If only. Oh how often those immortal words have entered our thoughts or escaped from our lips, as we murmur against the hand life has dealt us or wonder just when we can fulfil our delayed hopes and dreams.
Maybe ‘if only’ has been spoken as wistful wishes or with sadness and regret. I’ve had my share of both. But I’ve also expressed those words when looking back in gratitude for the way God has intervened to rescue me from this or that. With God, we always receive so much more than we deserve or have any right to expect.
Today, I’m wondering at the wisdom of temporarily breaking my poetic silence and period of enforced rest, having been lured into the writing waters again by the prompt of ‘if’ provided by five-minute-friday this week.
If you can see yourself as you really are, your need for alteration and change,
and are willing for your mind to become transformed, your life rearranged.
If you can look beyond the bare bones of your own meagre existence
and recognise how much loving others makes a difference.
If you refuse to slavishly follow the ways of this darkened world, preferring,
instead, to plough your own furrow, while watching seeds of faith unfurl.
If you recognise that undue haste and hurry only lead to stress and driven
lives, and that being spiritually guided, led and inspired is truly wise.
If you can maintain hope when challenges mount up, and drink
willingly from life’s stormy, thankless and bitter cup.
If you gratefully receive grace upon grace to help you live your life
aright, while yielding yourself to God’s supreme will and his laser-light.
If your eyes have been opened to the mystery and marvellous ways of God,
and your broken heart has been broken open by his unconditional love.
If your prayers centre on inner growth, supporting others more than yourself,
and you’ve developed a greater Christ-like, compassionate heart as well.
Then you will be aware of being God’s beloved one, my friend,
created to be in relationship with him and to do good things.
**With apologies to Rudyard Kipling for styling my hastily executed poem similarly to his own epic work. You can read his masterly ‘If’ poem here… **
However, I am delighted to be flexing my poetic muscles again and to have an offering to share with the wonderful writers here. Come join us? 🙂
21 thoughts on “if: when we receive so much more than we deserve or expect”
beautiful joy…and so true! it’s nice to meet you. i’m your next door neighbor at FMF.
Hello Martha! I have seen you around the blogosphere but it’s a joy to welcome you here. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings on your week! 😊
What a delight to find your post for #FiveMinuteFriday! I’m glad you took time away from your break to share this lovely poem with us. It is so full of truth and I was so glad to read it today. Blessings and love to you, my dear sister/poet/friend! xoxo
Gayl, I was surprised when these poetic thoughts began to stir but also pleased to have something new to share! But it delights me even more to know it has spoken to you, dear friend. Blessings and love to you, sweet sister! xoxo 💜
Reblogged this on Pastor Michael Moore's Blog and commented:
A beautiful reflection, Joy ❤️
How kind of you, Michael! It warms my heart to have you stop by and appreciate these thoughts. It’s also lovely to see you here again, my friend! 💜
Being guided, led and inspired is truly wise. It certainly is.
Thanks, Becky! I’m glad that’s been true in your own experience. It can often take us years to see the inestimable value in being guided, led and inspired by God. Yet when we do take that leap of faith and decide to trust Him for everything, we receive the gift of wisdom whenever we ask for it. Blessings on your week, my friend! xo 💜
So beautiful, Joy, and so true. So love the lines you put in your graphic:
“If your eyes have been opened to the mystery and marvellous ways of God,
and your broken heart has been broken open by his unconditional love.”
And this proves true again and again:
“If you recognise that undue haste and hurry only lead to stress and driven
lives, and that being spiritually guided, led and inspired is truly wise.”
Seems it’s a lesson I have to learn more than once…but I am seeing growth. I think He just keeps taking us deeper into His rest.
Thank you for all the grace you’ve shown me. I am learning so much about loving as Christ from your example. I’m glad you chose to share what God gifted you.
