Being the beloved

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Our insecure hearts seek signs of belonging.

Our minds ache for reassurance.

Our bodies seek to express love to others.

And when I am held in my beloved’s embrace, the inner turmoil melts away.

Concerns may sit heavy but they become lighter for being shared silently.

As he reaches for me I feel wanted, loved, cherished, accepted just as I am.

I can finally be fully myself with this man who knows me so well, who has partnered me for almost 40 years.

Words become unnecessary as we lean into one another. We speak each other’s language now.

Marriage made us as one and we remain so, even as life’s challenges and painful circumstances have tried to pull us apart.

Troubles are shared with kisses. Joy is magnified in the melding, in the overcoming, in the giving and receiving.

And in these heart to heart, soul to soul embraces we are reminded of the way God is continually holding us safe and pouring His unconditional love out upon us.

Because this love of ours has been sustained solely by His grace, nurtured by holy fire, stuck fast by faith.

We love because He first loves us. He is our pattern and example. The glue in this marriage.

And His arms of love never grow weary. We will always be welcome there.

God rejoices when we learn how to accept His love and live in the knowledge of being the beloved.

Arms of Love

Arms of love encircle me

holding secure and steady

as I finally exhale, release

breathe soft and calm

feeling prepared and ready

to accept and believe

hear and receive

that as beloved arms

encompass round

God’s Spirit hovers

without a sound, yet

speaking things He wants

to urgently impart

into the very depths

of my insecure heart

saying, “You are safe; you are loved

You are beautiful; you are enough

You are free – just trust in me”

©JoyLenton2014

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Gifts of grace

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Day by day we are writing out our story, a living tale of all that takes place and a living testimony of God’s sustaining grace.

A birthing can occur at any moment in hearts receptive to the new and the next and the in-between.

What seems dead can be enlivened and resurrected by His power – brokenness made whole, beauty brought forth from ashes.

Although many days are shrouded and clouded by painful circumstances, God is still writing out His good and greater narrative into the margins of our lives.

Yes, even as we hover crazy-busy on this edge of space, time and eternity and so often fail to see or sense His continual presence.

We need to remember how we live and breathe and have our being in Him and He lives and breathes in us by His Spirit.

Nothing is incidental, or irredeemable. Nothing is forever lost or wasted.

All is gift and all is grace, but we need eyes to see the sacred in the secular and appreciate its daily nuances.

As we listen closer to our lives we begin to piece together the story they are telling us.

Such thoughts are shaping my daily living and making their way into today’s Five Minute Friday poem.

Grace gifts

Each day we are alive is a gift,

an unfurling, unfolding kernel

mirrored in tender bud and leaf,

so our hearts remain hopeful

of seeing a good ending

I long above all to recapture

a sense of child-like wonder,

become captivated, entranced

by delight seeded within

as this daily sacred dance begins

Each moment we linger longer

to appreciate The Moment

will help peel back layers

to reveal a gift of grace,

open our eyes, blinded by

cultural excess, dulled by stress

and wearied by naysayers

For we are the revealers

unwrapping the Gift of God,

the Truth-sayers, the Way-sharers,

keepers of Light and Love who

employ a deeper discerning

as we dive expectant into the true,

hopeful, bright-blue waters of each day

©JoyLenton2015

I’m blessed to be joining in with the wonderful writing-free-from-the-heart community of ‘Five Minute Friday’ writers over at Kate Motaung’s place as we give our best on the topic of ‘Gift’. You’re very welcome to join in. Do hop on over and check out the other posts there. It’s amazing what a rich variety of thought is stirred by a one word prompt!

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Looking and finding

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‘Looking and finding’

I look for the face of Christ

Now obscured by a cloud of unknowing,

a veil of uncertainty

a mist of missed moments

Grey cobweb coating distorts

all sense of His Presence

I grope blind for the grace of Christ

Now shadowed by seeds of doubt,

a complacency about the commonplace,

a turning away sigh, a dull

grey ache nothing else can

subdue, erase or ever replace

I see and sense Him everywhere

Now as the babe in the manger

An infant Christ-child, an innocent

A mild man bleeding wild-red on a cross

A risen Saviour overcoming

all pain, all sorrow, all loss

I find traces of His face

in every man, woman and child

Though it is seen the most

in those who love Him most of all

His grace, beauty, mercy and charity

reflected imperfectly ~ in you and me

©JoyLenton2015

“In Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognised by those on the way of salvation – an aroma redolent with life..” ~ 2 Corinthians 2:15 – The Message

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The way of discipleship

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When I came to faith in Christ I was already a damaged, broken-by-the-world girl who viewed life with wary, shy and cautious eyes.

