Payh Blog
New Year 2018
Jan 09, 2018

Enews: Jan. 2018

Looking Forward to a New Year

Caleb-ThumbnailIt was an active and eventful holiday season for the young men and staff at PAYH. While Thanksgiving and Christmas are always enjoyable times to be with our PAYH family, for me a highlight of the year is watching our young men in the PAYH Christmas Play. It’s always entertaining to see them on stage, interact with them backstage before and after the play, see their excitement and nervousness prior to being in front of a large crowd, and their pride and relief following their performance. It’s a joyful way to begin the Christmas season.
We are looking forward to the experiences and challenges a new year brings. We are continuing to improve and expand parts of our program, as we strive to provide more individualized care for our young men and their families. We are planning on adding courses to our vocational training this spring, beginning with an introductory wood shop class. Currently, several of our young men are in their second semester studying welding and are working toward their second certification. Training has begun for the Chick-fil-A Road Race in March, where about half our young men will compete in the 10k race and the other half in the 5k. It’s encouraging to see them push themselves physically as they strive toward their goal of finishing among the top runners.
As we move into 2018, I hope you’ll continue to partner with us in prayer as we undertake the calling God has placed on our lives – to plant His Word in the hearts of young men and make an eternal difference.
A changed life is priceless!
Caleb Leonard, Administrator

Stories from the Home

The fountain in front of the big house was frozen solid as the snow began to fall.

The young men enjoyed a number of interesting activities during their time off from school. They made wreaths and gingerbread houses, played laser tag, raced go karts, and even participated in a “survivor competition that included building primitive huts with no tools.
The following week, temperatures plunged and, on January 3rd, the PAYH campus was blanketed in a light covering of snow. The water fountain out front was frozen solid, and our young men (some of whom had never seen snow) had a blast playing in the snow.

Upcoming Event

Race-logo-10k-5k-1-mileWhether you’re a competitive runner or enjoy a casual stroll, there’s a place for you at the 3rd Annual Chick-fil-A Vidalia Road Race. Benefiting both PAYH and Winshape Camps in Vidalia, the race is already on track to raise more than $25,000 for these two ministries this year. Sign up at and visit the race’s Facebook page at
For sponsorship information, contact Victoria Shuman at 912-537-7237 or

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Sad Man Sits On An Old Wooden Bench On The Sea Coast
Dec 14, 2016

