It has been two years since our world turned upside down, but for me personally, I can trace the beginnings of upheaval in my life to a couple of years before the global shutdown. It has been a seriously difficult time that has rattled me and shaken me. I’m still trying to gain my footing.
A few years ago, a close friend shared some difficult things with me that shook me to the core. It turned out that my impression of our relationship was vastly different from my friend’s perspective. We had deep held opinions that were in stark contradiction. I was confronted with my people pleasing tendencies and discovered that I couldn’t bear the loss of a friendship I counted as dear. I was devastated.
One night, I was face down on our bedroom floor sobbing when my husband pulled me off the ground and told me I needed to stop. As I look back now, I see this as one of the most loving things that someone has ever done for me. I was completely undone, but my husband would not let me stay there. He spoke truth over my hurting heart. He reminded me to look to Jesus for my security. He told me that I could still love my friend, but not allow their opinions to define me.
That night was pivotal.
I learned to hold tight to what I know to be true. I discovered that it is possible to honor others without capitulating to their criticisms. I realized that I would still be okay even if someone I loved had a poor opinion of me. I found out that I didn’t need to prove myself to anyone; I could in fact allow God to work on my behalf.
These discoveries have changed me. I still care deeply for others and I can’t help loving others with everything that is in me. But my worth is no longer hitched on the opinions of others.
For some of you this may feel like a “duh!” moment. Maybe it should have been obvious, but this took a ton of heart work and soul searching. It still does. I wrestle every single day with letting the criticisms and disappointments I have experienced from others go. But this work prepared me for what was yet to come.
Not long after this heart work began, I was confronted by another heart rending conversation. It was along the same vein, how terrible I was, how I had let others down, how everything had to be about me. But here’s the thing: I had learned that when people criticize me, it’s important to look for the truth, but not accept anything beyond that. And a big clue about truth- if you know that your motivations and intentions do not match with the other person’s perspective, but they refuse to accept that, you can let that thing go. You can still love the other person and know that they are wrong about you.
In God’s goodness, at the same time that this new relationship issue was surfacing, the old one was being resolved and reconciled in a way that only God could have orchestrated. I had not changed my opinions simply to appease and satisfy my friend and now her opinions were softening and shifting. It was a beautiful thing to sit back and watch. It gave me hope in the midst of this new truly devastating time.
When I was a young girl, my parents gave me a sign that had my name and a Bible verse on it to hang on my wall. That verse was 1 Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” This verse has become my life verse and now I know why. Remaining steadfast during the storms that came as a result of that friendship breach was the only way I made it through. I knew that I couldn’t convince anyone, but I also knew that I needed to hold firmly to what I believed to be true. Be steadfast! Keep being faithful! These were the words I clung to during the darkest days.
My Mom was a rock for me during that time, praying for me, crying with me, reminding me to hold firmly to Jesus. Her maiden name was “Lindsay” and our family has always been proud of our Sottish heritage. The Lindsay family motto is “Endure Fort” which means “Suffer bravely”. After the past several years of deep heartache, this motto holds even deeper meaning. My Mom was there for me through the most difficult months of my life before she went to be at home with Jesus. I was able to tell her before she passed that I believe that the Lord allowed her to stay a little bit longer on this earth because He knew that I needed her. We cried about that too. I know she counted it a privilege to be there for me. She suffered bravely and left a beautiful example for me to follow.
Life is hard. We’ve all faced that reality albeit in different ways these past few years. It’s why we need constants in our lives. The faithfulness of God. The unconditional love of a parent. A spouse who refuses to walk away in our worst moments. Friends who won’t believe lies. Bible verses to cling to. Family mottos that spur us on.
The Lindsay family history can be traced back to the 1100’s, but any family can establish a family motto at any time. I am so thankful for the significance of my family’s motto in my life.
Do you have a family motto or a life verse? How has that significantly impacted your life?
I would love to be able to tell you that there has been resolution and reconciliation in all of my relationships, but that is not true. Yet. But I believe that God can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and so I continue to trust Him to work in my life and in the lives of others for our good and His glory.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a letter to you, but I think about you every single day. When I read my Bible and want to share a verse with you. When I drink my coffee and eat oatmeal. When a hymn comes to mind or when I hear someone whistle.
Today would have been your birthday. I miss being able to hear your voice, Daddy! I miss being able to make you laugh. I miss wishing you, my January birthday buddy, a happy birthday.
I’m missing you even more this year because the 49ers play the Cowboys on Sunday! I read somewhere that the last time the Niners faced the Cowboys in the playoffs was in 1994. I’m sure we watched that game together (my last playoffs at home!) and you would have had to concede that the 49ers were the better team. I think it’s likely that in 2022, I will have to concede to you. Oh, how I wish we could watch the game together!!
