Monday, March 26, 2012

"Why Have You Made Me Your Mark?"

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes on Grooveshark

Job 7:12-21 

12 Am I the sea, or a sea monster, that you set a guard over me?  
13 When I say, 'My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint,'  
14 then you scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, 
15 so that I would choose strangling and death rather than my bones.  
16 I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.  
17 What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him,  
18 visit him every morning and test him every moment?  
19 How long will you not look away from me, nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit? 
20 If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind? Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you?  
21 Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be."

 Don't skip the verse.  Read it. 

"The Fleet Fox"
Didn't see that coming.  I read this verse and my heart clung to it.  You may or may not have noticed, but my blogging has been pretty sparse the last couple of weeks.  This is because my heart has been searching and struggling.  To be frank, my heart has been, like Job above, irritated, if not downright angry, at God.  If you are wondering why, I am not sure I could wholly tell you.  I think it has to do with life not being what I wanted it to be.  As good as my life is on the outside, and it is pretty great, my heart has not taken it in.  You might look at what I just said and think, "Nick, if you're the problem, then why are you mad at God?"  Well, A.) because I am stupid.  B.) because I want it to be different, and I know I can't do it.  I feel helpless, because I am.  My life should be enjoyed, relished, but it isn't, because my heart sucks.  So, I have been shouting out in anger like Job.  That sentiment, that either help me, or just leave me alone, has been running full tilt through me.  It irritated me that I couldn't be what I wanted in my heart, but that there is no escape.  I cannot do what atheists do, and put the blinders on, and just pretend that all the evidence isn't there.  I can't look at the people in my life and boil them down to matter.  I have tried.  I really have.  Yet, I can't, and it frustrates me.  Like I said, I have been crying out to God, "Lord save me!  If not, then forget me!"  But, I know he won't forget me, which angers me.  It's like running away from a friend who we feel has hurt us.  I don't want to pick up the phone or return texts, metaphorically speaking.

Just like with Job, God hasn't struck me with lighting either.  He hasn't sent a plague, or some terrible illness.  He has been patient, and though I am not restored fully, I can see Him moving, slowly but surely, to move my heart in a new place.

I say a new place, and not back, because I don't want to return to where I was.  Where I was was not honest.  I wasn't lying to y'all about my heart.  I was lying to myself.  I could feel the rumblings of discontent and frustration growing, but I am not completely stupid, just a little stupid.  The knowledge that God isn't wrong... ever, is not lost on me.  So, instead of taking my heart to God, I have lied to myself that it is OK. Why take your complaint to God?  You are going to be wrong... every time!  Easier to just stuff it.  Right?  Wrong.  It really is a relationship we have, and not a system.  I can't do X or Y and be OK.  Just like when people hurt us, eventually, if we want to be healthy, we have to confront them, even if we find that we are wrong.  The truth really does set you free.  So, I am not there yet.  My heart is somewhere in between.  I see God's hand at work, and I am thankful.  My anger is subsiding as He is speaking truth into me.  It is tough being patient for it though.  I wish He would just wave His hand and change me, but, as usual, He is content to build me slowly and methodically.  Still, my heart knows frustration and anger.  My prayers, like the Psalms, are a mixed bag of discontent and praise.  

If you would, I would of course greatly appreciate your prayers.  Please pray that God would show me who He is, that He would change me.  I have no desire to lie to myself anymore about the state of my heart.  Pray that God would grant me the strength to obey during this time.  There is a huge temptation to rebel.  My frustration keeps playing itself out in my heart with temptations to do things I shouldn't simply for the sake of doing something I know I shouldn't.  Thank you so much for your loving me in this way. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Psalm 102

Hear my prayer, O Lord;

let my cry come to you!

Do not hide your face from me

in the day of my distress!

Incline your ear to me;

answer me speedily in the day when I call!

For my days pass away like smoke,

and my bones burn like a furnace.

My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;

I forget to eat my bread.

Because of my loud groaning

my bones cling to my flesh.

I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,

like an owl of the waste places;

I lie awake;

I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.

All the day my enemies taunt me;

those who deride me use my name for a curse.

For I eat ashes like bread

and mingle tears with my drink,

because of your indignation and anger;

for you have taken me up and thrown me down.

