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

July 13, 2016

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Last week I wrote about Job, and am going to continue on my thoughts regarding his life. I'm not sure why he's been on my mind so much lately; nor why I've been thinking quite a bit about his wife, although we basically know nothing about her. This week I would like to share a couple more thoughts that I've had regarding Job and his wife.

Before I get started, this is a side note that has nothing to do with anything, but something I find interesting. There really is no historical facts that show exactly when Job lived. Historians, who have searched the scriptures in depth, believe that he lived sometime during the Patriarchal times, prior to Moses. In Job 1:8, the Lord refers to Job as being the finest man in all the earth, being blameless -- a man of complete integrity. Some suggest that he possibly lived sometime during the years between Joseph's death and Moses. It was during a time when there were apparently no other men who were as sinless and strong in their faith as Job was. Perhaps he lived during the years when the Israelites were being held captive in Egypt. Others think he possibly lived at some point after the flood, prior to Abraham and his descendants. I had never thought about him having lived on earth as far back as being prior to Moses.

Last week I wrote about God restoring everything to Job two-fold, where he ended up being blessed more in the end of his life than he was at the beginning. That is amazing, and testifies to the truth that God never forgot Job during his time of testing, and blessed him because of his faithfulness and steadfastness regardless of his situation.

Here's something to think about: even though God blessed Job with 10 more children, they didn't replace the ten that Job lost to begin with. I'm sure that Job loved his sons and daughters, who were born after that time of testing, and were extremely grateful for them; especially since he knew what it was to grieve the death of the others who had been taken from him. But I don't believe that he ever forgot his firstborn children whom he had loved and nurtured. When a parent loses a child, they never forget them, even though there are other sons and daughters. There is always an empty place in their heart, grieving and missing the one that was taken from them. Job not only lost one child, but lost all ten of his first-born children all at the same time.

How inconsiderate it would be to think, "Well at least God blessed him with other children;" as if the first ones didn't matter and their death was of no consequence. Yes, it was a blessing to father other children, I'm not trying to take away from that; but the fact remains, that Job still suffered great loss when those first ten sons and daughters were taken from him. It's easy to focus on the restoration that Job received at the end of his testing, but forget everything that was originally lost to him. Great blessing often results in the loss of something precious or enduring a very difficult hardship. You have to fight a battle before you can celebrate the victory.

Mrs. Job also dealt with horrendous loss. She had carried those ten children in her womb, had gone through the birthing process with each one, had raised them and mothered them. I'm sure that her heart felt as if it were shattered in pieces when told that every one of them had died, without warning or her having a chance to say goodbye.

Having lost all ten children at the same time; dealing with the lost of all their fortune and everything they owned; then her husband becoming covered with boils had to have been almost more than she felt that she could bear. I truly believe that it was out of that personal trauma and loss that she spoke those disparaging words to her husband, "Are you trying to still maintain your integrity? Why don't you curse God and die?!"

I know that I've occasionally said things to Jon out of the depths of my emotions, that I later wish I could take back. Perhaps I was grieving, upset, angry, disheartened, etc. and spoke words due to those feelings, that I normally would never think of saying. There have been prayers that I've prayed that I later had to apologize to God for. True story! I was feeling overwhelmed, forsaken, angry, as if God wasn't listening or answering, and told God how I was feeling. You know what? God understands, isn't angry at me, and is big enough to handle my words. Healing of brokenness can only come when we admit that we have an issue; whether it be with a spouse, family member, pastor, friend -- or God. When I go back and make reconciliation with God, He is compassionate and quick to offer forgiveness and mercy.

I would hate to think that words I spoke in my moments of heartache and devastation would be written down for all mankind to read for thousands of years! The words of Job's wife weren't intended to be encouraging to her husband, but were spoken out of her grief.... or so, I think. But what about the words that we often speak to others when they are at a really low point in their life? Are they truly encouraging and a blessing, or are they discouraging? Would we want them written down for all future generations to read?!

Many times we try to encourage others who have been dealt a tough blow and are going through a difficult situation; but our words end up causing more harm than good. We say things without really thinking about the impact that they have on the one who is suffering. We want to put a positive spin on their situation, so try to find something good to say wanting to make them feel better, but it has the opposite effect. If we've never been in their shoes, then we don't really know what we're talking about!

