Thursday, December 20, 2012


Every sin is first a lack of confidence in God's benevolence
Every sin. 

We need more faith.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Burning

"In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: 
He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears. 

Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, 
because He was wroth [with my enemies].

There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured:
coals were kindled by it."

The burning. The passionate love of Infinity, at once warming and burning, comforting and causing a terrible trembling...

And coals are kindled by it.

Every bit of warmth we possess, every bit of light, we owe to that wonderful, terrible fire.
Every ounce of usefulness, every drop of passion, any love for souls, any hatred for chains, any power to do anything about them... We owe it all to the burning.

And to be a coal-- To glow red, rolled in ashes, this is a high honor.
The harder the wind blows, the hotter we glow.
Till we're utterly consumed.

Can any other life compare?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advantage of Suffering

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

Friday, November 23, 2012

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...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Life is a Vapor

Merciful sleep.
Merciful blackness, the backdrop for a million galaxies.

"Stars. You see them best on the darkest night." 

I turn over, sleep, to see in my dreams the strength of arms, and wills, and hearts... of friends that wouldn't let go. That poured sweat, and poured out sobs with us on a cold night under open heavens.

There's something familiar about this feeling.
We'll dig another grave tomorrow.
For another one of our best friends.

We'll say another round of goodbyes.
That's three times by open graves, once by our open door, since June.

But as night turns into day, then turns to night again, one thing hits me harder even than the loss of another cherished treasure. It's how I cherish the ones that are left.

Because life is a vapor.
I'll always be glad I stopped mid-stride, retraced two steps to the kitchen trash and fished out my apple core after lunch. Just because I knew she'd like it.

It is the last thing she would ever eat.

But what of the rest?

While visions of a twisting, straining, struggling animal, and of brave friends fighting through hot tears for a chance at life pass before sleepless eyes, I wonder:

These treasures, I mean the ones I have left, do they know how much I love them?

Morning comes and it's still black. I awaken slowly, pause to feel my heart beat its steady 45.
But I'm by no means the first. Someone else has been up, waiting for the morning to start.
He's pretty polite. Doesn't usually awaken me before my time. But neither does he wait long after my eyelids first flutter.

The cold nose finds its way to a tear-stained face, pushes a time or two, and retreats to take up racquetball, sock, or whatever else can pass for a toy at 4 am. And he stands there, and his beady eyes beam. He's happy to see me. And every morning he tells me the same. He stands there, wags his tail until he can't take it any more. Prances and dances, and makes a fuss, as if we'd been separated by months and miles, rather than short hours since last night.
Just because he loves...

But wouldn't I wish I'd done the same, made a ruckus when I'd first seen my sister, brother, mother, father in the morning? Wouldn't I wish I had, if one morning they were gone?

I have news for you. For me.

That could happen any morning.

Life is a vapor.

Fight for it. Cherish it.
And not just when it's hanging by a thread...

Sleep, Diamond baby. Sleep.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Imprisoned at Liberty?

This feels awkward. I'm not going to lie. I've never done anything like it.

I slide my ID under bullet-proof glass, the guy with the badge takes it without even a hint of a smile. 
I take a seat and eyes wander over brushed aluminum characters on the wall. 
Sheriff's name. Undersheriff. County supervisor. Date built.

I shift weight around. Watch people come, sign in, sit down.
He opens a heavily barricaded door. Motions for us to come. 

"No cell phones? No weapons, nothing in your pockets?"
I hold up empty hands.

The metal detector shrieks when I pass under. Maybe my belt buckle?
He points me down the long concrete corridor. 

"Right at the end. Then all the way down."

Oh, the sound of the place. The sound of black dress shoes on a hard polished floor, bouncing off concrete walls and ceilings. So hollow. So empty.

The wind whips outside, but not even air can get into this place uninvited.
Warm though it may be, I pull my long coat closed tighter over purple shirt and tie. As if upturned collar of black cashmere can keep the foreign-ness out?
And I walk. And I wonder...
And I don't have long to wait. 