Purposeful Disappointments

2016. What a year! For me, it held the birth of my first child, learning how to balance motherhood, marriage, and work, the death of two grandparents, wrestling with loneliness away from my family and friends, excitement and gratitude over new friendships, lots of traveling with my husband and working on the road, very little sleep, and, let’s be honest, a TON of coffee. On a larger scale, 2016 brought the devastation of numerous earthquakes and hurricanes across the world, the spread of the Zika virus, terrorist attacks, the Summer Olympics in Brazil, a heated US presidential election, 135,858,636 births, and 56,893,923 deaths.
Every year, December naturally ushers in a season of reflection. The Thanksgiving leftovers are finally gone, the Christmas trees are being undressed, your extended family has gone back home, and you are frantically attempting to remember what New Year’s resolutions you made last January 1 to evaluate what kind of last minute work you need to accomplish. Maybe you can lose that 5 pounds if you run two times every day until New Year’s Day. Did you say you would read six new books this year? You definitely meant two. Okay, now you’re ready to find the courage to ask your boss for that raise. Maybe this past year was everything you dreamed of, but what if 2016 didn’t turn out like you’d hoped it would? If 2016 was a year of disappointment, unmet expectations, or devastating loss and pain for you, take heart in this truth: God is still sovereign.
Sovereignty is defined as “supreme power or authority. When we say that God is sovereign, we are referring to the Biblical teaching that all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens without His direction or permission. God is sovereign over His creation, the affairs of man, and our salvation, sanctification, and glorification; nothing and no one can thwart His sovereign plans. The gravity of this knowledge can feel heavy as you grasp the ramifications: In addition to the blessings and favor He shows you, God allows and even orchestrates the disappointments and tragedies in your life.
The Bible teaches us that God is good, faithful, loving, and merciful. He orchestrates each of our lives through the lens of these characteristics as well. But how is the tragedy that He allows good? 1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. The purity of your faith is more important to God than your comfort, the achievement of your dreams, your avoidance of tragedy, or the weight of your wallet. This makes sense, of course, because our faith affects our eternity, unlike our earthly circumstances. When gold passes through fire, the impurities are burned, leaving the gold refined and shining more brightly. Pastor John Piper believes that this “praise, glory, and honor mentioned in 1 Peter 1 is yours, and not God’s. Jesus says, “Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21). God praises your still imperfect faith, and that moment is more valuable to Him than your comfort or even your life.
So, how do you respond if you look back at 2016 and see nothing but failure, shattered dreams, broken relationships, and disappointments? You pray for a spirit of thankfulness. It seems counterintuitive to be thankful for the things we perceive as negative, but we must remind ourselves that God is working for our good. As He refines our faith, He molds us to look more like Him, He encourages us, and He uses us for His glory. Everything He does in our lives is done in love. These are things to be thankful for! Without fire, the gold will never shine as brightly. Even when we don’t always understand why things happen the way they do, we can rest in the knowledge that we will be okay because God is in control, and He is good. Now, “okay may look different than we expect. “Okay may mean that you still have cancer, or that your husband still loses his job. But, according to Romans 8, we know that “God works for the good of those who love Him.
Sometimes talking about the sovereignty of God can make Him feel distant or maybe just too big to be concerned with our problems. Do not let Satan convince you of this lie! God is close: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). God is in your midst and rejoicing over you: “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Nothing can separate you from God’s love: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39). Write these truths down around your house, recite them every morning, put them to melodies and sing them throughout the day – whatever you need to do to combat Satan’s deception and discouragement.
As we prepare to ring in the new year, remember who is in control. There is nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions and setting expectations for the future, but we must not think too highly of our own wills. If 2017 unfolds exactly how you want it to, praise God. And if it blows up in your face, praise God. He can see the bigger picture in it all, and we must trust Him, regardless of our circumstances. Embrace the refining process when your faith is tested and rejoice in His perfect plan for you!
Emma Payne
Emma Payne Signature.png
Advancement Associate
Paul Anderson Youth Home

