"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!'"
January 18, 2011
I tend to lean towards being a tad klutzy; at least that seems to be my husband's opinion. I don't mean to be! But I often knock things over, spill something, drip food down the front of my shirt, drop a dish or scratch up something. And Jon always tends to be around when that happens, and will either shake his head or give me "the look". The look that silently says, "Here she goes again!" or "We can't have anything nice!" or "That's a new shirt and it's already stained!" or something to that effect.
I really do try to be careful! But most of the stains on our living room carpet are due to my spills. I put the first scratch on our truck after we bought it; although it wasn't entirely my fault. And I have stained a lot of my shirts from spills, no matter how carefully I try to eat. We've been hard on mowers the past couple of years; and I'm the one who does all the mowing, so I felt the blame once again goes to my account. We bought a couple small glass-blown hummingbirds at Silver Dollar City a few years ago, and while dusting I dropped one and broke it. I broke a stained glass lamp shade that had been given to us as a wedding present. Dare I go on?!
My sister has generously allowed me to borrow her Kindle the past few weeks to I can see if it's something I would like to have for myself. Okay, she is being nice, but it's also due to the fact that she's been using her husband's iPad as a Kindle and reading on it or reading paperbacks. A few days after borrowing it, I accidentally knocked it off the arm of the recliner I was sitting in. It's inside a cover, but it would not turn back on. Jon gritted his teeth and smiled, and although he didn't say anything right away, I could pretty much discern his thoughts. We tried several options and it wouldn't turn on. I finally went online and found a website on different things to try. I found out how to restart it and allow it to reboot and thankfully that worked!
Jon should have had a clue to what his life with me was going to be like when we were dating. I inadvertently dripped food when we ate out, no matter how careful I tried to be. One evening we came out of the movie theater and were talking about the movie we had just watched and stepped off the sidewalk to cross the street to the parking lot. I stepped on the edge of a huge, deep pothole and down I went! The jagged edge of the pavement was sharp and ripped a big hole in the knee of my brand new jeans and cut my knee, and I sprang my ankle. I was down on the ground and Jon was standing there stunned, looking at me like, "What are you doing down there?" I couldn't walk so he helped me over to the edge of the sidewalk to sit down while he ran to get the car.
Granted, Jon has not been without his mishaps since we've been married, but they are fewer and further between so they don't seem quite so overwhelming. He hit a mailbox with our car during bad weather, ran over a big stump with our truck, dropped one of his drills onto the gazebo floor from the roof and cracked it and has even dribbled food down the front of his shirt occasionally; but it's so rare that it's really not even worth mentioning. But it makes me feel better about myself to do so! And yes, I do point it out when he messes up just so he realizes he's not quite 100% perfect when it comes to klutziness.... and to make myself feel better. Did I mention that it makes me feel better?!
Not only am I clumsy, but I often mispronounce words, use slangy country expressions, say the wrong words and use the wrong tenses; I do much better at writing than I do talking, but it could be because Jon and I both go back over and edit what's written down and we can't do that when I speak. New Year's Eve, we were having some of my family over and as we woke up that morning Jon asked what time I was expecting them. What I meant to say was sometime between 11:00 and noon, but what I said was sometime between 12:00 and noon. Jon's last holiday was the Monday following New Years and I was thinking that he wouldn't have another holiday until Good Friday in April. I'm not sure why I said this, but what came out of my mouth was, "You won't get another holiday until Good Friday in November." Of course, I realized it right away and we both laughed. Then to make it worse, I said, "I don't know why I said October, I wasn't even thinking about November."
Sometimes I feel like a big goof that is always messing up! On top of that, since having my gallbladder removed I am a gasbag that burps! How's that for honesty!! I wish I were a more graceful, ladylike, gentle woman but I'm just not. I can see myself fitting in as a pioneer woman in the Old West, but definitely not as a Southern Belle. I like wearing flip-flops, cowboy boots (new Christmas gift from Jon that I am now a huge fan of), or tennis shoes. I like blue jeans, capris and comfortable clothing. I despise pantyhose! I would be so out of place and uncomfortable all dressed up for a formal dinner party. I had a pastor's wife once tell me that she absolutely loved dressing up and wished she could do so every day. That sounds like torture to me. I'm more of a "make yourself at home, take your shoes off, and help yourself" kind of homegirl, and want people to feel that hominess when they come to my house. I don't think I could be fancy, no matter how hard I tried.
Too often, we try to make others fit into our molds of what we think they should be. We have a certain criteria on how they should act, conduct themselves, dress, and behave and criticize them should they not measure up to our standards. But we also tend to try to fit ourself into molds of what we think we should be like or what we wish we could be like, and are never satisfied with ourselves.
With all my flaws and chubbiness and klutziness and idiocies, what in the world would Jon see in me to love? If he should only focus on those things and make them his center of interest, then perhaps he would choose to see all my silliness and failures as something of a distraction. But instead, Jon chooses to focus on those areas of my life that are good. He finds my lack of proper speech and clumsiness as humorous and entertaining. And he loves that about me because that is part of what makes me unique and special. He doesn't criticize or mock me or put me down because I don't fit his standard of what a proper wife should be like. He doesn't condemn me because I'm not like other women or like the wife of someone else. But he loves and accept me, just as I am. Yes, he may sometimes get a little aggravated at me and we may not always see every single issue eye to eye, (especially when it comes to clothes and shoes) but we sharpen each other and make each other better. When we talk, we get different viewpoints from the other person that we sometimes don't see ourself. I would probably drive any other man nuts and he would find me irritating and irksome. But God placed me and Jon together as husband and wife and we compliment one another, are devoted and love each other; flaws and all.
