Mosaic of a marriage

mosaic image for PJ mosaic of a marriage

 

Nobody can fully appreciate or understand the dynamics, anatomy and intricacies of a marriage, apart from the couple intimately involved in it.

And even then, much remains a holy mystery.

We are husband and wife, friends and lovers joined together in union and communion with God and one another.

Two become one in mind, body, soul and spirit in a divine alchemy of grace.

My marriage is heavily grace-dependent.

My background, experiences and personal problems have gradually made me someone other than the relatively carefree young woman I used to be.

As I’ve tried to work through a legacy of dysfunctional family life, childhood abuse, guilt and shame, (and the mental health breakdown they gave me) the one linked inextricably with me has also lived through it all.

Now, after more than 20 years of having M.E and chronic illness, my ability to be the wife he needs and wants is hampered further still.

Though we have struggled a great deal (and continue to do so), some things shine out bright and clear as I look back over the years:

Love will always find a way where there seems to be no way.

Faith can endure all things if it’s faith rooted in God and His sustaining power.

Hope may wither but it rarely dies.

Joy comes in unexpected places and circumstances.

Grace is a prerequisite for a godly life and marriage.

God gives us all we’ll ever need ~ even if we rarely have all we want.

In musing on these things over the last few days it is no great surprise that my mind turned to this territory to write about today.

And as I do so, I rejoice over the masterpiece God is creating out of the messy mosaic of my life and marriage.

‘Mosaic of a marriage’

Nothing in our courtship could have prepared

our youthful, hopeful, joy-filled hearts

for the prolonged grief and pain we’ve shared

or the need for so many fresh starts

Nothing in my mind could have foreseen

how very hard and challenging

living with me would have been

more your worst nightmare than dream

For we have been tried and tested

as gold goes through the fire

refined, processed and sifted

retaining heat, passion and desire

Nothing I can say will make up

for numerous ways I’ve let you down

You’ve had a bitter pill to swallow

gaining a face wreathed with frowns

But we, who are nothing without

the sustaining power of God

have finally made Something

of this life and path we’ve trod

Given grace from the One

who pours out His love every day

Given faith to persevere

when nothing’s gone our way

So I love you imperfectly

just as I am

and you’ve accepted my offering

a meagre nothing to the feelings

found within my man

Thank God for new beginnings

Praise Him for being true

Give Him the glory for making

faithful, if faltering, lovers

out of me and you

©JoyLenton2014

Joining with Lisa-Jo for #fiveminutefriday (yes, I ran over time!) ~ this week’s prompt is:‘Nothing’. You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in. Linking also with Mel and Laura

You can read more about how the issues above have affected my marriage in this post from Words of Joy.

I share openly in the hope of encouraging others to know they can live with and rise above their circumstances by the grace of God.

mosaic of a marriage file image on PJ pin

In the furnace

fiery furnace file image for PJ

‘In the furnace’

My faith feels tarnished, stained,

edges worn, rust ingrained

No walking on water for me ~

I’m sinking in seas of adversity

Years of being at the end

of a fragile, fraying rope

leave us dangling, uncertain,

with bruised hearts, dashed hope

What began shiny, new

penny-bright, has faded

into fog, misted out of view,

jaded, gone from sense and sight

Yet, be it weak, small as

mustard seed to be sown

our faith does not depend

on ourselves or strength alone

Nor is it stretched by being

untested over time and years

or lost, unseen, when eyes

blur and swim with tears

Time spent in The Refiner’s fire

is to purify, burn off dross

from flawed motives and desires

we have counted as loss

We enter defiled, soiled as dust,

fragile, worn out and feeling old

We emerge, unmarred, unscarred by rust

renewed, restored ~ come forth as gold

©JoyLenton2014

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, these have come so that your faith ~ of greater worth than gold , which perishes even though refined by fire ~ may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” ~ 1Peter1:6 -7 

Dear Lord,

Even as we squirm and resist the fiery furnace of affliction, help us to remain until your work is complete in us.

As sickness, pain and problems weigh heavy, enable us to withstand the heat they bring and to see your hand in everything.