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Nov 23, 2016

The Joy of Giving

Be honest: Have you ever dreaded going through the checkout line because you knew the cashier was going to ask you, “Would you like to donate to the Cancer Foundation? Maybe you’ve avoided the entrance with the Salvation Army volunteers ringing their bells because you just didn’t want to deal with it. We live in a materialistic culture that places overwhelming value on money. We focus on how much money we have, how we can accumulate more, how we can lose less, and what kinds of nice things we can purchase. We go to school in order to obtain a job that will provide plenty of money, go into debt to buy the nicest house on the block, save up to buy name brand clothes and accessories, and do whatever it takes to get the newest model car. Of course we know deep down that we should be generous with our money, but how do we truly experience the joy of giving?
The truth of the matter is that God owns everything, including “my money. This means I am His “money manager, responsible for taking care of the money He has entrusted to me. God has not blessed me financially so that I can own the latest iPhone, drive the newest Lexus, or vacation in exotic locations. On the contrary, He blesses me so that His generosity will overflow from my heart to others, pointing them to Him. Although we work hard for it, the money we earn is not ours – God provided us with the opportunities and abilities to make money in the first place. His goal is not my comfort; His purpose is His glory and His kingdom.
We so easily forget where our true home is. We invest so much in our earthly lives, even though we will spend forever elsewhere. Ultimately, this means that any money we spend that isn’t used for eternal purposes is wasted. Of course it is not a sin to purchase a coffee, but what kind of eternal value does that coffee have? I’m not saying you can’t go to Starbucks, but I do think we should be more intentional about allocating our finances to make an eternal impact. For example, perhaps it is more beneficial to take your unsaved friend to Starbucks and buy both of you a cup of coffee while you sit and talk about salvation. That cup of coffee would have eternal impact. Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 6 not to store up treasures for ourselves on Earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. Nothing we purchase here on Earth will make it with us to Heaven, so why do we get so caught up in these things? When we surrender this materialistic mindset and adopt an attitude of generosity, we experience the joy of giving.
Jesus tells us, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. If you are unsure about how your financial habits measure up, take a look at how you spend your money. Your heart always goes where you put God’s money. If you consistently spend it on your appearance and possessions, that is where your affections lie. If you examine yourself and find that you are not spending your money in light of eternity, there is hope for change: GIVING is the only antidote for materialism. Jesus said we can’t serve both Him and money, so choose Him. Serve God with your money by giving generously. The more you give toward His purpose, the less consumed with worldly possessions you will be. In the famous words of Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
God prospers us not to raise our standard of living, but to raise our standard of giving. On the subject of how much we ought to give, C.S. Lewis offers, “I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them. Particular cases of distress among your own relatives, friends, neighbors, or employees, which God forces upon your notice, may demand much more – even to the crippling and endangering of your own position. Mark 12 speaks of a poor widow who did just that; she gave her final two coins, all that she owned, to the church. Jesus referred to her as more generous than the individuals who gave out of their surplus. This woman found the joy of giving when she refused to hold on to her earthly possessions and instead gave everything.
2nd Corinthians 8 gives us a similar example: Paul says the Macedonian church’s extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity, as they gave even more than they were able. They even urgently pleaded for this privilege. I don’t know about you, but the thought of giving everything I have scares me. How did the Macedonian churches do it? They found the joy of giving. They knew that God had given to them so that they would give to others, and they remembered that their true citizenship was in Heaven. With these things in mind, they were able to give freely and joyfully instead of reluctantly and anxiously.
When you find yourself avoiding the charity volunteers or begrudgingly dropping your check in the offering plate simply because you know you’re supposed to, remember what Jesus has done for you. Not only did He give His everything for you in His life and death, but He has also given you more than you need here on Earth. Let your gratitude to Him overflow in generosity towards others. Maybe that means writing a check to your church every month, or perhaps it will look more like hosting and providing Thanksgiving dinner for your friends when you would rather save some extra cash to spend on Black Friday sales. There are many different ways to give; follow the Spirit’s prompting, and embrace the joy that giving brings.
If you don’t know where to start, Giving Tuesday is next week, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home could use your help! We have the privilege of seeing the eternal value of money firsthand, as the gifts we receive help turn troubled young men’s lives around by pointing them to Jesus, breaking the chains of addiction, and healing broken relationships.  In this case, the value of your donation will be automatically doubled, as our Board has agreed to match your contributions up to $10,000. Your generosity can make an impact far beyond the here and now, and we can attest to the joy that brings every day!
Emma Payne
Emma Payne Signature.png

Advancement Associate
Paul Anderson Youth Home

To Donate

Simply click the button below to donate online, call the office at 912-537-7237, or mail a check with “Giving Tuesday” in the memo to:
Paul Anderson Youth Home
P.O. Box 525
Vidalia, GA 30475
CA DATER donate button

