home: our universal ache and longing to belong

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Home is where the heart is, our place of safety, solace and security—or at least it could and should be. Though for many, home is far from a haven. It can often be the very place they long to escape from.

Right from our earliest memories, home remains a place we are either joined together by strong ties of deep love and affection, or feel a sense of disconnection to. Because not all of us are loved well or treated right in our formative years. Not all of us desire to stay or return to where we began our days.

It is natural to develop independence and want to spread our wings when we get to a certain age, but some of us have an inner longing to flee a place where we don’t feel cherished, a home where we don’t seem to fit in or truly belong, a need for a different shelter of sorts.

That’s why God offers us all an eternal Home, a place of grace and loving kindness, a haven of perfect love and peace, an abiding sense of safety and stability and an anchor for the soul of true acceptance and rest. We have a taste of its beauty in this world and glimpses of its magnificence to come.

Meanwhile, His arms are all the safe place and shelter we seek. His love is unconditional, overwhelming and free. His mercy and grace help us to make changes in how we perceive our lives and His healing touch helps us to forgive and move forward again.

Here are 3 aspects of home in 140 characters or less….

twittering-tales-trainwindow

 

He feels a tug to look back

calling him homeward

His eyes realise how vast

the universe can be

He aches to stay as he

breaks the cord to leave

(139 characters)

 

A window seat is a way

to see more clearly, get

a fresh perspective, because

home is anywhere at all

No more or less than

a place to lay his head

(140 characters)

 

“Are you ready for this?

He nods, gulps back tears, turns to take another look outside, where home shrinks small while he faces new horizons. (140 characters)

The thoughts, poems and prose above, were inspired by my creative friend, Kat Myrman,  and this week’s ‘Twittering Tales’ photo prompt she has provided. Just click on the link to read more. You’re warmly welcome to  join in if you’d like to.

What does the word ‘home’ conjure up for you?

Do you feel ready to take a step of faith toward the next thing God has planned for you? 

On saying yes

SAMSUNG

There are days where tears bleed as rain and my soul feels swallowed whole by weakness and pain.

I waft into insubstantial shadow, blurred outline, smudged nothingness.

Missing the usual places of validation where my insecure soul gets fed.

Finding that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has come sooner to my world as autumnal weather drifts early into our shores, rendering me a mess of emotions.

Needing to stay still, lay down body, hopes and desires. Surrender and sink into unconditional Love’s embrace.

And as I’ve been alternately surrendering and resisting deep soul rest, I sense God asking me to say yes to so many things.

It’s not easy at all, more like a dying on the inside, a howl of outrage and fear of missing out, anxiety over losing acceptance.

Because who am I if I don’t have a face, a voice, connection and a presence on social media?

Who am I? A woman who feels likes she’s drowning in her own seeming insignificance, apparently.

Nevertheless, I am slowly surrendering my need of people approval and leaning into His alone.

And finally beginning to stop begrudging this season of ceasing, of pulling back, of being an edge dweller.

Because deep inside? This hurting child knows that her Father’s wishes are ones to heed, and she whispers her reply.

Yes to being on the margins of life when I’m too weary to participate.

Yes to having deep dependence on Him day by day.

Yes to finding worth and value, significance and strength in Him alone.

Yes to His timing and His plans, and yes to seeking after His heart rather than any other.

Saying yes

I don’t want to say yes

to being insignificant,

small; I don’t want to let

go of desiring to have it all

In saying yes to less

I’m inviting obscurity

to define me more than

any worldly success

Then I remember how you

laid down your heavenly

crown, came manger-wrapped

as a tiny one who never stopped

being God’s only begotten Son

You chose to stay humble

walk a challenging road

bearing our burdens and

sin’s heavy load, while your path

led you to suffering on a cross

with a willing yes as you bore

humanity’s pain and dross

Now with arms open to

all mankind, you welcome

us into a significant life

marked by surrender and

being small, saying yes

to life’s best yes of all

©JoyLenton2015

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Friend, if life or your own thoughts are giving you a hard time too, may I suggest you dive deeper into God’s love for you? Resting in His love is the only place where we can feel safe, protected and truly accepted.

