adrift: God is an anchor for our unsteady souls

 

Being adrift is an unsettling feeling, isn’t it? Whether we’re literally unmoored,  marooned, lost at sea or life just seems to affect us that way. ⛵ I had a growing sense of unease and discombobulation when our internet went down for several hours recently.

Suddenly I couldn’t connect, never mind skim or surf the internet. And as it happens, it was a day when I really needed to get online—don’t we always?—and it just wouldn’t play ball with me. 🌐

After a few hours of attempting to access the world-wide web and failing then falling into a deeper sense of isolation and frustration, I wrote the poem below…

Adrift 🖥

There is no internet

All connectivity is lost

I am adrift

stuck in yesterday
so my calendar says

and the weather map
hasn’t updated itself

yet, nor my inbox caught
up with latest news

I feel the sting of loss

I can’t even share this event

with anyone or warn them
of my unavailability

Lost on a lonely sea
of singularity

where life’s time and tides
wash over me naturally

I am bereft, except
for one constant thing

because God has never
left—he’s always
here with me
© joylenton

 

Later on (acting on the wise and welcome suggestion of my husband), internet access was “borrowed”—with permission of course—from my neighbour, who has a different service provider. Hurrah! All was well. I could relax. Panic over…. for now… 😏

Then I came across this whispered word received in prayer a while back and it reminded me just who is our real power Source and stabilising strength when life unsteadies us. Because God alone holds our souls secure when we entrust our lives to Him. May it bless and encourage you too, my friend.  🙂 ❤

Believe – prayer whisper

“When you come to Me in your weakness, I am ready to infuse My strength into you, so that you live fully equipped in Me rather than relying on yourself.

Lay aside those heavy weights of your concerns and anxieties. These things sap your energy and captivate your attention. I want you to be free of them so that you can be attentive to My voice, and carry only those things that I assign to you.

Lean hard into Me. I am the solid Rock who keeps you safe, holds you fast and shelters you through hard times. I am the Anchor for your soul to keep you from going adrift.

When storms come, remember that you wear the belt of Truth to keep you afloat. My word and My promises will sustain you. Believe that I have already spoken and it will be fulfilled, even if your eyes cannot see it happening yet.”

“This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain and into the most holy place.” – Hebrews 6:19 CEV

snow: a world washed clean like grace in action

 

There’s something rather wonderful about snow. It falls gentle as feathers. It rests like soft drapes to comfort a winter-cold world. In its clean, pristine brilliance it makes us gasp. We are awed by this glorious reminder that purity can exist and shine bold like this.

Until footprints make it fluff and scuff. Until rain dissolves it into mush and slush. Before ice makes it treacherous to traverse. Prior to hands reaching out to grab handfuls to shape into hard-hitting snowballs.

Before all this and a world having to push through it to go about its business, we see earth hushed into reverent silence. We witness the chill and warm ourselves on thoughts that comfort cold hearts. We warm our souls on the awe and wonder reminders of God’s goodness and grace.

We are reminded that the Light of Christ and His amazing Love shines blindingly laser-bright, more radiantly than this, and we too are washed pure and clean by His cleansing blood sacrifice on the Cross.

The season of Lent may feel like it goes on forever and maybe it does in our souls to some extent. But oh what a vibrant Hope awaits us once the dark road to Golgotha is walked and we meet Jesus on the other side of His resurrection morning rising!

Today I bring you a helping of haiku. A trio of thoughts inspired by the sights out of my window or seen from a doorway, where opening up has become a rather challenging task due to the weight of wonder sitting on the step in all its glorious whiteness.  🙂

white like ice-cream

barely settled snow
ridges of white like ice-cream
waiting to be scraped
©joylenton

night-time snowfall

earth has the blues

green earth has the blues
draped in chill, shadowed and still
her colours show through
©joylenton

blue-shadowed snow bathed in sunlight

heaven’s coverlet

a world blanketed
with heaven’s white coverlet
snug and sleepy now
©joylenton

a garden blanketed in snow

beauty: we’re all made beautiful by God’s grace

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No two people admiring a piece of art, lovely landscape, or a person, will see exactly the same features that are attractive to them. We all have our own viewpoint about what we define as beautiful.

Although we may not measure up to contemporary or classical definitions of physical beauty, we can be comforted by knowing that the inner beauty of our soul and character are the most enduring qualities to treasure.

Like many women before me, right from girlhood I have mourned my perceived lack of attractiveness. Society sets impossible standards for us to reach. As does advertising with its emphasis on outward perfection.

So it’s a huge relief to know—especially the older I get and the more invisible I feel— that God looks at us with eyes of unconditional love. He sees beauty in everyone. God gives us beauty for ashes and paints us with His loveliness.

Broken into beauty

I had beauty once but I didn’t even
know it, so I lived like one impoverished
sitting in dust, when I was really rich

I ached for difference, because
I couldn’t match the face I met
in the mirror with my preference

Instead, I honed in on the flaws
and saw plenty enough to keep me
occupied. Several imperfections

cried out loud and I bowed down
to their name, holding it all inside
where my real self sits, and I

could barely stretch to fit the skin
I was in, never mind making room
for all those needful improvements

And now? These days my gaze rests and reflects
on a God-given inner vision, more than
having derision for a fading outer face

I can see life’s manifold brokenness and pain
but beyond it all what shouts out most to me
is how God is breaking us into beauty again
© joylenton

 

**I’m grateful for God-given inspiration, as I join fellow wordsmiths in sharing my five-minute-friday thoughts for this week’s prompt of “beauty”. You’re welcome to join us here and read the great posts being shared.  🙂 

photography: a contemplative way of seeing life differently

 

Every picture (or photograph) tells a story. But what if we were to simply make one up in response to what we see? I actually do that all the time to some extent, when writing poetry to go with a photograph I have taken.

