follow the Lord’s leading. My oldest is an adult now (gasp!) and this transition is way harder than I imagined it would be. She still needs me for many things, but she’s also becoming her own person. And I struggle with letting go, because that means that she will fail at things AND I JUST HAVE TO LET HER!! That’s hard. But it’s also really good. I assume that if you have gone through this already, you completely understand.

I have just written 438 words about my summertime plans and most of those words have been about my kids and not about me. Such is the life of a Mom! And that is why I found myself in this place of uncertainty. I’ve written before about times in my life when I have felt like I am in a holding pattern and if I could adequately define the events of the past couple of years, that seems like a good metaphor to describe it. I’ve been surviving, trying to keep everything going smoothly, but I desire so much more than just making it through.

I intend for this summer to be some deep dives into what the Lord has for me in this next season. How will I thrive and not just survive? What does success for Becky Daye look like? This question is a big one for me, because I have allowed the weight of others opinions determine my steps for far too long. Even asking that question feels selfish to me, but I am learning that it’s actually the opposite, because I truly believe that success is an individual job. It’s found in figuring out who God has made me to be and then faithfully living that out. It’s not about measuring up to what other people consider success. This feels very freeing and I’m excited to continue pursuing God’s Word and allowing Him to define my success.

I have been reading a ton and intend to keep doing that. My hammock is one of my favorite places to be and I intend to spend a lot of time there planning for the next school year, getting lost in delightful fiction, digging deep into truth and maybe even taking naps. I want to explore the beautiful parks that surround our home in Western New York. I have two little adventurers who will benefit from these treks as well. I want to challenge myself to bake more, to effectively use the grill and to try new recipes that will bring new excitement and life to our meal times. Anyone else in a serious mealtime rut? Again, surviving rather than thriving!

I want to chase sunsets with my husband. I want to go on walks with friends. I want to listen to my camp staff children tell me about their experiences. I want my littles to have playdates with new friends and enjoy their long time friends. I want to dream and plan. I want to love others well and be kind no matter what.

I want to continue to walk through grief with my eyes fixed firmly on Jesus. My study Bible talks about David having a defiant hope and ever since I read that, I have been contemplating what this means. David had been promised that he would be king and so when others attacked him and tried to take his life, he continued to walk in faithfulness, because he knew the hope he had was sure. My life has been rocked by grief, yet I can have a defiant hope knowing that this is not the end of the story. Jesus has defeated death! I have life in Christ! What can man do to me?

Summer 2021 feels like the beginning of a new chapter. This last one was not my favorite, yet it has forced me to confront sins in my own heart and I am emerging from this time as a woman more determined to pursue Christ and to seek truth. I now understand why my Daddy always started his day reading scripture. This is no longer a negotiable for me. I desperately crave God’s Word. Would I change that for anything? Nope.

What does this summer hold for you? Whether it is a busy time for you or a season of rest, I pray that you too would find hope, joy and peace in Christ. Here’s to a great summer!

What if I’m Right?

When we’re having an argument or a disagreement with someone, it’s important to ask the question “what if I’m wrong?”But what happens when we come to the conclusion that we’re not wrong, but we are indeed right?

While I have discovered the importance of asking the question “what if I’m wrong?” when I disagree with someone else, I am discovering that it is equally important to ANSWER the question “what if I’m right?”.

There have been times when I have disagreed with someone and I am convinced that my perspective is the right one. I have asked myself “what if I’m wrong?”. I have prayed about the situation. I have agonized over it and sought the Lord. I have pored over scripture. I have asked for the wise counsel of godly men and women. After all this, when I know that my perspective lines up with the truth of God’s Word, I need to respond to the question “what if I’m right?”

When you know that you are right, but the disagreement persists, what do you do? What I have learned/am learning is that my response must be grace-filled. It must align with what I know to be true about how God deals with me. My response must be kind, loving, compassionate, and patient.

