refine: paring back to neccesity

refine-pared-back-pj

 

It’s that January feeling.  As air sighs out icy purity and trees wear their winter-bare skeletal clothes,  our souls begin to sense how weighed down we really are, how much we need to refine back to necessity.

The excess of Christmas is beyond us. A new year signals time to begin again and waken anew to promise and potential ahead of us. But we’re not always ready to shrug off blankets of lethargy or sloughs of despondency, nor certain of the choices before us.

Hibernation looks inviting. Many of us lack the physical or mental energy to move ahead or make needful changes to our schedule, never mind our lives. I find myself torn between the very real need to snuggle under the duvet and a desire to refine my life.

I need Holy inspiration, wisdom and courage to make lasting change possible. I need God’s strength and guidance to even begin to move forward a little. Change is possible if we pray, seek God’s support, take it slowly and celebrate small victories along the way.  And just like trees, without the paring back we cannot grow or flourish as intended.

Over the next few months I hope to review the vision God has for my life, to discover afresh that releasing is the key to receiving His best. It helps to remember just Who has us in His loving, capable hands.

“Fear can keep you up all night but faith makes one fine pillow” ~ Philip Gulley

A desire to refine

I need to refine my life, clear out

the clutter, remove dead leaves, pare

back to bare bones and finally see

what is at the heart of me. I need

to define my days in the light

of eternity, live complete, wholly

and holy surrendered to my destiny

 

This is a season to rout out

dead wood, slim down to essentials

sift and sort these interior

and outer rooms, ready my soul

for a fresh infilling of Holy Ghost

I long to become a home, a haven

for others—first I need to let loose detritus

 

Because it’s only when we refine

down to necessity that we begin

to truly see who we are, where

we are now and how to become

all God fully intends us to be

©joylenton2017

a-need-to-refine-poem-poetry-joy

 

I’m happy to be sharing my poetic thoughts with the lovely five-minute-friday writing crew today as we reflect on the prompt ‘refine’. You can find us gathering at our gracious host, Kate Motaung’s site here, and you’re warmly invited to join us. 

holy listening to life, love and loss – magnetic monday

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Life’s deep secrets contain echoes of eternity, breath of love, hint of loss and eventual leave-taking. For we cannot love well, fully and freely without seeing and sensing the sharp contrast of light and shade together, which involves a kind of holy listening to life itself, acknowledging those smudgy grey areas we all inhabit.

When we raise our awareness, become accustomed to holy whispers making themselves known to us in the midst of the mundane, we soon realise that we share those deep secrets—both concealed and laid bare—as glorious partakers and curious onlookers observing God’s work in this world.

In turn we become holy listeners, those who wait on the Word, seek out Truth, hoping to hear heaven’s heartbeat, to bear its joy and sorrow, become saturated in its love, mercy and forgiveness, as we learn the wisdom and discernment only God can impart. Then we offer these things as gift to all, especially those in our sphere of influence.

In my first magnetic poetry poem below (made with the Original Set), holy listening can be interpreted as you see fit.

Holy Listening

She said vast dark secrets

of old dazzle like dance

a brilliant word for

this holy listening

I can bring cake

give me warm ocean

breeze lingering in

cloudy night air to

celebrate their wake

magnetic-poetry-holy-listening

 

My second poem—made using the Poet Set—examines love and loss, inextricably linked as one heart-rending experience.

Love and Loss

love is our mad sun

or it’s cool as death

whispered lies to the wind

wanting one last symphony

bitter as black mist

her arms were

daylight bare

languid as language

magnetic-poetry-love-and-loss

 

What is God whispering to you this week?

How is this magnetic poetry speaking to you?

I’d love to hear in the comments below.  🙂

every picture tells a story – twittering tales #12

arty-photo-every-picture-tells-a-story-pj-pyjama-pattern

 

Every picture tells a story, doesn’t it? The one above is what I call an arty photo. It’s basically an altered image of my pyjama trousers, made into an abstract pattern. Like many a photograph, it is open to creative interpretation and imaginative storytelling.

As regular readers will know, I love to see what I can do with a prompt. The photograph below is for this week’s Twittering Tales prompt #12, as set by my lovely creative poet friend, Kat Myrman.

Basically, a story is told (poetically or otherwise) in response to a new weekly photo prompt, with the goal of keeping within the 140 character limit of a tweet. Please click here to see how it works and to join in if you’d like to.