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Oct 26, 2016

Hope for the Hopeless

I don’t think many people would disagree that we live in a dark age. If you turn on the news, it won’t be long before you hear a harrowing story of neglected children, school shootings, random murders, spousal abuse, human trafficking, racism, poverty, disease, natural disasters, or general mass chaos. In their most recent reports, the CDC and the FBI cite 41,145 suicides, 699,202 abortions, 90,185 rapes, 15,809 homicidal fatalities, 327,374 robberies, and 813,862 divorces in the United States in 2015. In such a godless day in age, our future can appear dismal. Yet, as believers, we have something bigger to hold on to: HOPE.
What exactly is hope? The dictionary defines it as “the feeling of wanting something to happen and thinking that it could happen. We can hope that the Georgia Bulldogs win the SEC Championship, wanting the team to succeed and knowing that it could possibly happen, but there is no guarantee; it may or may not happen. However, as believers, our hope is certain. Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. The root of our hope is Jesus. No matter what happens to us, no matter how dark our surroundings become, and no matter how bleak the future looks, Jesus has overcome this world through His death and resurrection. His love for us is evident in His ultimate sacrifice on the cross, and His ever-faithful concern for us is demonstrated in His resurrection. Because He rose again, He is alive and present in every moment of our lives, loving us, interceding for us, sanctifying us, and molding us in His image.
So what does this mean for us in our everyday lives? First, we need not fear. When the world around us looks like a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, and darkness seems to prevail, we have hope; this is not our home, and Jesus defeated sin. When bad things are happening to good people, we have hope; our God’s love never fails, and He works for the good of those who love Him. When our future is uncertain, we have hope; God is all-knowing and trustworthy to direct our paths. When we experience loss, we have hope; Jesus is compassionate and understands our pain because He experienced every emotion we feel during His time on Earth. When we feel alone, we have hope; Jesus’ very last words before returning to Heaven were, “Surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age. No matter the circumstance, Jesus is greater, and He is our hope.
Second, we can walk in victory. I cannot articulate it better than Paul does in Romans 8: “If God is for us, who can be against us? …Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Paul’s words are saturated with hope! Nothing can separate us from Jesus or His love; no catastrophe, trial, distance, or darkness can take away our hope. Because of Jesus, we have conquered the dark despair of this world!
Finally, we must tell others about our hope. There is no shortage of hurting people in this world, and far too many of them are hopeless. If your neighbor loses their job, your coworker gets cancer, your friend’s husband leaves, your sister has a miscarriage, or you hear the other parents in the pickup line at school lamenting the “hopeless presidential election, don’t miss the opportunity to tell them about Jesus and the hope they can find in Him! The greatest help you can give the afflicted is the eternal hope for which we all long in the deepest parts of our souls – point them to the Author of hope!
It is not always easy to see this hope when we are surrounded by such devastation and evil, but we must intentionally remind ourselves when we start to feel discouraged, depressed, and hopeless. Psalm 42:11 says, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God… The Psalmist recognizes his despairing heart, then reminds himself why his discouragement is unnecessary: God is his hope and salvation. Memorize Scriptures that talk about hope so that you are equipped and ready to counter the lies of despair Satan will undoubtedly seize you with. Psalm 71 says, “As for me, I will always have hope. Romans 15:13 reminds us, “Our God is a God of hope. Job 11:18 states, “You will be secure because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. The Bible is full of encouraging verses of hope; utilize them!
Emma Payne
Advancement Associate

