THE NEW EWE

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

September 23, 2015

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Why is it that often we will forgot something that we need to remember; yet we will remember things that would be best if forgotten? We can remember something hurtful that was said to us years ago, but forget to pay a bill or return an important phone call.

We can often be like a dog with a bone regarding certain issues. We will bring up something from the past over and over again, and have a hard time letting it go. At times those things may be hurts we've experienced, it may be reminding someone of something they have done, or just rehashing mistakes or wrong-doings.

For example: I was seven years old when my oldest nephew was born. I was a little girl myself, and honestly, was used to being the baby of the family. Ten months later after having her first baby, my sister birthed another son (true story!). I truly don't remember ever being jealous of my nephews. In my mind, I always thought I really liked them and was proud to be a young aunt; although I'm not sure I really knew what being an aunt meant at that time. As I grew older, I always felt like I was very close to those two nephews and that I had a special relationship with them. When they got older and I was on my own, they would often spend the night with me and we would go shopping or do things together. I was closer in age to them than I was to my three older sisters. In some ways, they almost felt like they were like my little brothers; except they didn't live in the same house as me.

But apparently that was not the perspective my oldest sister had. For many, many years it seemed like almost every time we were together she would say something to the effect, "When Greg and Brian were little, you were SO jealous of them! Every time someone bought them something, you thought they should buy you something, too."

Maybe it's because I was so young when they were born, but I don't particularly remember that. It must have made a bigger impression on my sister than it did me! She was a new mother and probably wanted her babies to have all the attention when they came for a visit, and probably thought I was horning in on their spotlight. I don't really know. I'm sure as they got a little older if someone gave them candy, I probably wanted some candy, too! I'm sure she is probably right, because I was the baby sister and a tad spoiled, but it didn't affect me enough for me to remember.

One of my sisters sewed the boys leisure suits made out of baby blue knit fabric, and I don't remember wanting one for myself! Now that I'm older and watching my nieces and nephews raising kids, I realize that when you buy something for the babies, the older kids feel left out if you don't give them a little something, too. I think that's just the human nature of children. They may not always get something, because kids do need to realize that they don't always get everything they want or get something every time they want it, but they do have the tendency to want it anyway.

After years and years of hearing this, I finally got frustrated. I told my sister that I was a little girl myself back then. It's not as if I were a teenager or adult trying to get attention or get people to buy things for me. Most kids do want something for themselves when they see other kids getting something. I was just acting like the little girl that I was. After that, she finally let it go and hasn't brought it up in a very long time.

That's just a funny example of tendencies people have to hold onto something and bring it up over and over again.

I've heard parents remind their adult children of all the bad things they did as kids. Some of those things may be funny, but at times I've wondered if the son or daughter wonder if that's all their parents remember from their childhood. Does mom or dad remember anything good, or is it only all the bad things that were done? That's particularly tough if there are other siblings that excelled and did well; because the parent will reminisce about their successes, while rehashing how the one who may not have done so well of their misbehaviors. I think it makes the one who may not have gotten as much attention, because they didn't win awards or competitions, nor were they skilled in any field, to feel inferior; so often they rebel or act as if they don't care. No matter their age, everyone needs to know that they have value and have a special place within a family.

There are also times when it can become a competition on who was the worst between siblings or friends. "Well, I may have had sex before marriage, but at least I didn't get pregnant (or get my girlfriend pregnant)." "I may have wrecked my car, but at least I didn't total my parents' car." "I may have tried drinking, but at least I didn't go to a big party and get caught." "I was smart about what I did, I didn't get arrested like you." "I may have had a temper, but at least I never got into any fights like you did." We find an issue where we can make ourselves look better than someone else, then use our words to remind them of how bad they were. But honestly, are we really making ourselves look good in comparison, or are we demeaning and being hurtful, perhaps adding to guilt or condemnation they are already feeling?

A scripture that has been on my mind is Lamentations 3:22-24 (NLT): "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance, therefore, I will hope in Him.'"

How many of us can honestly say that we deserve the mercies of the Lord; especially those times when we sin or allow the flesh to cause us to say or do things that are hateful or hurtful or tear someone down? Yet each and every morning, God has a fresh supply of mercies for every single one of us! It has nothing to do with us deserving or earning them, but in the love and compassion that our Heavenly Father has for us. He is gracious and loving enough to offer them to me (and you) every day, regardless of what we've done or haven't done. This is absolutely incredible!!

What kind of world would this be if every one of us would take this scripture to heart and put it into practice ourselves every single day? How different would our family, friends, workplace, neighborhood, towns and cities be if we put this into practice?! If each morning when we woke up we would decide and determine in our heart that we were going to have a fresh supply of mercies to show those around us, whether or not we feel that they deserve it, we would have more peace in our heart and would truly understand the mercies that God shows us each day. It is definitely not going to be an easy task, but something I sincerely want to choose to put into practice. How about you?

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

It can be hard to give forgiveness sometimes. Sometimes because it's just hard to bring up some subjects, even if you want to forgive them. You might wish you could forgive them, but just can't bear to bring up the subject again.

It would be easier if the world were like TV. One episode of "Home Improvement" showed Tim trying to apologize for something, and he and Al carried on an entire conversation in a variety of grunts. Luckily, there were captions for the female audience.

Sometimes, an apology can be as easy as a heart-felt grunt. Or for women, a big hug. After that, it might be easier to say with normal words.

Sometimes, its even hard to accept forgiveness. We may know we don't deserve it, or may think we can never earn it. But that doesn't mean we can't receive it. Rejecting forgiveness also makes it harder for others to offer it.

ON THE MENEWE:

7 Can Soup

1 can Meat-only Chili

1 can Kidney Beans

1 can Pinto Beans

1 can Black Beans

1 can Diced Tomatoes

1 can Corn (use Fiesta Variety, if desired)

1 can Rotel

8ounces Velveeta, cubed

Without draining the cans, empty the corn, chili, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, tomatoes, and Rotel into a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes to bring all the flavors together. Dice the cheese and stir it into the soup until melted. Serve immediately.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

My nephew's wife raises chickens. She was explaining to her 3-year old son what boy and girl chickens were called. She told him that a girl chicken was called a hen. His response was, "Umm....no mom! A girl chicken is called a her!"

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

"If someone has offended you, insulted you, or disappointed you, let it go!

If you are remembering all the ways you have been hurt or forgotten, let it go!

Ask yourself, what good does it to for me to hold on to this?" - Iyanla Vanzant

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org