I’m joining in here for the first time, with two poems and a tiny twittering tale story inspired by this image.

twittering-tales-image-jan-10th-2017

First the story…

He saw them framed by sun’s dying rays, knew it might come to this. He’d already lost wife and child; now they wanted his canine friend. (137 characters)

Poem One…

A dying sun’s rays bathes inky figures

The river ripples with golden glints

Time and tide wait for no man

His canine friend beckons

But he wants to run

(140 characters)

Poem Two…

All is solemn, still, a place

now steeped in silhouettes 

Bathed in liquid gold, they wait

His dog moves forward eagerly

But he pauses, hesitates

(140 characters)

While my circumstances remain challenging and I feel stretched enough by them, I am welcoming the opportunity to relax a bit creatively and try my hand at different things. Because it’s good to break out of routine sometimes and stretch ourselves in a new direction. You may like to see my attempts at magnetic poetry too. If so, you can check them out here.

Have you been inspired to try your hand at a new form of creativity, maybe a different writing medium or style? I’d love to hear how it’s helped to inspire or relax you.

poetry for all seasons: introducing magnetic monday

magnetic-monday-poetry-joy

In this wintry season my soul leans more toward penning poetry than prose. Strangely, I tend to think more poetically when plagued by fatigue. Though I firmly believe that writing, poetic or otherwise, is fired and inspired by and transcends all seasons.

Sometimes it pays to keep things brief, because being concise can still speak volumes as it concentrates the thoughts. And trying something new can energise a weary woman (or a flagging poet), reigniting the writer’s fire within as we take a fresh stance or have a different spin on things.

I’ve been inspired to try my hand at magnetic poetry. It’s relaxing and fun to do, even if trying to compile it into an image can be a bit tricky! You don’t have to strive for a rhyme or worry about flow, just choose words you love the sound or shape of, as I have done here.

My lovely creative friend, Kat Myrman, is a past master (mistress?) of the art. Her sweet ‘Winter Song’ post here led me to the creation of the poems below. Here’s my first attempt using the Nature set of Magnetic Poetry…

Forest Frost

Cold river breeze

bright flowers blanketed

by thick frost

dark moist green

& wet forest moss

breathes soft beneath

sacred night path

magnetic-poetry-poem-forest-frost

 

And here’s the next one…

Summer Dusk

earth is dusk as I

watch light summer cloud

dark wild rose flower

bee breathing out between

her bright fertile color (colour)

shades of verdant

lichen tendrils rustle

like leaves in

a breezy lake

magnetic-poetry-summer-dusk-final

 

You can find the Magnetic Poetry Nature set online here. Other sets are also available to try out.  Do check out Kat’s beautiful blog. She is seriously talented in many creative ways.

This is the start of what I will call Magnetic Monday. If all goes well, a poem or more will find its way into your inbox on a regular, if not weekly basis. Hopefully, these short poetic missives will help to dispel the blues and bring some light relief, especially if you have a go yourself. Happy writing!

“The beauty of this world is Christ’s tender smile coming to us through matter” ~ Simone Weil

poetry-seasons-beauty-of-this-world-quote-simone-weil-pj

about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit

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Like a flock of noisy seagulls, voices come at us from all directions, urging activity, challenge and change. What (or who) are we listening to? How do we sift the gold from the detritus, make choices we can live with and trust? In a world vying to be heard, how do we make sure we only take in what we need to?

It’s not easy to avoid all that is clamouring for our attention, or discern the times and tides, especially when so many fresh opportunities are coming our way.  A new year is rife with resolution, full of possibility, potential and hope.

As I try to recover from the festive season, my body is signalling a need to rest but my mind is inclined to pursue the enticement of the Now and the New. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real issue for many—me, too, sometimes. We can become stalled by indecision, paralysed by too much choice and derailed by the very real possibility of disappointment.

At the risk of lagging behind, disappointing or letting people down, it’s better for us to be true to how we’re currently situated and what we’re capable of without jeopardising our physical or mental health.

My spirit longs to listen to what God is saying to me first and foremost , knowing His ways—though seemingly counter-intuitive at times—are always the best. It pays to heed holy whispers. If He is whispering caution, waiting and rest, then I hesitate to press ahead with the next big thing, because in the end it will fail or I will falter, crash and collapse if I ignore the warning signs.

I love to write and in order to do so I have to prioritise, make creative space, rest, pace and avoid doing anything else for the day that’s an exhausting activity for me. It’s all about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding, and giving ourselves permission to rest and recover when we need to.

