superfluous: clearing out soul clutter #thedailyhaiku 22

 

During recent weeks of attempting to clear out the tangled mess of accumulated clutter in my home, it soon became clear that it was only a fraction of what is superfluous in my life.

I also carry a lot of internal baggage, heavy weights I have assimilated over the years, almost without thinking. They’ve made their presence known in various ways but tend to get pushed into a corner, left to gather dust.

Just as our homes differ from one another, so do our hearts and minds and those things we allow house room to. My excess stuff may not match yours, and that’s okay. Sometimes we are unaware we are carrying extraneous luggage in our souls.

Allow me to name (in no particular order) some of my unwanted stuff that needs shifting. The list is by no means conclusive. There is always more to be found if we ask God to search our hearts. You might even spot a familiar item here….

My personal 7 deadliest sins list…. gulp!

  • Perfectionism  –  definitely a work in progress
  • Insecurity  –  writers are prone to attacks of this
  • Impatience  –  not proud of this one… moving on…
  • Selfishness –  aided and abetted by needing (expecting?) help from others
  • Envy –  that horrible pang inside when you feel left out of this or that
  • Pride –  insidious, often masks as self-preoccupation/introspection
  • Anger –  usually self-directed, but not always

Once our excess, soul-burdening baggage has been identified, we require time for contrite confession and honesty before God, plus asking Holy Spirit for help and grace to act and react differently, while we learn to release this clutter compassionately into His hands.

 

superfluous

it’s superfluous

this excess internal stuff

still weighing me down

©joylenton

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shadow: hope for when your past clings on today #thedailyhaiku 21

 

Try as we might, we cannot erase our past. Only God can give us a clean slate, fresh start and a new heart. We soon discover that the worst of events tend to continue to haunt us in the present like a ghostly presence. They cling like an unwanted second skin, clammy and cold to our souls.

I’ve had to learn to relinquish my past to God, mainly because some of it is just too heavy and painful to carry alone. This doesn’t mean that it never enters my thoughts. Far from it. The enemy is always whispering venom to our hearts and minds. He loves to remind us just what we were, where we came from and how we’ve been wronged.

And when that happens we can get drawn back into the feelings we had back then, sucked into the swirling vortex of pain, while our minds relive it all over again like a never ending cinema reel.

But we have a powerful weapon against the enemy’s  wiles. As we read God’s Word it not only reminds us just who we are in Christ, it saturates us with beautiful, holy Truth and Light that drives out the dark and ugly lies we’ve bought into.

 

The more we believe the Bible over what our fearful hearts have clung to, and allow the Lord access to all areas, the better prepared we are to fight with spiritual weapons instead of caving in to pain, and accept we are redeemed and washed clean, a new creation in Jesus Christ.

It’s what gives us the resources and strength we need to move on, dwell on God’s mercy, forgiveness and grace instead of on our guilt-ridden and shame-filled past, while learning to live more joyfully in the present day.

a vanished shadow

a vanished shadow
yesterday clings ghost-like, grey
while we live today
©joylenton

duality: how life’s duality draws our hearts toward God #thedailyhaiku 20

 

As I sit typing this post in advance, the sky is heavily blanketed by a golden smog of dust from the Sahara, driven by stormy winds. It shouldn’t be dark quite yet, because dusk and sunset are still a way ahead, but we’re needing to put lights on in order to see clearly. The eventual sunset (pictured above) was pretty stunning though.  🙂

So attuned do we become to the rhythmic, diurnal changes that exist, especially as one season segues into another, that our bodies and minds expect light and dark to keep to their respective places in the world around us.

God has ordained it as such that light will always overcome the darkness. It has to yield and give way. Likewise, sorrow surrenders to joy, and healing and recovery follow injury and pain. There is a duality, where seeming opposites appear to coexist, as I describe in the poem below…

coexistence

how can there be joy

at the heart of sorrow

and sadness coexist

where there is bliss?

yet somehow

they are mixed

and inextricably

linked as one

expression of life

and love and faith

and deep mystery

part of all our tomorrows

in all the annals

of human history

©joylenton

 

Our steadiness, in the midst of this coexistence mystery, is to place our hope and faith in Christ the solid Rock. Jesus is the ballast we need in a world where shifting sands literally invade our days, and where we can witness worldwide grief and pain on a daily basis.

Life’s duality and uncertainty are intended to encourage us to seek after God, to look for His Light, pursue the Peace only He can provide and anticipate the Joy beyond our dark and painful circumstances.

 

life’s duality

life is a strange thing

sorrow cuts us sharp as knives

joy makes our soul sing

 

such duality

exists to make us reach out

and accept God’s grace

 

while the heat builds up

emotions rage inside us

requiring God’s touch

 

a holy healing

begins to flood our hard hearts

bathed in peace and love

©joylenton

our aching heart void that only God can fill #thedailyhaiku 19

 

Hearts are such fragile things, easily hurt and wounded, broken and crushed. Our brokenness means we all have an aching heart, whether we sense it or not. Life’s flotsam and jetsam twists us up inside and we crave an elusive peace.

Nothing we try to do can quite assuage the void within that fills with unshed tears and pain. I wrote something about this in my poetic memoir, especially in the poem below. It’s not a haiku but it addresses this topic well…

Broken

In every pew

sits a broken heart

In every church

we’re falling apart

We’re the haunted

by memories and shame

We’re the wounded

by sickness and pain

In need of

God’s mercy and grace

In hope of

change taking place

We reach out

with yearning tears

We sing out

broken hallelujahs

©joylenton

There is an answer to our weariness, weakness and pain, our guilt and shame, our wounded state. His Name is Jesus and He is the Son of God, broken for us on the Cross so that we might experience true rest, freedom, peace and joy through knowing Him.

