Why a Four Year Olds Tears are a Beautiful

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Js4YZ1z0to&w=560&h=315] This is to me deeply beautiful.

Say Something the piano ballad by Great Big World- is a gentle, powerful, and touching song that has skyrocketed into the publics ear with it's deeply personal driven lyrics about a relationship ending, haunting melodies striking heart strings with every minor note and deeply touching vocals that hold the air of someone like you or me expressing the depths of our soul.

When I first heard this song shown to me by my fiance Rachael Lee, I was suddenly hit with a blast of emotion. As each lyric and note floated through my car speakers, Memory upon memory was conjured up with each harmony sang, and minor note hit. They were real memories, close to me, each one resonating with something the artist was singing. I was brought back to the times of my life of deep doubt, and struggle when I didn't know if my now wife and I would make it through. I was forced into a beautiful slide show of the story that is ours to share but almost wasn't.

All of this because of a few notes and words strung together.

I thought maybe I had such a deep reaction to this song because of what I have been through and the experiences that have painted my understanding of the world.

But how mysteriously interesting it is to watch Young Jackson listen to this ballad. Jackson is four, and as we watch through the lens of a smartphone, this young man shedding tears as this song plays, it is plain to see, that this young man has something going on inside him in response to this song; something that is bringing a visceral and real reaction to the forefront of his countenance.

But how can this be? Jackson being only four would presumably know nothing about the the intricacies of a romantic relationship or the pain brought on from the loss or lack their of. But still Jackson is moved, deeply moved even to tears.

Could it be, that the ignition of our emotions go beyond simlpy our experience? Could it be that the deep longings we feel in response to beauty aren't learned but written on our hearts from before we can even begin to understand what they mean? Could it be that a master designer didn't leave our hearts up to chance but encoded his very being and passion into them before we even had a thought?

I don't know...

But, I know that day in and day out, I have unexplained responses to the beauty I find around me every day, and like Jackson I don't know why I am so effected, I don't know why I long, I don't know why I know why I am touched in the deepest part of my soul and feel a longing for for something I cannot explain

But, what I do know is that I and deeply moved to long for something I have never experienced before.

What Happened When I Said I Didn't Know If I Believed In God

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I waited with a worried heart and a furrowed brow for my parents to come and say goodnight. Usually it was a quick prayer and quick “love you goodnight!”- but tonight I had something to tell them that had been burning a hole in my heart.

I could feel knots in my ten year old stomach, while I unknowingly wrapped my fingers tighter and tighter around my sheets.

On the walls around me hung pictures and poster of heroes and great figures standing tall representing the strength a young man’s heart longs for, but tonight I didn’t feel strong or brave, as yet another distressing wave of doubt came over me.

The door swung open and my parents entered ready to send me off to bed as they prepared to end their day. After a short prayer and a pat on the leg they began to leave when suddenly I said “stop, I need to tell you something”.

Gently concerned, they turned back around and asked me what was on my mind. A bit of fear welled within me mixed with a twinge of shame as I took a breath and let it come out “I don’t know if I believe in God.” The words hung in the air, and the silence was almost more than I could bare. Then I felt the gentle hand of my mother rest again on my leg as the worry left her eyes and a sleight smile came over her face, “That’s okay.”

Astonished that my mother -the most godly woman I have ever known- so nonchalantly took in stride my doubt of God, I replied puzzled… “It is?”

“Of course” She said “Every true believer will have doubts and questions about God, that’s very normal, when I first met Jesus, I know I did. You are a great boy Nathan, and I have no doubt you’ll be a great man.” And with one more “Goodnight I love you”, my parents gently left the room taking the weight of the world I had been carrying, with them.

That night my parents gave me something amazing, through their allowance of my doubts they gave me the ability to know God on a greater scale than I could have ever known him while having a faux faith forced upon me.

