deep: seeking solace, hope and joy during Advent

deep - seeking solace, hope and joy during Advent - FMF @poetryjoy.com

Advent is on the horizon. It invites me to go deep in my devotions. To sit with Mystery. To wait with expectancy. Look for the hidden gems of joy. Be thankful. But my soul isn’t being compliant. I feel restless. Lacking peace. I’m scratching around for hope and encouragement. Maybe you feel like this too? Out of sync with a season supposedly full of joy?

These are days when I struggle with the sluggish, depressive symptoms of SAD. I have to resist the urge to hide in bed, to retreat from life. Diminishing daylight can make us miserable. Days of grey-fugged skies infiltrate their gloom into our hearts. Yet we can also burn with frustration and an increasing desire to get things done as we join the manic, pre-Christmas rush and race against the clock. How can we alter the falling and floundering? Is there a way to slow, rediscover hope and grow? I think so.

I resist yielding to the oppressive clouds of continual discouragement that hover over and sink me emotionally, and tell me I am nothing. My soul stirs its sleepy self and says: This. Is. Enough. No more. I cannot tolerate another winter of discontent. Something has got to change. And that means I have to look for help outside myself. I need to go deeper into God. To reach out to others. To pray. To learn to love myself and my life in a balanced way, instead of feeling worthless and out-of-place.

When we are in a deep, dark place God remind us of this:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” – Isaiah 43:2 NIV

Another way I recover my equilibrium is to write poetry, as I have in this five-minute-friday poem, where I let loose and forgot about the clock for once!

Deep 

She was tired of living a surface,
superficial life, her soul ached
for a deeper reality, for authenticity.
Though it’s not free, it comes at a price,
and she needs to be willing to pay.

For all growth in our wayward souls
requires surrender to a higher
power—to God himself.

Going deep might be easy for some
but she has learnt it will take all
she has got, all of her heart.
God calls across the clamour
inside her soul, into the place
she hides when she feels broken.

And he lures her oh so tenderly,
with a look of love, with a whispered
word, with truth and promises.

But trusting is hard because
she’s been dry and closed inside
too long—can she really open up?
He soon reveals hidden, sparkling
gems, glittering bright, previously
unseen, now glowing in his light.

These are yours, he says, my heart gift
to you, just lift up your head and see
what I will do if you will believe.
I abide in a deep and holy place
but I also reach down to my child,
to offer you my gifts of grace.
© joylenton

deep - deep poem excerpt (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

“I will give you treasures hidden in dark and secret places. Then you will know that I, the Lord God of Israel, have called you by name.” – Isaiah 45:3 CEV

Friends, thank you for allowing me to vent in this small, safe place on the internet. Feel free to reply and let me know how you are too. We can pray for and support one another. I’m sharing my words with the fabulous five-minute-friday writing crew today. Just click here to follow me there. Thank you! 🙂

PS: If you’re curious or need help, here are the symptoms of SAD and these are potential self-help measures and treatment plan. I pray they will be a blessing to you.

18 thoughts on “deep: seeking solace, hope and joy during Advent

  1. Your poem really resonates in my heart, Joy. Yes, it is so hard to trust, and I, too, get out of sync. I don’t think I have SAD, but I do fight downheartedness in the cold, dreary winter months and looong for spring. You describe our hesitancy to open our hearts and God’s drawing us with the cords of His everlasting love so eloquently.
    “God calls across the clamour
    inside her soul, into the place
    she hides when she feels broken.”
    How amazing it is that He reaches down to us! Thank you for this hope-filled comfort! Blessings, love, and hugs to you!

    • Trudy, the “downheartedness” you describe is common to many. I thought that was all it was for me, until I began to notice a clear pattern of SAD-specific symptoms hitting me from late September onwards. They occurred with yearly regularity and lasted until early April at least. Our bodies definitely crave the light, don’t they?!
      Each seasonal shift reminds us vividly of our need of Christ, the Light of the world. So it’s amazing to think of God entering our darkness and reaching down to us with love. And He never stops. Such grace. Such love. I’m so pleased you were encouraged here, my friend. Blessings, love and hugs to you too! xo 💜

  2. “To sit with mystery. To wait with expectancy.”

    And to do so willingly amid all that would yank us away . . .