It won’t wash with me

Political spin

won’t wash with me; I’m resting

in God’s plans, you see

haiku-it-wont-wash-with-me-pj

 

No spin

Life’s waves wash over

my still frame—caught fast by pain

I refuse to spin

haiku-no-spin-pj

 

Wash me radiant

Wash me radiant

Let your love spin in my heart

Warm from dawn to dark

haiku-wash-me-radiant-pj

 

Today’s haiku have been inspired by the prompt of ‘Spin&Water’ —(which my tired brain somehow interpreted as ‘Spin&Wash’ instead… oops… so that’s what I’ve based these poems on!)—from our poet master, Ronovan, of ronavonwrites.  Just click here to see the rest of the posts and join in if you’d like to.

How are you sifting the wheat from the chaff as you make plans for 2017?

What new thing (or word) has God given you for the days ahead?

on being a willing, welcoming host for Christ

bearing-christ-within-pj

 

Each year is pregnant with possibility, holds portent of promise, hope of potential and opportunity to begin again. It’s a wonderful reminder of the daily grace, mercy and forgiveness which God offers us as we place our faith and trust in Him.

My hope and prayer is to host Christ well and make Him manifest, to be a woman who radiates His living presence. As broken people we feel we do that so imperfectly, yet those very weak spots, cracks and crevices in our lives are where His light leaks out most to others, often invisibly to us.

Although we may have moved past Christmas and on into the welcome embrace a new year can bring us, we need never move away from a willingness to make space for God on a daily basis, or a desire to seek after Him and offer Him a warm welcome, a home in our hearts and lives.

May we host Him well. May we be people of the cross who live and love well. May we shine God’s light into every dark corner of this world, as we willingly share His love and grace. May we be Christ’s ambassadors and light bearers, as we pour ourselves out in the service of others. May we appreciate the enormous privilege of bearing Holy Spirit within.

Bearing Christ within

Mary became overshadowed by your

Spirit, a willing host for Holy Ghost

 

How willing am I to bear Christ within

to bring him forth at just the right time

 

to let his Light shine out strong

to reveal how he belongs to all

and I am but a carrier of grace

 

whose mission is to magnify

his Name in each and every place?

 

Lord, help me to host you well

to carry you with tender care

 

to hold onto bright Hope within

and marvel anew at the way you

bore our sin, to seek to be

 

a lowly servant on the earth

if I might only grant you birth

 

and let you loose to live in me

with life abundant, rich and free

©joylenton

bearing-christ-within-poem

 

Happy New Year to you, dear reader and friend! Let’s celebrate all God has done for us. May you be blessed beyond your expectations and imagination in the days and months ahead.

I appreciate you so much. Thank you for being here. I look forward to sharing more poetic reflections with you soon. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. God be with you.

happy-new-year-greeting-2017-pj

hope: making space for the new

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We’re at the threshold, waiting on the doorstep, ready to be invited in. Will the welcome be warm? Will we find out heart’s true home, or have our deepest longings met? We hope for more than seems humanly possible, and that’s because we need divine assistance to see us through.

Can we taste the potential, the opening and offering a new year brings? Are our goals achievable? I’m not sure…. and maybe that very uncertainty is what helps give birth to hopes and dreams. Maybe we have to yearn enough to break open a desire which yields to decision, drive and determination.

God is on the other side of the not yet. He hovers in the now and the next. We sense tantalising glimpses of His presence, like a faint mist concealing and revealing what lies beyond our comprehension.

We’re on the boundary, the cross-over point that points the way to the unknown. Will we trust an unknown future to a known God? How far does our faith stretch?

corrie-ten-boom-quote-hope-new-year-pj

 

An approaching year holds more questions than answers, requiring us to rest in God-given grace and discover courage enough to live into the answers to come. As we do so, we trust that God walks with us, accompanies every step we take and leads us slowly onward to our next destination.

Grope for Hope

In liminal space

I grope for eternal Hope

that makes me feel safe

haiku-grope-for-hope

 

Making space

Making space for grace

we become renewed, washed clean

and feel whole again

haiku-making-space

 

New Year

A blank page, clean slate

with empty space to create

Feel free to write on

haiku-new-year

 

These poems have been inspired by this week’s haiku challenge prompt of ‘Feel&Space’ initiated by poet master Ronovan of Ronovan Writes. Just click on the links to discover how it all came about and to join in here.

I tend to view a new year with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, hope mingled with concern and a confident expectation of resting in God’s grace, come what may. While I prayerfully consider my #oneword365 for 2017, I would love to hear how you anticipate the new year. What do you sense the months ahead may hold for you or be inviting you to do?