Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the category “Fellowship”

Not Today

I was going to write something funny today.

It’s been almost two weeks, and I worried that maybe when the time came back around, the time to write, that I wouldn’t have anything to say.

As if life just stops being a story?

What I wanted to write was something to humor you, make you laugh and think and put the smile on.

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But yesterday there was this awful twist in the story and there just aren’t funny words worth writing, while a sister grieves and questions loom and why, why, why do loved ones die young?  Yesterday the world stopped spinning, and I so wish I could say something to put the smile on you, to change the story.

I don’t know how much you are supposed to carry, dear sister.  I don’t understand all the waves and relentless rain and how when one saga seems over, another rushes in to take its place.  I only know that you are loved.

You are lavished with His grace, grown in deep soil, and never-ever-ever left alone.  Beautiful and precious in His sight.

That has to be enough.  You know me and my feeble words.  But my heart prays for you and the clock stares midnight with you on my mind.  You and your precious family

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.  He has put a new song in my mouth–Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD. – {Psa 40:3 NKJV}

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Making Time

She sacrificed time yesterday.

Her house was in piles, the leftovers of a busy and fruitful weekend spilling over into midweek.  She had intended to tackle those mountains and get a fresh start on the remainder of the week, but I interrupted her.

I had questions and thoughts to sort out, and you know how sometimes you just need someone to hear?  Not to come up with answers or methodically cheer you on, but just listen.

And she would tell me if I was crazy.

She said the house would wait and that I was more important.

She bought me coffee and she listened.

I stammered and spoke in broken sentences and grasped to get thoughts out into coherent phrases.  Why is it that thoughts perfectly formed get all disfigured when they are spoken?

I twiddled fingers and I think I managed to get everything out, managed to convince at least myself that what I was thinking was right.

When I asked what she thought, she replied with her own question.  What does your husband think?

She sacrificed her opinion, really.

She gave wise counsel and different perspective, as always, but she was careful not to overstep the bounds of friendship and sisterhood.  Because so what if she thinks I should or shouldn’t do x, y or z?  I value her opinion but what if it’s the opposite of my husband’s? What does he think?  She knew how to be a sounding board for my anxious thoughts and how to allow room for God to shape things.

And she did encourage me, said we serve a big God and she called me by name.  Why does it mean so much when someone calls me by name?  Catches me and lifts me and she could have just spoken generic words, but she chose words for me, for Tresta.

I came away more confident, certain that she was praying and if I was crazy and she was too nice to tell me, she would pray that I’d hear it from Him.  Or my husband.

What a dear friend.

Today I took her example, left grammar and math and laundry behind for something more important. For someone who needed the sacrifice of my time.  I rush by my own children on the way to the next task, day in and day out, and though I hear it a thousand times, I stopped short and remembered again today.

The laundry will always be there, the house will always need cleaning, the phone will ring and emails will pile up.  “The tyranny of the urgent” my friend had called it yesterday, and I throw off the tyrant again and again.

I throw it off and call someone precious by name, try to listen well, pray hard, correct gently.

Family Dinner

There are tears at dinner and someone wants to be excused.

What happened to family time and lively discussions?  To “how was your day” and “great soup, mom”?

The soup is cold and the stare, it goes right through.

All my warm-fuzzies disappear and I am frustrated.  Selfishness abounds in our jars of clay, and I really am no different.  I really could use a good dose of sound judgement.

So my husband and I, we are partners in this thing called parenting and we tag-team.  He talks, I pray.  I talk, he prays.

We choose carefully but probe the hearts, push over barriers, dig up roots.  Maybe we point out too much, things that the Holy Spirit can reveal better than  our words do.  We pray He uses our words and pray He shapes them before they enter our children’s hearts.

We are trying to do this right, to train without provocation.

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. ~ Eph. 6:4

But there are bitternesses that build when parental eyes aren’t watching, and habits.  Always those  habits.

The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children. — Charlotte Mason

The mother who takes pains.