For example, Jon's father has Alzheimer's and is in an assisted living home. This situation has greatly changed and impacted Jon's mom. It's been life-changing. Even though she is able to go visit her husband every day and spend time with him, their relationship has changed due to this horrible disease. She can't discuss decisions with him, nor can she have him at home with her and them do things and go places together. In many ways, Stan used to be very protective of Diane. That all has changed. He has to have someone help him shower and dress. His words and thoughts are becoming more difficult for him to articulate. He is very child-like. In all honestly, we have to talk to him and deal with him on his level. He has a hard time following conversations, so when Jon and I go to visit, we try to keep our words very simple and our sentences short. We speak slowly to try and give his mind time to follow what we're saying. For the past year and a half, the disease has affected his moods, his emotions, his thinking, his speech, and his mind. We've gone through a lot of different phases, and at times it has felt like a roller coast ride; especially for Jon's mom. Diane's emotions have gone from one extreme to the other, for it's been very stressful and heart-breaking to see her strong husband changing so much, and to lose him and who he was a little at a time.

How thoughtless would it be for someone to tell her, "Well, you should just be thankful that he still knows who you are!!" Of course she is; but that doesn't change the fact that she has lost a big part of who he is, and that her life and her marriage will never be the same and has forever been changed.

Many times when someone loses their home to a fire or tornado, people will say, "Well, at least you're okay! Those are just 'things', and can be replaced." Yes, it is a real blessing when everyone is safe and no one is harmed -- and that truly is of great importance!! But the truth is, many of those 'things' that they had in their home can never be replaced. They can't replace special mementos, keepsakes, things that possibly were passed down through the family, things that perhaps belonged to a loved one who has passed away, photos, etc.

For example, my sister had a house fire last September and lost almost all of the contents inside her home. A few special things were able to be restored, but there were many precious things that could not be recovered. Her home is almost ready for her to move back into, and it is going to be absolutely beautiful. There were some changes made and her contractor put some very cool, very pretty touches on her home. She truly is grateful for that and ready to move back home! But her husband passed away almost 4 years ago. The original house had a fairly new remodeled kitchen that the two of them had saved for and planned and dreamed of together. The downstairs had hardwood hand-scraped flooring that was gorgeous that the two of them had saved for and chose together. Those things are lost forever and can't be recovered. She still has the memories of the various updates she and Jimmy did to the house, but she can't look at them and see them anymore. That tangible connection that she had with Jimmy is no longer there.

When Daddy passed away, it was a shock to our family. It happened suddenly and without warning. That entire week just kind of passed in a blur. At his visitation, I think that my sisters and I were all still in shock of losing him. I don't know how the visitations are for your family, but the Parton/Horton family visitations at the funeral home are very respectful, but aren't really quiet and solemn. There are people talking and visiting and moving around; and I repeat, they are respectful. Anyway, I remember that I was standing in the aisle with Jon by my side. A minister walked up to me and I felt as if he started chastising me for grieving and crying and mourning the loss of Daddy. I can't remember what all he said (and part of it was the tone in which he was saying it), but one thing I do remember was he said, "You know what the Bible says! Weeping may endure for a night, but..... say it... say it.... what does the rest of that scripture say?!" I knew that it says, "Joy will come in the morning," but honestly my morning hadn't yet come and I was still in mourning and having my time of weeping. I needed to hear words of sympathy and love, not have scriptures quoted at me.

My point is, it's easy for us to give advice or say platitudes or quote scriptures without really knowing or understanding what that person is dealing with or feeling. Sometimes the best thing we can say is, "What you're going through really stinks, and I'm sorry! I've never been in your situation and don't understand what you're going through, but I can pray for you." There's a time and place for scripture, and a time and place for words of love and support.

Perhaps those who have taught about Job's wife, showing her in a very negative light and being very critical of her remarks, has never lost a child (or children); have never had to watch someone who is close to them suffer; or has never lost anything of great value. If they had, perhaps they would be able to feel more empathy to what she was going through herself. Perhaps I'm giving more credit to Job's wife than what is due her, but not knowing anything about her from the scriptures, I can only guess and think about what it would have been like to have been in her situation.

This brings me to my second point. When your spouse suffers, you suffer. God gave Satan permission to test Job and take everything that he owned, as well as afflict his body with pain. Although Job was the one who was personally struck with these things and was tested, his wife also suffered because of this. When Job lost his children, she lost her children. When he lost his wealth, she lost her wealth. When he lost all his herds, that was her loss, also. When he lost his servants, she lost her servants. When Job was afflicted with boils all over her body and was suffering, it affected her, too. She had to sit by and watch him scrape his skin with broken pottery, trying to bring relief from the boils. She had to hear him groan with pain. She likely became his care-giver. This test of Job, had a great impact on her life, also!

Jon and I have gone through this, on a much smaller level. When one of us is sick, or hurting, or discouraged, or stressed, or going through a difficult situation -- it affects the other person. Perhaps that is part of what the scripture means about two becoming one; we feel what the other person is feeling.

