Being thankful

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As I type these words I imagine some of you are celebrating Thanksgiving, hearts heavy with thankfulness, faces glowing with candle-light and closeness, enjoying family, friendship and fine food.

Or maybe the meal is over and you’re sitting sharing more intimate conversation, listening and laughter. Maybe squabbling (amicably, of course, we are just imagining the best scenario) over who does the dishes and who gets to choose the TV programmes, and will you pass the chocolates, please?

All good gifts. All grace. All manifestations of the myriad ways we are given holy moments in the everyday. Touches of mercy to warm our hearths and hearts.

For it’s in the simple things of life, eating, drinking, breaking bread together that we become connected, members of God’s big family.

United in His love, and by His provision for us, joined by joy in giving and receiving, in encouraging and sharing.

In the daily grind there is always space for blessing, for gratitude, for being kind, recognising grace and giving it to others.

We may just need to ask God to help us to see it and pass it on.

‘Gratitude’

God’s golden-glimmer gifts of grace

discovered in the commonplace

Rest and sleep, deep peace and ease,

soft wind of Holy Spirit breeze

All our hearts desire and need,

awareness of our pride and greed

Trust and faith will light the way

on discouraging, darker days

Invitation, inspiration ignite

the fire to come up higher

Truth seen, received, believed and heard,

witnessed in Jesus as The Word

Understanding of all our faults and flaws,

underpinning of God’s righteous laws

Divine encounters opening heaven’s door

as death is defeated for ever more

Embraced by Love, encouraged

and comforted by God above

©JoyLenton2014

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Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is greatly helped by deliberately noticing and counting blessings. One of the best resources I know for this is Ann Voskamp’s lovely book, ‘One Thousand Gifts’.

In fact, because this book has had such a beneficial effect on my life, I have a free copy to give away, chosen at random from those leaving a comment below.

I’ll kick things off with my own grace gifts for today:

1) As I pulled the curtains back after a wakeful, pain-filled night, I saw a blaze of heart-shaped light filtering through the gloomy grey outside, edging the clouds like a living thing. It felt like God was saying it’s OK, My love-light can seep through the most challenging nights and days and bring hope back to you.

2) The poem above falling into my head as I pondered on God’s goodness and grace. 

3) Having a husband who holds me close even (yes, especially) on my tear-filled, over-tired, angsty days when I feel so unworthy of his love. He is a living reminder of the love of God continually poured out, always giving, faithful and unconditional.

Now over to you:What 3 things are you thankful for today? (you can add more if you wish) 

Just leave a comment below to be in with a chance to win a free copy of ‘One Thousand Gifts’. (Offer limited to UK residents only due to postal charges – sorry) But please do leave a comment anyway so that we can share in praising God together for His gifts of grace. PS: I am so thankful for all of you who read and follow this blog. Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day! 🙂

Streams in the wasteland

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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

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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

A heart unfurls

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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