I wasn’t going to write today. Because words haven’t been flowing freely lately and I’ve been way too tired to think straight. Maybe you’re there too? Perhaps you can remember, along with me, that it’s not a permanent place, just a pausing point and breathing space.

But God had other ideas as He planted a few lines of this poem into my mind while I was dreamily drifting. And He gave me the ability and grace to write the rest out of my imperfection and weakness, and also say a heartfelt yes to participating with the lovely five-minute-friday community as they explore the power of ‘Yes’ today. Come join us?

Lost connectivity

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Listening can feel like a lost art. What or who should we be listening to?

So many things clamour for our attention. So much passes us by in the endless flow, flotsam and jetsam of life.

People are busy as bees yet so often neglect to notice one another’s needs.

We have to pause, breathe slow and sift for the wheat within the tares and the gold in all we see and hear.

It takes discipline and time to focus on essentials, make room for whispers amidst the chaos. Heed the cries of the broken and despised.

Being attentive is hard in a fractured, distracted world, but people need and deserve to feel heard, to be accepted, to be loved.

One of the best ways we can help someone is to be truly present to them, be available with a listening ear and a caring heart.

To listen well, listen deep, listen with all our senses attuned to the words they say and those left unsaid.

It is part of being compassionate and kind to one another, being considerate, being human.

The poem below was written for #1000Speak – a call to compassion with a monthly theme.

This month’s #1000Speak theme is:‘Connection’, with a blog link up on May 20th. You can find out more here. Come and join us! 🙂

‘Lost connectivity’

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People are speaking

We hear

only what we want to hear

We hear

what is easy on our ears

We fail

to truly listen to deep

meaning behind

the words they speak

Each and every one,

whether they

know it

or not, is reaching out

Aching to be accepted

Longing to be loved

Craving connection

Yet so often

we switch off

Walk away

Tune them out mentally

Fail to appreciate

our shared humanity

Run scared from intimacy

and from saying

what might guide

conversation

in the right direction

Our passivity only leads to

lost connectivity

©JoyLenton2015

Maybe some of you reading these words are always giving out to others, to your own detriment. You’ve become drained, depleted and prone to compassion-fatigue.

Your fuel tank is on empty; there is nothing left in reserve. You’re burnt-out and weary beyond measure.

If so, then this could be the time to reconnect with the Source of all energy and strength Himself, the One who longs above all to make a connection with you.

God will refuel, refresh, renew and restore your soul as you rest in His unconditional love. And we all need that because we cannot give away what we do not have.

Getting plugged in to God will strengthen and equip us to live unselfish, compassionate lives with willing hearts and able minds.

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Living on the edge

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Living on the edge unsettles me. I’m hard-wired for safety. Live in the pursuit of peace. Find my rest in refuge.

Though I yearn for the ease of feeling more secure, of trusting so fully in God I am like a carefree child splashing in the sea of His grace.

When parental rejection, the sting of guilt and shame, or society’s scorn casts us off as being unworthy of attention, then we can feel miserable, marginalised, desperate for approval.

Being accepted, being heard, being respected, being loved is what our needy hearts long for.

The world’s way is to embrace you one day and spit you out the next.

Without deliberately seeking it, we have become edge-dwellers, shifting shadows on the margins.

What do we do when life tips us sideways and hisses, ‘You’re not enough’? Maybe measures us by the size of our wallet, the way we live, the gifts we give?

We look to the One who speaks a soft, soothing whisper to our souls. He says we are His cherished possession, dearly beloved, fully accepted in Him. We ~ you and me ~ are enough because He is Enough, so much so He died to save us.

Jesus came humble, came lowly, and seeks those who feel ‘less than’ to give them more than they ever could hope for or imagine.

And as we seek after Jesus, we see how He stoops in tenderness to offer us comfort, reassurance and hope.

