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.
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!