So my heart yearned and burned for Jesus, the only One who has ever loved me unconditionally and sets me free from guilt and shame.

He alone restores my soul and is continually healing and making me whole.

I began as an ardent follower and fan in my naming and proclaiming ‘Jesus Loves You’ sticker days.

Now, in maturity, I see how sitting at His feet is the best thing for me; spending time quietly listening while I contemplate His beauty, seeking to know Him more fully as I learn to rest in His finished work on the cross and my new identity in Him.

And aiming more and more to be an imitator of my Teacher, a messenger for the Master, a grateful grace-dweller and Truth-revealer.

I want to lean in close like John and Mary did, believe and live as though I am His beloved.

The way I’ve travelled has been full of pain and pitfalls to fight through as much as it has been gifted with grace, but my years of yearning after Jesus will never end.

He is my everything, all the more as time passes and my deep dependency grows stronger in weakness.

As I prayed this morning, the words I sensed on my heart made their way into the poem below.

It may have taken longer than the allotted five minutes to write but it has become my contribution to the word “Follow” as I join Kate and fellow five-minute friday writers who spill out their heart-words for us to read and share. Come join us?

‘Pilgrim path’

Follow hard after God’s heart

Follow through dark valleys, rocky paths

Keep your mind aligned to Mine

Keep going though the Way seems blind

Yield yourself willingly

Surrender each day to Me

Watch where I am leading you

No matter where others are going to

My path is hard; My path is long

But I keep you steady and make you strong

Listen above all to My gentle voice

Quieten yourself away from life’s noise

Be an example; be a shining light

Show My love, My power and might

Reveal the world’s great need of Me

and how it’s seen in dependency

Come, My pilgrim child, take My hand

As you follow Me your life will expand

©JoyLenton2015

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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All beauty fades

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“Charm is deceptive and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God” ~ Proverbs 31:30 (The Message)

‘All beauty fades’

All beauty fades

Each petal that falls

Each shaking loose

Each uncovering

lets in more shade

Soon there will be

nullifying nakedness

Bare stems remain

as thin reminder

Appeal for mercy

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And even these

droop low to ground

Stoop old, sigh

final breath

Lase last leaves

A turn to grey

Grave mulch and dust

A crumbling ash

from whose ember

new life holds sway

©JoyLenton2015 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” ~ 1 Peter 1:3-5

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Love came

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‘Love came’

Love does not shout its name

Though the cross is a megaphone

to rouse a deaf world

Love is likened to a rose

as it gradually unfurls

Releasing its scent into the air

fragrancing the atmosphere

Lightening the hearts of all

who inhale its heart

and are in its thrall

Love whispers soft in dreams

Causing a swift awakening

It seems ethereal as mist

and lingers long

like a wanton kiss

Betrayal may bring it out

when deep feelings inside

emerging as anger, surge

from one to another

Love came and gave its all

to a world still sleeping

With a hammering and a bleeding

seal stamped on wood

Nailing itself to those unheeding

who could turn a blind eye

to a tearing in their sky

Love may have seemed to disappear

But it stayed in all hearts

who welcomed it here

©JoyLenton2015

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Being cloistered

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‘Cloistered’

Impatient, busy feet

cross the street from sunlight

to shade, preferring dark

in the shadowed cloisters

of their barren heart

They do not see You, still

and patient in their midst

Nor catch the uttered cry

light as butterfly wings

that sings into the air

already thick with Your words

Blind eyes and stone insides

remain mute to their touch

What will it take to make

a world awaken to

the wonder and glory of You?

©JoyLenton2015

Dear Father,

As the storms of life arise,

may we be cloistered within

your heart, kept safe and

sheltered within the calm blue

sea of your grace, held fast and

secure by the anchor of your

love and tethered to you by

faith and trust in Jesus

Christ our Lord

Amen

Friends, I’ve been cloistered inside for a few weeks, needing a time set aside for necessary recuperation and rest. And I want to say how much I appreciate your kind thoughts, comments and prayers as I’ve been recovering some energy.

I’m slowly discovering there’s no safer place to be than in the shadow of God’s wings. May you also find the help, support and comfort you need during your own seasons of withdrawing unto Him.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Whose power no foe can withstand). I will say of the Lord, He is my God; on Him I lean and rely and in Him I (confidently) trust!” ~ Psalm 91:1-2 (Amplified) 

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New life through death

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As Holy week comes toward its grand finale, it’s good to pause and consider the cost of our salvation.

