Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “grace”

For Those Days {You Know the Ones}

Some days are just like that.
Some days you don’t listen to your child-feeling-ill and you clean lunch off the bathroom floor instead.
Some days you try to do something nice for someone and it turns out all catastrophic, with smoke and charcoal and flaming chicken.
Some days you stand over the blender and get a mini-smoothie-facial, and it makes your kids laugh hysterical.

And sometimes it happens all in the same glorious, blessed day.

All those days, the ones that don’t go as planned and the ones that seem to crash in the middle, they all string together to make up this life.  You look back and remember that you let your kids laugh at you, that you gave grace to the sick child, and someone tired and poured-out was blessed by your meal anyway.

And families stick together through those imperfect moments because moments make memories, and these are some of the best.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

{Psa 103:1-5 NKJV}

Blessing the Lord for all this:

326.  the Gospel, preach all weekend to 130+ kids

327.  the 26 who are new creations!

328.  creek baptisms

329.  friends who make themselves at home in our house

330.  coffee, half n half, and fresh morning air

331.  podcasts to divert my mind from my burning lungs on my run

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

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It’s Time…

It’s the first day of August.

Monday I was ready to freeze summer and just soak in the days, the fleeting moments.  But today is August and that means I have to get in gear for school and order those books and make those schedules and shouldn’t the kids start going to bed earlier?

Funny, the difference a day makes.  How one day it’s July and you want to slow down and the next day it’s August, time for discipline.

We’ve moved to a new home this summer and the freedom of this dead end road has breathed life into our kids.  The dirty-feet, playing-in-the-creek, aw-do-we-have-to-come-in-now kind of life.  They are always scattering and I am continually trying to gather them up for meals or chores or trips to town.

It’s been awesome.

I can just picture the look on their faces if I suddenly woke them up early one morning and called them downstairs for school.  Like cold water in the face or a slap on your sunburned back.  Shock.  Horror. Confusion.

We should probably transition gradually.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but summer is ending soon.

I think we’ll hold on to some carefree days, interspersed with a gradual tightening up of the schedule.

{How do you transition your kids back to the routines of fall?  My kids would appreciate it if you gave their mom some grace-filled ideas.}

When Summer Freezes

There are carefree days of childhood left to enjoy.  Trees to climb and knees to scrape, bikes and bubbles and building forts.  There’s still time to enjoy sticky cotton candy and salt water taffy, and it’s ok if you want to color, too.

There’s no rush here, no need to hurry up and be all mature.
In fact, can we just freeze these moments and really soak them in?
Time hiccups and I revel in the moment, you all happy and carefree, all giggly and silly and laughing at my jokes.  We can color together or splash in the pool or paint our nails wild.  We can stay up till 1 a.m. watching the opening of the Olympics, and in the morning we’ll eat more junk food for breakfast.
Show me your paper boats and lego kingdoms, tell me the coolest thing you saw on pinterest, and build your train tracks right on through the living room.

I think if it weren’t for children I’d have to be all mature, too.

Change comes inevitably down the time-line, with no mercy.  “Time waits for no man” they say and we can’t really get any more of it than God has allotted.
We have only to be good stewards of it.
So if I rush you, I’m sorry.
When I don’t make time for a picnic with all of us freezing the moment together, I’m sorry.
If I put burdens on you that don’t belong in childhood and if I forget that this is the only guaranteed moment, I’m sorry.

Time is flying and only grace gives the wings fit for enjoying it.

So we’ll all give grace and live in grace and together we’ll enjoy this childhood, the one that comes in 24 hour increments.
The one too good to rush.

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Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

{Psa 103:1-5 NKJV}

Blessing the Lord for all this:

321.  Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Truffles and…

322.  The sweet friend who brought them

323. excited little people

324.  squeaky voices and morning breath

325. our new volleyball net : )

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

When Sin Leads to Thanksgiving

Parenting is tough.

Parenting is day and night, 24/7, clinging-to-grace and praying-in-faith.  It’s discipleship of our children and it’s discipleship for us, because who can teach and not learn?

It’s rewarding and it’s exhausting and it makes you question your sanity, like I imagine a marathon would be.