Father,

I pray that every thirsting soul and every aching heart will find their heart’s true Home in relationship with you. May you assuage the pain that comes from living in a fallen world, bring us peace beyond all earthly understanding and a joy which surpasses our wildest expectations.

Saturate our hearts with your Love, your goodness and grace, your immeasurable, awe-inspiring Holy presence. And grant us deep soul rest as we learn to trust in you above our own desires and anxious thoughts.

Heal our brokenness and give us Hope to start again, no matter where we are situated or what life has thrown at us. May we receive your mercy and forgiveness, let go of guilt, shame and disgrace and be able to lift our heads high, knowing we are your own Beloved ones.

Amen

aching heart

our hearts are aching
there’s an emptiness inside
Jesus alone fills
©joylenton

**PS: you can access my book, ‘Seeking Solace: Discovering grace in life’s hard places’, in the sidebar here or on Amazon**  🙂

candle: love burns in our hearts with faith and hope #thedailyhaiku 18

 

It’s all too easy to take each other for granted in relationships, isn’t it? Become like comfortable furniture to one another. Dependable and reliable, or so we hope. Desire, mingled with love, flickers like a faltering candle, setting chilly hearts aflame once more.

Our task is to nurture each tiny spark, watch to see that the candle doesn’t die out, remain vigilant in not taking one another for granted, whether we’re a long married couple, just setting out together, bringing up a family or going solo for a while.

Love and relationships need to be given priority, so that the candle flame of love doesn’t blow out with every breeze that blows, get snuffed out by an open window to the world (whereby extraneous people get invited in) caught in the crossfire of communication failure, lashed by harsh winds of confrontation, stubbed out in anger or left to die a slow death of neglect instead.

How is that achieved? Not with our fickle hearts or in our own limited strength alone. It takes heavenly resources to stoke the fires of love in our wayward hearts and maintain its heat through years of trouble and toil. It takes grace and guts, grit and sheer determination to rise above the emotional pain we are in and that which we unwittingly inflict on one another.

It takes faith and patience, perseverance, endurance and an ability to forgive again and again and again. It takes a willingness to admit we are wrong and an ability to talk things through, rather than pretend everything is fine. Honesty is a top priority. Only God can grant us these graces to love one another well, plant His pure, unconditional Love in our hearts and keep it alive to the end of time.

heat-sealed

it’s scabby with wax
this candle burning brightly
heat-sealed in our hearts
©joylenton

**Hi, if you’re new around here, welcome to my #write31days series of the daily haiku. To catch up you can access the rest of the posts here. A big grateful hug to all who have been following so far. This weary woman applauds you. We’re on the home straight, friends!** 🙂 

rooted: building a strong foundation with God #thedaikyhaiku 16

 

What we are rooted in has a hold on us, especially if our roots go deep. It pays to choose good soil to become our heart’s home. And to take care of it. Or we might be led astray by garden envy, thinking things look greener over the other side of the fence.

Though our neighbour’s seemingly lush vegetation could be concealing a venomous snake, deadly insects or poisonous plants for all we know. Thankfully, God only calls us to tend to our own plot, plough the furrow before us and stay true to His desires for our life.

Recently, on reading Matthew 13:1-9, I was made aware that if my roots don’t go deep in Christ then I am subject to being scorched and withered from the heat and fire of adversity in life.

Without a healthy and sufficient root system in our lives, we can wither and perish. We may bloom freely and easily for a while but our budding faith is not sustainable when challenges come, or enough to keep us strong and flourishing for more than one short season at the most.

“Other seeds fell on rocky ground where they did not have much soil. They sprang up quickly because the soil was not deep. But when the sun came up, they were scorched, and because they did not have sufficient root, they withered.” – Matthew 13:5-6

To live the life Jesus promises us will require tending well to the garden of our hearts. It might look something like this:

  • discover where weeds appear to be strangling emerging plants and uproot them straight away
  • sow seeds that will produce the right kind of fruit and harvest we want to grow there
  • water and feed it with the best nutrients we can access, namely God’s Word, our hope and faith and His love, mercy and grace.

rooted

faith, hope, charity

a life can be built on these

rooted strong as trees

©joylenton

tweed: being immersed in memory #thedailyhaiku 15

 

I was immersed in Tweed. Not as a visitor to Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, or with my skin spritzed with the same named fragrance that was my mother’s signature scent. Rather, I wore a tweed sea-green coat as a child, little knowing how years would turn full circle and render it fashionable again.

I loved it because it fit better than most of my clothes, usually bought with acres of growing room! This enveloped me well, not too short or long. It swirled as I turned to admire myself, enjoying the soft swish it made.

I was usually garbed in an eclectic mix of styles and fabric, depending on what was for sale or going cheap. Most of my clothing was made of synthetic fabric that literally rubbed me up the wrong way.

Consequently, I preferred to wear natural fibres when I was in a position to choose for myself. Though I certainly loved the textured wool feel of my old green coat, which wouldn’t look out-of-place these days.

turned full circle

do clothes maketh man?

tweed is fabric, fragrance, place

history for me

 

our past weaves itself

with ties that bind and cling tight

touching our today



wearing a tweed coat

I felt good, strangely grown-up

turned full circle now
©joylenton

 

Tweed is a fabric I still savour. We’ve chosen it for our new sofa and chair, loving the unique individuality of Harris Tweed, where the fabric can alter with each batch, as each weaver threads through their signature colour blending touch.

Do you have any distinct memories of clothes you wore as a child? 

Or maybe a favourite fabric? I also love the look and feel of velvet.