I am pondering all that led to Jesus’ death and what it really means to live in the light of His finished work on the cross.

All that is lifeless within can be enlivened by His Spirit and changed by His grace.

New life through death.

New birth and new beginning.

We ponder and we wonder anew at all Jesus went through to bring us back to God the Father, to restore all that the enemy has stolen.

There is so much more here than one poem can convey.

Far more than I can easily express.

But I hope it will give you a tiny glimpse behind the scenes of Christ’s path to Calvary and its tremendous implications for all mankind.

‘An enlivening spark’

Kaleidoscope colours in your life and mine

collide in varied hues of the human condition

Fractured, splintered at times beyond recognition

So many shade to grey, loom dim and dark

without that vital, enlivening spark

We rest beneath the shadow of the cross

A place which collects all our pain and loss

We crest the hill of Golgotha rising

Eyes straining to see beyond its horizon

We witness a sacred flood of crimson-red

where our Saviour suffered, died and bled

Our own violence and tears join hands

with the punishment our sin demands

Kneeling, weeping, wondering anew

as resurrection Light and power break through

with glory, radiance of Love divine

©JoyLenton2015

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When you need rescuing

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When a season of turmoil, trial, testing and tribulations pull us into a deep pit, we long for rescue, for God’s quiet waters, stillness and calm to soothe us.

The freeing breath of peace seems elusive until we seek it in Him and not in our circumstances.

And find how faith in Christ becomes the stabilising anchor for our wandering, wilful souls thrown about in life’s stormy seas.

His grace is the means by which we endure and stay calm in the midst of chaos in our circumstances, mind and heart.

Adversity and affliction sift and refine us, make us come forth (eventually) as gold from the fiery furnace.

And they are made bearable by the recognition God is right here with us, in the heat of it all, ready to rescue and save as necessary.

Sometimes a holy agitation occurs which makes us sit up and sense His presence.

What I mean by ‘holy agitation’ is a gentle stirring on the inside, a Holy Spirit nudge, if you like, that grows stronger over time to alert our sleepy souls to His deeper reality and purpose for us.

‘Rescue’

My life feels stuck and stagnant,

mired in mud soul-deep

And as I stretch yearning arms

toward empty skies, I reach

a place where soft breeze

wrinkles water where I lie

An angel has passed by

to offer holy agitation

to set me free from

stagnation, from still pools,

with soft spools of Spirit sighs

An arm reaches down to mine

Across galaxies, across all time,

eternity of stars so bright

Ready to lift me up, rescue

from dark pit of night

My eyes raised high

from gloom and dim,

I feel the breath of Life

filling lungs with Light

and I cling hard to Him

©JoyLenton2015

Dear Reader and Friend,

You know something? Clinging hard to the Lord is where I’m at right now after a prolonged season of increasing sickness since Christmas. Being stubborn old me, I rested up as much as possible after having the flu, but also drove myself as hard as possible to appear relatively ‘normal’ again afterwards.

Apparently, a lot of folk with M.E are like that. Who knew? So I kept up my writing schedules and pulled back from all avoidable social media interaction for a while.

And now? I am deep bone-weary and weak. In need of further rest and sleep, restoration and recovery. In need of not only leaning into Lent but laying down for much of it. In need of putting first things first ~ God, family, health and so on.

Maybe you can relate? You don’t have to be suffering from M.E and chronic illness to feel drained and burnt out.

I’m sensing God saying this is a good time to take a break from blogging for a while, to stay under the protective shadow of His wings as He pours His love, refreshing rest and peace into body and soul.

So I am finally listening and doing just that ~ thinking I can hear a heavenly sigh of ‘At last’ as I do so! It means I will be missing here and on ‘Words of Joy’ for a bit, though I will be honouring my writing commitments elsewhere.

And you can catch up with me on my Facebook page because I could be posting there sometimes as God inspires, enables and indicates it’s fine to do so.

You can also stay in touch with me on my Words of Joy’ Facebook page or connect with me on Twitter, Google + or Pinterest as I dip in and out of those places too.

Meanwhile, do feel free to dive into the archives and find something to bless and encourage you. And if you find something you like, please consider leaving a comment or sharing. Your thoughts and words matter. Thank you! May God bless you and keep you until we meet again. With love, Joy 🙂 ❤

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