awakening: experiencing a fresh awakening to joy during Lent

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I don’t know about you but I could use a fresh infusion of joy right now. Life has a way of grinding us down low to ground and leaching joy right out of our hearts. So how do we go about receiving a fresh awakening to joy in a season where we feel weak, weary or discouraged?

My faith points the Way to discovering all Hope and Joy in Jesus, because the best way to climb out of a pit of pain and despair is to recognise Christ’s constant presence with us, (yes, even, and especially, as we sit in dust and ashes, feeling low or lost) and His hand always reaching down to save us.

God never leaves us to our own devices. In fact, through Christ, He has paved the way to draw us joyfully back to His Father-heart, a way which this season of Lent makes clear and evident.

And we soon discover how the path to the cross is strewn with challenge and pain before the great release from the tomb and celebration of the resurrection Hope Christ gives us. In recognition of this, I’m praying for God to give you and me a fresh awakening to joy during our own times of sorrow and sadness, shame and pain.

My friend, I can’t pretend to know what you are going through, what keeps you awake at night or makes your heart quail, but I can offer a virtual hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, a friend to confide in if you need one, and my prayers for you during this season of Lent.

May we learn to come alive again on the inside as we place our faith and trust in God. May we have a fresh awakening to His loving presence and begin to find joy creeping back into our hearts again. Each week during Lent I intend to offer a poetic response and a few words of hope and encouragement. I hope you will join me. Here’s the first offering about Ash Wednesday.

A fresh awakening

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We kneel with last Palm Sunday’s

burnt palms arising as ashes, smudged

on foreheads; and we receive a fresh

awakening to Life Himself in our own

dying to self

These days of denying and fasting and focusing

on death will become precursor to rising

in newness of life—like grains of fallen wheat

our souls become broken, crushed, before

being made whole

And hearts honed in humility will soon

see an uplifting as we draw closer 

to accepting our own mini-Calvary

We’ll witness our dross nailed firm

to Christ’s cross

This season unveils the very reason

for his Incarnation—makes manifest

the Man of Sorrows made flesh and

tears at our own hearts of stone, now

weeping like his

©joylenton2017

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rest: seeking to enjoy the stillness and savour holy conversation

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Misty fog-haze lends an ethereal air to these wintry days. This is a season where deep calls to deep in the realm of rest and sleep, a hibernation time when words are deliberately stilled and distilled in the stillness, able to ferment and brew in contemplative silence.

During a needful rest and slowing down time we learn to listen better to body, soul and Holy Spirit. And we begin to hear murmurs we may have missed in our busyness, words which lend themselves well to poetic expression. We hear whispers of encouragement, discern glimmers of mercy and grace surrounding us.

Rest invites us into recovery, restoration, a deeper faith-walk journey, a call to intimate prayer, maybe a suggestion of sharing thoughts in a journal, writing out holy conversation to look back on and possibly share—ways of recording God’s work in us and connecting closer to the core of who we are. It’s a period of sitting with patience and letting it have its way with us, learning to wait for the right moment to unleash and release.

I wrote the poems below in a free-flow-as-it-comes way, with a willingness to savour holy conversation, an openness to God’s loving presence within this present moment and a desire to appreciate seasons yet to come.

My hope and prayer is that you will read them with an open mind and open heart, and hear what you need to hear within the lines. May they connect to your soul and find a resonance within.

Come rest

Come rest like moist

forest moss so green

beneath warm summer sun

listen to full river song

bird murmuring spring

follow blue breeze harmony

see between dark mountain path

earth’s soft fertile wandering

©joylenton2017

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Velvet eternity

Come and listen to me

linger long as my words

melt as steam breath and

air makes soft ghost-like

smile blush over my lips

let broken night cloud

be our dark universe

and life’s warm embrace haunt

this velvet eternity

©joylenton2017

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Welcome to #magneticmonday where I share my latest offerings of magnetic poetry writing. ‘Come rest’ was composed using the Nature set and ‘Velvet eternity’ with the Poet set. You can discover more here and have a go yourself if you feel inspired!