    Thank you, small star (yes YOU, Joy Lenton) for glinting today in our cyber-verse . . . through the mists and murk and our world’s (seemingly) prevailing miasma. Still, you shine.

    • Oh Laurie, your kind words brought a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes. They felt God-sent, carrying His reassurance and grace, intended for my hurting heart and despetate need for encouragement in these darkening days. As someone who seeks to bless and encourage others, I feel like a failure when I cannot even encourage myself. You, my beautiful friend, lovely YOU, have been instrumental in putting a smile back on my face, hope in my heart and infusing joy into a mind that felt far from joy-filled. Bless you, fellow shining star. xo 😊💜

  3. Dear Joy,
    Oh this was such perfect timing for me today, after a hard Doctor’s appointment: “How can we alter the falling and floundering? Is there a way to slow, rediscover hope and grow?” When all I can feel is the heavy weight, and the discouragement seems so close to overwhelming, it’s right then that Jesus sits so close. He truly does come to bring us such beautiful treasures. May I keep my heart listening.Thank you so much for listening to God’s promptings to share words here, Dear Friend! Blessings, love, and hugs to you xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, I am liking the fact this post was timely for you, dear friend, but I am sad to hear your Doctor’s appointment was hard. This has been a long and weary season of floundering in the dark as you’ve sought a medical solution to relieve the unrelenting pain you are in. My heart aches for you as the weight of disappointment and discouragement sit heavy in your weary soul. Because we all need threads of hope to keep us anchored and hold us on an even keel. May you know the treasure of God’s peace and the comfort of His love as He holds you close. And may you also know what a treasure you are to God and to us in your weakened, surrendered state. Love, hugs and ongoing prayers for deeper levels of healing, relief and strength. xoxo 💜

    • It is rather special, isn’t it, Tara? The highlight of winter. But I think I might prefer Easter for being a little less commercialised and no pressure to buy gifts etc! 😊💜

    • Richard, I think I will have to look it up because I’m not very familiar with John of the Cross’ poetry. Thank you for pointing it out to me. I also appreciate you pausing to leave a comment. Blessings of peace to you too my friend! 😊

  4. Joy, I can complete empathize with your struggle and join you in the challenge to go deeper with God. Our posts were completely in line this week. However, your poetry gave song to the challenge in such a unique way. Thanks for the post!

    • Hi Tara, thank you so much for visiting! I’m glad we were like-minded. These word prompts can produce a great variety of posts, can’t they? I invariably write poetry. Where are you in the FMF line up? I’d love to read your post. Blessings on your week. 😊

  5. Joy, the poem was beautiful. Trust is a difficult thing. Once we have lost it; it is not easy to get it back.
    I hope you are doing better, You will be in thoughts and prayers.

    Advent is a wonderful time. I hope the season fills you with love, warmth, and boundless faith,
    Be well my friend. Wishing you all the best.

    • Drew, thank you so much for reading and responding and for your kind thoughts and prayers. The veil lifts some days. Especially when inspiration rises, sun decides to grace these shores and I have something else to preoccupy myself with other than my own thoughts. I love the season of Advent and that makes my dark night of the soul feelings harder to deal with. Because I should be happy and joyful. At least that’s what I tell myself! I welcome “love, warmth and boundless faith” as a beautiful gift. Thank you, dear friend. May they be with you too. Blessings. 😊❤

  6. Oh Joy, your poetry is beauty beyond words! This season is always a struggle for so many reasons and you are absolutely right, the cure is going deeper with God. Your verses were moving and powerful. This line, wow!: These are yours, he says, my heart gift
    to you, just lift up your head and see
    what I will do if you will believe.
    I just listened to a sermon about Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
    Your post ran along the same vein in my soul. Oh, how He longs for us to dwell with Him. Lord, let me seek you first and most. Our most precious gift now and always.
    God bless you, dear Joy!

    • Melissa, I am humbled by the way you perceive God’s gift in me. Each poem I write comes as an answer to prayer, because my tired mind needs all the inspiration it can get! It usually arrives like a surprise gift I get the joy of unwrapping first before I decide to share.
      I’m so grateful to have been the means of confirming God’s word to you. Going deeper into God always yields far more than we can know. I think He’s slowly teaching me such things in the dark valleys. May you dwell ever closer to Him and find your heart’s best rest, peace and joy in His loving presence this Advent season. God bless you too, dear friend! 💜

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