Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

Category: inspiration (page 1 of 7)

To Be Ignored

So, I slip past familiar words I’ve read a hundred times, quoted more. This fitting start to the hymnal of the old world–

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, not standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful…”

Like a grade school teacher I ask the right questions, wait for the answers. (myself also the pupil.)

The scornful? Probably scorners. Skeptics. Profane men that divorce God from His creation, make the truth about life a lie, set themselves above the law of the universe, claim progress but at the same time destroy meaning by destroying origin and destiny… Yeah, don’t mind them.
Ungodly, same thing.

You skipped one.
Did I?

Pray tell, who are the sinners?
These others thrown in with those whose companionship, counsel, and cowardice I should avoid?

How about me.

I am a sinner.
And insomuch, my counsels to myself should be ignored.

I take counsel from, pleasure in, strength of,
gain wisdom through, live life by,

the benevolent law.

Ten Years and What Matters

Something stirs and I turn left at the end of the paved pathway flanked by lawn in winter colors. A left that takes me right away from my accustomed quiet corner. Away, but towards something strangely and warmly familiar…

I think I might find it… Through wispy grass and a forest that’s since been thinned.
True as the sunrise, there it is. The top stones have tumbled down the hill a way, but the foundation is still here. It only takes a moment, and a ten-year old altar has been restored.

Ten years.

Ten years ago I encountered God for myself on this hillside as a boy, and we struck up a friendship that has become the reason I breathe.

Much-Afraid gathered homely little stones.
I just build the altars.
At every page turn, I’ve turned, built another.

I stand and look, thoughts afar. Reaching back for what sort of prayers I prayed here, who my friends were when last I knelt here, what my goals were when I left here to build new…
And I remember. I remember the next…

I stop to count.
Seven altars. Ten years.
I’ll find them all today.

There’s something priceless about the remembering. The whole trek will take me an hour and a half. To all the places witness to the forever moments in my experience. The hallowed ground where God was always waiting to keep an appointment, where I trembled and triumphed, and learned to trust Him absolutely.

I wander and emotions sometimes flood, but after I’ve been up and over, down the draw and past ground I haven’t covered in a decade, one question throbs–

Not whether or not I found my dreams.

I want to know whether or not I’ve fulfilled His.

Take it from me, 10 years later.
This is all that matters. 

Words With the Father

That moment when the endless empty makes you realize how small you are, how big the world is, (much less the universe.) and how unreasonably kind God is for still having eyes for me.

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

(Psalms 139:7-12, 17-18, 23-24. ESV)

Plenty Full

I esteem that audacity which leads brave men to “crave the fire’s embrace,” if only through it they might come to know God…

(For it is true that a day of hardship imparts more strength to the soul than a month of sunshine.)

But after today, I’ve had a change of mind as concerns just how men (and women) should pursue the treasure imparted by tears. Once, that is, faith has made them steel enough to do so.

Pray not for pain or hardship.
The world is plenty full of both.

Pray you’ll have the heart to suffer with another’s.

When their hardship becomes my pain, then God can heal the both of us.

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.

The Gospel

It’s not just a story.
It’s what we live and breathe.

The gift. The giving.

How simple. How utterly, overwhelmingly profound and powerful.

And if I really believe it, then I will necessarily live it out too.

I stand with eyes closed and smile soft as the first rays of the morning sun warm my face, and my office.
And it strikes me that this warmth cost the sun some fuel.

A star’s slow death powers life for a race. –for an entire system of whirling planets and moons.

      “…Life to the receiver; death to the giver.”
                   “But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”*

The Gospel.
The Giving.
The way God lives.
And for our part, the way of living fully alive.

Of being honored to pass to others, through choosing death to myself,
the very Life of God.

Oh, I choose.
I do.

*Jackie Pullinger; John 12:24; 

Advantage of Suffering

Because it is not joy that brings the deepest communion, or the closest identification with Christ,
but sorrow.

Thanksgiving [Because I Belong.]

It occurs to me that without a few key gifts in this life, all others are rendered meaningless.

The eve of Thanksgiving. I flop into bed with Romans 8 on my heart, fresh from neighborhood youth Bible study.
And as I ponder, as I set to counting blessings once again, I suddenly see how this one gift makes all others worth counting…

You’ve read the stories– Joe Wheeler style.
You know, the ones where some little orphan waits for Christmas, wants nothing more than someone to belong to. Someone to want them.

I’ve always read them with somewhat of an “awwww!, poor kid.” reaction.

But you know, I’ve recently found out that that poor kid is me. 

– – –

I look up from my Bible and my friend’s lip trembles, and I catch it in an instant, because my heart does the same.
It’s this word– “Debtor.” 

I’m a debtor. Romans says so. (and my heart tells me the same.)
I’ve never seen more selfishness in the mirror in my life. Nor foolishness. Nor pettiness. Nor pride.
It’s awful.
A debtor I am.

But right on the heels of this word with such weight, on this eve of Thanksgiving, comes this other word–


I’m adopted.

I’m a debtor, not because I’ve sinned, but because I belong.

– – –

My head finds the pillow. My tears join my friend’s.
I shake my head in silence, and though orphaned I should rightly be, I fly again at open arms.
And my Thanksgiving prayer is simple:

Thank You for wanting me.

– – –

Thanksgiving tradition: All kids in the kitchen. At once.
feast for the eyes
pilgrim zone
best ever: sharing the all-American holiday with Australian friends and sweet neighbors
no indians this year…

Because He is, was, does. [Glorious Fast – Part VIII]

“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning,
and thine health shall spring forth speedily:
and thy righteousness shall go before thee;
and the glory of the LORD shall [go behind thee]
Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer;
thou shalt cry and He shall say
‘Here I am!’

Then shall thy light rise in obscurity
and thy darkness be as the noon day:

And the LORD shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul in drought.

And thou shalt be like a watered garden
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places…
and thou shalt be called
‘The repairer of the breach'”

Enough said. 
Light, and strength, and holiness. 
A front runner and a rear guard. 
A new name out of nowhere. 
A confident step. A satisfied soul.
An unfailing spring.
A rebuilder of dreams? 
God’s dreams?
How can that even be?

Surely there must be more. 
More than brokenness. More than choosing to go hungry.
More than gut wrenching chain-cutting.
More than mercy with power to undo.
More than following Him back to finish off my tormentors.
More than giving away my only slice of bread.
More than opening my arms to hold what’s dying,
         to see it raised up, or love it till it’s gone.
I mean, that’s a lot. But that can’t be all.
No, it isn’t all. There’s one more thing.
To realize that after all this, I’m still nothing, will always be nothing.
And I’m saved, and I get to help save, 
because He is, was, does, all this.
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen?”

And I choose it too.

Relentless Pursuit

We waste hours and days in pursuit of answers from God.

When the answer to every question is to be found in the pursuit of God.

That’s what I learned this morning.

– – –

Memories from the past week, compliments of Instagram (seannebblett)

The sight sister and brother-in-law will see from their balcony in Oklahoma farm country

Reunion of 8 out of 10 sibs.

Stick up to the knee wall, post and beam from there.

Andrew working his chain saw art

balancing act, on a wobbly floor joist, with an iPhone

fabricating things most people buy from the hardware store

sparklers at Chantée and Luke’s Oklahoma reception

uncomplicated. little ones. (love)

And off they go!

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