Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “reminders”

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}

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.}

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.

 


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

Raising Ebenezer {When Worry Steals Your Moment}

I smile and enjoy the moment.  Everything is right with the world and I am happy as a clam.  The day was perfect, the conversations edifying,  a little work happened and a little play and rest.  Now the children are tucked in and it’s just me and the man of my dreams.

Some days everything just lays out perfectly.

But what if…

What if something happens to one of us under this roof and our bliss is taken?  What if there comes a day when my husband gets up and there is no job for him to go to?  What about fires, earthquakes, floods, and cancer?

But what if…

What if I reach 80 and have bitter regrets?  Or I realize that I chased the wrong dream, loved the wrong things, and sacrificed for what perishes?

They flood into my moment and steal my joy.  Those thoughts play on the unknown and they mock me because truly, everything could change in the blink of an eye.

But what if I just always enjoy this moment, because it’s the only one outside of eternity that I’m sure of?  Can’t I be happy with this?

 Thus far the LORD has helped us. (1 Samuel 7:12)

I have no reason to doubt His goodness, and if all else fails, then my default is eternity.  If all else fails then this life was just a blip on the screen and the good and bad all wrap up in Forever, where there is no ‘what if’.

 Worry can take a hike.

So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. (1 Samuel 7:13)

 Have you had moments stolen by the ‘what ifs’ this week?  Maybe you, like me, need to remember that thus far the LORD has helped us and we have no need to fear that He would suddenly stop.  His faithfulness is to all generations.

So the reminder for us is in everything give thanksThe only thing to come, the only future we need to dwell on, is the certain one bought for us by our Redeemer. 

Be thankful for, and live in, the now.

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Some things I’m thankful for now, added to the slow-growing list:

250.  starting over again, with new mercy for every morning

251.  friends and family that stop by

252. my handy-dandy, new-to-me computer hutch, given by a friend

253.  un-prompted apologies

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.

Five Minute Friday: Good-Bye

Friday already, and I link-up with Lisa-Jo and write breathless for 5 straight minutes.  I love this prompt every week and the places it opens up…care to join the fun?

We have made it past the diaper stage and the feed-me-now stage and the sleepless nights.  We have officially said “good-bye” to pull-ups and wet beds.  Everyone can buckle themselves, brush their own teeth and hair, make themselves toast, and at least attempt to make the bed.

So we’ve said good-bye to the Age of Dependence.  Right?

Not so much.

As much as I wanted to be done with that age, the next one is not any less difficult.  That’s what they all told me, back when I was sleep-deprived and vomit-covered.  The ones who’d gone before tried to tell me to enjoy all that, to tell me that it only gets harder as they grow.

I laughed inside, thinking they had just simply forgotten.

But now I’m that one, and I reminisce on the days gone by and they don’t come back around.  Each day is spent and so am I.  Exhausted more emotionally than physically, and clinging to grace like never before.

They still are so needy, we are needy.  The sleepless nights are replaced with late nights, feed-me-now has become don’t-stop-feeding-me-I’m-starving, and now that they can all buckle-up, one of them wants to drive!  Lord, help me.

Wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I only want to revel in it, to soak it up, do it well and gracefully, and say good-bye to regret and selfish longing.

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What do you miss most from your kids’ younger days?  I miss toddler footsteps and fingers curling hair, sloppy kisses, freshly washed baby smells, and nap time.  Definitely miss nap time.

 

 

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.

Good Shoes

He comes to steal peace.  To shake the foundations and stir-up doubts, discord, anything to deflect our gaze.  He comes all wily, all destructive and pretending to be all-knowing.

We know better.

And Paul warns us against his schemes, tells us to clothe ourselves and to stand.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. – Eph 6:11 NKJV

How many times have I fallen all limp-kneed and weak-fleshed, giving in to the thoughts and the juicy tidbits of fruit that leads to rot?  I determine to stand, but the whole spirit-flesh conflict is wearing me thin.

I paint my toenails blood red for this picture, because I want to remember what He said here.

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— – Col 1:19-22 NKJV

What the enemy really wants is to take Christ’s work and nullify it, remove it from my mind, add it to the list of things I forget daily.  He wants to steal the peace I have with God.

The redemption that brings me peace and settles my anxious and guilt-ridden thoughts, it only comes from the blood of His cross.

And when Paul says that with all the armor we need good shoes, I think he must mean to remind us that the gospel of peace is reconciliation with God.  We are reconciled – holy, blameless, above the reproach of the accuser.  Great peace.

…having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; – Eph 6:15 NKJV

He changes my thinking this morning about this gospel of peace.

I have always read this verse as a call to be ready to share the gospel, shoes on and ready to go.  And surely we ought to be ready for that, but to stand, stand, stand as Paul repeats here…we need good footing.  We need the security and certainty and never-changing-no-matter-what peace with God.

The gospel of peace is His blood bringing us into security, never shaken or taken.

This thought process is not over for me, but I am in a good place when I stand reminded of the blood that brought the reconciliation that brings the peace that stands against the accusations.

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