Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “marriage”

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

Five Minute Friday: Path

I love Fridays because Lisa Jo makes writing so fun.  Just five minutes and she even gives you the topic.

{In fact, come fall my children will be joining the fun…but don’t tell them yet.  Summer has just begun and we may lose pen and paper for a little while!  We are ready for a few lazy days, a few unpressed and spontaneous ones.}

But me?  I’m writing.


He actually found me.  Knocked on my door and said, “Remember me?”

I had never planned for marriage, never had the list of attributes or thought about churches or wedding dresses.  I had never seen a marriage that really looked like a blessing.

And my life had a way of just living itself out without my planning, anyways.

But he had the guts to knock on my door (well, my parents’ door anyways) and smile.  Just pop in and what next?

A difference in years and backgrounds and theology and none of it matters when God orchestrates something grand!  When God hacks away at the weeds on your path, and cuts out the poison oak and blackberry bushes that seem par for the course, when He does all that, who really needs plans?

All our planning or not planning just falls by the wayside.  We just follow the path.

So that was 19 years ago I guess.  And three years later we were married.  In a church.

And now 16 years after ‘we did’, after he quavered out Long as I Live and drove me away in that little white Toyota, I know I couldn’t have planned anything better than this.

Happy Anniversary, Baby.


I could go on and on, but the whole point is five short minutes of writing…



What’s More Important Than Being Right?

He leaned over and whispered it in my ear during church.  The  man sitting next to me, the one I had argued with that morning about who-knows-what.

It took me a minute to realize what it was he was saying.  I had been waiting for the apology, waiting for him to take back words and agree with me.  So when he leaned over and whispered,

“Will you accept my forgiveness?”

I thought he had apologized.

For a moment I reveled in the rightness of whatever my argument had been.  Reveled in the fact that he had given in to his error and my correctness.

Then I realized what he was saying.

I elbowed him and I laughed silly and knew that we were alright.  Will you accept my forgiveness, he says.  He knows I can’t resist and what was the argument about, anyway?

The slate is quickly cleaned and we try to keep a short account, to ward off bitterness and long bouts of silence.  Some things take more than light-hearted jesting, but we do the hard work and love is stronger, more important than being right.


Yesterday we heard about forgiveness from Luke 6.  About being forgiven by God with the same measure of forgiveness that we have offered to others.

I’ve always considered myself to be a forgiving person, mostly because I’m too forgetful to truly hold a grudge.  Also because nothing too terrible has ever happened to me.

But sometimes things trigger a memory and, though love keeps no record of wrongs, I sometimes find that I do.  That my memory is better than I thought and my forgiveness is less than I imagined it to be.

So when our pastor cupped his hands and said this is your forgiveness to others, and this is God’s forgiveness to you, I had to evaluate things.  The way I mete out forgiveness to others is the same measure God will use with me.

The Word, it stops me in my tracks sometimes.

There is infinite forgiveness for my blunders, and I want all of it.  Do I want to extend it to others?   Do I want to bless those who curse me, to pray for them, turn the other cheek?

What about those who just disagree with me or annoy me?  What about those whom I don’t love as much as I do my husband or children?  Is it worth the hard work with them?

Because Christ is in me and when I don’t feel like forgiving I am still called to it, me – being forgiven so much.  It ought to read like this: forgiven=forgiving.

I realized yesterday that unforgiveness doesn’t have to be this glaring obstacle, something so obvious that anyone can see it.  It can be just a greasy film across your life.  A thin, blurry film that covers the way you respond and think and react.

That kind of unforgiveness needs uprooted.

How do we best keep the list short?  Those annoyances and our reactions, aren’t they really unforgiveness?  What are your thoughts?

There is so much to be thankful for.  Here is our list – two weeks’ worth since last Monday was full of the blessing of work.

209.  poetry

210. warm tea when it’s snowing on spring break

211. waking up to frozen, delicate, perfectly formed snowflakes *and there are beautiful pictures of these, on the broken computer* (was that thankful?!)

212.  daffodils in a mason jar on the first day of spring

213.  little boys hunting for flowers in their rain gear

214.  sunshine after the rain

215.  finding the perfect pedestal sink at the thrift store

216.  the little white tea pot I wanted to buy at Freddies, but didn’t?  It’s at the thrift store, too!

217.  coffee with “old” friends

218.  a house-ful of good friends for lunch and lively discussion

219.  working with Dad…and blistered hands

220.  pie with last summer’s blackberries

221.  driving lessons with daddy

222.  some of the most important files on the computer…found!

223.  another break from the rain

224.  chocolate on my nightstand (thank you, dear!)

The Well-Loved Wife

Nobody said this would be easy, this marriage thing.  Paul says it’s a  picture of Christ and the church, of uncontainable love poured out and lavished on the somewhat unwilling.  Of submission and trust and respect for that loving authority.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. … Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, – Eph 5:22, 25 NKJV

Loving me as Christ loved the church must be tough.  I think submission is hard sometimes, but to love the unlovely, the crabby, grumpy, unthankful,  and mumbling?  The pony-tailed and sweaty?