He lights up when I come around the corner. And so do I. And suddenly, there's nothing awkward about it... 

Nothing, except the glass. The cold glass between me and my friend. We press hands against it, close the gap between us except for the last 3/4 inch. And I pick up the black phone on my side, look him in the eyes--

        So good to see you, man."*

And we talk like the old friends we are, only, this time I have to watch the clock. 
At 17 minutes we dive into Romans 8:35... Suddenly the words have new meaning.

"Who shall separate us from the love of God?!"

Once more we leave fingerprints on the glass. And I turn away and leave him sitting there... Turn away so others dear can see his face, hear his voice. And my eyes burn, and my heart burns. And I fiddle with the long row of buttons on my coat and my soles make that hollow mocking sound until I've reached that door... That door that opens to my touch. 

-  -  -  -  -

For days I see it. See the stripes he has to wear. See his sister's face when she said thank you. See his mother, writing another letter even while sitting in the waiting room. I see the coldness of steel and glass and concrete everywhere. I see the same solemn guard smile and chat with them-- they've been here lots of times. And under it all, through it all, I see this heartbeat of freedom. I see this peace. Behind thick glass I see in the eyes of my friend this liberty...

And I hear the echo, as if I were still sitting in that concrete vault:

"Who shall separate us from the love of God?!"

And then, I see myself.

And I see Jesus

He, dressed in His best, white all over, signing in, and sitting down. Because believe it or not, He doesn't have keys to this place. 
He has to wait.

He passes under, through the fortifications, comes around the corner, and I light up. Because of course I'm glad to see Him... But there's still this glass between us. And he raises a scarred hand to it, and I raise mine too. And of course I want out, but for some unjustifiable reason, I want to keep my pride intact even more.

And pride is a prison.

So He comes in, tells me how good it is to see me... and all at once, time is up, and He must go. 
And I let Him go. Watch Him walk out. 
And His eyes fill with tears. And His great, beautiful heart burns...

Mostly because, quite unlike the case of my old friend, the keys to this place are in my pocket.

My friend is free, in jail. 
And I'm imprisoned, at liberty.

Oh, the tragedy. To ever let pride be my prison. 
The prison that keeps Him out, more even than it does me in.

"Who [what?] shall separate us from the love of God?!"


Nothing but my own choices...


Friday, November 2, 2012

Obvious Invisible

"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made..." (Romans 1:20)
His heart is written out in face and flower and framed in full color of falling leaf...It's everywhere. 
If I cannot understand the heart of God, the purposes of God; If the invisible is a mystery, the cause lies with me. In me.
It's that time of year again. I sit arms folded in my leather desk chair to keep my warmth in. 
Who knows what the temp is in here. 
"...So that they are without excuse." (ibid)
Little lights shine like stars where the wall meets the ceiling. My eyes wander from one to the next.
Invisible, visible. Invisible, visible. The obvious impossible. Unthinkable. 
I start up. Take up the book again, scour the page with something almost like a glare.
If this problem is all mine, you had better believe I will find the solution. 
 "Invisible...visible." They did, they didn't... (verse 21)
because they didn't. They didn't give Him His due. They didn't "glorify Him as God" of their lives. And so they couldn't see Him, where He was indeed to be found. 
 He was there, but their eyes were darkened.
We see Him, when we give Him what is due Him.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Never Stop Believing

"The just shall live by faith."

Not "we should live," as though there were actually another way...

But rather--
that unshakable confidence in the promises, in the Providence, in the power of the Almighty is like the air that sustains our very life. That without it, we turn grey and cold and waxy hard.
For death is only life minus breath...

"The just shall live by faith."

...and that this confidence all consuming, this believing that grips so deeply it necessarily changes the believer himself, shall not alone be the air that fills lungs with life, but also the spring from which newness of life flows... "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed, from faith to faith."

"The just shall live by faith."

...and that the necessary result should be fidelity.
Because the end of faith is faithfulness.

"The just shall live by faith."