My crazy husband and I ran a half-marathon.  I paid money to expend every ounce of energy I could muster over 13.1 miles, to get blistered and chaffed, to fight off the urge to quit at mile 10 and the need for a potty at miles 5 through 12.  For about the last 7 miles all I could think was, “I’m paying to do this?”.

At the end we got oranges and bananas, some gatorade, and a t-shirt.  Actually, we didn’t even get the shirt because that was more money.

So parenting is tough like running, but the rewards are greater.  Boxes full of drawings, paintings, macaroni necklaces, precious notes and baby teeth in sandwich bags.  Morning-breath kisses, sticky faces, Dr. Seuss by heart, billions of questions, thousands of I love you’s.  

The rewards of parenting aren’t always warm and fuzzy.  A house full of sinners brings tension, lots of correction and training, and really the greatest reward is seeing the gospel work itself out in your children.

Sometimes I stop nagging long enough to allow grace to lead to repentance.

Oh happy day, when my children confess sin without being guilted into confession.  When the Holy Spirit is unhindered and quietness brings conviction.

I have just an ounce of understanding of the joy of this verse:

“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” – {Luke 15:7 NKJV}

Yes, we want to raise godly children.  We want them to love Jesus and love their neighbor and overcome evil by doing good.  But if we teach them the truths of scripture, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, that Jesus came as a friend of sinners to seek and save the lost,

then every sin-moment is the perfect time and place for grace to pour in and for sinners to bring joy to their Savior.

And I give thanks for the repentance, not the sin.  But without the realization of the one, the other is never needed.

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Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

{Psa 103:1-5 NKJV}

Blessing the Lord for all this:

305. siblings that miss each other

306. my hard-working, sensitive and giving children

307. making my tired husband smile

308. The wonderful burning ball of warmth in the sky!

309. Shelby’s Super Nanny impression (crack. me. up!)

310. dancing wild in the living room to Sharri’s piano playing

311. inside jokes 😉

312. forgiveness

313. talented friends making beautiful music on our piano

314. long-lost friends

315. big words with Shyla!

316. standing in the rain with the boys, watching the lightning

317. barbecuing again

318. guitar music from the bedroom

319. swim lessons

320. repentant hearts

Linking up with

A Holy Experience

The Better Mom

Titus 2sdays

Scribing the Journey

For the Ones Who Can’t Hear “Beautiful”

You shun it as though it were a four-letter word.  When it comes you refuse to hear, refuse to let it attach to you because, surely, you ought to resist that flattery.
Be humble and all that.
Sincere.
You secretly hope that the words are sincere, and inside you desire to wear them gracefully, to be them and believe them.
But your enemy tells you otherwise and you listen to him instead.  To the father of lies?
You have to choose what you wear.

Let Us make man in our image, according to our likeness ~ Gen. 1:26

Your Father has said beautiful since you were born.  He’s made beauty in the world, wonder that you capture with camera or imagination or just sheer enjoyment.
Yet you,
created in His image,
won’t listen.
You have eyes to see it all around, but you wonder if it’s ok to see it in you.  As if vanity came from simple appreciation.

Is it ok to think that I look nice?

You ask me one Sunday before church, and I’m remembering the time of no jeans and no mirrors because I was so weak and so consumed.

Imago Dei.  All of us, the image of God.

Yes.  It is good.

Take a little  time in that mirror and gaze at the image of God.  Be blessed by His beauty and comfortable with your skin, your hair, the color of your eyes and the marks of distinction on your face.
Praise Him for infinite imagination, thank Him for hairspray and mascara and jeans if you must.
And then move on from that mirror and see beautiful  all around you, in others.  Go tell someone they’re beautiful and tell them why.  If you don’t see beauty then tell them why Jesus is Beautiful.  Talk about Him.

Attach yourself to Beautiful when you can’t believe He’s attached to you.

When you hear beautiful, wear it.  Be it.

Put it on with your cross and remember the ugly beautiful, the One Story so dangerously beautiful that it saved you from being forever ugly.

