Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “adoption”

When People are Big {Overcoming the Fear of Man}

 

Of course it’s a bad-hair-day.

We’re visiting a church in another town, my husband speaking about training native pastors and the work of Master’s Bible School, and we’re all a little uncertain of what to expect.

Do I wear a dress?  Are shorts o.k. for the boys?  It’s an outdoor service – is it o.k. for Tim to wear his Birkenstocks when he teaches?  Ethan wants to know if this church will be shorter than ours, and is there a potluck afterward?

I look like I rode in on a Harley, my big hair flying to the four winds in crazy curls.

On the drive in, Ethan also wants to know if daddy gets nervous when he has to stand in front of people.  “I like to be in the back, behind the people.  But everyone is bigger than me,” Ethan says.

There is a God-confidence that is bigger than those social fears, the ones that plague Ethan and I.  Tim is prepared and Birkenstocks are o.k. and we even sing some songs we know, out in the beautiful little amphitheater behind a country church that welcomes us in the Lord.

I don’t really think anyone is concerned with my hair or our clothes.

“Mom, can you find me some different swim shorts?” he asks later that night.  “Henry makes fun of the flowered-ones.”

Another round of swim lessons tomorrow and another bout with the fear of man.  I don’t laugh at his fear or look down on these worries because they are mine, too.  Flowered-shorts and wild hair and one huge pimple, all these giants we have to slay just to get out the door.

“Those flowers are called hibiscus and they’re cool Hawaiian shorts, bud.  That’s what the surfers wear,”  I appeal.  It’s not the best parenting, I know, but it’s all I can come with at the moment.

“Ya, but Henry would make fun of the surfers, too.”

Good point.

Henry wants to make you feel less, and when you already struggle with those insecurities it doesn’t really matter what surfers wear or what mom thinks is cool.

Henry will laugh.

Henry has also laughed at your pink palms and your brown skin that mommy thinks is lovely.  I want to send your big brother in the locker room with Henry, to teach him a little compassion and maybe put some flowered-shorts on him.  But Henry is just a little boy who is very observant and likes to talk, and Henry probably has his own Henrys  in his life.  So it’s me, the one who professes Christ, that needs compassion for the Henrys.

The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. – {Pro 29:25 NKJV}

This fear of man has never accomplished anything good in us, and most of our insecurities are just a self-absorption that takes us away from Christ and distracts us from serving others.

I’ve heard it said this way:  If you realized how little time people spent thinking about you, you’d spend less time thinking about yourself.  A little cynical, maybe, but isn’t that the cure?  That we ought to trust in the Lord and put others first, thinking less of ourselves and making more of Jesus?  And truly, the ones who are laughing at you are probably the ones hurting most, the ones who have learned that it’s better to hurt you before you hurt them.

The giants we have to slay today are not the Henrys in our life, but the value we place on other’s opinions of us.  