Sometimes we all think that God must love other people more than He does us. We compare ourselves to others and fall short. Why would God love and forgive us, when we're so messed up and flawed? Because He sees us as unique and special; we are a treasure to God, someone that He cherishes.
Last week I wrote about the grace of God. The Israelites were flawed, complaining, faithless people. Yet God chose to reveal Himself to them as a God of grace and mercy, who showed His love for them, not because they deserved it, but because of His desire to be faithful to the promises He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God didn't deliver them because of their great faith, but because of His grace.
In Genesis 17:1-8, God made a covenant with Abraham. In verse eight, God tells Abraham, "I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." During the famine in Israel, Jacob, who was Abraham's grandson, and his family moved from Canaan to Egypt, where his son Joseph was governor, after having been sold into slavery years before by his brothers. Before his death, Joseph told his brothers, "I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." Joseph and all his brothers, and all that generation died. Many, many years passed between the the time of the family leaving Canaan until God fulfilled His promise to restore them back to their homeland. I don't know why God chose the timing that He did. But God fulfilled His covenant and because of His great grace, led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.
We will never be good enough or faithful enough or deserving enough of God's grace. But He gives it to us anyway. Why? Because He loves us. It doesn't matter what anyone else's opinion of us is. It doesn't matter what other people may say or think about us. Our past doesn't matter. God loves us and freely extends His grace to us. It doesn't matter how clumsy, klutzy, flawed, goofy, mistake-filled, or sinful we are. If we were to wait until we felt worthy to be given God's forgiveness and grace, then I daresay that none of us would ever come to Him. We'd always be trying to do one more good deed, trying to clean ourselves up, trying to help one more person, trying to fix one more mistake, and never feel as if we were good enough to accept the mercy and grace of God.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:10, "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain..."
I am the woman that I am today because of the grace of God. I certainly never did anything to deserve God's favor, yet He bestowed it upon me anyway. And flaws and all, because I have chosen to accept His gift of salvation, the death of Jesus on the cross was not in vain. His grace toward me is sufficient and lacks nothing.
People can blame others for their choices, they can blame past hurts, they can blame past mistakes, and they can blame the church. They can make excuses and delay making a firm decision to give their heart to Jesus and accepting His mercy, grace and forgiveness. Sometimes something in the past can cause bitterness to arise in our spirit and we hold on to that with all our might. But there comes a point where we have to let all that go and decide whether or not we are personally going to accept the grace of God for ourselves. When we hold on to unforgiveness and hurt, we are hurting ourselves; and many times inadvertently cause hurt to those who are closest to us that we love most. They take on our attitude towards others and our outlook towards life and the church. We can say we're putting off making a decision to commit our heart to God until our children do or until our spouse does or whatever reason we have. But the bottom line is, we may be the ones that are hindering them from coming to Christ. If we would let go of the past and all the negative emotions connected to it, and give our heart and life to Jesus, then we very possibly would see a softening in our loved ones and see them also fully surrender their hearts and find the grace of God for themselves.
Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day to accept the grace of God. Today is the day to let go of the past and let God bring healing to those areas of our life that have been scarred and tattered for years.
I close with the words of a hymn: "Grace, grace, God's grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God's grace. Grace that is greater than all our sin."
There are quite a few Proverbs about how good it is to keep silent. It's amazing how much I can say to Loretta without saying a word. On each of the cases she mentioned above, I never yelled at her, complained, or said I was mad. I just looked at her with sympathy and compassion, and she assumed all the rest.
I think I'm less of a klutz now than I used to be. I do have sympathy. And one mower was extremely old, and worn out. Loretta never really hurt the mower, it was just falling apart, and should have been shot years ago. The other mower is built badly, then repaired badly.
Fortunately, she sticks with me, even if she thinks I'm disappointed in her or mad at her once in awhile. Even if I did get mad, it doesn't really change anything important.
Hamburger and Vegetable Soup
1 lb. Ground beef, browned and drained
1 can corn
2 cups diced carrots
3-4 small cans tomato sauce
4-6 stalked diced celery
3-4 tomato sauce cans full of water
1 small diced onion
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
4-6 diced potatoes
All amounts can be adjusted to your liking. You can also substitute/add fresh canned tomatoes as well. The tomato amount is to your liking. Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Continue to cook for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Stir occasionally. Add additional Worcestershire, if desired. Serve with crackers or cornbread.
Hull strawberries by using a straw -- poke the straw through the top of the berry over the stem and go all the way through the bottom, then pull out.
Store bed linen sets inside of one of the matching pillowcases and it will keep the whole set all together.
Re-use a wet wipe container to store plastic bags -- you can pull them out of the top when needed.
Use a magnetic strip to store bobby pins, tweezers and clippers behind a vanity door.
Plastic tags off a loaf of bread make the perfect-sized cord labels.
Hang a tension rod to store your spray bottles. They hang easily from the rod.
Use egg cartons to separate and store your Christmas decorations.
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalms 84:11)
We love you!
Loretta & Jon