Oh, Anna, those lines truly resonated with me too. God invariably preaches to me from the words He gives me to write! Like you, I am constantly being shown these things and forget their truth so easily. Thankfully, God is infinitely patient, loving and kind with His recalcitrant children. We receive correction, teaching and guidance, but always in love and with our best interests at heart. You humble me by your closing words. Any good you see is all of God and none of me. Pure grace. Bless you for your lovely encouragement, my friend! xo 💜
OH I was so happy to see your post in my inbox this morning. What beautiful thoughts the Lord has brought to you from the midst of your resting time. I love how you turned the “if only” on it’s heels and brought this: “But I’ve also expressed those words when looking back in gratitude for the way God has intervened to rescue me from this or that.” Yes, so very true! If only God had not been with me, I know I would have utterly failed. He is so faithful to reveal those things to us, and sometimes I feel like I need those quiet places of enforced resting to be able to truly look back with His perspective. Thank you for giving us such a beautiful poem today, my friend! You are in my prayers this summer. May the Lord bless and keep you. Love and hugs! xoxo
Dear Bettie, I am equally delighted to see you here again! As a fellow wordsmith, edge dweller, silence and rest appreciator and contemplative seeker after God’s heart, you know all too well how much it feeds our souls to be given words to share. It’s often only as we see how others respond to them that we begin to understand the gift they actually are. Much of my life could be summed up with “if only” but these latter years have deepened my awareness of all I have been spared and rescued from. Hindsight is a great teacher, yes?! May you be wonderfully blessed in “those quiet places of enforced resting” and strengthened in every way as you lean on the Lord for soul peace and restoration. You, too, are very much in my prayers this summer. Much love and hugs to you, dear friend! xoxo 💜
I hope you are feeling more rested, Joy. Thank you for sharing what God has laid on your heart. I have been taunted these last few days with that “if only” pest. I love how you have given it a positive twist as you reflect on thanking God for all His rescues. Thank you for this encouragement! Blessings, love, and hugs to you!
Yes, Trudy, I am finally getting used to doing less and resting more! My mind feels calmer and my body is not as exhausted as it was, even though my social life has been picking up in recent weeks. But I don’t intend rushing back into things like I’ve done before. My hope is to relish the glorious summer weather we are having, enjoy spending quality time with loved ones, give more focused attention to life in general and wind down enough to gently pursue other creative activities. God willing, of course! How are you doing? Are you tempted to return to busyness yet? I’ve been thinking about you and praying this set apart time would bring you deep soul refreshment and peace. I think these enforced rests are God’s way of saying please stop now or I will have to make you take a break! I find I soon reach a point where I cannot think straight and my body won’t cooperate. So I am determined not to take on too much too soon. It’s good to hear you have been encouraged here. Lots of love and gentle hugs to you, my dear friend and companion on this resting journey! xoxo 💜
“I find I soon reach a point where I cannot think straight and my body won’t cooperate.” I really identify with that, Joy. So thank you for the reminder not to take on too much too soon. Thank you so much for your prayers! I pray the same for you! Hugs! 😍 ❤️ 🌻
You are welcome, Trudy! It’s a lesson I am slow to get to grips with. I have spent way too many months feeling like that and trying to press on regardless because I was obligated and could see no way to stop. The danger comes when it’s our default state and we’re more dependent on adrenaline than common sense and grace. I need to heed my own words here, as you can tell! 😏 Hugs! 💟💜🙏
Gorgeous post. God bless.
Thank you for your generous thoughts! Sorry I haven’t stopped by your site for a while. I’m still on a social media and blogging break. Hope to visit you soon! Blessings. 🙂
Oh, it is quite okay. I will be taking a two week break myself starting on Monday. Be well.
Glad to see you back Joy. Doesn’t the Bible say that it’s the Father’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom? I think He gives us so much more than we ever take in each day of our lives. Not more than we deserve, just more.
Hi Deborah, it’s good to see you’ve returned from your travels! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, you’re quite right. The Bible does say those things about the Kingdom, and there is definitely “so much more” we receive each day of our lives and fail to take in or fully appreciate.
I think my emphasis on the “more than we deserve” part was heavily influenced by the realisation of our fallen state before God and the lavish generosity of His grace in intervening on our behalf. As I understand it, God’s grace far exceeds our expectations and always will.
I did pop back briefly to write this poem but I am officially still on a blogging break because my health is more fragile than before. Although I am sharing the odd snippet on my Facebook page. I’m slowly, slowly returning to penning poetry again and loving the creative flow being present! Blessings to you, my friend. 😊💜