Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “perspective”

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.

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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:

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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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.
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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

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

Creating Time and Art

We’re all making art here.

Horatius at the Bridge

Imagination puts blocks together into story, and there we are with brave Horatius.

We have free time to find.

Squeezed between the must-be-done and the screaming-urgent, we can all find time for a little creativity.

Dirt-movers create landscape and potential, a place to plant dreams.

And a little mud for boys-on-bikes.  *enjoy*

The left-handers choose girly pink paint and oil pastels to make their art, and it all comes out beauty.

And here, on the corner of the house that has stood empty for 5-ish years, the house-in-progress that has sheltered more birds than people, God put art.  Right there by the gutter drain full of slime.

And all I have to do is choose to see it.  To grab my camera and go find it today, because tomorrow I might forget.


“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, find opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein

Proof

Last week I told you all here how I was freaking out in the camp trailer.  Now that I am ‘stable’ again, I can laugh at it all.

Isn’t that sad?  That the perspective I need comes only in hindsight?  Such is the way of the forgetful.

But as I was clicking through pictures last night I found this proof of my freaky-ness and had to laugh at myself.  And then scold my daughter for capitalizing on my insanity with her camera.

Here is the posed picture:

See how sweet and serene I look, all happy and excited about packing up my household?  Don’t I look so organized and together, neatly placing household items in the box?

And then the real me let loose:

Crazy lady, swallowing her tongue.

If you can’t laugh at yourself today, then at least you might laugh at me.  It’s ok.

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. – {Pro 17:22 NKJV}

 

The Things I Miss

{This post was written a few weeks ago but left unpublished.  I didn’t figure anyone needed or wanted to read my selfish complaints and poor-me-isms.  It’s kinda gross, the stuff that comes out when your little world gets shaken, and I didn’t really want to share all that ugly.

But I read it this morning and realized that I needed this reminder, because we are moving towards order now and while that’s good, so good, I want to remember that there is only one Constant.  Life will get out-of-order again, and what will I do with Jesus in the chaos?}

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They are the two things I miss the most when life is upside down and busy.  When waking up is hard because sleep was fleeting, and there are kids on your kitchen table and living room couch.  Showering happens in line of 7 others and where in the world are my clothes, anyway?

We are in a time of transition, and I don’t mean to complain but I’m kinda freaking out.

I have so much to be thankful for.  And I am.  It’s just that I thrive on order and routine and I haven’t found those yet in this camp trailer.

That’s what I miss.  Order.  Routine.

I purpose to not complain, but then someone asks and the things I dwell on in my heart come oozing out of my mouth.  {So, dear friends, better to not ask!}

I can’t find our book of Giving Thanks, can’t read over all the blessings we’ve numbered so far this year and can’t write down more.  And so I stop being thankful?  This dust that breathes and lives because of grace, refusing to thank the Giver because of missing routines and lack of order?

And what burns me the most is my fragility.  My husband has this saying, that worship isn’t fragile.  It’s not about our surroundings or the music or the lights or the time, because it’s only worship if it’s about Jesus.

But I am fragile about important things, and faithful in the un-importants.

Three weeks out of order and routine, and the coffee pot has girgled every single day.  Is that my one constant, then?  Coffee?

There were days with no Words.  Days where pray was short and simple thank-You-for-this-food-amen.  But there have been no coffee-less days so far.  No days without a steaming blend of arabica, water and half-n-half.

Just days without Real Life.

Truly, then, what I miss the most because it is the most vital (vita, meaning life) is the Real Life of fellowship with Jesus.  What I think I miss is really just a habit.  Those quiet mornings in the Word and prayer…with coffee.

Your god may be your little Christian habit— the habit of prayer or Bible reading at certain times of your day. Watch how your Father will upset your schedule if you begin to worship your habit instead of what the habit symbolizes. We say, “I can’t do that right now; this is my time alone with God.” No, this is your time alone with your habit. There is a quality that is still lacking in you. Identify your shortcoming and then look for opportunities to work into your life that missing quality. ~ Oswald Chambers

Pretty much having my schedule upset right now.

I feel foolish to complain.  I am a spoiled child who disdains the smallest inconveniences.  I feel silly taking up space with my whining, but I know what writing it out does.

It makes me accountable.

And thankful, that a loving Father turns me upside down to shake out all the trinkets and fetishes I’ve carried around as habits, caught up in thinking they were necessary.  I still look forward to a quiet morning, to reading the Word and praying before the busy day.  I know I’ll go back to those things, but for now He just reminds that now  is a good time to seek Him.

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Thankfulness.  Can I just say that out of all the in-laws in the world, mine are the best?  For five weeks we upset their order and routine, interrupted their schedules, and they just blessed us again and again.

And when we invited them over last night, to be the first dinner guests in our new home…they brought the dinner.

Tending Sheep

“When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, “Here I am.” Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty.” ~ Oswald Chambers

I get lost in the fog of small, obscure tasks.

Today I want to do them for His glory, with the awareness that He is in every detail.  To do them without  the anxious longing for the next thing, the big thing, the thing that surely pleases God more than this menial task.

I have laundry, meals, packing, and more packing to tackle today.  This threatens to fog me, but not if I do it with ears open.

Moses was just tending sheep in the desert and I don’t think it gets much more mundane than that.

So if he can hear over the bleating of sheep and mind-numbing solitude, surely I can hear over the hum of the washer and the sound of Babe the pig entertaining my ‘helpers’.