From that night on whenever I would have doubts- having felt the freedom to communicate with my parents about them, I would share my struggles and thoughts. And consistently I would leave empowered in my fight. My mom would tell me “Don’t worry Nathan you remind me of the great biblical hero Jacob, who wrestled God”, “I do” I would ask wondering how? “Yes” she would say “And that’s a great thing, because wrestling is a full contact sport and when we wrestle with God we are in communion with him, which is ALWAYS a good thing.”

The song below was written years after that night in my bedroom, hundreds of miles away from my parents, in a small apartment in Hollywood. I had been going through a time of doubt and struggle with God, not unlike the struggle I faced when I was ten. I wanted to put all my fears and doubts into a song but felt a pause thinking maybe, I shouldn’t doubt God and just pretended to be okay. But then suddenly I could again hear my mother’s words echoing through the confines of my minds memories “Wrestling with God is a GOOD thing, wrestling is a full contact sport, and as long as we are in contact with God you have nothing to worry about.”

So with a pure heart, I wrote an honest song to God that ultimately brought me even closer to my creator.

That night in my bedroom, my parents gave me a gift. They gave me the gift of allowing me to doubt, struggle and fight, because they knew that is who God had created me to be. And because they allowed me to wrestle with God, they by default allowed me to be in full contact with him.

I encourage you, wrestle with God, doubt, struggle and be brutally honest with Him, He can take it, and doesn’t mind at all- when you do this you just might find that engaging in the full contact sport with your creator will bring you closer to God than you ever might have thought.

This is the song I wrote that night-

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBZu8Y3NwD4&w=560&h=315]

Get the song on iTunes here

Get the song on Amazon here

Hallelujah (I'll Still Sing) - Lyric Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBZu8Y3NwD4

This is a song I wrote in a time of doubts and questions and comes out of a very personal place. I hope my words can connect with you wherever you are and encourage you to say "I'll Still Sing"

You Long For Another World Whether You Know It Or Not

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In the wake of the tragic events of a fellow actor and beloved artist (in what appears to be) taking his own life, at the behest of a lethal addiction- I watch the reaction of the world around me; I read in the status's of peers, expressing sadness and remorse for the loss of such a bright life. But in doing so, I also see something else- Many of those commenting on the tragic events seem to think the reason for this loss of life was because of the individuals fame, career and a life of being known by many and the pressures that came with that. At first glance, I mentally okay the logic and scroll on, but then I feel a catch in my mind.

It suddenly occurs to me... How many overdoses are there every year we will never hear about because the individuals involved are not famous, well known, or in blockbuster movies- But each having just as much or more "pressure" in there family, personal, or professional life as any celebrity we know?

After coming upon this realization, I am forced to maybe think that maybe the tragic events of us humans losing the fight to addictions, or even taking our own lives; fall upon something so much more serious than a job description.

While I don't pretend to know all the factors that played a part in these tragic events that happened over this past weekend. What I can speak to are the relationships around me and the tragedies I have witnessed first hand in lives of those whom I love and loved. I think it so often comes down to simply this. We live in a broken world, and no matter what this world tries to promise us this world does not fill the void we forever long for. No matter the amount of money, fame, respect (all the things we think would satisfy us) we were made for something else, that until we realize, we cannot find peace.

Someone once said

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

Another wise person noted "There is a God shaped hole in all our hearts." The poor and the rich... The famous and the unknown.

We will never know what we were created for until we know who we were created by. We can never fill the void we feel in the depths of our souls until we invite the one who created them, in.

Created You Were

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Remember today that you were designed- Intentionally and beautifully.

You were not carelessly just thrown here, you are not the result of a random molecular happening, or a thoughtless mass of cells.

Instead realize this

You were made, designed and created with passion and love, you were given a purpose and will, your life has meaning, and you have the ability to live fully the story you were MADE to tell.

Let this effect you today, let this inspire you to know your creator more and find the purpose encoded on your heart.

Playing Pretend the way God intended

Playing Pretend the way God intended

Cold and tired and completely drained I suddenly realized that I was right where my maker had designed me to be.

