Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: friends (page 1 of 5)

Australia in Retrospect [This is My Confidence]

The highest heights are often to be found in the least expected places…
Least expected, that is, to a world quantifying success with finite formulas.

I’ve been to the heights. And not standing on a stage before thousands. Nor on some glittering crest of conquest. (As high as those honors are…)

One thing is always the same. I’m always shorter on the highest heights… By the distance of heel to knee.

PC: James Tregenza doanddare.org

This time, it was on a dusty bit of ground surrounded by benches, throbbing hearts, deep attention.
I have never climbed higher. Never seen the world wider than I saw it then. Never looked smaller in my own eyes. Never felt closer to Heaven.

No surprise.

To those who have found eyes for higher glory, though the beauty of the high places always surpasses our dreams, it is never entirely unexpected…

“As long as I live, I will remember his words– 

‘…Mostly, I’ve met God properly.’

That broke me wide open As though standing on holiest ground, I was filled with a smallness; a trembling… How is it that I am even allowed to touch what is this holy?“*

Though every memory fades at least a bit eventually, my wonder will never cease.
Nor will love for new friends with a beautiful foreign accent.
Nor will firm faith that we’ll meet again, if not on this round earth, then inside pearly gates.

“Hey– remember when…?”

Yes, I remember.

morning stars: checkout | PC: Jasmine Tregenza

Before it was over I had the opportunity to try to crunch the essence of 40 pages of worship notes and days and days of prayer and pondering onto 5 minutes of film. 

This is my confidence.

morning and miracle bend
later: snowy mountain living
friends in Victoria

*journal entry, January 20, 2014


It’s the morning after Thanksgiving.
I miss it already.

So I’m going to keep it going another day, another week, another month…

We compare notes around the hearth and it turns out we’re all thankful for more than circumstances…
We’re thankful for the sunshine. And we’re thankful for the shadows, which always prove that there is a sun up there.
We’re thankful for happiness. And we’re thankful for strength, gained at the cost of ease.
We’re thankful for uncomplicated communion, and for friendship tempered by tears.
We’re thankful for sympathy, a gift best given by a heart that knows what it is to hurt…

We’re thankful that He sees beyond this moment and hands us what we’d choose had we His eyes, His heart. We’re thankful that He condescends to suffer humanity to share His joy, His tears. We’re humbled at the confidence he bestows upon erring mortals when he gives us His Name, His reputation…

Let the chime stay in the kitchen another day, a reminder to express Gratitude.
And let Thanksgiving never end.

Sleeping Before Gethsemane

In my mind I think that nothing would have persuaded me to sleep that night…
I should think I would have been too afraid. 
They watched Him, walked with Him. He, having just given what He knew to be His last words– His last will and testament. Now He is gripped by a sadness such as they have never seen before. The Healer stumbles and sways into the garden, and more than once they have to hold Him up so He does not topple to the cold ground. 
Can you enter in to just how frightening that must have been?
Cold night; stricken Savior. 
He, who’d never stumbled? Not once?
Perhaps the 8 of them were glad to be left near the gate of the garden. Maybe sleep would erase all memory of this dread they could not understand? 
I don’t know, I wasn’t there.
What I do know is, they slept. 
The three closest ones, they followed Him till He told them to stay. But did anybody look unreservedly into His face? Did anyone dare ask why He was sorrowful unto death? Did no one cling to Him and insist He share the burden that was crushing out His life? Did any say “I’ll watch with you. I’ll go with you. Wherever. Only entreat me not to leave You…”
Or with pounding hearts did they pray, for a few minutes, that it would just go away…
I wasn’t there. 
But these two things I know: they neglected to share (or shrank from sharing) His heart because its burdens were unknown, awkward and fearful. 
And when the moment of truth burst upon them, they scattered.
Might I venture to say that had they stopped and just looked into His face, accepted the dreadful reality written there in bloody sweat, and sought to share its grief, 
they would have read there the truth about the moments to come? 
Or at least, they would not have been shocked by them. 
Jesus knew. 

I wonder: Could not they have known a little too?
In my mind I think that nothing would have persuaded me to sleep that night… 
I should have been too afraid. 
But then, what of His burdens in the overflowing eyes of this people His flesh and blood? His bride?
Don’t I sometimes neglect to share them, or shrink from them because they are fearful, awkward, unknown?
Do I ever pray, rather than that I might share them, that they might just go away?
Oh Jesus… Perhaps I would have slept too? 

PC and post: Nathan Lee Westbrook

Triumph [Like a Pearl]

It is the triumph of the Christian faith that it enables its followers to suffer and be strong…

To maintain a grip of steel, then willingly give.
To love, and lose, and dare to love again.
To believe in promises while relinquishing the right to personal claims.
To accept tears as glittering gifts.

To believe that I am perfectly loved, even when suffered to drink anguish.
To perfectly love what (Who) I don’t understand.

