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

May 10, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Deserve means: do something or have or show qualities worthy of (rewards or punishment). The thesaurus synonyms for deserve is: merit, earn, warrant, justify, be worthy of, be entitled to, have a right to, be qualified for.

We have all heard the comments, "You deserve that!" or "You are getting what you deserve!" When someone has worked hard and gets a promotion, or has saved and buys a new car or buys a new home, or wins a competition, or something particularly good happens to them, or they've been through a stressful time and get to take a vacation, they are often told, "Good for you! You deserve that."

On the other hand, when someone is showing off or doing something silly and they slip and fall, or they do something bone-headed and it backfires on them, or they make a stupid choice and have to pay the consequences.....the comment is often made, "You shouldn't have done that! You got exactly what you deserved!"

Our definition of someone getting what they deserve is often attached to them either being or doing something good; or them doing something silly or bad.

Often kids have the idea that they deserve that new video game or toy that they really want; they deserve to go to that birthday party, even though they've had bad behavior and been disobedient to their parents; they deserve for their parents to buy them a car when they turn 16; they deserve the latest and greatest cell phone and electronics, etc. As young adults, they then feel that they deserve a really nice house filled with new furnishings when they first get married; fresh out of college they deserve a high paying job and make as much as seasoned employees (also with degrees) who have paid their dues and have been working in that same field for many years; they deserve new cars; they shouldn't have to save and work hard for the things that they would like to have.

I've heard it said from some parents that they feel that they should work hard and do without so that their kids can have all the things that they (the parents) weren't given or didn't have when they were young. Is it really so important that parents work hard, then do without, so that their kids are given whatever their heart desires? Perhaps that is why much of the younger generations often have selfish attitudes and are more focused on themselves and what they want and need, than on others. They were raised to believe that they deserved whatever they desired, and were given it without having to work and save themselves. They have no idea what it is to do without or be told no.

Jon and I recently read an interesting article. The premise was that parents will raise happier children if they put them second to their marriage. Adults who want the best for their children should stop trying to be the perfect parent and more time striving to be the perfect spouse. Quotes from the article say: "Today's number one myth about parenting is that the more attention we give our kids, the better they'll turn out. But we parents have gone too far: our over-focus on our children is doing them more harm than good. Families centered on children create anxious, exhausted parents and demanding, entitled children. We parents today are too quick to sacrifice our lives and our marriages for our kids. Most of us have created child-centered families, where children hold priority over our time, energy and attention. The greatest gift you can give your children is to have a fulfilling marriage yourself." (By David Code, author of To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First)

The truth is, it's not only kids and young adults that can have the "I deserve" attitude. Middle-aged and older adults can often feel that way, too. "I work hard, so I deserve that new boat!" "I was poor as a kid and didn't have much, so I deserve to spend money on whatever I want now!" "I've put in long hours here lately, so I deserve to take time off and go fishing!" "I put my time in when I was younger, so I deserve to enjoy my retirement and not do anything I don't want to do!" "I stuck to my diet... I've not lost any weight, but I've been good...so I deserve an ice cream!" "I deserve those new shoes... no particular reason... I just deserve them!" "I've been dealing with a tough situation, so I deserve something special!"

It's easy to point our finger at others and at times have a "holier than thou" attitude. We would never say or act like we deserve special things like so and so! But we have all likely had that sense of entitlement from time to time. We justify why we are are entitled to or have earned whatever it is that we want.

I overheard my sister having a conversation with a teenager recently. She was trying to explain the difference between need and want. She asked the questions, "Is a TV a need or a want? Is your skateboard or video games needs or things that you want?" The teen looked at her like, "I think those things are needs!" and she hesitated before answering. My sister went on to explain that many things that we enjoy or that are conveniences are wants and are nice to have, but they aren't necessary and do not fulfill a need. She gave herself as an example. She has pretty sofa and window seat pillows, and nice decorations on her walls and fireplace mantle. The question was asked, "Do you think those things are needed?" The answer was no, she could do without them and survive just fine, but she enjoys having them.

Just as there is a difference between needs and wants, there is also a difference between what we want and what we deserve. It's okay to buy things for yourself that are special, or splurge from time to time, or pamper yourself when you're feeling stressed, or go on a nice vacation..... but perhaps we need to be honest and say, "I'm buying or doing this because it's what I want!" not "I deserve this!"

So what happens when someone works hard, does all the right things, is a good person.... yet seemingly, they can't catch a break and their life is filled with difficult situations. Do they deserve that? Then there are other times when seemingly evil people, who are without scruples, seem to succeed and have everything they want. Are they getting what they deserve?