So many habits seem to form painlessly, and it’s the effort of training in good habits that wearies.  There are so many rules we could make and thou-shalts that we could throw down, but the heart is not trained by vaporous words, is it?

We pray for Life to breath into this mealtime.

No one is excused from the table of hard fellowship, because fellowship and family are not about warm-fuzzies and can’t- everyone-just-be-nice.  

This is the hard work of family.

I say it several times this week, to friends hurting and children wanting solitude.  Living with people is hard work and God grows us all up in that love-labor, where we do the confronting and the repenting and the working it all out because He worked it all out.  And sometimes it only works out in us, not them.

I try to live those words I say.

It’s the hard work that means the job is worthwhile, right?  This is all worth the pain and the yuck that we stir-up?  Because I prefer an easy life with smiling people.  I prefer to be the one excused from the table sometimes.

After dinner, there is repentance.  A long talk with the one who prefers silence, repentance from one who heard Life breathed through vaporous-words-redeemed.  Tonight we can sleep with the grace-covering.

The adults and children alike have learned something, all of us working out this walking together.  All of us made in His image.  All of us needing grace.  We learn (again) that words have power and wounds left to fester will eventually burst open, and we learn that running away from the table of hard fellowship doesn’t solve problems.

Two things I intend to train as habits, in myself and my children:

  1. Walk circumspectly – Eph. 5:15-16  (watch your time and how it’s spent)
  2. be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving – Eph. 4:32 (watch your words and how you use them)

Dinner sometimes becomes about more than eating, with more dirt than food  on the table.  Let’s pass the antacids, roll up our sleeves,  and work it out.

The Dirt

People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die. ~ Plato

Some of the best dirt takes years to develop.  Yards of compost, manure, lawn clippings.  All the yuck combined and rolled and seasoned into fertile ground.  Adam had this humus available right away in the garden.  The Landscaper left him in charge of something already living and thriving.  Like a heavenly roll-a-lawn.

But for us, after the fall, after the yuck has come in…we sometimes wait years for produce.  Sometimes all we can see is the leftovers thrown at us and the rotting, stinking mess of it all.  Sometimes we look for nourishment in others and find only disappointment.  Others might look for it in us, too.  The food they need, are we filled so we can be empty?

The pastor reminds us on Sunday that we can give words that have power.

And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. – Luke 4:32 NKJV

The living, active, powerful, piercing Word is ours for the wielding.  Do we leave others with the dust-and-vapor words?  Do we comfort with scraps of our compost pile?  We have Words of life at our fingertips – words that can astonish.  What people need is not our wisdom or stunted-view, but nourishment.  Daily bread, living water.

We are also reminded that the most powerful time is time spent in prayer.  Jesus rose early to get connected.  Do we need anything less?  Do those in our lives need anything less (or more) than our prayers?

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.  If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death.  – 1Jo 5:14-16 NKJV

So I commit to spend more time praying and listening.  And as I pray for my friends and family, I also ask that my words would be nourishing.  That time spent with me would feed them and not stunt their growth.  I repent of my idle words, the ones that don’t break down in the soil of good fellowship to feed souls.  Plastic words, they’re no good.

I have good-dirt people in my life.  I’m so thankful for them, for God’s mercy to me through them, and for the common compost of all our combined years, feeding us all.

Still counting to 1000…

155.  My brother and how he blessed us

156.  Sisters who pray for me

157. Pictures of Ethan on his first solo bike ride

158. $25 gift

159. Mommy making cheesy noodles, finally

160. a little sister who thinks big sister doing her hair is cool

161. Brookie’s bday!

162. Bravo’s for lunch

163. cinnamon rolls

164. four-wheeler rides

165. siblings playing board games together

166. Jacob, creating his own board game

167. sleeping til 7:30

168. sunny day with possibility of photography

169. getting my Nascar game

170. a house protected from the storm

171. little girls on four-wheeler

172. homemade playdough in bright colors

173. chocolate mousse cheesecake (finally)

174. sheetrock, after almost 6 years of bare framing

175. early morning Bible discussions

176. easy Mondays

177. impromptu visits

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