It is triumph.
To suffer softly. To remember that His feet are washed best with tears. To remember He has never once made a mistake. To remember there is a reason I am trusted with every sorrow.
To remember His name is made great when His children love Him anyway.

–  –  –

Now it’s my turn. My turn to stand in the bottom of the grave and help tuck in the treasure. Me thinking this is the worst kind of personal loss– watching some of “my people” lose something beloved. We work in silence. Wind blows and dust flies, and just like her name, around a speck of a thought layer after layer of luster is laid, while I contemplate Love.

I remember the last group ride; remember my turn on the brilliant beast while the trusted friend worked a kink out of her older sister. They’re both gone now, the Diamond and the Pearl, sister jewels black as stellar space.

Like a little boy about Christmas time my mind scratches at the cold blast of circumstances has build on the windows– the windows of my heart. The boy might be wondering the price of the Christmas Lionel caboose. I’m looking for the same thing I always look for first. Searching for where love might be hiding its best, right about now.

Silent and strong as always, friend-more-like-brother works on the other side of the cavernous hole, till the job is done.
Our girls, out little sisters; they’ve lost their friends, also sisters. (is that what makes us family?)

Later, after thoughts and words and prayers and tears have finished their work for the day, what is left is a lesson worthy of the gift through which it came.

But of course; Faith doesn’t mean that if I believe hard enough, pray hard enough, I’ll love the outcome.

 Faith is believing I’m loved, regardless of the outcome.

Thanks girls. For all kinds of beautiful memories, and for standing up tall and graceful.
And trusting Merciful God. Again.
And thanks friend, for letting me love her too.

My Everything

Stars swim outside windows high. Like pinpoints of light on ripples of water. Through water?

He hangs up the phone. We know what it means already.
Nobody calls at 0200 for no reason. And seldom for a happy one.

Anyway, what follows prayers in the dark are these words burning like fire.
The reason I love anyway–

“Every beautiful thing you have ever been given to love has been given first for this purpose: 
That when the hour of sacrifice is come, you might have something to put on the altar.”

I see in my mind’s eye the young faces of the friends to whom I gave those very words months ago; feel this resolve of mine to love turning to steel again.

“What we do, we do for Christ. Only Christ.
And for Him, we give away our everything.
Because He is everything.”

A Gift Called “Together”

We heave and breathe and pour sweat, and bump fists.
And we chant audacity (in the form of “oh yes you can!”) and mouth corners upturn under flaming cheeks. And we cut another minute off the mile, add another mile to the course.

We flop down in green grass and laugh.

And I realize that what I once said would never be, is.
What I always said I’d do only for the sake of relentlessness, I do now for the love of the doing…

That changes everything, you know?

I soak up blue sky and run fingers through grass while we stretch; listen to the student of strides give us the latest science; quip that we need a team dietician.

And running isn’t anything like it used to be.
It used to be heart-pounding, step-sounding solitude where the only one there to believe I could was myself.

But it isn’t the love or the running that strikes me so deep.

It’s that together word.
That’s the gift.

Apart, some are fast, some are slow.
Others never try. Never know what they’re made of.

Oh, and don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for solitude. I was born a loner, after all…

But I’ve been given a gift I hope to spend the rest of my life passing on to people around me who’ve never tried. Or who’ve quit believing.

And I dare you to do the same.
To be the same.

To the lonely soul; To the trembling child; To the one who wants, but is afraid to dare; To the one who would, if one soul would care–

I want to be together.

Because together, everyone gets stronger.

Her Name Was Mary

“Ok, tell me everything you know about this girl.”

I’m on a quest of discovery. And I’m after everything my friend might know.

“Well, she’s a really pious woman.”
                                                “Or… wait.”

–  –  –

Yeah. My thoughts exactly.
Almost without exception, her contemporaries thought differently.
For after all, she was the girl who’d been robbed of parents before she was ready to stand on her own, and had subsequently turned to find love where it can never be found. She was the one who, whether intentionally or accidentally, had thrown away her innocence, her youth, her purity, her piety in the crime-soaked business of human flesh for sale. And to boot, seven times she’d bowed to the dark side, and become a currier for the worst kind of darkness.
She was.

But then, then there was that awful day when she was caught in the act… Dragged from the bed to the street, and thrown in a cowering heap before the Lord of Glory.
And there was that beautiful moment when her broken shame, her stripped-bare necessity, appeared in the shadow of the undiluted Love of Infinite Eternity.

And she got it.

She got it.

Of course the pharisees would always maintain that Jesus regularly ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at a prostitute’s house.
Of course they’d say that what was could never be fully erased.

Of course, we say the same of others. We say the same of ourselves.
You know, that a crippling past must necessarily have a strong effect on one’s usefulness future. That this girl should never know as she might, what it is to trust. Or that, at the very least, it might take a lifetime to learn. And love? Well…

Yes. We often say those things.
And of course, there is an element of truth to them.