May we learn patience, endurance and trust as our faith gets stretched beyond our ability to cope.

For when we’re left dangling at the end of our rope, we are never as alone as we may feel.

Your arms are always ready to reach out, lift and support, carry and hold us, provide rest and respite, strength to go on.

May we be reassured by your continual loving presence and willing to say ~  have your way in me.

Amen

Joining here with Nacole, Holley and Jennifer

as gold ~ In the furnace poem image pin

Closer than a prayer

father and child ~ trust him image

‘Close’

Sometimes I..

feel quite lost, isolated and alone

despite having a loving husband,

family and friends to call my own

Deep down there is a space, a place

no one can really fill, where

tears are cried and often spill

Because we..

are built for sharing and community

yet feel afraid of others knowing

the ugly truth and full reality

of who we are and how we feel

inside, so we tend to pull and

shy away, conceal and hide

But you..

have a way of penetrating

the deep recesses of our heart

seeing all we are and can be,

understanding every part

Coming closer than a whispered prayer,

a breath exhaled, as you draw near

So please..

be here and

stay close to me

just as you have promised

you will be

©JoyLenton2014

 Linking here with Lisa-Jo, Lyli and Mel

close poem ~ heart image pin

Streams in the wasteland

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She steps lightly, blithely through deep waves of bluebells, inhaling piercing sweet fragrance, a clean sharp freshness clearing away all cobwebbed thoughts.

Invitation to breathe life and hope, new beginnings.

Opening herself to joy. Sensing the nearness of His Presence, hearing Him call her name.

He takes her hand and guides through a sea of snowdrops, dancing daffodils swaying in the breeze, birdsong heralding the pathway toward a rippling stream.

And there He invites her to come close, cupped hands at the ready to scoop out drops of water and drink freely.

She gulps until thirst is satiated. Her body coming alive with strength, energy, vibrancy.

Eyes opened to see beauty all around, her senses awash with awareness, awakening.

Feet moving of their own accord, skipping like a carefree child whose heart only has room for love, joy and laughter.

His voice calls soft, deep and warm as whispers on the wind. Notes vibrate, resonate and pulsate to her spirit.

For the first time in years she feels truly alive. There is no pain, no sadness or sorrow here ~  just sheer exuberance with her Lord.

Reality bites as the vision ends. She inhabits a body gripped by pain and wearied by weakness. Follows her Lord down endless drifting, dusty pathways with little signs of colour and light. Lacking refreshment. Desirous of change.

But on the inside? Here she sings. Here she celebrates. Here she is free. Walking the royal highway with the King of kings.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” ~ Psalm 16:11

prayer whisper image

Prayer Whisper:’Streams in the wasteland’

I am God of the now. Behold, I am doing a new thing. Can you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is yet to come. As you live more in day-tight compartments, so you will find Me being active and become aware of My Presence.

Begin each day anew. Let your heart fill with expectancy. Watch and see what I will do. Surrender your hopes, dreams and plans into My hands and trust Me for the outcome.

Continue to walk closely with Me and believe that I am preparing the path before you. Whether it is strewn with heavy boulders, littered with pebbles or smooth and easy, My hand is in it all. Many of My children spend years kicking dust and sand in the wilderness. I meet powerfully with them there. Those years are never wasted, nor as bleak and barren as they seem.

Much fruit develops in arid places when you walk closely with Me. These are growing times, spaces and places in your life. Periods to lie fallow while I prepare you for the next step.

May work cannot be rushed. Trust Me to know what I am doing and what I will accomplish in you. A life surrendered to Me is a beautiful thing to bring praise and glory to My Name. And when you emerge out the other side of your valley I will bring you into a green and spacious place, an area of influence and renewed purpose.

Continue to trust and obey as you have extra zest in your step. Do not forget the Lord your God who led you by the hand and kept you safe. Remaining by My side is vital to receive impartation and anointing for today and maintain a heart at rest and peace in Me.”