My days are like an evening shadow;

I wither away like grass.

But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;

you are remembered throughout all generations.

You will arise and have pity on Zion;

it is the time to favor her;

the appointed time has come.

For your servants hold her stones dear

and have pity on her dust.

Nations will fear the name of the Lord,

and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.

For the Lord builds up Zion;

he appears in his glory;

he regards the prayer of the destitute

and does not despise their prayer.

Let this be recorded for a generation to come,

so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord:

that he looked down from his holy height;

from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,

to hear the groans of the prisoners,

to set free those who were doomed to die,

that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord,

and in Jerusalem his praise,

when peoples gather together,

and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

He has broken my strength in midcourse;

he has shortened my days.

"O my God," I say, "take me not away

in the midst of my days—

you whose years endure

throughout all generations!"

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,

and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish, but you will remain;

they will all wear out like a garment.

You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,

but you are the same, and your years have no end.

The children of your servants shall dwell secure;

their offspring shall be established before you. (Psalm 102:1-28 ESV)

Monday, March 19, 2012


I'm a writer without any words,
I'm a story that nobody heard
When I'm without you.

I am a voice,
I am a voice without any sound.
I'm a treasure map that nobody found
When I'm without you.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Feeling sorrow
for all the things you had to steal and borrow.
Bring back the days we had before tomorrow
relapse and then collapse into yourself once more.

Waiting for this life to change seems like it's taking me forever
and I can't hold on. This light is breaking into the day
This life is going to change seems like it's taking me forever
And I can't hold on. This light is breaking into the day

Void I can't fill.
The doctor tells me to relax and stand still
Prescribes me a new pill to quell my anger.
Wish I could make her pull herself up off the floor

Waiting for this life to change seems like it's taking me forever
and I can't hold on. This light is breaking into the day
This life is going to change seems like it's taking me forever
And I can't hold on. This light is breaking into the day
Again, into the day, again

Waiting for this life to change seems like it's taking me forever
and I can't hold on. This light is breaking into the day
This life is going to change seems like it's taking me forever
And I can't hold on. This light is breaking into the day

Take time to contemplate who you are and where you want to go.

Into the day.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Travelling Placebo

We got into Jackson at 3:45 am.  The road was sparsely lit, even more sparsely populated.  Throughout the state of Louisiana, at least half a dozen cars had been abandoned on the edge of the interstate.  With no moon, the mighty Mississippi River, my favorite part of the trip, was black, indiscernible from the sky or surrounding land.

Both Kathleen and Mrs. Browne fell asleep by Shreveport, leaving me to my own thoughts.  They were running wild.  The physical sensation of driving so far and quick away from where my life resides gives me, if but for a spell, the sense of actually leaving my problems behind.  It's almost as if it takes your demons a while to catch up.  The illusion is most welcome.  It always seems to give me a bit of clarity in my usually muddled soul.  I wonder if other peoples souls are so murky, so viscous. 

All the Big Trees by Jonsi and Alex on Grooveshark

One reaffirmed truth is just how much I have become self focused.  My heart, as of late, has not yearned for the saints.  My mind has not taken in the poor, nor my heart the hungry.  My eyes have not seen the plight of others.  Central to my own thoughts has been me, comforts, expectations, life, money, everything.  It seems so intuitive, so natural to do so.  Yet, the honest truth is, I am most free when not thinking about myself.

As I heard in a life altering sermon by Tim Keller not but a week ago, "You can either seek righteousness or happiness.  If you seek righteousness, you will get both.  If you seek happiness, you will get neither."  It is a truth that can only be experienced.  The self-centered heart will scoff at how stupid this sounds.  Yet, when felt, when experienced, you will wonder why you ever bothered to ever be so self-focused.  You will beg for it to be like this forever.  It is so light.  It is the feeling of lying down in cool grass on warm day.  The breeze gently hushing across your face, tickling your eyelashes.  The moving leaves cast dancing shadows across the ground around you.  The scent of earth fills your nose.  It is like that.

God's grace comes in many forms.  This trip is shaping up to be very refreshing to my soul, not only because of the travel, but the fresh new life of my nephew, Cedar Browne.  May his life be blessed.  

My Nephew, Cedar Kingsbury Browne.