mantle: Mary’s covering and our own God-given calling

mantle - the virgin mary @poetryjoy.com

Mantle is a quaint, rarely used word that still has relevance for us today. As well as being a literal coat or cloak, mantle also means the passing on of an important role or responsibility from person to person.

In a biblical sense, mantle can imply a covering of grace, a specific calling on our lives, as in Elijah’s prophetic mantle falling onto Elisha in a literal and metaphorical handing over of his cloak and anointing.

“So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him.” – 1 Kings 19:19 (NKJV)

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was cloaked and enveloped by God’s grace. She was overshadowed by Holy Spirit for the pivotal role she would play in bringing about God’s purposes on earth.

mantle - Mary's covering and our own God-given calling @poetryjoy.com

Mary’s mantle

Her charisma,
a divinely conferred
gift, was pure, bright,
a vibrant inner light
to bathe heaven’s child.

Her character brooked
choice of none other
for she was resilient,
demure and mild.

A willing and yielded
obedient servant,
a fledgling woman,
youthful, innocent,
betrothed while still a teen.

Whose womb was home,
whose heart was rent,
who hosted holiness
quietly and unseen.

A young woman
full of divine favour,
subject to rejection
and society’s reproach
for her great faithfulness
to Father God.

Became chosen
earthly mother
for our Saviour,
to give him birth
and spread his love abroad.
© joylenton

mantle - mary's mantle poem excerpt (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

How does Mary’s mantle relate to us? I think it shows that God always prepares people for the specific tasks He has appointed them to do. God fully anoints, equips and qualifies us for everything He calls us to.

Years ago, my major responsibilities were as nurse, wife and mother. Then I developed M.E and chronic illness which made it impossible to work and fully take care of myself, never mind the home and family. My perceptions of role, calling and identity shifted to meet my limitations and reduced expectations.

I am still sick and struggle with tasks, but my calling has morphed into being a writer, poet and encourager to others. Those gifts lay dormant for years but God resurrected them at just the right time.

God never forgets the mantle He has chosen to place over us. Mine might look very different to yours, because we all have a unique offering to bring to the world. One thing I have learnt: Our inner landscape can be vast, unlimited and rich even if our physical capabilities shrink.

mantle - Our inner landscape quote (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

This Advent, as you sit with hope and wait with increasing longing in your heart, try asking God what His desires are for you in the year ahead. What assignment has your name on it? What is He birthing in your soul? Is there a specific word that will define 2019 for you?

I’m currently hearing a call to rest myself more and lay aside my pen for a while. So I am taking a writing break until early January. May God bless you and keep you in His loving care until we meet again. Meanwhile, you can catch up with the poetic Art of Advent series profiling on my Words of Joy blog. 🙂

mantle - advent - trees - wreath - Christmas greetings (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit

about-calling-priorities-holy-spirit-pj

 

Like a flock of noisy seagulls, voices come at us from all directions, urging activity, challenge and change. What (or who) are we listening to? How do we sift the gold from the detritus, make choices we can live with and trust? In a world vying to be heard, how do we make sure we only take in what we need to?

It’s not easy to avoid all that is clamouring for our attention, or discern the times and tides, especially when so many fresh opportunities are coming our way.  A new year is rife with resolution, full of possibility, potential and hope.

As I try to recover from the festive season, my body is signalling a need to rest but my mind is inclined to pursue the enticement of the Now and the New. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real issue for many—me, too, sometimes. We can become stalled by indecision, paralysed by too much choice and derailed by the very real possibility of disappointment.

At the risk of lagging behind, disappointing or letting people down, it’s better for us to be true to how we’re currently situated and what we’re capable of without jeopardising our physical or mental health.

My spirit longs to listen to what God is saying to me first and foremost , knowing His ways—though seemingly counter-intuitive at times—are always the best. It pays to heed holy whispers. If He is whispering caution, waiting and rest, then I hesitate to press ahead with the next big thing, because in the end it will fail or I will falter, crash and collapse if I ignore the warning signs.

I love to write and in order to do so I have to prioritise, make creative space, rest, pace and avoid doing anything else for the day that’s an exhausting activity for me. It’s all about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding, and giving ourselves permission to rest and recover when we need to.

It won’t wash with me

Political spin

won’t wash with me; I’m resting

in God’s plans, you see

haiku-it-wont-wash-with-me-pj

 

No spin

Life’s waves wash over

my still frame—caught fast by pain

I refuse to spin

haiku-no-spin-pj

 

Wash me radiant

Wash me radiant

Let your love spin in my heart

Warm from dawn to dark

haiku-wash-me-radiant-pj

 

Today’s haiku have been inspired by the prompt of ‘Spin&Water’ —(which my tired brain somehow interpreted as ‘Spin&Wash’ instead… oops… so that’s what I’ve based these poems on!)—from our poet master, Ronovan, of ronavonwrites.  Just click here to see the rest of the posts and join in if you’d like to.

How are you sifting the wheat from the chaff as you make plans for 2017?

What new thing (or word) has God given you for the days ahead?

This is my calling

calling -way forward PJ

Finding our calling in life can feel like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

How do we separate out the wheat from the chaff?

We look for a way forward and find ourselves going in circles.

How can we decide what to focus on to the exclusion of other things, or which path to pursue if we neglect another?

Because in seeking the best we may have to lay aside what seems better, or worthy of our attention.

Perhaps it’s not necessarily a vocation, a task which only we can do, a unique way of life.

Maybe our calling is more of a recognition of what really matters to us, what fuels our passions and drives our desires.

That used to be nursing for me, becoming a wife and raising a family. Then it became more about seeing what God laid on my heart, supporting others who are sick and struggling with chronic illness, being a writer and encourager.

As I pondered on the word ‘calling’ I was drawn more to reveal its hidden depths than to dwell on a single thing of significance.

And as a Christian, I consider above all things that my calling is to live a surrendered, authentic life in the light of God’s Word, by the power of His Spirit and in obedience to Him.

It will be a pathway that others follow, but it will look different on each one of us as we live out our unique, God-given place and purpose in this world.

This is my calling

This life which I own as mine

Days unfolding over time

This is my calling

The way I make my faith-walk

How I behave and how I talk

This is my calling

Being seen and being heard

as I share God’s saving Word

This is my calling

Listening and being aware

what, when, where I need to share

This is my calling

Encouraging others and being kind

Turning the cheek, trying not to mind

This is my calling

Seeing and sensing God’s hand in this world

Helping His purpose become unfurled

This is my calling

©JoyLenton2015

calling - PJ pin

This post is the first part of #31days of five-minute-free-writes as prompted by the #FMF writing community. You can see the writing prompts for the rest of October and find out more here.

Five-Minute-Free-Writes-button

I’ll be taking part on an ad hoc basis as and when I have energy and inspiration enough to do  so. You’re warmly invited to join us.

A soft whisper

A soft whisper file image PJ

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