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Sep 21, 2016

The Pit

On a recent visit home to my parents’ house, I found a stack of papers from my second grade school year. I thumbed through the terrible drawings, misspelled words, and chicken scratch handwriting with tears of laughter streaming down my face, sharing these hilarious memories with my husband who thankfully didn’t know me back then. As I was putting the papers back in their folder, something caught my eye. The form was a small questionnaire my teacher had each student fill out. I’m sure it was meant to be cute and entertaining to look back on like all the other papers we had just howled over, but this one was different. What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor. What is your favorite food? Pizza. What is your favorite color? Blue. What is your favorite sport? Gymnastics. If you could have one wish come true, what would it be? That my parents won’t die.
As I read my answer to the last question, my heart sunk a little. I remember being terrified to the point of tears anytime I called my parents and they didn’t answer. I was certain they had been in a car accident. I also remember being (unnecessarily) scared that our family was going to run out of money and find ourselves living on the streets. And after September 11th and all of the media attention around terrorism, I avoided opening our mail because I was afraid there might be anthrax in it. Saying these things out loud is a little comical now, but I was paralyzed by fear at the time. We always joked that I was the “family worry wart,” and it wasn’t until years later, after several more serious manifestations, that I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
You’re probably wondering why in the world they asked the woman who obviously has not mastered her anxiety to write the newsletter about that very topic, and I have to admit, I am wondering the same thing! I couldn’t be further from an expert, but I have learned a few things during my years of battling the monster named Anxiety.
1. Trust Jesus.
In Philippians 4, Paul urges, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Our task is pretty clear: Talk to God about whatever it is that causes your anxiety. Paul goes on to say that if you do this, “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Jesus is our Good Shepherd which means we can rest in the assurance that He is taking care of us and, according to Romans 8, working all things together for the good of those who love Him. Now, this doesn’t mean things will always go our way or look the way we want them to; it does, however, mean that we can trust God’s infinite knowledge, perfect ways, and steadfast love. When we surrender our anxieties to God, we exchange them for His peace.
2. Watch your thoughts.
While trusting Jesus is the answer, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s easy. On the contrary, it can be very difficult sometimes. It’s human nature to want to handle everything on our own, and it requires intentional action and significant effort to release our business to anyone, let alone someone we cannot see with our earthly eyes. To trust Jesus, you have to watch your thoughts. 2nd Corinthians 10:5 admonishes us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Our sinful minds will never naturally think in a pure and holy manner. They will be inundated with worry over whether we will get the promotion, if our child is fitting in at their new school, if the scans will come back clear this time, if we will be able to cover the rent check this month, and on and on and on. There is no shortage of topics to dwell on if you want to drown in anxiety; that is why we have to be active instead of passive. When your anxious thoughts start creeping – or rushing – in, you must stop them. Recognize the thought, then immediately release it to God.
3. Surround yourself with truth.
This is a very important step in finding freedom from the chains of anxiety. Anxiety tells you lies: This is too small for God to care about. I’ve sinned too much recently for Him to want to help me with this. I can handle this on my own. Saturate your mind with counter-truths from the Bible. Memorize verses that address your specific worries so that when they pop back up, you can dismiss them as foolish. For example, if you consistently feel that your concerns aren’t important enough to bother God with, try memorizing Matthew 6:26: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Additionally, it is very helpful to have a support system who knows what you struggle with and can speak truth in to your life. My husband knows my battles with anxiety, and he has learned how to speak rationality and truth to counter my worries. It has helped me tremendously to hear an audible voice countering the fearful one controlling my mind some days.
Lastly, I want to leave you with some encouragement from one of my favorite books, Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. If you are unfamiliar with the story, Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie, were arrested for hiding Jews in their Amsterdam home during World War II and sent to endure the horrors of three different Nazi concentration camps. Their story is an inspiring one of faithfulness, forgiveness, and restoration that will convict and challenge you in many ways. As Betsie lay dying in the infamous Ravensbruck concentration camp, she muttered these words to Corrie: “We must tell people what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.
This statement has stuck with me since I first read the book ten years ago. There is no doubt that anxiety is consuming. It seizes your mind and holds you hostage. It either freezes you with fear or makes you behave irrationally. It takes only a matter of seconds before you are completely controlled by the apprehension, every decision made through the shadow of this looming darkness. Before long, you will find yourself buried in it, and it will feel inescapable. That is when your heart must echo Betsie’s words: He is always deeper, greater, stronger than the pit that the ruthless dictator, Anxiety, has pulled you in to. He has overcome; therefore, we can too.