What is God suggesting to you this season? 

How are you able to rest best in a world hardwired for busyness?

holy listening to life, love and loss – magnetic monday

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Life’s deep secrets contain echoes of eternity, breath of love, hint of loss and eventual leave-taking. For we cannot love well, fully and freely without seeing and sensing the sharp contrast of light and shade together, which involves a kind of holy listening to life itself, acknowledging those smudgy grey areas we all inhabit.

When we raise our awareness, become accustomed to holy whispers making themselves known to us in the midst of the mundane, we soon realise that we share those deep secrets—both concealed and laid bare—as glorious partakers and curious onlookers observing God’s work in this world.

In turn we become holy listeners, those who wait on the Word, seek out Truth, hoping to hear heaven’s heartbeat, to bear its joy and sorrow, become saturated in its love, mercy and forgiveness, as we learn the wisdom and discernment only God can impart. Then we offer these things as gift to all, especially those in our sphere of influence.

In my first magnetic poetry poem below (made with the Original Set), holy listening can be interpreted as you see fit.

Holy Listening

She said vast dark secrets

of old dazzle like dance

a brilliant word for

this holy listening

I can bring cake

give me warm ocean

breeze lingering in

cloudy night air to

celebrate their wake

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My second poem—made using the Poet Set—examines love and loss, inextricably linked as one heart-rending experience.

Love and Loss

love is our mad sun

or it’s cool as death

whispered lies to the wind

wanting one last symphony

bitter as black mist

her arms were

daylight bare

languid as language

magnetic-poetry-love-and-loss

 

What is God whispering to you this week?

How is this magnetic poetry speaking to you?

I’d love to hear in the comments below.  🙂

When we need a reminder

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Days can bleed softly into one another and we so often miss being able to see and sense the sacred in the secular.

Holy and hallowed moments meeting with us in the mundane. Whispers of God’s grace in the commonplace.

My heart’s longs to live with greater awareness. To have my eyes open to wonder. To be present to Presence.

To know that whether I feel anything or not, God is always present.

And His active, living presence is what my soul needs most.

I desire to recognise holy in the everyday. God at home in my heart and mind, rooted in life’s reality.

I want to live in the light of His presence as I walk through this world, sense His peace and love, know I am His beloved.

And I want to make space for the entrance of grace to change and transform my mess.

Remind me

Living Lord,

Remind me as I go through my days

to know that the Lord is in this place

Awaken me to wonder

Alert me to Your Love

Bring a deep, abiding sense

of Your peaceful Presence

Calm this restless heart

Still my anxious mind

And as I sit and absorb

may I rise and go forth

share the beauty and grace I see

witness to Your Life in me

©JoyLenton2016

I definitely need to be reminded of these things. Maybe you do too?

Centering prayer is helping me to have that focus on a daily basis. Here’s a link to a helpful app I am currently using for that.

I also read quite a few devotional resources, use this bible app and dip into this prayerful app too from time to time.

What helps you to focus on God’s presence?

How are you best reminded of His daily grace?

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Living the ordinary-extraordinary

awakening to wonder PJ

My eyes are still awakening to wonder. A mind and heart engaged on an endless quest.

I ponder purpose and intent, meander around the messy middle of my days and so often still fail to see them for the sacred glory they really are.

Pain can pervade and pull our days out of shape; problems press in on every side and challenges abound.

But this ordinary life so many of us live has extraordinary revelation if we let it speak to us.

Pay attention to its message. Sense the essence of our days. Listen to what they’re saying.

I’m slowly unfurling my winter-weary soul toward the brightness of summer light as I embrace the new and the not yet of my existence, the tentative unfolding of plans which have been long-awaited.

And nothing brings me closer to awareness of God’s presence than to see Him active in the everyday.

