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 7, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

I have to be honest -- this is always my least favorite newsletter to write each year. I feel like I need to write something appropriate for Mother's Day, but not being a mother myself and not having a mother that is living, I always struggle with what to write. The last thing any parent wants to hear is advice or insight from a non-parent. So once again this year, I have been agonizing over what to write.

As I was sitting... and thinking... and contemplating... I had this this thought pop up in my mind, "Write about the topic, 'I'm Not a Mother'." Hmm, well I certainly know a lot about that!

So here I go: "I'm Not a Mother":

All during my growing up and young adult life I always expected that I would one day get married and have children. After all, that's what my grandma did, my mama did, my aunts did, and my sisters all did. That was always an assumption I made and I had no reason to expect anything different. Then years and years and years went by... no dates... no meeting Mr. Right... and birthday after birthday went by with no prospects of marriage. That wasn't what I was expecting and not what I had dreamed of.

I had basically given up all hope of ever meeting anyone and getting married when Jon and I met. I was 38 by that time -- and he was younger than 38. We became friends and he finally asked me out seven weeks before my 39th birthday. Two weeks before my 40th birthday, we got married.

Before marriage we discussed our expectations of marriage and family and made major decisions before the wedding ever took place. One of the things we talked about and agreed on was that we weren't going to have children. That was a personal choice that the two of us made, and what we felt was the wisest decision for our situation. After waiting so many years to meet the right person and get married, we wanted time alone with it being just the two of us before starting a family; yet at my age, we wouldn't have had that luxury. I also knew that at my age, there would have been health risks involved for both myself and a child should I have chosen to have a baby. We also didn't think that it would be fair that when our child started Kindergarten, we would have been the age as most of their grandparents. By the time they ever graduated from college, we would have been retirement age. Another consideration was the fact that we both enjoyed growing up with siblings and would have wanted that for a child that we parented, and that would have been even more of a risk for both me and another baby... and we would have been even older when that child finished their schooling. The probability of us being around to watch our grandchildren grow up and become adults was possible, but not likely. So based upon these reasons, we chose to not become parents.

We've had some wonderful experiences and have had the opportunity to travel and vacation since we've been married. If we had had young children, I very likely wouldn't have got to travel with Jon when he worked in Singapore and Germany. Our focus and priority is not on raising kids, so we've been able to take advantage of opportunities that we wouldn't have been able to share together otherwise. We've been told, "It's not fair that you get to travel and do all these things....." But we see it as a bit of a trade-off. We have gotten to experience some great adventures; but it's always just going to be the two of us and we are never going to have our children here for holidays or celebrate their birthdays and graduations and milestones. We're not going to have kids to come and take care of us when we get elderly.... or grandkids to spoil.

We are never going to experience telling our children about Jesus and seeing them give their heart to Him. We're not going to see what career path they choose, or if they'll be involved in ministry, or follow a special calling upon their life. But that is something you mother's have either already witnessed, or what you have to look forward to in the future.

Even though parenthood wasn't something that God planned for me and Jon, He has placed His divine favor upon us in many ways. We've been blessed beyond measure over and over again. We've also been blessed to be part of a strong family unit who love and include us; and whom we love in return. As long as we love others, family or otherwise, we will never be alone or lonely.

Even though we aren't a mommy and daddy, that doesn't release us from the responsibility of being godly examples. In Titus chapter two, Paul is writing instructions to Titus, which can be applied to us today. Paul tells him specifically how to teach both the older men and women; then in turn how the older women can urge the younger women. He also tells Titus how to encourage the younger men. In verse 7, Paul says, "In everything set them an example by doing what is good." Just because we don't have children to raise and teach doesn't exclude us from living our lives in a way that others can see the light of Jesus in us. Daily we are commanded to love and be salt and light to the world.

First of all, honor your parents on Mother's and Father's day! Do something special for them, give them an extra tight hug, tell them that you love them, and show them that you really do care for them.

Secondly, at every opportunity possible, show your appreciation and love to everyone; regardless if they are parents, non-parents, those who desire to become parents, children, old, young and everyone in between. After all, loving others is what we're commanded to do.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

We know it's great to be a parent. But we've decided that the worst part of not having kids is that there won't be anyone to take care of us in our dotage. We may need to help out with my parents, but my brother and I have already decided that our sister will have to take them in if they really need it, and they can't go to a nursing home. But what about when we get old enough to need someone to help us get from the couch to the bathroom?

We're relying on nieces and nephews. We have to dote on them now, so they will help us in our dotage. It really puts the golden rule to the test. We're doing now what we hope they will do for us later.

As much as we hope that our family will at least visit us in 'the home', our faith is in God. He has taken great care of us so far, and we really know He will take care of us when we're old. We haven't always realized when He was with us in the past, and I'm sure we won't always see how He is with us in the future, either. But He is always there.

ON THE MENEWE:

Brisket

(Since it's Mother's Day this weekend, maybe you ladies can talk your husband/family into cooking for you.)

1 Brisket, trimmed

Celery Salt

Garlic Powder

1 bottle Liquid Smoke

1 bottle Worcestershire Sauce

Rub celery salt and garlic powder to cover brisket. Place in large disposable pan. Pour entire bottle of Liquid Smoke and Worcestershire Sauce over the meat; cover with foil. Bake 8-10 hours in 250 degree oven. Cool. Pour juices off into a container that can be refrigerated. Refrigerate meat and juices. Once meat is cold, slice and return to pan (it is much easier to slice cold than when it is hot). Pour all juices (except for fat that can now be removed and thrown away -- it will have floated to the top of the juices) over meat; reheat at 350 for approximately 30 minutes or until meat is hot.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

I want to take this opportunity to say how blessed I feel that I've had so many special, godly women who have influenced my life. I'm thankful that I did know my mama and that I had her in my life for 15 years. There are no words to express how grateful I am for my four sisters who then taught me how to do those things that Mama would have shown me had she been alive. I have wonderful aunts who loved me and encouraged me. There are pastor's wives who befriended me and prayed for me. I have numerous cousins who were examples of what godly women truly were. I've been blessed with strong friendships. Almost nine years ago, I was blessed with a great mother-in-law when Jon and I married. Now I am watching my nieces grow up and my nephews marry and see all these truly wonderful women taking on the roll of motherhood; loving and praying for their children, and training them up to know and love God. My heart overflows!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

My home is filled with toys, has fingerprints on everything and is never quiet.

My hair is usually a mess and I'm always tired, but there is always love and laughter.

In twenty years my children won't remember the house or my hair,

but they will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt. - unknown

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org