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Always Greener
Aug 24, 2016

Greener Grass

We’ve all been there. Your child comes home from school raving about their friend’s brand new car and simultaneously makes you feel like a failure of a parent. Feeling the jealousy rushing in, you ask yourself, How can her parents afford that? Jealousy quickly turns to judgment as you attempt to make yourself feel better. I bet they skipped their tithes all summer in order to afford that car. Or maybe he’s a workaholic and never spends time with his family so they can have that type of money. I may not be able to give my kid a fancy new car, but at least I’m prioritizing tithing and family over wealth and material objects. 
The comparison game starts before you even have children. You watch and judge how mothers and fathers choose to parent their children, and you are confident that you not only know better but will also do better when you are a parent one day. Then you begin to have your own children, and the game gets more serious. While you are learning the ropes as a new parent, it doesn’t take long to feel the judgments of others. Are you feeding him enough? Are you sure you want to give her a pacifier? You know what that can do to her teeth, right? Maybe you should give her more tummy-time. If you let him “cry it out,” he’s going to have attachment issues. You’re giving your baby formula instead of nursing him? If you go back to work, you are a selfish mother. Your baby still isn’t sleeping through the night?! Mine did at 3 months! Maybe you should try…and on and on.
Amidst all of the judgment, it’s easy to become insecure. Listening to other parents’ unsolicited advice on how to raise your children can make you question your methods. When you are insecure, you become envious, and when you are envious, you judge. For example, if another parent tells you their son made the honor roll this month but yours had a record high detention count, you might feel like this other parent is a better mother or father than you are. You may feel jealous that they are obviously doing something right because their child is excelling while yours is struggling. In response to your growing jealousy, you may try to justify their supposed superiority with assumptions. I bet they push their son too hard. He probably wants to play baseball, but instead they force him to study incessantly. They are squandering his childhood! These accusations might make you feel a little better about your perceived shortcomings, but it is a vicious, self-repeating cycle.
Social media plays a big role in this cycle because we tend to post only the “picture perfect” moments. Maybe your child has been a terror all day, and you finally get him down for his nap. You pick up your phone and start scrolling through your newsfeed, only to see perfectly placed bows, fun play dates, straight A’s, and happy families. This can be extremely discouraging in light of your trying morning. That mom has it all together. She balances everything seamlessly and makes it look easy. Her house is gorgeous, her laundry is folded, she made her family dinner, her dishes are clean, she is fit, her kids are stylish, her car is new, etc. In contrast, I haven’t showered in three days, I still have baby weight to lose, I wouldn’t even know where to find my makeup bag if I did have time to put it on, I haven’t been shopping for new clothes in over a year, my baby is covered in spit up and screaming, my teenager is failing math, I can’t remember the last time my husband and I went on a date, my house is a wreck, and we’re definitely going to have to pick up pizza for dinner tonight because I don’t have the time or energy to cook and the sink is overflowing with dirty dishes!
If I’m being honest, there are many days when I find myself discouraged and envious after checking social media. I’m not one of those moms who has it all together. My hair is pretty much always dirty, I can rarely get my makeup on, I eat too much sugar and don’t work out, my husband likes to cook more than I do (and is better at it, too), and you’re likely to hear my son having a meltdown in Walmart. When I scroll through my Instagram feed and see the countless women with their flawless hair and makeup, their toned bodies and defined jawlines, doing their fun activities in their spectacular cities with their obedient children, and hanging out with their fashionable friends in their perfectly decorated houses, I feel inferior. My life is not so “picture perfect,” and I am envious of the women they appear to be.
While I believe this habit of envious comparison can be particularly ruthless amongst mothers, it is certainly a struggle for fathers as well. How much money you make, how well you provide for your family, what car you drive, and how often you work out are all areas that men use to evaluate themselves compared to other men. Comparison leads to jealousy, which is an all-consuming monster. It will steal your joy and leave you with resentment, hatred, and misery. When you think the grass is greener in your neighbor’s yard, you become angry with God for giving them so much more than He has given you and angry with your neighbor for having it all.
In Psalm 25, David writes, “My eyes are ever on the Lord,” and in Hebrews 12, Paul admonishes us to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.” How often we find ourselves looking elsewhere, taking our gaze off of Jesus. This usually means our sight, our attention is set on ourselves and those around us. We get so caught up in worrying about what the person next to us has, looks like, and accomplishes that we forget what Jesus has done for us. We care more about what we have on this Earth than eternity, and we find ourselves striving to outdo the person next to us while we’re here. This is truly foolish because my story is not meant to be the same as my neighbor’s. The Lord has given us each what we need, and many blessings. But we do not need the same things; we will not necessarily glorify God with the same tools. Who cares if my neighbor has better behaved children than I do? I was valuable enough to God that He sacrificed His only son so that I could have a relationship with Him. Everything else is secondary. My identity rests in that truth, not in how my performance, accomplishments, or appearance compares to someone else’s.
Be encouraged today. It is for freedom that Christ set us free! You are not a slave to comparison, envy, and judgment. You are a prized possession of the King of Kings, and that is all that matters.
Emma Payne
Advancement Associate
Paul Anderson Youth Home