I cannot insist that the other person agree with me. I definitely must not slander them or demean and belittle them when they refuse to agree with me. If I do these things, I may be right in my opinion, but I am certainly wrong in my treatment of the other person. Scripture is VERY clear on this. We are to treat others the way that Jesus would treat them. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

I have not always done this perfectly in my life. My sinful tendency is to fight back when I feel that someone is in the wrong. In the past, I have been convinced that if we can just talk about the issue more, surely I will be able to make the other person see things from my perspective. But this is the sin of pride, believing that if I’m right, then I get to manipulate the other person into agreeing with me. I’m slowly learning how ugly this approach is.

I am grateful for the Lord’s patience with me!

Humility has taught me to ask the question “what if I’m wrong? Wisdom teaches me to answer the question “what if I’m right?”. Even if I’m right, I need to trust the Lord to work in the other person’s heart in HIS timing. I must wait on Him to reveal truth to the other person. And in the meantime, I need to love them well. Wisdom reminds me that we are all on a journey and I can trust God to work in the other person’s life. Humility gently reminds me that I might not be the one who is supposed to teach them the lesson they need to learn.

I am incredibly grateful for the friends, mentors and counselors in my life who have lovingly walked beside me, who have gently pointed me to truth when I am in the wrong, and who have shown grace along the way.

I pray that I would be quick to admit when I am wrong and that I would be gracious and kind when I am right.

Humility and wisdom.

 

 

What If I’m Wrong?

My husband and I got into an argument the other day. It was over schedules and expectations and assumptions. We have entered a new phase in our parenting, one where we are juggling many opposing schedules. While my husband’s schedule has stayed generally the same, I am finding myself in a stressful place, trying to get everyone to where they need to be and desiring not to let anybody down.

And there’s the crux of the problem. I don’t want to let anyone down. I’m discovering that my greatest fear is disappointing others and when I sense that I am letting someone down then I spiral and feel like I am a failure and a disappointment to everyone.

The fear was overwhelming me and so I fought back against my husband and I made assumptions about his schedule that were completely unfair. I seethed and he soothed. I had disrespected him, but he patiently explained why he might not be able to be available at the time I needed him.

As he spoke, my heart began to soften and I realized that I was wrong. My assumptions were incorrect and I had disrespected him by believing that his reasons were selfish and unloving. How blind I was!

Later as I reflected on our argument, I was in tears as I basked in the grace my husband had shown to me. I didn’t deserve it. I had been manipulative and unkind, yet he continued to reach out in love towards me. I cried because I had been given a beautiful picture of God’s steadfast love for me in the way my husband gently dealt with me. I cried because of the way love covers a multitude of sins. I cried because my greatest fear had been realized- I WAS letting others down- yet I had come out the other side, safe, secure and loved. I cried because I was amazed at the abundant grace that had been lavished on me.

In the middle of our argument, I stood at my kitchen sink, angry and frustrated while my family poured milk into cereal, set the table, and poured the coffee behind me. And I prayed. It didn’t take long for me to ask the question, what if I’m wrong? My husband hadn’t explained himself at that point, but I knew that I needed to allow my heart to be softened. I love my husband. I wanted our relationship to be restored.

What I have discovered is this- when we love others, we will be quick to admit and acknowledge our own fault. Not a single one of us is without fault. We are not God. We do not know the motives of others. We cannot judge perfectly. Ever. But when we are able to admit that we might be wrong, it allows us to listen to the other person. Listening provides the opportunity to understand where the other person is coming from. Understanding leads to trust. When you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other person loves you and you love them in return, then reconciliation is possible.

But all of these things are necessary. Admitting our own wrong. Listening to the other person. Seeking to understand. Trust based on a mutual love for one another. Reconciliation.

Are you quick to admit when you are wrong or do you stubbornly hold onto your opinion? When you discover that you are wrong about something, do you apologize and seek to make amends? Do you blame others when they don’t live up to your expectations or do you seek to understand their perspective?

Be quick to admit when you are wrong. Listen well to others. Seek to understand. Genuinely love. And then allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the beauty of reconciliation!

Be quick to ask yourself, what if I’m wrong? And frequently pray Psalm 139:23, 24…

“Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.” 

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