Never, never, ever stop believing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gift of Bravery

But I'm afraid.

Oh, but why?!
It's fear, you know, that gives these giants (my enemies) all their strength.

Destroy the fear, destroy the giant.
They're made of paper anyway...

- - -

I cross rocky hillside to a favorite old spot. The boulder sits just where it did last time, warmed by the mountain sun.
Some things never change.

Years change though. And ages.
And I'm here both to ponder and to give thanks.

It's strange how much birthday wishes can move a soul. (or is it?)
I give thanks for them. And for the friends that gave them, and for the promises they have claimed over this little life.

But even more, today I'm thankful for one thing:

For blue-green eyes more than a fist full of years my junior, brave enough to stand up to me and say they expected more, better, higher, from me their friend.

And I reel and wince, and then I melt. Because I know they speak the truth.

For a little voice, rarely heard, barely raised in the babble that broke my stressed-out reasoning into pieces.
That broke me into pieces--

"In brokenness we find blessings."

And I stop and stare, and then smile. Because I know they speak the truth.

For another, strong and quiet, warning me of my own fearful power to destroy while I treck across western plains.
Half "I'm right here with you," half "you have absolutely no excuse."

And I realize, I need more of this. I crave more of this.
I might need it more than the rest of the world put together.
I need to be pushed, challenged, reminded.
And not just by my critics.

I need it from my friends.

I need more brave friends.

These three? they're keepers.
And they've given me the best of the best this birthday.

thanks guys.

Friday, October 19, 2012

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.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

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!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Love With Your Eyes [Glorious Fast - Part VII]

"...and that thou bring the poor that are [afflicted] to thy house?
When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, 
and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"

There are times, many times, when answers are not enough.
When the most eloquently chosen words are still a mockery...
Because what are words when I am dying of leprosy, and you are not?
What are words when I am naked, and you are warmly clothed?
What are words when we could have been siblings, when our fates could have been reversed, but you turn away because you'd rather not see my open sores?

I'll tell you exactly what words are then. Even, at times, the well meaning ones...

Shame. Shame and mockery...

Ok, whatever. So I won't talk.
Oh, but what is silence!?

-  -  -  -  -

Many feel as though they don't have the words anyway.
I'm here to go on record saying that that is no limitation.
You can still "bring," you can still "cover..."

You can still open your arms and wrap them around the neck of a dying, reeking, sick child the Highest, and hold them to your heart, unguarded.
You can look steady and strong into the eyes of the naked and afraid, and prove to them that love can see past their lack.

Oh, and you might get the stench of death all over you.
But you might also release a soul from the grip of shame.

Dirty work? You might call it that. I don't.
You know Jesus touched the leprous skin to make it whole.

Oh, love with your hands, your arms, your eyes...
And if your hands get covered in grime, no matter.

Have you ever, have you ever watched darkened eyes light up?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Love Gives

Ten days out. Long days of school, a trip to the east coast for a funeral, late nights, early mornings, (over and over again) and emails and work and volunteering piling up unmercifully--

Joy is still on the throne.

I can't explain it. Why we trip down the road at twilight the five of us that remain, and laugh instead of cry.

I can't explain it except to say that our joy is unutterably full.
And it doesn't even seem like they're gone.
They aren't really... They're closer than they were when she slept upstairs.
Even if we only exchange maybe one email a week.

The joy of giving far outshines the joy of having.

I can't explain it.
I feel no need to try.

Almost every table and windowsill in the house boasts their faces in some form.
And almost every conversation includes references to "Lukey and Chantée."

Something tells me that for some time, that's how it'll stay.

Monday, September 17, 2012

If You Have a Crumb [Glorious Fast - Part VI]

"...Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry..."
- - - -

Arms open wide, I try to embrace them all.
Canis Major, Aries, Lepus, Orion, Columba...
All in their undimmed glory against the blackness.
And Venus and Jupiter, brightest of all.

Head tipped back, I spin; take it in.
Try to grip infinity while the earth grips me, twirls me through the universe like a daddy does his child.