I Just got back from my first acting gig of the year (9pm-6am) it was cold, late and very tiring... But somewhere around 3am as I and 8 only 8 other guys were walking down the middle Broadway Ave in downtown Los Angeles, all of us holding movie weapons feeling very heroic, was when I realized how blessed I am to get to live out my dreams. I love the person God created me to be and when I started living the story he had for me, is when it really got fun.

Go and begin to move towards the person that your creator has designed you to be. In the meantime I will be playing pretend and getting paid for it! AMAZING!

Don't (just) ask Jesus into your heart

20131230-011023.jpg As a new year looms on the horizon, new thoughts, visions, and wonders fill our mind. For some it can cause excitement, a wind of a new beginning, but for many an uncertain new year brings something else; For some of us the this new year is a shadow that is impossible to see into, containing the unknown and bringing about uncertainty with every step closer into the mist we take.

As I lay in bed counting the things I'm iffy about in this coming year- the tasks I need to get done, and the feats I must accomplish, I suddenly feel a knocking at my brain. It's God. My creator the one who made me, and holds the entire universe. He waits patiently for me to finish up what I'm doing and answer him. I do, and cordially invite him in. He walks confidently in keeping his eyes knowingly on all the things going on around me in this house I call my mind. And without so much as a sogoodtoseeya he rests his eyes on me and in his gentle and powerful voice, says"fear not".

At this point I have a choice, I can allow my God the one who has made me, and everything, who knows all, sees all, and lives outside of time with perspective that sees The epic spectrum of the galaxies; to stay here with me, in my thoughts, and worries, and let him comfort, reconcile, heal and lead me. Or... I can say "well it was great to see you, thanks for coming, but I have this thing, so I got to ask you to leave" and God being the gentleman he is, will. Leaving me to the company of my nagging worries, intrusive fears, and ever present shortcomings.

We will all stand facing the shadow of the unknown at some point, but is then that we have a choice to either walk through it with the creator who has perspective or to go into the fog alone with only our ideas and strength on how to make it through.

So often we invite God into our hearts, but forget to invite him into anything else. God wants to walk with you through everything. Your Creator holds peace, love, joy, overcoming truth, and redemption in his hands, which he holds freely out to you, are you have to do is take hold.

Bring the Prodigal Film Home

 

Help Bring a Prodigal Home (Film) 

Support by visiting - http://www.gofundme.com/598bwc

Confessions of a Prodigal Son is a cinematic story of young man who is lost and found, ruined and redeemed, broken and restored. It is a modern retelling on film of the parable of the prodigal son from the Bible. I wrote the screenplay simply to encourage prodigals to come home.

This 90-minute Indie film is almost finished, but I can’t bring this Prodigal home to DVD and distribution without some help. I hope you will take a minute to learn more about my first journey into filmmaking, and to help me bring this project to completion. See some of the amazing screen shots below.



Kevin Sorbo

Michael Bolten and Rachael Lee

Nathan Clarkson (Me)

Real life is the best source for good fiction, and I wrote Prodigal out of my own experiences and observations as I journeyed through film school in NYC and tried to break into the film industry in LA as a 22 year-old unknown newbie. When I decided to try writing my own film, I wanted to create a role I could believe in, tell a story others could believe in, and make a difference in the lives of other prodigals.

To make a long story short, I put my idea on a crowd-funding site last spring. With God’s help, and the support of many amazing friends, the first round of funding allowed us to film the entire story in two weeks in LA. We had very little money, but we had a committed and talented director and some amazing talent who wanted to be involved, including Kevin Sorbo, Michael Bolten, and Tanya Chisholm, all recognized Hollywood actors. We wrapped filming on August 30.

As a first-time filmmaker, I am humbled and excited to see my story coming to life on screen. I named my new production company Lighting Dark, because that’s what film should do.