Life can sometimes be heart-breaking and difficult. If we haven't been raised to focus on God, been taught to deal with tough situations, and haven't built a strong relationships with others to be a support and help for us, then those times are going to feel impossible to get through. Honestly, we don't always get what we deserve. Sometimes life can be stinky and not make sense and feel overwhelming. That's when it is vitally important that we have a strong faith and trust in God; as well as a strong support of our family and friends. That's when we need to realize that sometimes it has nothing to do with what we deserve or don't deserve.

This Sunday is Mother's Day and next month is Father's Day. Jon and I are not parents, so always struggle each year with something to write for each of those newsletters. We don't have experience, so don't want to sound judgmental or preachy. But we also don't want to ignore those holidays as being unimportant.

I supposed what is on my heart this week is the importance of teaching the younger generations that deserving doesn't always have to do with whether they are good or bad, and they get rewarded or punished accordingly. Yes, that is the case at times. But sometimes the answer should be no... sometimes you have to work and save for things you want... you may not always have what other kids have... you're not always entitled to win or get everything you want... and most important thing that a parent can do is love one another and put their marriage and relationship first, before their kids.

We also need to realize that those things that we often want or think we somehow deserve aren't always merited. If we don't want to raise spoiled kids who go through life demanding whatever their heart desires, then we, as adults, need to make sure that they're not seeing that "I deserve" attitude in us. We can't justify it in saying, "But it's different for us! We don't act spoiled and don't get upset if we don't get everything we want!" We have to live and speak as examples.

Titus 2:7 says, "And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching."

The previous verses were speaking of the older women teaching the younger. To simplify this would be: "The best way to teach the younger generations is by being a godly example!" That is something we all should work to do; allow our lives to reflect our integrity.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

In many ways, I grew up spoiled. Not that laziness was ever an option. But we never went hungry.

My parents made sure I knew how fortunate I was to gain from their hard work, and from God's blessings. I saw and understood that my friends weren't so fortunate, so I had more respect for what I did have. And I knew never to flaunt what I had, or brag about it.

When it came time to buy my first car, I had to work at my dad's shop, cleaning, sorting bolts, gluing boxes together, doing a little computer work, but generally helping wherever was needed. I saved for years, so I could buy a 10-year-old car. It was beaten up, and mostly worn out. But I bought it all myself.

My sister worked, too, but she just didn't have as much opportunity to save up much. So, when it came time for her to get a car, I'm pretty sure my parents helped out. Is that fair? Who cares? I had a great opportunity to work and earn money, but my sister didn't.

Our parents never tried to treat us as equal because we weren't, and aren't, equal. If I was raised like my sister or like my brother, I would have been miserable.

God gives each of us something different, too. I don't understand all the details, but it doesn't seem to have much to do with whether we've earned or deserve what comes in our lives.

But what if God did give us exactly what we deserve? When we sin, or violate His law, we deserve punishment. In fact, Romans 6:23 starts with, "For the payoff of sin is death" [New English Translation]. So, I'm happy to get a good day's pay for a good day's work, but I don't really want all that I deserve.

ON THE MENEWE:

Easy Crock Pot Roast

(This is my very favorite way of cooking roast nowadays. It always turns out great and tastes great!)

1 beef roast

1 package AuJus gravy mix (dry)

1 stick butter

Place beef roast in crock pot. Sprinkle AuJus Gravy mix on top. Place stick of butter on top of roast. That's it! Cook until roast is done and tender. Juice makes great gravy.

**No water needed. You may also sprinkle 1 package of dry ranch dressing mix on top, along with the AuJus gravy mix, if desired. You may also add a few pepperoncini peppers, if you would want. (I have never used the pepperoncini peppers, but the original recipe calls for this.)

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

I would like to wish a special "Happy Mother's Day" to my mother-in-law, Diane. The past few years have not been easy for her, and her journey in life has led her down a path that she never dreamed that she would walk. When Jon and I married, Diane and her sisters were dealing with their mother having Alzheimer's. I never got to know her pre-Alzheimers, although I've heard many stories about what a wonderful woman she was. Then four years ago, my father-in-law was diagnosed with this same disease. So again, Diane had to watch someone whom she deeply loved deteriorate mentally and change as the disease progressed; although the heartbreak was much deeper as the perspective changed from that of a daughter the first time, to that of a wife the second time.

I've watched Diane have to make tough decisions these past two years, become independent in many ways, and battle the various emotions that each stage that Stan went through brought about, not knowing what each day would bring or how quickly the disease would progress.

Yet I've watched her hold tightly to faith and have watched her relationship with God grow even stronger than it was in past years. She knew that her peace and joy was dependent upon her trusting God and that it was imperative that she keep her focus firmly on Him at all times.

Happy Mother's Day, Diane.... from Jon and Loretta!!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can't go anywhere until you change it. - Christine Caine

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org