Grace crumbs:a vision of hope and encouragement, words flowing again, focus and energy to write them here, answered prayer, sensing God’s presence ~  #1000gifts

Linking here with Nacole for #concretewords This week’s prompt is ‘path’ 

And with Jennifer and Holley

prayer whisper ~ streams in the wasteland

Surrender to Sabbath

Joy ~ at Ditchingham

‘Sabbath’

How do you further rest

a body constrained, confined?

How can I still continual thoughts

racing through a brain-fogged mind?

My life lived slow as slow can be

due to chronic illness and M.E

It’s work sometimes to rise from bed

converse, listen to words being said

Yet I know space must be found

a clearing, sacred holy ground

Time as sacrificial offering

willingly yielded up to Him

A stilling of body, mind and soul

where brokenness can be made whole

Bringing the shards of a fractured life

laying down anxiety, worry and strife

So here I am, Lord, on this day

to freely give myself away

knowing You see my open heart

and lovingly care for every part

Desiring to enter a Sabbath rest

and live my life as You see best

I’m eager to listen and to hear

Lord, won’t You please draw near?

©JoyLenton2014

Grateful for words flowing today after a break where health has been more challenging than usual.

Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee at The High Calling to share Sabbath stories. You are warmly invited to join in.

sabbath pixlar image pin

A heart unfurls

as petals fall to ground file image

Grace grows strong in a heart full of gratitude.

As we sow thankfulness seeds we are rewarded with a deeper appreciation of life.

Yet our hearts can be so cold, shrivelled by worry, anxiety, fears.

Casting our cares seems to send them into orbit for nanoseconds before they return multiplied and heavier than before.

How can we learn to live fully and freely? Is there a way to have lasting peace, joy and contentment?

I’m slowly discovering that joy seeps in when my heart turns heavenward.

When I lean heavy on God’s grace and less on my own understanding.

Hope replaces discouragement the more I trust God to take care of things.

Feeding on His word nourishes my inner being.

Daily reflection on and remembering His #1000gifts is an exercise in maintaining a grateful heart.

There are days when He feels far away and I forget to pray. Try to do things in my own limited strength. Neglect to seek His guidance and wisdom.

Yet He stands patient, ready and willing to step in as soon as I allow Him entry.

An open heart is a place He desires to inhabit and fill to overflowing.

Our task is to see our emptiness and be willing to ask God to fill it. And as He fills us with His love, joy and peace they will overflow out to others.

Joining here with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday and with Mel for Essential Fridays. You are very welcome and warmly invited to take part.

‘A heart unfurls’

Circle of thorns

surround a heart curled small

self-protective, bud-tight

against assailing light

Alabaster jar breaks

releasing its sweet perfume

of death, burial, rising free

into the waiting room

Piercing cruel, sharp,

upon the brow so deep

scarlet-red begins to seep

Dripping soft and slow

new life from old

flames bright and grows

The heart unfurls

as gently, one by one,

its folds embrace the Son

Warmed by Love

its fragrance fills

scent of gratitude spills

as petals fall to ground

©JoyLenton2014

gratitude poem heart unfurls file pin image ~ FMF

Where we see holes

holes ~ tankaHow do you see your life?

Maybe, like mine, it’s full of holes.

Areas of unfulfilled plans, uncertainty, pain and turmoil sit side by side with love, laughter and joy from above.

And those messed up places look like empty, wasted spaces in what could be a full and flourishing patch.

Garden grown crazy, weed-ridden. Can’t see the wood for the trees.

Only.. Light has a way of seeping through, turning fallowed into hallowed ground.

Bringing beauty out of ashes. Joy from despair.

Grace-occupied space is never wasted.

Here lies hope, potential, holy ground.

New life to come from the old.

A making way for growth and harvest in due time.

Let’s see it and believe it. Trust our days and ways to God.

Look for colour and brightness in the darkest of spaces.

See its fronds filtering through. Realise there is purpose in the midst of pain. New life is springing forth.

Promise poking through those holey places, held fast by the glue of His grace.

Bringing transformation, change and healing.

holes ~ tanka poem pin 2