But there’s a reason this girl named Mary (which name means “Rebellious,” by the way) is my new favorite Bible character.

Because her story is the story of the power of grace to overcome, and to turn my past into my greatest advantage.

Let me gently remind the world that the home she shared with her big brother and sister was the place Jesus always came to when it was time to rest. That these were, apart from His very own, His best friends on earth. And that after her turning, this girl gained eyes for things everyone else missed.

Because the brokenness of her past was the richest possible backdrop for the truth about Grace, and the power of Love.

Remember that in the midst of the noise of a traditional Jewish party, while everyone was consumed by the festivities, one girl had the presence of mind to anointed her Lord for burial. That when everyone else was consumed with the protocol, this one girl sat at the feet of the Desire of the Ages, and watched Him, all ears, all eyes, all heart.
Remember that on that dark friday, she was there. When they carried Him to the tomb, she was there.

And let me remind you that on resurrection morning, Jesus appeared to one, and only one friend. And that friend was neither Peter, James, nor John.

Her name was Mary.
And she was a former prostitute.

I can’t help but wonder, might it be because she understood something about Love that everybody else missed?
And might that be because God makes “all things work together for good…”?

“Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”

 “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Ro. 5:20

–  –  – 

Shoes kiss the pavement over and over. Rhythm of breathing and stride. We push miles behind us one at a time, while the truth is soaked in silence.

And I? I’m so taken.

“So, you see why this story, this girl . . .”. . .

Here We Go!

Promise for the day:
Psalms 81:10 “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it…”
Don’t take my word for it. Prove Him.

Charge for the day:
You think we know 10,000 people between us? I do.
And every one of them should have the chance to dare with us.
So, tell them. Text them. Facebook them.

Encouragement for the day:
It does get easier. It does.
But you’ve got to be willing for it to be hard first. 🙂

I declare this week coming to be “Pray-for-each-other-on-ScriptureTyper-week.”
Let’s see what God can accomplish.

Click your ST tab above and let’s go.

— [excited beyond belief. :)]

My Word of Honor

Sometimes my most lucid moments emerge from the calm of profound exhaustion. Not sure why.

Happy tired. Listening from the back seat to the cheerful chatter of people I just love, my head against the window…
“Ketchup please.”
“Lime or strawberry?”
“Did you get your fifth?” 
Rubber purrs on pavement and we whistle along. Ski slopes behind, home before. Backdrop of sunset and rolling hills covered with a fir coat of pine.
“What page were we on?”
The book opens and the story goes on. An old fashioned tale of a century ago, alive with meaning and simple joy. I listen, but only with half of my head. Because forthwith I’m snagged by this old-fashioned story, and an old-fashioned concept that shouldn’t be remarkable, but is.

His word of honor
Used to be, a fellow was slow to make a promise, because a promise meant something
Mhm, mhm, yes. Doesn’t it still?
I don’t know. You tell me. 
When I say a thing, can the world set their clocks by it, and keep good time?
When I say I’ll ____, do I actually deliver, or do I just try?
  I’ll pray for you. 
     I’ll be there at 6.
        I’ll remember.
           Sure mum, can do.
              I will. 
                 I won’t.
                    I promise. 

Darkness gathers over the high country. I pulse this resolve.
To treat every “Sure, I’ll…” like an old-fashioned promise.
My word of honor.

Revolution to Revelation

Because every revolution,
every revolution,
goes somewhere.

Ends somewhere…

–  –  –  –  –

We’re going to do this again.

I sat there like some of you did, arms folded, but soft.
And when he said we should, this symphony in me agreed…

I’d only been home a day or two when the same girls who dreamed up the last audacious charge tapped me on the shoulder. That made three.
And that three has already become a little army.

Maybe I’m a big dreamer.

Or maybe, just maybe I dare to believe that this generation is actually willing to be different than the last.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s exactly what it’s going to take to get us Home.

Revelation: Before Men and Angels.

Because every revolution worthy of the name goes somewhere.
And in our case, and in the case of the last 12 men to turn the world upside-down, that revolution existed for this one purpose: that Christ might be revealed to a world in darkness.

Revelation is the goal.
And memorization is the challenge.

Again, count me in.

–  –  –  –  –
But I’m dreaming bigger than just getting all of my friends to join. 
(That is my dream. Already been up and down my street canvassing the neighbors. Ask them.)
I want all my friends to get all their friends to join. 
Because that’s how a revolution spreads. 
And just to be sure nobody can legitimately say “I haven’t got the time,” we’ve got two projects in the pipeline. Starting February 1st:
404 verses, or 1-2 a day.
OR (and? ;))
108 verses, you do the math.

I think you can. And what’s more, 
I believe you will. 

And I believe your friends will too.
Because the only thing better than winning is winning together. 
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