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May 25, 2016


When I first had my son, people would say to me, “Make sure you’re taking care of you! I always wondered how they thought I could possibly have time to do that. Between the seemingly constant feedings, diaper changes, baths, rocking, consoling, and of course snuggling, there wasn’t time to even utter the words “self-care. And if there was, I certainly had to take advantage of that brief window to catch up on the laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cooking, thank you letters, emails, work assignments…Oh, and maybe I should grab a shower since I haven’t had one in who knows how many days. I would like to have at least half of a conversation with my husband at some point as well. And seriously, when was the last time I went to the grocery store? There is no food in this house. Fingers crossed my son stays asleep long enough for me to do one of these things – probably the grocery store because I just realized I forgot to eat lunch.
The days blurred together, and time was measured simply by when my son would need to eat again next. Of course I wanted to do the things necessary to take care of myself (I longed for more naps and dreamed of more showers), but there was simply no time. My son needed me constantly, and the rare spare second I happened to find had to be used to catch up on the accumulating housework and growing to-do list. I decided that my chores were far more important than a nap or a shower. It was easier to let go of those things because they only benefitted me; I took care of my son and our home for our family, so I couldn’t skimp on those responsibilities. Other people depended on me. It took me a while to understand that in order to serve them to the best of my ability, I had to prioritize taking care of myself.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “self-care, it has a negative connotation with it. Shouldn’t we always put others above ourselves? Doesn’t prioritizing ourselves accomplish the exact opposite? We feel selfish and consequently guilty if we even think about doing something for ourselves, but the reality is that we will serve others better if we have taken care of ourselves. Think about rechargeable batteries. Just as these batteries cannot fuel a device if they haven’t been charged themselves, we cannot serve others the way they need us to if we have not stopped and recharged ourselves. We need rest and nourishment to do our jobs sufficiently, just like these batteries do.
I would be lying if I said I don’t still struggle to prioritize self-care. Looking after my son, husband, home, and work seem so much more important, and they are, but I cannot be the mother, wife, and employee I need to be if I ignore and suppress my own needs. When I am exhausted and burned out, I become short. I snap at my husband and get frustrated with my son; I may check off some of my to-do list, but at what cost? If I allowed myself a necessary break every now and then, I would be better equipped to serve my family graciously and work more efficiently.
Maybe you can relate to my situation. We all get caught up in different things, many of which originate with truly noble intentions. We want to work as hard as possible to provide sufficiently for our families. We want to keep our houses clean so our spouses have a welcoming atmosphere to relax in after a long day at work. We want to have well-planned and nutritious meals on the table at 6:00 every night so that our children have the proper nourishment. These are all wonderful things, but in order to do them, we have to be physically, mentally, and emotionally recharged. Otherwise, we won’t be able to do them to the best of our ability.
Even Jesus went away to rest. Luke 5 says, “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. He was the most selfless man to ever live, and he knew that in order to be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to serve, heal, and minister to these crowds, he needed time away to rest, pray, and recharge. This was not selfish – it was necessary for him and beneficial for those around him.
Learning to prioritize self-care when it is usually the furthest thing from your mind can be difficult; forming new habits is certainly easier said than done. To help you take better care of yourself, Mental Health America recommends the following five tips:

  1. Live healthy – Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid drugs and alcohol. Manage stress and go for regular medical check-ups.
  2. Practice good hygiene – Good hygiene is important for social, medical, and psychological reasons in that it not only reduces the risk of illness, but it also improves the way others view you and how you view yourself.
  3. See friends – Spending time with positive, loving people can ease stress, help your mood, and improve the way you feel overall.
  4. Do something you enjoy every day – This could include activities such as dancing, watching a favorite television show, working in the garden, painting, or reading. Anything that you like!
  5. Find ways to relax – Meditation, yoga, getting a massage, taking a bath, or walking in the woods are good places to start.

Heed Jesus’ example. Make it a point to recharge. Remember that you don’t have to do everything. Practice the five tips for self-care. If they seem overwhelming to you, start with just one. Give yourself grace. Let the guilt go. Leave your child with his grandmother for a couple of hours to get some “you time. Put the work phone and emails away when you get home at night. Read a chapter of your favorite book, take a walk with your spouse, or meet your best friend for dinner. As you do, remind yourself that doing these things will enable you to take care of others and your responsibilities more successfully, and enjoy them!
Emma Payne
Advancement Associate
Paul Anderson Youth Home