And it's just me. Me and my dog.
On a 36 degree morning. At 8,000 feet.

I break into a smile.

And I whisper to myself; to Him--

No sooner has a child of the Highest yielded to transforming grace, than he is made an ambassador among men.*

No sooner!

- - - -

"But I have nothing."

If you have a crumb of bread, you have enough.

It doesn't say you must be a wholesale broker of baked goods.
Nor does it say that those goods must be the finest pastries.
Nor does it say that you'll need a flawless record of lifelong fidelity to be trusted with the job...

Because no sooner has a child of the Highest yielded to transforming grace, than he is made an ambassador among men.

What it does say, is that this bread, this simple fare passed down to sustain life--

It's not just bread you picked up somewhere for general distribution.
This was yours.
Your next meal.

"...Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry..."

Beautiful is this truth. A terrible beautiful.

If you have a crumb of bread to eat, (and most people do) you have enough to give away.
And if you would see men free, and full, and overflowing,
you must.

- - - -

At hill's top I turn, greet the dawn.
Embrace the empty expanse with my whole heart.
This is fullness.

*See page 2.1 of Mount of Blessings...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

To Finish the Job [Glorious Fast - Part V]

"... and that ye break every yoke?..."

This is no halfway freedom we're talking about.

This is undeniably the most audacious face of the conflict--
It's grace, returning to finish the job.

Because "if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

So it is that the trembling (but oh, so happy) child of God (only recently in chains) awakens one morning to a flurry of activity, and while yet rubbing sleep from the eyes an angel brushes by and says the Commander is waiting...

"For what-- 
        For me??"

Yes. Because just getting clear of the door of that prison is't enough for this General.
Today they're going back to crush the fortress to a thousand pieces.

And He wants to take me with Him.

So we set out. Me with my little coil of rope, and Him, strong as ten thousand times ten thousand bulldozers. And I look up in awe while we trek-- still thinking this is a dream. The One, the Invincible Soldier. The other, the admiring little boy, still in his pajamas...
And He looks down and smiles.

He doesn't need me.

But He glories in making the weak, strong.
            --in setting them over their enemies.

And after all, don't I know where the pillars in that place rest, better than most?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chained by Fear [Glorious Fast - Part IV]

"...and to let the oppressed to free..."

"There is nothing in the world to fear, but fear itself."
--words to a trusted friend those.

Fear substantiates the false claims of every captor.

Because when I fail, this jail I find myself in is horrible...
But even more horrible is the fear.

Fear keeps thousands in prison, when the door is wide open.
Because worse than jail itself is fearing "how God will treat me" when I get out...

But to say that God is anything like fear describes is as wrong as calling the devil a savior.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The truth is, God loves.
only. loves.

But the fearing can scarcely be blamed for disbelieving that at times...

We've taught them to.

Yes. You and me.
We teach the weak to fear.
By our actions. When we're supposed to be representing Jesus Himself...

And that keeps them in prison even when the doors are open.

"...and to let the oppressed to free..."

Not just by getting the door open.
By helping them believe they'll always find open arms on the other side of the threshold.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trophies of His Mercy [Glorious Fast - Part III]

" undo the heavy burdens..."
I love that word.

I love that word.

Schoolmaster holds up a bony finger and rants of paradises lost. Of opportunities wasted. Of moments, talents, thrown to the wind. Or worse.
Of the train of mistakes so long it takes an army of engines to pull them.
And that army of engines is me.
(And so, we get nowhere.)

Of the crushing weight of another failure.
Another moment I regret the second it is gone.
Of the shame that no one can understand because they know nothing of its source...

Schoolmaster's voice shrieks this madness,
this madness that is real,
and I cover. cower. cry.

And then in the midst of this shower of burning brimstone a hand is raised.
And teacher's tirade ceases on a goldfish-gulp of air, for sheer shock that someone might want to speak...
And the voice is quiet, but it is as solid as a rock.

"Is there no way to undo?"


-  -  -  -  -

I love that word too...

