Category Archives: Faith

An Unfinished Sentence

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I’ve picked a book from the bookstore shelf and am immediately caught in the lilting currents of prose by its author. She describes one of her antiheroes as perplexing as “an unfinished sentence.”

No one likes the broken meter of an abrupt end. I was recently in a conversation with someone unfamiliar to me who persisted in beginning a thought, then switching gears. Or trailed off and just…assumed I followed. I didn’t. It was maddening.

By the end of that convo I felt like a tiny steel ball in the old pinball machine, sensing a slow-down or landing-spot only to be slapped in another direction.

Change.

Not the kind you wait until the barista notices, then drop into her tip jar, the kind that essentially costs you nothing.

No, the kind of change that signals the end of an era, the conclusion of a matter, a shift to the unknown. The kind that you don’t fish out of your pocket or scrabble at the bottom of your purse for.

That change.

…Which is what I’m finding myself on the front edge of…

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An Amazing Thing Happened On The Way To Our Son’s Grave

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Funny thing about rainbows, they’re actually circles, not half-arcs. Obviously they look like arches to us because of our limited perspective, seeing only half the story because the horizon kind of gets in the way.

My lovely spotted the colorful band stretched over the cemetery where our son’s body was laid to rest last Christmas as we made our approach. It was our thirty-first wedding anniversary and we wanted to share our celebration with our boy. Sandy often wants me to drive the long way around Mozley Gardens to pay respects to any of Graham’s new “neighbors” before we park at his marker, so I was poking along scanning the lawns out my driver’s side window when I heard her exclaim:

“Oh honey, look!”

I followed her graceful index finger as it stretched toward the windshield.

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A bow of beauty.

The Sovereign had kissed our evening by finger-painting a swath of grace over our Gra-Gra.

Well, that’s all she wrote. We were undone. Verklempt. A wet mess.

In a good way.

“I know about the promise of God to not destroy the earth with floods,” my bride offered, “but what else do you think God is saying?”

I was already in that vein, the Bible teacher in me calling up the Revelator’s vision of God on His throne in His abode of heaven. Verse three says “around the throne” was a rainbow and a quick study suggests it’s a full circle, as rainbows tend to be.

A perfect circle.

No beginning, no end. No pause, no break. No altered course, but fulfillment and wholeness.

Eternality.

God said, “look up.”

We lifted our watery eyes.

“See My initials in sweeping, color-laden script?”

We indeed saw the stamp of Resurrection.

The “all things new” seal of Certainty.

We’re two still-grieving parents encased in the drama of loss, sighing at the memories and could-have-beens, making our repeated pilgrimage to the sacred stone…

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BUT WE’RE

…gently carried all the while (yet again!) by everlasting Arms that scaffold our temporal home with rainbows to remind us

that Eternity awaits,

that these eyes only see half the picture,

that the Best is yet to be,

that the grace that pavilions us in these years of dust and ash,

will give way to Endless Dawn, forever illuminated by the Sun and Daystar of our souls, Jesus the Christ and Father of Lights.

That rainbow reminded us that His exhaustive archives of eternity and our place (and Graham’s!!!) in the Eternal Story is not a half-arc (half done), but a complete arc, and – my beloved fellow pilgrim – let it serve to tell you that God wastes none of your raw materials in preparing you for His Glory. All of it goes into the flourish of His finishing touches.

Just look up.

It’s there to remind you.

The Courage of a Young Lion

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Watercolor artwork by Dylan Pierce (another one of my young lions!)

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Over the past few years I’ve featured a “lion’s share” segment on my blog, providing a platform for the ‘young lions’ I’ve been privileged to mentor and father spiritually.

Today I share with you, my beloved readers, one of the great young men of his generation. Shawn Buck has been with me in the pride for a bit over a year and will soon be moving on from the den as God has called him away from us. Lord willing, Shawn will be leaving for Cape Town, South Africa for a two-year (or life-long?) commitment with the Ubuntu Football Academy.