When Jon has had a tough day... or week... or month... at work, it stresses me when I know that he is stressed. When he's dealing with a difficult situation in life, it affects me, also. When someone has said something that upsets him, I get upset. I want to go to battle on his behalf and protect him; and vice versa. Jon gets upset when he sees me crying, or sick, or hurting, or frustrated.

When a husband or wife suffers from disease, it affects their spouse. When there is a loss of a job for one spouse, it affects the other. Even though the husband or wife may be the main one who is diagnosed or is tested or whatever; it has an affect on their spouse.

On the flip side, we also share each other's joys. When good things happen, prayers are answered, blessings come..... we are excited and thankful together.

I have many favorite scriptures, but one of my favorite passages is found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. It tells us that there is a time and season for everything: being born, as well as death; planting and harvesting; killing and healing; tearing down and building up; crying and laughing; grieving and dancing; scattering stones and gathering them together; embracing and turning away; a time to search and a time to quit searching; keeping and throwing away; tearing and mending; quietness and speaking; loving and hating; war and peace.

There are seasons that we each go through, and honestly, our seasons may not all look alike. We may all grieve, but our grief may be different and our situations that cause our grief be different. We may cry, but what causes the tears be different. What we plant and harvest may differ. The seasons we experience are similar, but our experiences during those seasons is not exactly the same. Does that make sense?

For example, let's consider the season of spring. To some it may mean planting gardens, being outside more, warmer weather, flowers, everything greening up and becoming prettier. To others it may mean pollen, allergies, insects, ants and flies, snakes, and having to mow and do outside work. Same season, but different perspectives and experiences. Is it fair for someone who loves spring time to tell someone who suffers with allergies and dislikes the outdoors, "Just get over it! You need to change your attitude and love spring!" Not really. But perhaps they can be sympathetic and understanding instead.

1 Corinthians 12:26 says, "If one part (of the body) suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad." Romans 12:15 admonishes us with these words, "Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep."

In other words, our heart feels what others feel and we react accordingly. This is not only for spouses, or for blood family, but for our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as the entire world.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Loretta mentioned the scripture that says weeping lasts for a night, but joy comes in the morning. There are many prophecies in the Bible that use one day to represent an entire year. It isn't up to someone else to dictate our season of mourning or our season of joy.

She also quoted Ecclesiastes 3 that mentioned there is a time for grieving and a time for dancing. We tend to use that to try to convince someone their grieving was fine, but it's time to dance, now. But there really is a time to grieve, and we can't turn that into an hour of grieving, just because someone wants us to dance.

It also mentions there is a time for war, as well as a time for peace. Peace is great, but it doesn't mean we should accept genocide just to avoid war.

It isn't usually up to us which season is which. We can have an influence, but when we lose someone, we are going to grieve. And when we get married, we will dance. When we are attacked, we go to war.

But in-between those times, we can choose. We can seek after dancing, or we can seek after weeping. We can focus on the anger, hatred, and fear we see all around us. Or we can focus on God, and His kingdom; whatever is good, pure, true, trustworthy, and uplifting.

ON THE MENEWE:

Peach Salsa Chicken

Chicken Breasts, boneless

1 jar Peach Salsa

2-3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

Place boneless chicken breasts in bottom of crock-pot or ovenproof pan. Pour the jar of peach salsa over the top; add soy sauce. Cook in crock-pot on high for 3 hours or until chicken is tender (depending on size of chicken pieces); cook on low for 4-5 hours; bake in oven at 350 for 1-1/2 hours (or until chicken is cooked). Serve over rice.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Last week my sisters and I spent three days together at our family property in Missouri where we grew up. We get together once a year for some sister time. Several years ago we decided that it was of great importance for us to make the effort to spend quality time together, without husbands or kids, in order to remain close. A couple of times we've taken short trips together; once to a small Amish community in Missouri and then on to St. Joseph, and another time we rented a cabin in Mena, AR. Other times, we've gotten together at one of our homes. Since inheriting the property where we grew up, we've mostly spent time there, at our childhood home.

This year, one evening we had some of our girl cousins on our mother's side of the family come over for visiting and potluck. It was so good to spend time together!! We grew up attending church with many of these cousins, had sleepovers, and our families spent lots of time at one another's home. We shared a lot of laughter and memories during our time together last Tuesday evening. We're looking forward to doing it again.

The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to spend time with family and keep relationships strong. We need each other! We need the friendship, support, and prayers of our siblings and cousins (as well as other family members)!! Sometimes it takes effort to take the time to get together, but it's well worth it!!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. Proverbs 4:2

Thankful to learn from the Master Educator! He truly has knowledge on anything you need -- marriage, finances, raising children, being single, living healthy, and so much more. - Christine Caine

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org