And it does undo.
The Hebrew word means more than just to untie one's shoelaces.

It means to utterly confound, baffle, unravel...

I know.
I know, in the present-progressive.
Because I pace too, lion-like. Fists doubled up. Star-studded blackness outside french doors to bookshelf, and back.
And I dry my eyes, drop exhausted. Only to cry some more.
And I whisper--

"He restoreth my soul... He restoreth my soul..."

I have heard it said that "There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us."*

I believe it.
Yes, there is a way to undo.

Oh, but schoolmaster shrieks again that the scars will always remain.

Yes. And even scars are trophies of His mercy--
A scar is infinitely better than an eternally open wound.

Thank you Jesus.

-  -  -  -  -

And so the soldier gets up from his face forgiven. Again.
Pure. again.

But only as he remembers what he himself has learned on his face will he be qualified to help undo burdens himself.

This is why we must never forget...

Be thou merciful. 

*Richard Sibbes

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Blind Cannot Lead The Blind [Glorious Fast - Part II]

" loose the bands of wickedness..."

If hacking chains is exhilarating work, it is also gut-wrenching. Tear jerking.
Soul taxing--

And full-filling.

It is neither for the faint-hearted, nor for the half-committed...

But it is brilliantly, brilliantly rewarding.

Little wonder then that many an eager recruit has taken to the field with clumsy grip and misfit armor to seek fame in such brave exploits. Only, without first counting (or even knowing) the cost.

These first six words betray one of the best-kept secrets of the dark side.

As regards [im]morality*:

License is bondage.

Lust is an iron chain.
And many, many beautiful people are wearing such fetters.

But these, my friends,
These are the first chains to go.

Only, they will never fall helpless before the faith (or the fervent fuming) of the faint-hearted,
or the half-committed.

From these same six words rings out to every soldier sharpening his sword for such a battle, this thundered imperative- a charge commanding every anguished drop of a soldier's undying commitment:

Be. thou. pure.

Be thou pure.

Because only purity is stronger than vice.

*Strongs: ["wickedness" from 7561; a wrong (especially moral)...]

Friday, August 31, 2012

I Will Go - Available Now!

My life, your life, has been preserved until this moment
for one reason.

That it might be given away.

While there is life and strength in you,
          While you are young and brave, and beautiful,


Go pour out every drop on thirsty ground 
where no flowers grow, but seeds lie dormant.

From its first heartbeat this project has been woven with your prayers, enabled by your gifts, inspired by your friendship and filled with your favorites.

And it's all been such a gift to us, we can't stand the thought of ending the giving.
And we've decided there's no reason to.

This CD is a bit different... Longer, yes. Filled with nominations, yes.
But more than that, squeezed out of hearts that are being wrung with longing to see dark places lighted with the Glory of God...

Hearts thankful beyond words for the inspiration of the soldiers young and old actually holding the torches.
They're our heroes. And some of their names can't appear in print.
But this CD is dedicated to them.

And we give thanks for them, but we want to do something a bit more.
So a dollar from every disk goes to Karen Outreach. (

That's our little part.
If you'd like to send a dollar too, use the second paypal button when you order. We'll send $2.

But don't just buy the CD and sit and listen and smile and say "that's sweet."
Go get on your face and ask to be broken and spilled out.

Then we can call this project a success.


p.s. Thank you isn't enough. 80 plus songs later, we have fodder for lots of dreams. And we wish we could sufficiently thank everyone that took the time to nominate songs. We still have the list..... :)
But I promised that your names would go in a hat, and a dozen of you would get free copies. So if your name is listed below:

1. Don't order a copy. It'll just come in the mail. (better email me at seannebblett[at]gmail[dot]com to give me your address though.

2. Order a copy anyway. We'll send all 15 dollars to Asia...

Maria Adams
Esther Collier
Luther Coram
Christina Ford
Emily Heagy
Beth Johns
Lydia Keener
Cami Martin
Hope Montana
Libby Orthman
Allie Westermeyer
Sophia Wichmann

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