I’m honored to serve on Shawn’s board but even more blessed to call him a son of the faith. This dude is as real as they come! In this post, Shawn bravely shares his greatest fight and offers hope in overcoming addiction to pornography. As the guys and I have discussed on numerous occasions, we don’t affix the slang “porn” too often because that has become a designation that makes it a culturally acceptable norm. To call it what it is – pornography – paints it in a more ‘graphic’ light, relegating it to it’s more insidious and self-destructive nature.

Thank you, Shawn, my son, for listening to Wisdom’s call and learning to pass by the “forbidden woman’s” house on the other side (Proverbs 7:4,5). I love you, courageous lion of God.

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When I was 13 years old, I came across pornography for the first time. It led me down a destructive road of getting deeper and deeper into the world of porn, of continuously lusting after girls and after self-gratification. It led to incredible shame, gut-wrenching guilt, and loss of self worth. It destroyed relationships and it built a dependence on something that doesn’t satisfy. It led me to lie constantly to cover my tracks. It consistently brought me into a world I never dreamt I would be a part of.

It changed my life.

Lust and porn is a cruel drug. That isn’t just some saying. It acts the same way as cocaine by releasing large amounts of dopamine into your brain. The fact that it is so easy to get can make it more dangerous than cocaine, because you can keep your brain doped up for hours (fightthenewdrug.org). It truly is one of the most dangerous things on this earth.

Have you ever heard of a healthy marriage where either the husband or wife wishes they would have slept with more people or watched more porn?

No.

Lust and porn are damaging to our future relationships. There will be images you can’t get out of your mind, unfair expectations you will put on your spouse and even damage done to your own confidence.

I pray that people realize just how destructive lust and porn are. This isn’t just some harmless thing that everybody does. One, it is so degrading to women. Women are amazing and deserve to be held up and shown so much more respect than porn. It truly does alter your view of them subconsciously and starts to paint them as objects in your mind. Two, it plays a large role in human trafficking. Chuck Norris actually wrote an incredible article about that here (http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/porns-part-in-sex-trafficking/). And three, it ultimately hurts you by making you think that that’s what it should be like: by bringing down your confidence, and by taking something so beautiful as sex and making it a cheap, non-committal and perverse action between two random people.

I say all of this not to judge you, be pessimistic or throw hatred on you, but to convince some of you that this is not some cute pet to keep around and play with. It is a dangerous destructive lion just waiting to destroy you completely.

I wish so badly that I could sit here today and tell you that it is something that I’m free of and have victory over, but it’s not. I still have a sexual addiction that I struggle with daily. I have seen significant, positive change in my life with this sexual addiction, though, and that is the only reason I am able to open up enough to write this blog and share my story with you.

I want you to know that you aren’t the only one dealing with this. You haven’t gone too far and or done something too awful. You aren’t defined by your addiction and you can see freedom from it. I have tried every cure/fix there is: accountability partners, Internet filters, multi-step programs, books, and everything else under the sun, and can I tell you the only thing that has made a lick of change in my life? Honestly, Jesus.

I know that is going to turn someone off and I hope you continue to read because I’m going to tell you the difference between all of the things I’ve tried and Him.

He knows you’re going to mess up. He doesn’t guarantee that everything will be fixed after 5 easy payments. He understands exactly, let me say again, exactly what you are going through. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t happy you are failing like this, and yet he takes you back anyways. You will never go too far, mess up too much or be too unworthy of his acceptance. He loves you and delights when you realize that you can do nothing but lean on HIM. That’s called dependence, and when you start to depend on something that can truly satisfy instead of the false hope of pornography, that is when you will start to see change.

That is my story. Here it is for the world to see and know about. I hope that one day you can open up about your struggles and share your story with people.

If you don’t know whom you can tell, my email is scbuck27@gmail.com. I would love to listen and help in anyway I can.

Thank you so much for listening to my story!

H/T to Karlye – one of our lionesses! – over at flower roots.com. Her layout is way better than mine anyhow. And more pictures.