Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “fellowship”

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?

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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}

Five Minute Friday: Enough

 It’s Friday and Lisa-Jo has given this writing prompt:

ENOUGH

Every Friday we spend five minutes spilling words and we forego editing  and fretting, and just write.  It’s fun, it’s free, and you should click the link above and try it!  Or at least, read what some others write for fun on Fridays.

GO

It’s crowded and that makes me a little uncomfortable.

People and words and lack of air all combine to choke me a little, but it’s Sunday and I love these people.

She stands to update us all on her life, because she’s a part of us and it’s been so long since she’s been ‘in the valley’.  Her voice is so clear and the words hit me between the eyes.

“When I was a teenager I didn’t want to go with my family to Mexico.  My heart wasn’t in being a missionary.  But I finally submitted to God and decided to be satisfied with wherever He had me.”

Because He is enough.

I worry about doing enough and being enough and did I teach them enough.  Did we pray together enough and do they know Him well enough and will they ‘turn-out’?

We all have to turn out  to find our enough.

Worry turns me in but her words remind me.  He is enough for wherever and whatever and nothing shakes a heart submitted to being satisfied.

STOP

The Lost Art of Presentation {It’s Better Than it Looks}

I’ve read The Hidden Art of Homemaking.  I know all about fresh flowers and art work and candles and lovely music.

And I think that’s all great.

But if I had a dollar for every meal that I’ve prefaced with, “It will taste better than it looks,” I could redecorate the whole house.

Somehow, I just miss the whole presentation of it.

My family has gotten good at naming these mystery meals:

  • almost chicken sandwiches
  • What Is It?  AKA, Manna.
  • Oh-No Casserole
  • Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday on Thursday

I make lopsided cakes, not-so-round pizzas, green “Orange Julius”, and I’ve served soup in strawed cereal bowls.  To guests.

But it all tastes good, really.

Suffice it to say, I need to work on my presentation skills.  I need to work on presentation because what I’ve made actually is good, it’s just cut short by the appearance of things.

Who wants to dig in to a meal with questionable results?

I thought about this the other day as I mixed several different leftovers into a meal.  Shelby asked what it was and I said, “It’s kinda like…”.  Not very reassuring.  I need to at least have a name for what I’m serving up.

I thought about the importance of presenting things in a way that was not only appealing, but also true and indicative of the contents.

I wouldn’t put whipped cream on the veggies just to make them look good, and I wouldn’t put the pie in a blender just to make it easier and faster to consume.  Both of those things are good just simply because their ingredients are good.

 But sometimes good things are disguised in bad packaging.

Eventually I was thinking about the gospel.  About all the ways we try to package it up nice and tidy, the ways we manipulate situations to make sure the gospel gets inserted, the way we live like presenting the gospel is uncomfortable.

And I thought about how our presentation, be it style or attitude or just sour character, can turn people off.

We are the presentation of the gospel to the world.  Through nature and logic and miracles and the risen Christ, He reveals His goodness.  And also through dirt-made-image-bearer.  Mankind.  

It’s the grace of God that brings salvation, teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age (Titus 2:11-12).

Because those things aren’t appealing to everyone, should I therefore tweak the presentation a little, make it more palatable?  Or should I be in-your-face with it and forget tact and respect and love for my neighbor, all in the name of getting the gospel out?

We are the presentation of the gospel.  The aroma of Christ is the stench of death to some, and to others the hope of life (2 Cor. 2:16).

Can I say to someone that it’s better than it looks?  Because it is, of course, but how does it look on me?

Please join in the comments and share your thoughts on presenting the gospel with our lives.

{We are hosting 18 people for dinner Sunday, by the way, and I have no clue what to make.  Something that looks and tastes lovely?}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Story

It’s Friday and Lisa-Jo has given this writing prompt: STORY.  We write for 5 unedited minutes each Friday and you could join us!

STORY

GO

Most of us live so much in our own world, in our own heads, that we miss the story of other people.  We all have story, it’s just that we are so busy living ours that we fail to dig in deep and read the stories of those around us.
Not all of our stories are non-fiction.  Some are fiction we create to cope with what is too real, too painful, too boring, or too unbelievable.
One story happens to us all, though.  We get to choose our part.  We have to choose our part, and the ending is beautiful or devastating.
Jesus enters with His story at some point,  and one way or another, we are forever changed.
I used to read those books as a kid, the ones where you choose your own ending.  I would start over each time and read it with a new ending.
I like the story that doesn’t end.

STOP

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.

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