In following His ways we will find ourselves living on the edge, on the margins at times, at odds with the world’s ways of thinking and reacting.

Because all who strive to live a God-centred life will encounter resistance, rejection and strife.

But we will also have opportunity to follow Christ, to be in relationship with Him from now to eternity and receive all that our empty, thirsty souls need to be fully satisfied.

‘Living on the edge’

Lord,

I feel like I’m living on the edge

of society, with a longing to be

more, to discover, to explore

and uncover deep hidden things

for which my impoverished soul sings

Most of life feels like a race

for which I have no pace or speed

Where the primary function seems

to be to make a mark, to succeed

And as I scoop with eager arms

to catch a smidgen of success,

it very quickly loses charm and

leaves me breathless, needing rest

Depleted, weary, scarred and torn,

I feel the blast, the heat

of this world’s scorn, and have

to make a swift retreat

On the edge of obscurity

can feel a scary place to be

until I pause, sense your presence,

then reassurance comes to me

You chose the road-less-travelled

You were often on your own

You didn’t become unravelled

but kept your counsel and your calm

Found purpose in doing the Father’s will,

strength from resting completely still in Him

And wisdom from Holy Spirit’s refill

Jesus, I want to live this way

To follow hard after your heart

In all I do, think and say, please

help me to live right, do my part

©JoyLenton2014

Friend, you don’t have to wait for the world to approve of you; God already does.

Come to Him; read His word, see and hear how much He loves you, receive His cleansing, forgiveness, mercy and grace, and learn to live freely again in His loving embrace.

**NOTE** ~ This post was written a while back and sat in draft form ready for a time such as this when energy is low and I’m away enjoying some special with the family. I am grateful to God for inspiration coming in abundance sometimes so I have the ability to share later. 🙂

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A soft whisper

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Summer segues soft into Autumn and I sense a shift-change.

A call to quiet and calm. A whispered invitation of grace. A space to receive.

Making room for mercy moments in the mundane and eternal encounters in the everyday.

Words rise and fall in my head but fail to find their way onto the page.

My writing voice is stilled, though it clamours for release.

My mind feels overly busy with thoughts running around like headless chickens.

My body aches for rest, bed, soothing sleep, healing and restoration.

God wants me to be in tune with This season ~ a time to listen rather than speak, a time to refrain in order to gain the better part.

A heart receptive to His voice and a spirit that says Yes. A voice that whispers gentle and soft rather than shouting its presence.

All of which means that the things I long to share have been put on hold.. for now.

I am needing to focus more on the important than the urgent and make way for God’s ways most of all.

Yet He has encouraged me to send this poem forth because its message is timeless.

I wrote it in the flush of youthful love many moons ago, and published it two years ago on ‘Words of Joy’  in the context of a post about being seen, heard and loved.

I wrote the poem to my future husband, and as I read it again it speaks to me anew of our  heavenly Bridegroom calling for His Bride.

Maybe it also describes an intrinsic, eternal yearning inside us to be close, to feel cherished and loved, or maybe a way of seeing God in all of His creation?

However you take it, I pray God will use it to speak to you in the way you need to receive it.

‘Whisper your name’

Whisper your name in the

cold cubes of ice that

melt with heat’s breath

Whisper your name in the

wild, swirling tussle of

leaves on the ground

Whisper your name in the

snow that is black

with your words

Whisper your name in the

warm, woody ashes of

Winter that’s gone

Whisper your name in

Spring flowers that

nod out your greeting

Whisper your name in

the heavy haze of Summer sun

and Autumn sunsets

Whisper your name,

my love

and I’ll…..

whisper MINE

©JoyLenton2012

Praying for space for a sister to be slow, room for a recycled poem, and grace to come late to the party as I link here with Beth and friends for #threewordwednesday and with Kate for #FMF where this week’s  prompt is ‘Whisper’

**If you’d like to read more about words God has specifically whispered to my heart this year, then please feel free to check out the ‘Prayer Whispers’ category here**

A soft whisper file pin image PJ

Concealed and revealed

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We are like icebergs. Only a small part of the enormity of who we are is visible on the surface.