Someday, when your husband tells you you are beautiful, believe him.  Believe him because refusing to hear beautiful is calling him a liar.
There will be unlovely days and sweat-pant days and days of acne and bloating and extra pounds.  There will be days when no one says beautiful to you, but won’t you still hear it?
Won’t you listen to the One Who is inside, who created you imago dei and ever lives to display Himself through all His creation?  Through you?

Believe Him because refusing to hear beautiful is calling Him a liar.

Because, really, beauty-full is what you are.  Don’t cover that up.

{And by the way, beautiful is for boys, too.}

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?}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Staged Life

I don’t always give my best.

Sometimes ‘my best’ is too much work and I settle for doing ‘just enough’ or even ‘maybe later’.  I’ll go to bed with that sink-full of dishes and toppling pile of laundry, with no idea what’s for breakfast and with a lovely, crumb-crusted floor.

Once or twice, I’ve even fallen into bed fully clothed and with un-brushed teeth.  Sorry, honey.

I just thought a little confession would be good.

Someone called and told how guilty she felt for going back to bed that morning.  She thought about all the things  I had probably already accomplished that day, and what a loser she was for snuggling back in.
Funny thing is, I often have the same thoughts about her.
So many times in my day I think she could have done this faster or better.  She probably always knows where things are, and how embarrassed I ‘d be if she opened this cupboard or looked in this shower.
And it’s not just one person, it’s every other woman out there.
I am forever comparing myself.  But I always seem to compare my worst  with their best.  
If only I could take the best of everyone and combine them into one, like some Suzy Homemaker on steroids.

As though someone really does have it all  together, all the time.

You know that those pictures are staged, right?
We take pictures because we want to remember that one time, we did make a beautiful meal for our family and everyone liked it.  Or we want to remember that we do sometimes have fun together and everyone laughs.
Someone said jokingly, “It’s not about having fun.  It’s about the pictures!”.

But having it all together in real life is more illusive, more of a special occasion.

There are those days where everything clicks along, every meal is planned, the house is clean and I even see the bottom of the laundry baskets.  School happens peacefully and the kids play a game together.  My husband walks in to the smell of his favorite dinner, sits down to eat it with his favorite people, and we all have a lovely discussion that is relevant and fruitful.

The trouble is that I expect  the days to always be that way.  And what do expectations get me?

More often, those events don’t all line up on the same day.  Monday I might have all our meals planned.  Tuesday school might go peacefully and the kids might play a game.  Wednesday may be a marathon laundry day, and Thursday we might have a really good discussion at dinner with no bathroom noises, no 5th grade humor, and no fighting over who-sits-where.

But rarely does it all happen in one day.  That would either be exhausting, or a waste of time, or The Cleavers.  Surely there are better things to do than live in a photo shoot.  Is a picture really worth a thousand words?
We live in the real world with real mess-ups and do-overs every morning, and I’m so thankful for that.
My heart’s desire is to honor God and my husband, and that needs to be the driving force behind all I do or don’t do in a day.  They both know my weaknesses and love me anyway.
… walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; – {Col 1:10 NKJV}

Are you stuck comparing yourself with others?  How do you guage your accomplishments – what makes you feel like you’ve done enough for the day?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Counting all the gifts this week, some of them numbered here:
298. The full moon
299. The fog clearing away in the morning
300. Motivation!
301.  Bailey, thanking me for making her do hard things
302. Bible discussions
303. good friends at the river
304. 3 things that were broken or lost, that are now found or fixed

Forgetting Grace

It’s been one of those days and I’m scrambling for a solution.  Isn’t there a book I can read with a formula I can use to fix this?
I steam inside.
How did we become this?  What did I do/not do/forget to do that allowed all this to be?
I always seem to think that more information will solve the problems.
But life is not lived out in formulas and equations, and in real life there are more recipes that fail because I am always trying to fix heart issues with ‘just the right ingredients’.
Add a little of this, use less of that, try this new miracle formula…and voila!
Same problems, different flavor.
There is nothing on the internet today that will fix the problems in my heart.
There is no earthly book, no potion, no method or manipulation that will solve this lack of grace.
I just need Jesus.
And what more do they  need?  More law, because that really worked for me?
Not so much.
They need a mom who’s been washed, washed, and washed again and once and for all, because sin is a daily battle and grace covers it.
The one encouragement that we can always give our children (and one another) is that God is more powerful than our sin, and He’s strong enough to make us want to do the right thing.”
Elyse Fitzpatrick, Give Them Grace
We are all people with problems, living with people with problems.  There is so much room for grace here, so much gospel to be lived out.
But when we forget grace and use methods instead, we sleep with elephants on our chest because we fail, I fail.
I have this Hero and He won me with grace.  He’ll win their hearts, too.