And to love me not only in the way that makes me feel loved, with flowers or chocolate or date-nights or spontaneous house-cleaning.  Or built-in book shelves.

To love me the way I need it, too.   The way I sometimes don’t want  it.

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church.

Loving me by telling me no sometimes, telling me to wait, to be patient, to stop asking.

Or telling me, for my own good, to do those hard things.  You love me like that, and I’m the better for it.

You love me enough to tell me what I don’t want but desperately need to hear.  You’ve never said it quite like this, but you could:

“Put your big girl panties on and deal with it.”

Yep.  You married a silly, selfish girl.  Did you know that?   Did you know that loving me like Christ loved the church would be such a sacrifice?

You sure do it well.  You are gentle with me and patient.

I just want to thank you.  Thank you for being like Christ and loving the unlovely.  For sacrificing and  cherishing and nurturing.

Like iron sharpens iron, we bristle and grate sometimes on our way to sanctification.  But what joy in this marriage!  How blessed I am to share life with you.

Thank you.

And that part at the end of Ephesians 5, about wives respecting their husbands?

A man leaves early every morning and sweats and toils, tapes up bleeding fingers and makes beauty out of wood and nails.  He gets up 6 days of the week with an alarm, eats thousands of sandwiches without complaining, counsels, teaches, builds, fixes,  reads stories, preaches to the unreached, runs miles and miles with his slow wife, and sometimes makes pancakes for his family or does the dishes.

Respect almost seems like an understatement.  Couldn’t there be a bigger word?  You deserve more than I give, but I hope, pray, yearn for you to know that I do.  I do respect you.

You are amazing, for so many more things than I can list here.  You are amazing when you smile at the end of a hard day and when you play that game of checkers or Linkology.  You are amazing when you laugh at my silly-woman-who-needs-to-get-out-more humor, when you read my words and think I’m something special.

My encourager, my gentle leader, my strong-man and my teacher.  My crush and my best friend.

Thank you.


I have a confession… but first, a disclaimer.  We don’t watch TV.  We have a television for movies, and we do sit in front of the tube at the grandparents sometimes, but for the most part we are TV-free.  With that being said, once a year we do find somewhere to watch the Super Bowl.

Yep.  Football.

We have nothing against football – loved watching our son play middle school football this year and watching our local high school team win a state championship.   It’s just that watching grown, over-payed men  play a game that takes over a nation feels, well, a little silly.

We didn’t even know who was playing until yesterday, but when our neighbors invited us to watch the game with them we accepted.  There was pizza involved.  And we do love our neighbors.

We enjoyed the game.

The commercials were muted and eyes diverted for the most part.  But one commercial actually brought me joy.   Maybe I’m over-thinking it, or maybe I just expect them all to be garbage…or maybe it was just the romantic in me.  It caught me off guard, this commercial.  Because it didn’t go the way I thought it was going to.

I won’t post a link to it because I haven’t found one that wasn’t full of other garbage.  You’re welcome to google it yourself, but only if you promise not to be offended by women in bikinis.  I’ll just relate the gist of it here for you.

It was the Kia Optima commercial.  It begins with a husband and wife sleeping in their room (let’s assume they are married, because that makes me happy).  The sandman enters, sprinkles a little fairy dust on the wife, and she begins to dream of Tall, Dark and Handsome on his white horse, whisking her away.  Sandman fairies over to the other side, trips, and dumps the whole remaining bag of dust on sleeping husband, sending him what is assumed to be every man’s best dream…tons of beautiful women in bikinis.

Yuck.  I was heading for more pizza.

And then the unexpected happened.  The sweet unexpected.  The husband is on a racetrack (in his Kia?) driving by thousands of half-naked women, but paying them no attention.  He drives through a wall and into his wife’s dream.  The horse rears in fright.  Wife falls into husband’s arms. Tall, Dark and Handsome rides away alone.   Husband and wife drive off to Happily Ever After (in their Kia).  Love it!

Maybe there is hope for Hollywood?

I don’t know.  But it makes me happy.  To think about the wife’s knight-in-shining-armor really being the man in bed next to her every night.  To think about the husband who really thinks his wife is beautiful and special and worth rescuing.

And it makes me thankful for my husband.  He thinks I’m beautiful and special and worth rescuing.  He doesn’t drive a Kia, but everywhere we go together is Happily Ever After.

Still counting gifts…

116. Scripture songs for the drive home

117. Surprise dinner at Bravo’s

118. a refund check, just in time for groceries

119. mommy helping me make cookies for CELL group

120. a mid-day visit from Derek and Dan-the-hound-dog

121. CELL group

122. looking in the rear-view mirror and seeing their noses in books

123. Bananagrams at the library

124. Goof Group

125. violins

126. cheese

127. big kids, watching Winnie-the-Pooh

128. homemade mocha

129. surprise kisses from brother to sister

130. my knight-in-shining-armor

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