Wearing worldly lenses can dull our senses, but spiritual one? They alert us to presence and purpose behind the pain, the ache of holy behind the familiar, the grace seen in hard places.

So this theme is ringing in my heart and I lean toward its refrain like one who never tires of its melody.

Because it’s a song God sings over His children unceasingly.

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” ~ Zephaniah 3:17

Ordinary-extraordinary

God can be found in the everyday

ordinary-extraordinary of life

with all its wonder and ways

We count the moments because

moments count, and we count

blessings because we give freely

and they return easy – spilling

forth as gifts in the lap of time

Our eyes peel slow, waking

to wonder as we sip and savour

this coffee held in hand

this paper rustling conversation

this relating and waiting and enjoying

lost in the ether if we let it

become mangled by stress

tangled up in busyness

So we pause, catch our breath

release our reservations

snatch back each holy second

and see it for the sweet soul

sacred beauty and glory

mirrored reflection of

God’s story that it is

and we give praise

©JoyLenton2015 

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life” ~ Psalm 42:8

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When manna fell

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Manna fell

I brought my weakness

and vulnerability

joining soul-sisters

in community

And I found my voice

while notes wafted round

redolent and full

as incense in the room

Each vibration seemed

like it was sounding

a death-knell to loneliness

a call to unity

a warm, welcome caress

I drank proffered cup

swallowed bread offering

sensed a hum of healing

hovering inside of me

And my heart opened up

embraced gift of grace

made way for Presence

savoured His essence

As I took a sip of Life

and Love, manna fell

freely and I found my

grateful soul kneeling

©JoyLenton2015

It is said that every picture tells a story.

Much lies concealed, known only to the creative source behind it, though a hint of mystery still remains.

As I paint pictures with words and images here,  I’m also unfolding some of my life story and the greater narrative behind it which God is continually writing, and which I need to keep eyes wide open to see its gradual revealing.

The poem above was inspired by a gift-of-grace event I’ll be talking about on ‘Words of Joy‘ later this week. I’d be honoured if you’ll come over and take a look in a day or two.

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Coming aside

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As Spring begins to segue into Summer I seem to still be rooted to wintry hibernation.

Huddled indoors most days. Too weary and depleted to do much at all.

This has been a long season of withdrawal from all unnecessary busyness, a stilling of the soul, making room for deeper rest.

And I thought I may have been coming out of my self and Spirit-imposed soul sanctuary cocoon by now.

Words are still flowing; I’m keeping communication lines open and staying available to those things which feed my soul.

Yet the vital sap and lasting spark of energy I so desperately long to receive is  missing. I wilt easily.

God is signalling that my highest priority remains to rest in Him, let my mind cease meandering, remember to recharge, pace and sleep.

Because we cannot be fully refuelled, refreshed and restored body and soul without connecting with Him and also disconnecting from those things which steal our soul’s peace.

It may look different for each one of us. Priorities are personal. Some soul-weights sit so heavy and only God can help shift them over time.

So I’m slowly learning to be OK with not being physically active, visible, or crazy-busy in my thoughts – that’s the hardest one to change!

Maybe we can all learn to lean harder on God and become less concerned about doing it all ourselves. It’s worth a try, yes?

I’m joining some soul sisters (and brothers?) over at Kate’s Motaung’s place by sharing a few #FiveMinuteFriday thoughts here today on the word: ‘Meet’. 

It’s a great community of writers who aim to let loose their without-worry words within 5 minutes flat and enjoy reading what arises in the process. You’re very welcome to join in.

START….

‘Come aside’

Come aside, draw back,

pull away from the crowd

You won’t find Me

in busyness and loud

Surrender to silence

Sense My Presence within

Meet with Me in this moment

Let your day now begin

Rest your weary head

on My tender breast

before you fall apart

from sheer emptiness

Seek the soothing calm

of My Father-heart

Here I am present

Here I can be found

Here I meet with those

who are unafraid

to turn off the sounds

upon which their soul clings

©JoyLenton2015 

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