Are you doing the obscure and the mundane today?  Watch for the burning bush.

Not too Comfortable

The text came in the evening, telling us that our brothers and sisters were running.  On the other side of the world, they serve Christ among the hostile and unreached and among mobs that form in the thousands.  Mobs that use violence to make their point.

We stopped as a family to pray, our hearts heavy for the little boys they would have to whisk away, the newly acquired home they would have to leave, the disciples hurting and confused.

It bothers me that today I have to make a decision about carpet.

Today it’s unlikely that anyone will get hostile over my faith.  I probably won’t be forced to grab my kids up and run from an angry mob.

I will probably just sit in my comfortable home and pray.

There is hope that persecution will grow the church, but would I ever tell them I prayed with thanksgiving for their persecution?  That I sat with my morning cup of coffee in my cozy and unthreatened home and thanked God for the scattering?

I remember this:

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us  – Act 17:26-27 NKJV

I am here and they are there, and we all have to seek, to grope and find Him.

So as I record our family’s thanks for the week, I add this – thankfulness that the God Who sees it all and listens close, He knows every need in every place.  Mine and theirs, ours.

We are half a world apart but God came down to unite us all, and if nothing else, I can pray.

And I can use this space to ask you to pray, also.  Pray for your brothers and sisters, for these precious people pouring their lives out across the globe.

And pray, too, for the ones in comfortable homes.

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 So we don’t stop giving thanks for small things while we pray for big things.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. – {Jam 1:17 NKJV}

233. good dreams

234. God’s word (this one written in a child’s hand, and this mama treasuring it in her heart!)

235. Ethan – I am thankful that the Roberts’ bought our house

236. Quiet mornings

237. friends that really want to help

238. a wife that is funny and smart and…

239. mercy and grace

240. foggy morning walks with everyone

241. violin

242. mommy’s doodles : )

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.

Launch Out to the Deep

On Sunday I take my class of 4th-6th graders downstairs to sit in service.  We are blessed by a visit from Amy, on leave from her mission in Asia, and I think the kids should listen in.  They sit with Bibles and paper, drawing what they hear and chatting a little with their neighbor.

Amy tells us in her second-tongue what the question always is…

“Aren’t you afraid?”

Aren’t you afraid to live alone?  Don’t you get scared at night?  Aren’t you afraid, being a single-woman in a strange country, where alcoholism is rampant and women are often subjected to violence?

She can answer a resounding, emphatic, faith-filled, “No.  I am never afraid because I’m never alone.  God is with me, always.”

God has called her to The Deep.

After Amy comes our pastor, sharing verse-by-verse from Luke 5.

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” ~ Luke 5:4

Verse-by-verse we hear how Jesus called them to do the thing that was illogical.  To fish during the day on the Sea of Galilee, after a night of toiling to bring in empty nets.  To go out in front of everyone, everyone who knows better than to try to coax fish into the net in daytime.

Nervertheless at Your word I will let down the net. ~ Luke 5:5

Give Jesus an inch, just a smidge of grudging, this-is-ridiculous-but-if-you-say-so obedience, and watch Him work.  Watch how big your God is.  See how He blows all your logic out of the water.

Then call for your friends to come out to the The Deep and help bring in the catch.

“Do not be afraid.  From now on you will catch men.”  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. ~ Luke 5:10b-11

Two boat-loads of fish, enough for maybe a whole years’ wages.  They forsook all?  To follow Someone Who wants to catch men, the way Peter and all who were with him had been caught – astonished.  Mouths agape and common sense shredded.

The Deep is calling because that’s where Jesus is.  That’s where your logic drowns, where your livelihood is magnified, where your knees buckle and your boats sink and Jesus says do not be afraid.

I’m looking for The Deep, warily looking and cautious.  As much as I can talk about launching out, the doing is another thing altogether.  It looks nice on paper, sounds nice when it’s someone else’s boat sinking, but me?  I have this comfort-zone-thing and I need those fish to feed my family and can’t I just surrender…some?

The Deep is calling us all out of that, in every little and big way.  Read Luke 5 and see how radical this calling is, how in-the-face of religion it flies.

Amy is not afraid, because she has gone out into The Deep and never found herself alone there.  Even when the emails don’t come and the language falters and the food is not comforting.  Even if it seems everyone else forgets, God never does, never leaves nor forsakes.

Will He do any less for me?  Even if my ‘deep’ is somewhat shallow?

I’ll never know unless I launch out.

{This “do not be afraid’ comes up to me again, in Matthew chapter 1.  I’m reading with the kids this morning and I hear the angel telling Joseph to not be afraid, this thing is of the Lord.  I hope I’m getting this.  Launch out.  Do not be afraid.  For those of you that I am blessed to fellowship with on Sundays, do you remember those words from a month or so ago?  About going out in the deep, over your head?  Without fear?}

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I write and remember all He’s done.  Giving thanks, counting to 1000.

That’s not true, actually.  These are just the things that I noticed and took the time to write down.  He does so much more!  My family writes them down with me and we attempt to notice more, and I love it.

188. a dad who stays home with a sick kiddo

189. ice cream – Shelby’s treat

190. getting my baby-holding fix

191. sun shining in on sick Ethan

192. transle googlate : )

193. Friends in Mexico

194. Picture blogs

195. email

196. 6 yrs. with Ethan Shashwat

197. quiet morning in the hot tub with my husband

198. working with an end in sight

199. thick slices of Uncle Troy bread for breakfast

200. the repeated “do not be afraid”

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