Much lies hidden. Concealed to the untrained eye or casual observer.

Strangers to ourselves, with our lives laid bare before God.

Nothing about you or I is a surprise to Him. We are fully known and we are completely loved and accepted.

Yet how hard it can be sometimes to see the ‘real’ me/you or accept who we are.

I am a composite reflection of all the people I’ve ever been ~ a girl-child, a lost soul, a teen, Jesus follower, wife and mother become grandma, who has a degree of God-given insight into her ways.

But I feel I’ll always be a bit of a mystery to myself, because who I am in Christ is an ongoing construction, ‘work in progress’ here and into eternity.

And the woman I am now is a just a snapshot of the experiences, thoughts and feelings that help make up my disposition, character and ways of reacting.

She is ineffably changed through her faith in Christ and inextricably linked to her life on earth.

Until.. Jesus returns to free us from its chains and reveal all that has lain concealed.

For now, I seek to be as authentic as I know how as I lean heavy on the Lord and learn from Holy Spirit-whispered insights.

To live out the hope within me, to reveal God’s goodness and grace, and conceal nothing that might help another soul feel less alone, or become blessed and encouraged by my testimony.

We can all be grace-imparters, joy-bringers and gift-givers to others, flawed and imperfect as we are.

‘Concealed and revealed’

I tried

concealing all my fears

to hide

a waterfall of tears

I shied

from confessing faults and flaws

My pride

wanted to slam such open doors

Divide

my heart and mind and will

Inside

I was far from capable

I cried

out to You in grief and pain

You pried

away all my guilt and shame

You died

to release me from death’s sting

Beside

me now, You bring Peace within

A flood

washes clean all earthly stain

Your blood

renews, makes me whole again

©JoyLenton2014

#1000gifts ~ I’m so grateful to God for some brief energy and inspiration to write today, especially when both have been in short supply lately!

Linking here today with Beth and  Holley, and other encouraging friends as we seek to share words to inspire and bless your heart.

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Come empty

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We all long to have our love tanks filled. Be affirmed. Be welcomed. Be accepted.

But so often our desire to be seen and heard drives us into places where we shine bright as fire-flies briefly dancing bold in the darkness before it swallows us up and consumes us.

There is another way to satiate our thirsty souls. To discover all we are looking for.

There is a place where we come empty and become filled to overflowing.

Arrive with burdens too heavy to bear, with songs dying on our lips, with eyes full of tears.

Sink low with our sorrows, sickness and shame.

But there.. we are loved,  embraced, held and comforted beyond measure.

You don’t have to dress up or pretend. You can be real. Be yourself. Breathe easy.

In God’s presence we find hope, healing, help, strength, forgiveness and grace.

And so much more besides.

So come to Him now. Lay aside your fears. He won’t reject or ignore you.

Come empty. Come  weary. Come thirsty. Come hungry. Come Just. As. You. Are.

He is waiting,  and will never turn you away.

‘Being filled’

With arms yawning empty, wide,

I arrive at your feet

hardly daring to lift my weary head

with a body yearning only for bed

When a dawning peace

envelops my soul

as you come and abide

ready to make me whole

rest in my heart, take ease and wait

while I sob, breathe deep and hesitate..

Finally, some strength seeps

through as I stay and weep

How could so much time

have taken wings, flown by

How could I have allowed

my soul to become so dry?

You smile and reach out

in reminder, with goodness and grace

There’s always a look of love on your face

You tilt my head toward your own and spill

everything given, overflowing to fill

And I realise, deep down,

it has always been there

if I’d only stopped, searched around

instead of drowning in despair

For all you long to provide, impart,

has already been sealed within my heart

©JoyLenton2014

being filled poem PJ FMF file pin image

Linking here with Kate Motaung for her first time hosting #fiveminutefriday Do come over, join with other brave and bold five minute writers, and give her a warm welcome! Also linking with Jennifer for #tellhisstory and with Mel for #essentialfridays