When using photographs contemplatively, the image itself acts as a prompt to stir contemplation and creativity. Words follow soon after. It’s a kind of contemplative seeing via a camera lens.

And an art I am slowly learning with every photo I take. It’s very satisfying to see more than the image presents itself as. To use our imagination and be able to trace God’s hand at work in what is before our eyes. It requires me to still my soul and focus on the object before me, while I take several snaps from different angles to gain a fresh perspective.

Today I am venturing back into the Twittering Tales creative exercise which my blogging friend, Kat Myrman shares on her site, among her eclectic and delightful offerings! I have written three responses, telling a consecutive story.

God inhabits our life story and seemingly ordinary days, making them sacred by His Presence. Our intentional holy-ordinary seeing helps pave the way for growing awareness of His grace in our lives.

Obscured

Almost obscured by leaves
this sign breathes renewed
hope into her sad soul
signalling a new beginning
where joy and optimism
overcomes pain
©joylenton

(139 characters)

 

We hop

She squirms higher in her seat because, at age 5, she can barely read. But she sees “hop we” as indicator of her family being happier here.
(139 characters)

Secrets lurk within

Hedged in by dense
undergrowth, accessed
by dusty driveway
a house stands proud
looks inviting but is
far from it, for deep
secrets lurk within
©joylenton

(140 characters)

 

This week’s photo prompt is based on the image at the top of my post, courtesy of Leigh Heasley at Pexels.com  If you would like to participate in Twittering Tales, you can find the rules and link up advice here.

**Are you interested in discovering more about the practice of contemplative photography? Here’s a helpful book by Christine Valters Paintner that’s on my wish list! My friend, Kate Kennington Steer has a great contemplative eye. Her Instagram feed is well worth following** 🙂

shine: how we can shine like water to the thirsty

 

When we read about the way Jesus was crushed for our sin, made weak for our sake, bled freely from myriad wounds, suffered a thorn-pierced brow and died an agonising death nailed to a cross, do you ever wonder just what that has to do with you and me? My answer is: Everything.

Because the incarnation of Christ reveals just how much God identifies with all of us in our broken human condition. Jesus’ sacrificial death holds huge significance for mankind. While taking human flesh and living like one of us, He was, is and ever more shall be the One and only Son of God.

Death could not hold Him captive.  He arose from the grave in resurrection glory. Made heroes out of fearful disciples. Our history shifted to become His Story. During this season of Lent, God’s Holy Light can seem shielded at first, dimmed by the dark stain of our sin, not quite ready to shine in full wattage until we reach the end of the Easter story and Christ’s glorious resurrection to come.

But for those  of us who live in the here and now reality of the resurrection with our faith rooted in Jesus and our lives as living testimony, whether we’re aware of it or not, a constant glow of grace lights up our hearts and floods our thirsty souls like the  ever-flowing Living Water it actually is.

Shine like water

The Rock must be crushed
and spring red life, like rust
beneath an enormous forest
Let it blow cool purple
and light of I AM will
shine like water in us all
© joylenton

 

Jesus shines on in our hearts, radiating out of our broken cracks and crevices, leaking His love to the world at large. The fruit of Christ’s sacrifice is eternal life, hope, joy and peace, as grace gifts given to us when Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts. They are gifts we get to savour here and now and enjoy to the full in the life to come.

Deep-seeded peace

Our intuition has grown
fertile-fresh, sweet and greener
from the fruit of happy peace
breathing sanctuary to nature
through quiet night murmurs
of secret breeze rustle song, as
long and deep as seed would be
© joylenton

privilege: the wonder of surrendering our lives to Jesus

 

My husband often jokes that I have a hot-line to heaven, the privilege of seeing my prayers answered more than he does. Maybe it’s because I see no limitations in what I pray about, including minor things, such as obtaining parking spaces and finding lost objects – yes, really!

I didn’t grow up in a privileged way or with any sense of entitlement. On the contrary, my background prepared me for the school of hard knocks I’ve been in for the majority of my life. Yet threaded through it all, often in intangible ways, God’s goodness and grace have been the backbone of everything I have experienced.

Although it might have taken me years to really appreciate it, I am discovering that time and hindsight are uncovering the enormous privilege it is to be a beloved child of God and a woman of faith who, despite her obvious weaknesses and glaring inadequacies, has been given the privilege of living and witnessing for Him.

I have the privilege

I have the privilege of being a writer and poet
who God works through to minister to others
while I pour out my heart, witness to his work deep
within and seek to encourage them to trust in him

I have the privilege of being a child of God
who is wrapped round tight with his infinite
love, made safe and secure by his mercy and
held closer than I am aware of or can see

I have the privilege of being a woman of faith
with God’s holy grace filling and flooding my
days, and his forgiveness readily available
for every sin I might commit, and those
I don’t even know about yet

I have the privilege of being able to pray
minute by minute throughout the day, as I
yield and surrender my heart and soul to my
burden-bearing Lord, and watch how wonderfully
he lifts my cares and pain, while restoring me
gently back to wholeness again
©joylenton

**I also have the privilege of a 5 minute poem arising in response to this week’s #FMF prompt of ‘privilege’. You are very welcome to come join us here and read the wide variety of posts being shared.** 🙂