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 23, 2018

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

I confess... I had to repent today! I also had to ask for my husband's forgiveness. Several weeks ago, I made a choice that hurt Jon, because I chose to not believe in his abilities and took the side of others, instead of backing him up. My words and my actions showed dishonor and I didn't think about the situation from Jon's viewpoint; and didn't consider that what he was wanting to do was something that was very heavy on his heart and something that he even felt urged to do by the Holy Spirit.

For many, many months now our church has been involved in a huge remodeling project. Our funds are running low, and we still have quite a bit of work that needs to be done. The property where we meet has a house, where we currently meet for our services. There is, also, a large metal workshop which is where we've been remodeling; and it will become our sanctuary.

When it came to the point where the sheetrock was all up and we needed the drywall to be finished (mudding, taping, and sanding), the thought was that it would be best if we had it professionally done. Great idea, but when we had someone bid the job, the cost was very expensive.

Jon's desire was to begin working on finishing the drywall himself. That was in his heart to do and was a job that he really wanted to attempt. He felt very strongly about it, felt that he would do a good job, and his thought was that everything that he got done would make that much less that the church would have to pay for.

When he volunteered to begin working on this project, he was told that it needed to be done professionally and to not do it himself, because the job was much too big and it was important that it was done right. I listened and took the side of those who opposed him.

I personally had some qualms about Jon attempting working on a job so big, because the walls are tall in the building and he would have had to climb up and down a lot and move scaffolding; and he has a lot of back issues. I was afraid that he would hurt his back even more and be in a lot of pain; and allowed my fear to speak out and tell Jon that I didn't think he should attempt this and that I thought it was a bad idea. And honestly, I looked at how much needed to be done and thought that the job was much too big for one person. In not supporting Jon, I ended up hurting him and causing him to feel as if I didn't believe in him. Even if others were opposing him and he was told not to begin the work on his own, I still should have been on his side and showed faith in him.

Basically, I squashed his dream.... I let him know by my words and actions that I didn't believe in him.... and I didn't trust his judgement and support what God had place in his heart to do.

Now, several weeks later, we have realized that we can't afford to hire professionals, so a few people in the church have begun working on doing the mudding and sanding. Had Jon begun the project when God first placed in in his heart, he would have had a lot of it done by now where we would be ready to paint some of the sanctuary walls.

I apologized to my husband, and the Holy Spirit has shown me how my words caused Jon to feel as if his ideas and what he felt urged to do weren't important.

Sometimes we get so caught up in looking at all the "what ifs" and reasons why someone shouldn't do something or are unqualified or what could go wrong, that we forget what the Word of God says. We lose perspective. And we forget how we feel when we have dreams and others don't show support and squash them.

Isaiah 40:31 says, "But those who trust in (other versions say "hope in" or "wait on") the Lord will find new strength (or renew their strength). They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

Psalm 103:5 says, "He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles!"

Something that the Holy Spirit has been showing me is the Lord will give us new strength so that we can fly, run, and walk without weariness and faintness when we are in a position where we need strength above what we have. He renews us so that we have the energy and strength of a youth when we are in a position or doing something that requires more than what we have.

If I had of really understood that scripture several weeks ago, perhaps I would have been more ready to support Jon wanting to do the drywall at church. Perhaps I would have understood that God could supernaturally empower and equip Jon to do the job. I have no doubts that Jon would have done well, because he is a perfectionist and does well at whatever he puts his hand to. I should have depended on the Lord strengthening Jon's back, and not worried about him hurting himself or being in pain. Not only should I have trusted and believed in Jon, I even more so should have trusted and believed in God's word!

I never want to be a dream destroyer by not embracing Jon's dreams and listening to his heart and ideas. I can't make promises, but I certainly hope that I never again make him feel as if is dreams or that the desires of his heart is not important. I'm not only speaking of God-given dreams, but those dreams of activities or goals that Jon would like to do; maybe purely for enjoyment or as a challenge. Perhaps those type of dreams are seeds that God places in our hearts just because He wants to bless us and do something special for us. Perhaps God wants to challenge us to go above and beyond what we think we can do, in order to show us what we are capable of doing, with Him giving us strength and energy.

I read a devotional about this subject and one line from that said, "Do you realize that encouraging your husband to dream is not setting him up for failure, but it is stretching his faith and enlarging his view of God?"

It is important that we all have dreams that are bigger than ourself; dreams that cause us to depend on God and hold fast to His promise that nothing is too difficult for Him. It is also important that we follow what the Holy Spirit places on our heart to do. It is vital that we respond when we feel that nudging in our heart to do something.

