Listening and learning

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Words linger on in receptive minds and hearts. They outlive the moment of their birth.

Whether written, spoken or sung, soul utterances speak soul-deep and can have eternal meaning and resonance.

Though some have a bitter taste (perhaps when correction is required?), others express sweetness learnt in the dark places, the deep spaces where God speaks to those eager to hear from Him.

Last year, with ‘Listen’ as my #oneword365, was a time of more intentional listening for me as God drew me into closer communion with Him.

A period to perfect the art of listening… in theory, at least. A time to lean toward greater intimacy with the Lover of my soul.

Although, it is something I was already doing long before last year, and something I will continue to do for the rest of my life, always relying heavy on grace to show me the way.

How can we ever become so accustomed to God’s voice that we lose the wonder of being able to hear it?

How can I stop trying to catch those prayer whispers on the wind?

It’s a habit I would hate to grow out of. A way of life necessary as breathing.

So here I am, expressing oh so imperfectly in poetry, just a tiny taster of how precious it was, and still is, to attempt to hear from God.

‘Listening’

You whispered in the silence

of my waiting, watchful heart

It was hard at first to listen

but I was keen to make a start

My heart stilled expectantly

My soul sought to give You ear

My pen ready to savour

words of wisdom from You here

Sometimes I wrote hastily

so I didn’t miss a thing

Or waited for words to arrive

for the offering You would bring

I soon learnt I shouldn’t come

with an impatient, restless soul

Thought time spent in Your Presence

would restore and make me whole

Then as I went about my day

tuning my heart to hear

I found You spoke willingly

and I could sense You near

You have been training me

to pay attention, to heed

the soft whispers of Your voice

The soothing balm I truly need

As I go through the year ahead

I pray I’ll remember, hold dear

the things You have said

to guide, reveal, repair

And pass on Your wisdom

to other hungry hearts

who long for the messages

which Your voice imparts

©JoyLenton2015

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You may wonder what ‘word’ God has given me for 2015. However, it felt right to linger longer with listening for a while before letting it go as my main word to mull over.

And I’d like to encourage you to persevere in your own times of listening to God, to take opportunities you may have for a few minutes pausing in prayer, and ask Him to speak to you in the silence of your heart.

It can feel rather frustratingly like trying to find the right radio frequency at first, but that makes it all the more precious when you can ‘tune in’ and hear His voice, and it will get easier over time.

I hope to write a poem soon about my new #oneword365 it but you can read the big reveal over at ‘Words of Joy’ if you’re eager to know it now!

**Note** ~ I’m a bit late catching up with things after being  particularly unwell since Christmas, but I hope to pen poetry here as often as God gives me words to write and energy to share them. The poem above was actually written a few weeks ago, waiting for a moment such as this to air.  A rather belated ‘Happy New Year’ to you all! Thank you for your support throughout 2014. I really appreciate it. 🙂

Dawn to dusk

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From dawn to dusk the skies proclaim God’s glory.

Reveal His majesty and unfolding story.

We watch in awe each morn, eve and afternoon.

And maybe with some dismay on dismal days that end too soon.

Yet we live with the hope of God pouring out speech day by day.

Enlivening us with His word. Gifting us with His Presence.

Sharing His ways in all created things. Making us aware of His grace.

If we would only learn to listen, pay heed and receive.

‘Dusk’

I feel the fade

to grey

on cold

November days

An inconsiderate

gathering gloom

of darkness

falls too soon

Something in me

squeezes tight

And I want to rage

against the

dying shafts

of light

Unless my heart

makes room

And trusts

grace is shining still

in the dusk

of these afternoons

©JoyLenton2014

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world”  ~ Psalm 19:1-4

Joining Janis and friends for #SundayStillness as we make sacred space to reflect on God’s ways

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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