So much of who I am today is because of who you were. You would be so proud of your grandkids, Daddy! They love Jesus and each one serves the Lord in their own way. You would love hearing Lindsay sing praises. Sometimes when I talk with Ethan, I see you in him and it makes me want to weep. He is a deep thinker and has so much wisdom for one so young. Gibson loves reading and I wish he could play Mastermind with you. He would love that and part of me is sad that he will never have that opportunity. Ainsley is pure sunshine. I have no doubt that she would make you smile and keep you laughing. I am so grateful that you were able to meet her. It is a memory I will cherish always.
I love you, Daddy. I miss you, yet knowing that your mind is perfectly whole in the presence of your Savior brings me great joy. Your heart’s cry, “Give me Jesus!”, has been answered fully and beautifully. And so, the ache continues, but so does your legacy. I keep falling more in love with the Word of God. I keep taking walks and looking for the beauty in the sunsets. I keep lifting my eyes to the mountains from where my help comes. I keep drinking coffee and eating oatmeal. I still get a thrill when the coin is tossed, when the chains are moved, when a perfect spiral is thrown, and when the red and gold make it into the end zone. It’s a wonderful life and I am forever grateful to you. You were the best daddy a girl could have hoped for.
Your Becky Buster
Dear Friends and Family,
As 2021 began, we had a growing anticipation in our hearts. It felt like the turning of a page, a new beginning of sorts. 2020 was a particularly difficult year for our family and we were looking forward to a different kind of year.
We didn’t know it then, but 2021 would turn out to be an EPIC year for us! From a trip to the Adirondacks in February to Graduation pictures and graduation for Lindsay, proms for Lindsay and Ethan and Ainsley’s first dance recital, the winter and spring were full of fun and momentous experiences.
The summer was a different one for us! After five years of homeschooling, we are adjusting to not being all together all the time. Lindsay started working at Chick-fil-A and then she and Ethan served at Camp Hickory Hill for six weeks. Gibson and Ainsley both went to camp for a week each, so we also had two weeks in the summer when we only had one kid at home! It was very strange for our family of six, but we made the most of those times. We went on our annual vacation with friends to the Adirondacks to end our summer.
Lindsay is taking a gap year and hoping to go to Moody Bible Institute in the fall of 2022 to major in elementary education. Ethan started his junior year of high school, Gibson his 7th grade year and Ainsley her 3rd grade year. We continue to homeschool the kids and participate in a homeschool co-op, Gloria Deo. Lindsay and I had an AMAZING time visiting Moody in Chicago! Taking her to see “my” school and having her fall in love with it was an experience I will treasure always. Gibson and Ainsley enjoyed playing soccer throughout the fall. We all had fun at our church Trunk-or-Treat event in October.
In early November, Dave began a six week sabbatical. We celebrated ten years at Orchard Community Church in the summer and twenty-four years in ministry this fall, but this was the first sabbatical Dave has had in that time. We were so grateful for this break for him. He was able to have some much needed time to relax and unwind as well as a week by himself at a cabin in the woods, a focused time of study and sermon preparation. As we talked about a vacation for our family during his sabbatical, we made the decision to take the kids on a trip of a lifetime. We spent ten days in Kauai, Hawaii and enjoyed it to the fullest. The stunning beauty, the time of stillness, the opportunity to try new things (an air tour of the island, surfing for my men, ziplining for Lindsay and a river kayak adventure for Ainsley and me), splashing in waves, snorkeling, reading books beachside, coffee and devotions on the lanai, trying fun foods (like shave ice!!) and relaxing in the pool and hot tub at our condo left us in awe of God’s kindness to us. We made memories that will last a lifetime!
After long flights from Kauai to Kansas, we had the immense joy of spending Thanksgiving with family. The weather was gorgeous, a good transition from summer in Hawaii to winter in Rochester, NY! It was bittersweet to be in Kansas and not see my Mom- the first time that has happened for me in ten years. But being able to share laughter and tears and memories with family was a gift.
As this year comes to a close, I am caught in the middle of two extremes; immense gratitude for the blessings 2021 has held for my family and deep sorrow for the losses that so many precious friends are facing. It has been a HARD year for so many and my heart has broken over and over again. But I think that’s why Paul calls us to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15, NIV). Life is a always a mix of joy and sorrow, happiness and grief, blessings and losses. More than ever, I am committed to keeping my eyes focused on Christ.
I lift my eyes up, up to the mountains,
where does my help come from?
My help comes from you, Maker of heaven, Creator of the earth.
Oh, how I need you, Lord! You are my only hope, you’re my only prayer.
So I will wait for you, to come and rescue me, come and give me life.” (song based on Psalm 121)
If you find yourself in a time of rejoicing or in a time of mourning (or like me, both!), please know that you are loved. Our Lord delights in you. He sees what you are going through and He has promised to never leave you or forsake you. I hope and pray that you know this love! If you don’t, please ask me about the hope that I have. It’s my favorite subject to talk about!
From our family to yours, Merriest of Christmases and a very Happy New Year!
The Daye Family
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.