But here’s where you, and the wonderful GoFundMe community, can help me make sure this film actually does light the dark. I have enough funds to start the editing of the film, but then I will need new funds to finish the edit, pay for the film score, sound editing, mastering, and production.


Joel Clarkson my brother (composer), Aaron Eberhardt (Sound Engineer), Sean Waldron (Editor). All of which are lending their professional skill, working tirelessly behind the scenes for next to nothing. We would love to reward their passion and dedication.

To finish this project, I need a minimum of $3,000 in additional funds. No donation is too small, and every dollar will be gratefully and faithfully used to pay the editors, composers, musicians, sound mixers, and other providers who will move this film from dream to reality. If you believe in the power of returning prodigals, and you share my passion for storytelling in film that can write new stories in people’s lives, then I hope you will consider helping me bring this Prodigal home. Thanks!

http://www.gofundme.com/598bwc

YOU

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photo taken by my extremely talented roommate Ben Moen

 

Remember this today.

You are not an accident, you are not some random collection of cells wandering life aimlessly. NO, you are "fearfully and wonderfully made" designed by the master artist with purpose and intent. You are LOVED SO much, that no matter what your past holds or your present feels like or your future threatens you are NEVER to late to find redemption and live a beautiful story that was made JUST for you. Know that today, TODAY you have a creator (think on that for a second, you were CREATED) that has given his life just so you could have a personal connection -a RELATIONSHIP- with the one who powerfully holds the galaxies, masterfully engineered the atom, beautifully spins (at a perfect balance) all of nature and with passion and love created..... You.

You are Intended

We cannot justify existence without intention. Think of one thing aside from nature in existence that had no intention behind it. There is no piece of art, not one computer or paper clip made without a determination from a intentional creator. Why would we think any less of our universe, world or even ourselves. What a difference it would make if we lived with the knowledge that our very existence was intended. That we were created and everything around us is a masterpiece designed by a masterful artist. Look again at the yourself and the beautiful universe surrounding you and ask, was this, was I intended?

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We must give ourselves away to find who we really are...

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Living believing the world owes us something, is to ignore the gift of life we have been given. God gave so we could give. It is only when we lose our self for others -in the way our creator did for us- will we ever find the satisfaction we so deeply long for. But doing this means (with God's help) letting go of everything we think we are owed, letting go of what is fair for us, letting go what is best for our selves and putting the needs of the ones around us before our own. It is then we can begin the journey of finding who our creator has made us to be.

Looking over

What a beautiful site to see tonight in the Hollywood hills. If you look to the far left you can see the Hollywood sign looking out over the city where so many come looking for meaning and lose their way. But if you look to the far right you'll see a cross looking over the whole of the city as a symbol to God's unfailing presence and willingness to become apart of our world, save us and bring the prodigals home.

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I Believe in Life

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I believe in life.

I believe in tasting good food, hearing beautiful sounds of music and watching inspiring movies. I believe in feeling the first snow of winter on your arms and watching the first bloom of spring with your eyes. I believe in exploring this vast and wonderful world, climbing mountains and splashing in the ocean. I believe in laughing until you cry when a joke is told and crying until you laugh when someone you love is holding you. I believe in chasing dreams, meeting a beautiful girl, and I believe in falling in love.

Weather you are made up of a few cells or a trillion, I believe that life is a precious gift that that has been given to ALL of us, no matter how small or large. It is a gift to be lived, and loved to the fullest - And that every day we must protect and value EVERYONE's right to experience this beautiful thing we call life.

I believe in life.

What do you believe in?

Who we were Vs. Who we could become

"As humans we have such a hard time moving forward, simply because all we can see is where we have been. But when we take hold of our Creators hand, suddenly we are being lead into the person our Creator knew we could be all along. Our designer has the amazing ability to see our past knowing who we were, but also see our amazing future and who we could become. Take ahold of the Creators hand today, so that you can one day sooner be on your way to becoming the beautiful creation you were designed to be."Image