Meeting One Person {Risk Part 2}

Friday, I said that risk was good and that we need to meet lots and lots of people.  Then I drove off to the big city, full of people, and ran into several that I already knew.  I gravitated towards them, the known and the safe, and walked by hundreds I didn’t know.  Hundreds I didn’t meet.

Dinner at The Horn of Africa {in Portland!}

Stopping for fuel

I suppose I took my turtle shell with me.

Saturday in the Goodwill, two men mocked Christians and laughed at one very dear, very devoted and well-known saint.  They bantered and built their conversation around lies, and I just looked at the clothes on the hanger.

A real risk-taker, I was.

I was a country mouse in the big city without my husband and I just felt little.  I felt sure that my husband would want me to keep to myself in that situation, but honestly, I was happy in my shell.  Happy and risk-free.

Then Sunday, back in familiar fellowship, there was a new family.  I swallowed hard and fought down the self-doubt and really, fought down the pride that worries about self.

I extended my hand and forgot names and had to ask again and I may have talked too long or too loud or too irrelevant, but I did it anyways.

I actually introduced myself to someone new.  And today we talked for 30 minutes on the phone.

I had thought that I had failed after the Goodwill incident.  I felt guilty for not standing up for the truth and for being timid.  I read about Stephen this morning,  his boldness and his risk, and thought again about my lack of both.

But another good friend put it this way.  What’s risk to you is not necessarily risk to me.  What’s hard for you may be natural to me, but there other things that scare me, and other places for me to take risk.

Introducing myself to new people really is hard, as silly as that may seem to some.  It really seems like risk to me.  That’s one of the reasons I write.

So I overcome, one baby step at a time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Giving Thanks for all this:

281.  Good friends

282.  A day with far-away friends

283.  Working on the dam with Jake

284. Being with my sister

285. Catching Fred {?I’ll be asking some questions ’bout this one?}

286. Jacob making soft pretzels, and taking bits of mom’s granola

287.  Bailey saying something not funny, and only her laughing

288.  Three people asking if we’re sisters : )

289.  driving 8 hours round trip  for a few good books,  a homeschool shot-in-the-arm,  and lots of good memories

290.  Good stories from the kids at home

Five Minute Friday: Risk

I’ve set my watch for 5 minutes.  I’m supposed to be leaving right now, on my way to Portland with my beautiful daughter for a couple days of book choosing and lattes.  But it’s Friday and Lisa-Jo has given this writing prompt:

RISK.

GO

It’s much easier just to stay home, and when I’m out it’s easier to tuck inside the shell.

There is so much risk associated with being in public.  What if I say something stupid?  What if I say something irrelevant?  What if I don’t know what to say at all and I pull a Peter-on-the-mount?

I still remember the first time my dad made me order for myself at a restaurant.  I was Piglet-p-p-p-petrified, certain that the waitress would…I don’t know, laugh at me?  Give me the wrong food?  Not understand me?  I remember that I was scared, just not what I was scared of.

Something irrational, I’m sure.

And I remember many many foot-in-mouth times.

But risk is what I need.

My husband actually tells me to talk more.   Crazy.  He thinks I have something profound to say.

I’ve stood in front of large groups and sat with small ones, said lots of dumb, silly, laughable and forgettable things, and I’m always scared of the risk.

But a few weeks ago this came to mind (I hesitate to say the Lord told me…so take it for what it’s worth to you):  I, you, we all who follow Christ, need to meet lots and lots of people.

Scary.  That means lots and lots of risk.

But I, you, we all, have something worth risking ourselves for, and something worth saying.

STOP

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