winter: being receptive to its beauty and story

“That’s what winter is: an exercise in remembering how to still yourself then how to come pliantly back to life again.” ― Ali Smith, Winter

Winter’s story

 Winter is not something
 to be feared 
 but admired for its still, 

 still beauty. Because it’s
 where a world appears 
 to hold its breath

 and sigh, carpeted as it is
 with deeply frozen 
 potential teeming beneath

 darkened soil. Wet grasslands
 are rimed with frost, liquid drips 
 from hedges and trees

 as if to say, “Look, look,
 don't you see?”
 Yet so often we turn
 our cold, cold faces 

 to the wind, huddle 
 into woolly scarves,
 stamp our fretful, impatient 

 feet, like we can’t wait
 for spring or to get away.
 But then we might miss

 the invisible invitation
 hidden in mist, concealed
 in muffled greyness, skies

 laden with snow, perhaps,
 or in petrified puddles
 now become miniature 

 skating rinks we risk our 
 limbs on as we walk.
 We’re so dismissive
 of pared back trees losing 

 their verdancy
 that we fail to grasp
 just how majestic, how starkly

 splendid they really are.
 A life isn’t only glorious
 in springtime or abundantly

 beautiful in summer,
 because our autumnal days
 and whitening wintry glaze all have
 their own story to tell,

 etched into each season,
 their own magic to whisper
 into our receptive souls
 if we decide to notice it.
 © joylenton

“It seems like everything sleeps in winter, but it’s really a time of renewal and reflection.” ― Elizabeth Camden, Until the Dawn

NOTE: If you need a bit of help to see the beauty of winter or fail to appreciate the invitation to soul stillness it provides, maybe the free pdf excerpt from my book ‘Embracing Hope’ will help to gently steer your thoughts in that direction. *Just click on the cover below to download it.* And if you would like to read more, then you’ll be pleased to know that the ‘Embracing Hope’ e-book is on special offer up to January 18th! xo 🙂 ❤

light: illuminating and offering us hope in the darkness

“However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.” ― Jeffrey R. Holland

Illuminating

Just as the soft rays of light
spill down a rock face,
gently probing each surface
when dawn breaks,

slowly illuminating, revealing
its many cracks and crevices,
may the hardened exterior
of my soul respond

to the light of holy love
shining on my flaws, my mistakes
with laser-light precision,
marked by mercy and forgiveness,
handled with so much grace.

And in this slow
awakening, may I not resist
its dart of golden beams
but yield to their inspection,

knowing their purpose
is to lead me deeper into
self-awareness so God can sift
the chaff of my circumstances,

as he notes where risen ears
of wheat might reside among
the tares and sharpest thorns

which require his infinite
tenderness, his wisdom in knowing
what to heal, to keep or reject.
© joylenton

Holy love illuminates our lives, illustrates our need for change, shines with glory and brilliance and offers us Hope in the darkness. God’s light is revealed to us in Christ and in a thousand tiny ways as we go about our daily lives.  May He give us eyes to see it and respond. 🙂 ❤

light - dawn breaking over rocks - illuminating poem excerpt (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

light - Anne Frank quote about light - candle - @poetryjoy.com

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.

antidote: how God’s perfect love helps cast out fear

antidote - sos - love as the remedy for our beleaguered souls @poetryjoy.com

Hello Dear Friends, we are living in strange times, aren’t we? Nothing feels as safely familiar as before because we’re all having to adjust to a new “normal” as we adapt to living with the threat of the coronavirus and its worldwide impact for ourselves and our nations.

It’s a new, unstructured way of living we’re not accustomed to, and don’t care to experience for long. We’re having to be imaginative and proactive to help conquer our fears because this virus casts a weighty shadow over everything, especially with alarmist news reports.

So how do we cope when the life we knew before alters by the day? To assist with lessening anxiety, it helps to focus on the positive, and on what we can do rather than what we can’t. These things are helping me: praying, breathing deeply and slowly, meditating, exercising gratitude, resting, and keeping a sense of perspective.

I’m also looking to God as my major means of soul help and support. God’s love is the antidote to fear and the answer to all inner restlessness and dis-ease. It’s the healing balm we need to comfort our sad and sorrowing souls. It’s the anchor of our lives, the compass of Hope our hearts long for.

“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us….There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.” — 1 John 4:18 The Message

antidote - virus - hearts - God's love is the antidote quote (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

God’s love provides the safety valve and soul exhale we need in swirling seas of uncertainty. It’s freely given, available to all, and abundantly nourishing for our souls. God’s love triggers remembrance of His faithfulness to us in the past and His sustaining grace available for us now.

Antidote

As the days segue into sameness
yet feel strangely unfamiliar to us,
can you see, can you believe
that what nourishes and sustains
us, deep in our souls, is holy love?

It is the antidote we seek,
the destroyer of anxiety, fear
and hate, the balm for every
chaotic change, every virus
that eats its way into our hearts.

Love came to earth in the shape
of an infant boy’s messy birth,
crying out for us to see his worth
while we open our arms, our eyes,
our minds and hearts to his love.

It calls us now to pay attention
and to fix our eyes more on its
solution to sin and sickness, to all
dis-ease of the human heart,
rather than allowing fear to build up.

If we can lift our heads and listen
to the sound of love seeping through
the filter of our souls, we might find
a different kind of focus taking place
as we surrender to peace and grace.
© joylenton

Antidote poem (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Do let me know how you are managing. I’m praying for all my readers and friends. You might like to check out my timely book Embracing Hope: Soul Food to Help Chase Away the Blues which is free on Kindle today. May God bless you and meet all your needs as He surrounds you with His all-encompassing care, comfort, protection and love. ❤