But it is also very crucial that we not be the ones who crush the person who is dreaming or feeling urged to do something. It is discouraging and hurtful and disheartening when we are the one who has a dream or feel called or urged to do something, and someone (or more than one person) tells us why it won't work or why we shouldn't do it or why we need to forget it or let someone else do it. We all need and crave support and encouragement; and that's what we should offer others.

When I was a little girl, I would spend hours pounding on the piano and singing. I taught myself how to play piano by ear. Had my parents forced me to stop playing, because it was loud and annoying, telling me that I sounded really bad and had no talent, that's what I would have believed and likely would have given up. But little by little, I began figuring out chords and learning how to hear when to make chord changes and as time went by, I improved. Being allowed to fail and make mistakes, helped me be able to cultivate the talent that God placed within me and fulfill my dream of playing piano.

Each of us can remember times when others were there to encourage and support us in our endeavors and dreams; telling us that we can do it and picking us up when we fall down and clapping for us when we succeed. We've also had those times when we wanted to do something, felt like it was important or was just something different that we wanted to try, or it was a dream that was placed within our heart. When we shared our heart with others, they told us why we couldn't or shouldn't do it, pointed out all the reasons why it wouldn't work, perhaps even suggested someone who could do it better, and basically stomp all over our excitement.

I never want to be the cause of Jon to stop dreaming, stop believing in himself, stop volunteering to take up challenges that may be a little out of his comfort zone, or stop listening to those urges that are put in his heart. I never want him to feel as if he won't have my support or encouragement and will take the side of others against him when he wants to do something that seems impractical or impossible. I don't want Jon to stop sharing his heart and thoughts and dreams with me.

I also don't want that to be my response to other people, either. I never want to be the one who stomps on the dreams of others. I never want to be the reason why someone stops obeying those urges that the Holy Spirit puts in their hearts. I don't want to be a dream or idea stomper, but an encouragement and help and support to others!

I don't want my response to be "That's not safe," or "That's not practical", or "That's just stupid," or list reasons why it won't work. Rather, I want my response to be, "Go for it! You have my support and I'll do what I can to help. I believe in you and know that you can do this!" If someone tries, then becomes discouraged or things don't work as they had hoped, I never want to say, "I told you so!" or tell them why I thought it wouldn't work. Instead, I want to offer encouragement and build up their confidence.

I want to be Jon's biggest cheerleader and biggest supporter. I want to be the prayer warrior that stands behind him so that he knows that I will always have his back.

So today I want to encourage you in your dreams or in your obedience of what has been placed within your heart, to not give up or allow someone to destroy those things. Stand strong and ask God to renew your strength for the task.

I also want to caution you if you are the one who has hurt or discouraged others in their dreams or have urged them not to do what has been place in their heart to do. Stop and think about how you want others to respond to your dreams and plans and ideas; then respond in kind. If you think that someone may be making a mistake, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to be the one to reveal that to them, instead of you taking on that task. Also, pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you if you are the one in the wrong.

Lastly, if you have been guilty of causing hurt or discouragement to someone, go to them and apologize and ask for forgiveness. When the Holy Spirit convicts you of your words or actions, repent. Ask Jesus to help you to guard your words and thoughts and to help you become an encourager and a support to others.

So Jon, continue to dream big! Continue to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and obey those urges that is placed in your heart to do. Never allow me or others to squash your ideas or make you feel as if you aren't valued. Be open to God dreams and ready to respond to that still quiet voice that nudges you to do something. I vow to try to always be your biggest supporter and encourager. I love you!

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Doing the drywall mudding myself might take 4-6 months and about $100 in supplies. But saving up the money to hire it done would take about 10 months, and run through all our money. I had hopes I wouldn't be alone, though. Frankly, mudding doesn't require much skill. And you can mess up every layer again & again, as long as the last layer is done well.

Once others realized how long it would take to save up enough to hire professionals to do the drywall mudding, they agreed to at least do the prep work. With several people on-board, we started the work. And they were all pleased to learn that they were better able to do the work than they had suspected. So, we went from one person willing to do all the work, even though it may take several months, to having 5 of us working together. Sometimes, that's how God renews our strength, by sharing the work among more people.

ON THE MENEWE:

Oven Fried Chicken

Boneless chicken breast or tenders

1 stick melted butter

3 cups crushed Cornflakes

1/4 teaspoon garlic

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Crush cornflakes; add garlic salt and pepper. Dip chicken pieces in the melted butter, then roll in the seasoned Cornflake mixture. Place in greased baking pan. Sprinkle with any remaining butter and cornflake crumbs. Bake uncovered at 375 for about 45 minutes to an hour until tender. Do not turn while cooking.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Happy Memorial Day. Enjoy the longer holiday weekend. Hopefully, you have plans to be with family or do something fun. If nothing else, relax and take a nap!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply. - Dr. Laura

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org