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Apr 27, 2016

Just This Once…

It seems pretty harmless, doesn’t it? You know, that little habit you practice when no one else is around. I’m just going to visit this one website. No one will know. I’ll only stay on it for a minute anyway.
Scripture refers to Satan as the Father of Lies. From the very beginning, he has been deceiving mankind. Sometimes, he does so blatantly, but other times, he will twist the truth ever so slightly so that it is hard to identify. In the Garden of Eden, he started by planting a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind. He asked, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ Then he got a little more aggressive, calling God a liar, and saying Adam and Eve surely would not die if they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He made it easy for Eve to talk herself out of doing what she knew was right. I imagine she had thoughts along the lines of: Maybe I misunderstood God. Surely He didn’t mean we could NEVER eat from the tree. He won’t really mind if I have just one bite. Besides, He’s not around right now, so He doesn’t ever have to know.
Something as seemingly inconsequential as a single bite changed the course of history. Once Eve had convinced her conscience that one bite wouldn’t hurt anybody, she made a compromise that would affect the entire human race.
We often overlook the truth that decisions become habits, and habits become lifestyles. We think we can allow ourselves a little wiggle room to make a bad decision here or there. After all, we’re only human, right? What we don’t consider in those moments, however, is that we are forming habits. Every time we tell ourselves it will be okay if we look at this website, tell this lie, or lose our temper, it becomes easier to do so in the future, thus forming habits. Merriam-Webster defines “habit as “something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way. As we repeat these habitual decisions, pretty soon they begin to characterize our lives. We go from telling a lie, to lying frequently, to being known as a liar. What started out as a small compromise has now come to define our way of life.
If you are a believer, you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. He is the voice in your head and your heart telling you that you really shouldn’t click the link or tell the lie. The more you quiet His convicting voice by saying, “Just this once, or perhaps, “Just one more time, the further you push Him away. This is a dangerous game to play. We serve a merciful and forgiving God, but there comes a point when we have ignored Him for so long and pushed Him so far away that we stop hearing His voice altogether. This is a scary place to be. His conviction and correction are only for our good; when we stop hearing them, we miss much of His will for our lives. This should concern us because being in His will is the most important place we could be.
Our tendency to ignore God’s voice in favor of compromise is rooted in selfishness.  We value ourselves above others. Sure, if it’s convenient, we’ll consider how our decisions affect others, but if it’s going to keep us from doing what we want to do, don’t count on it. Sometimes we simply want to be lazy. Disciplining ourselves to refrain from sin can be too much work, so we decide to conserve our energy and succumb to our natural tendencies, which are always sinful and never pure.
Just as in Eve’s case, when we make these compromises, it damages our relationship with God as well as our relationships with others. In our selfishness, we put our desires first, and all other concerns become secondary. So what if I look at this website when no one is home? So what if it would hurt my wife if she knew? This is what I want, and that’s all that matters right now. Soon our compromises create problems for the people around us. Maybe you looked at that website, and your wife feels disrespected and unloved. Maybe you lied, and your friend doesn’t trust you anymore. Maybe you lost your temper in the restaurant, and your family isn’t welcome back.
There is good news though! You cannot push God so far away that you are beyond His reach. He is gracious and loves a repentant heart. Your life doesn’t have to be devoid of God’s voice. Run back to Him like the younger son in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, who, after forming habits and developing a lifestyle of selfishness, disobedience, and compromise, said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. His father saw him coming in the distance, dropped everything, and ran to greet him. He was so happy that he couldn’t even wait for his son to get to the door.  He exclaimed “Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. God wants you to grow closer to Him, but this isn’t possible without the Holy Spirit’s presence and active voice in your life. He will rejoice if you return to Him and will reinstate his voice in your heart. He wants you back, regardless of how utterly selfish and disobedient you have been.
How different life would be for all of us if Eve hadn’t ignored God and taken that one bite. Consider the gravity of your everyday decisions. Just because something seems harmless doesn’t make it so.  Listen to the Lord’s voice when He speaks. You will inevitably mess up.  When that happens, run back to His open arms; He will be there waiting for you.
Emma Payne
Advancement Associate
Paul Anderson Youth Home

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Jan 12, 2016

Making an Impact

What’s Next?
New ground…Increased capacity at the Paul Anderson Youth Home…More families will be touched at the Paul Anderson Family Strong Center.

We will continue to do what we have done for 55 years.  We will follow the Mighty God we serve.
We pray that you partner with us to change lives and build generations of strong families.
Just imagine what we can do together!

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Oct 22, 2015

2015 Fall Newsletter

So often we see people around us hurting, yet we feel there is no way to help them. We watch statistics worsening (pg. 3), but read how change can start with just one.  Read and download Fall 2015 Newsletter below.

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Get Involved

This ministry has endured for almost 60 years because God has blessed us with faithful partners. Through friends like you, He ensures that we have the help we need to accomplish our mission. Click the button below to learn more, whether you’re interested in volunteering, making a one-time gift, or becoming a monthly contributor.