And I’d really like to know – how do you help your kids (or yourself) overcome this fear of man?  Will you join us in the comments?

~~~~~~~~

This right here, the cure for Big People!

Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! – {1Ch 16:8 NKJV}

 332.  Seeing precious friends before their firstborn leaves for college

333.  good neighbors

334.  finding my son on his bed with his bible 

335.  free summer weekends

336. new friends

 

 

{Linking up with A Holy ExperienceThe Better MomTitus 2sdaysScribing the Journey, Growing Home}

Advertisements

The Value of You, Right Where You Are

Already, there is this desire to choose.
Are we born with that?  Do we come from the womb defiant at the choices made for us?
Why did God put me here?  Why am I different?  Maybe I am not supposed to be in this family, in this place.
He’s seven and where did he get these questions?
The not-belonging and the longing for something else, something we know nothing about, all those thoughts started in the garden.
Adoption is not all warm-fuzzy and we never thought it would be.  Sometimes, it is such a clear picture of our life in Christ, of God choosing us and giving us family.
But truly, we have to choose that adoption for ourselves.  It’s the one case where we do choose our Parent, but do we ever really get to choose our place?
He’s seven and he is upset about some discipline handed out, and isn’t that when we all question our place?
So he thinks he belongs somewhere else but he doesn’t see the big picture.
Like the children of Israel longing for Egypt.
I tell Ethan that we couldn’t hold him and love him and laugh with him while he was in India. That we’re all different, with different gifts and personalities and talents, different colored skin and eyes and hair, but God has put us together and our family is perfect this way.
I give him a hug and tell him I love him, because that’s what he really wants.
Do you ever question your place?
Do you possibly mistrust the God Who holds your breath, the One Who preappointed your times and the boundaries of your dwelling? (Acts 17:26)
Do you long to be somewhere bigger, better, more important or more satisfying?
Wherever you are, God is sovereign.  Whatever your struggle, rest in His handling of it.  He sees the biggest picture.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Counting all the gifts this week, some of them numbered here:
291.  Jacob enjoying the outdoors, and waking up thankful for his bedroom – the deer, the turkeys, the yellow birds at the feeder outside his window
292. our first 7-miler in 7 months
293. hot water and epsom salts, the morning after 7 miles
294. Ethan, the first child up this morning, monopolizing the one-on-one time
295. this verse:
And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
~ Acts 13:39
296. children with eyes to see His goodness and to delight in His creation (Jacob calling me upstairs this morning to see the bird in the window, because he knows I love birds!)
297. Sisters making a picnic

When You Want to be Free

Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. – {Gal 4:7 NKJV}

We always struggle for freedom.  We fight to get out from under the law, and when we find Christ sometimes we still fight.

Fight to be better, do better, live and love better.

We struggle to make fewer mistakes so that our family will be happier.

We live as though the goal in life is to make God love us more, or make our spouse, friends, or children love us more.

What more do we want from Christ’s atonement?

A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannotmake myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands ~ Oswald Chambers

I cannot make myself right with God anymore than I can free myself from the bondage of sin.  Jesus paid it all and all to Him I owe.

I’m reminding myself of this constantly, and praying to show this to my kids – that we are not good but God is.  We are not good and we can’t try harder or work more to become good.  There is so much tension in trying to be good.  

I just want to be His.

 


Five Minute Friday: Empty

It’s Saturday, I know.  Yesterday was busy and today I have 5 minutes (okay, more like 15!) to write.

So I’m a little behind…story of my life!  But here’s my 5-ish minutes on

Empty

Image

Image

Yes, he really is this cute!

Image

and this goofy!

Yesterday was the 6th anniversary of Ethan’s homecoming.  I still remember the day we saw him, curled up in a ball, sleeping in a crib in a room full of crawlers in that orphanage.

He was bigger than we’d pictured.  He looked as though he’d been fattened up, but he certainly was not healthy.  Snot oozed from his little nose and his chest was wheezy.

The first night in our Indian hotel with him was surreal.  I looked at this little guy, who’d never seen white skin before nor heard much english, and he just looked so…independent, I guess.  Unattached, but needy.  A little lost.

He had his first bath in a tub.  Screamed louder than anyone in that high dollar hotel wanted him to.  He was clueless what to do with the cheerios I had brought, having never put hand-to-food-to-mouth before at seventeen months old.

And back at our guest house in Delhi, he grew hotter and more ill than any child I’d ever held.  Would they even let us on the plane?

We adopted not because our hearts were empty, nor our house.  The love of God has been poured out in our hearts, and He’s blessed us with 5 children  now.  There are myriad reasons for adopting, and I believe God motivated us to fill the empty in Ethan Shashwat.

We had an empty seat at the table.  An extra place in the car. Arms that could hold more and laps that needed sitting.

God provided empty places for more of His love to pour into.

And to make that little crib in Pune, Maharashta, India, empty for another to be cared for and placed in permanence.

Image

Chosen

Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. ~ Eph. 1:3-6

It’s only 2 days into my study of Ephesians with the Good Morning Girls and already I am blown away.  How slowing down gives time to hear.  Time to savor and appreciate.  My tendency is to want to read big chunks of scripture, to move on and do more and check off another chapter.  How spiritually unproductive.

The verses this morning struck a chord in my heart.  One of my sisters shared this from Ephesians 1:5-6 ~

He knows the baggage that we bring with us and it is for His pleasure that he accepts and welcomes us, the broken, fearful, hopeless orphans of the world.

He knows our baggage, and chooses us anyway.

Last week my 7 year old poured out his heart to me after a time of discipline.  Sometimes the sting of discipline opens us up to spill out the deep things.  Even 7 year olds have deep things, and I am always thankful when a tough lesson brings sweetness and tenderness between mother and child.

“Mom, why did you and dad even get me if I do so many bad things?”

Gasp.  Could words hurt anymore than those?  Hurt for my son, and how long has he been thinking these things, and what else is in that tender heart?  And what have I conveyed?

“Son, mommy and daddy didn’t get you…we loved you before we ever saw your face and we worked hard to bring you home.  We chose to adopt you, honey.  And mommy and daddy do bad things, too, but that doesn’t stop our  heavenly Father from loving us.  He knew we would sin.  We knew you would sin, just like your brothers and sisters and even Pastor Travis and everyone else in this world.  But we will never stop loving you and neither will Jesus.”

Even Pastor Travis?!”

“Yes Ethan.”

End of conversation.  Hugs and kisses, apology and forgiveness…onto legos.

But the lesson is still in my heart, and this morning’s Word only served to deepen it.  I’m so thankful to be loved despite all the bad things I do, to be chosen before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blame before Him.  Amazing love!

This is one of those ‘toodays’ (as Ethan spells it).  Too much to comprehend.  Too much not to notice His goodness.

Post Navigation