Seeking release

seeking release ~ FMF PJ file image

All it takes is a one word prompt and we write brave and free.

Such is the liberty of joining in for #fiveminutefriday

Or do we? Sometimes words stall in our heads and get left unexpressed. We feel blocked or broken inside.

Deep pondering and marinating are not how we operate in this creative writing endeavour.

Giving in to the moment, going with the flow and eschewing perfection is what it’s all about.

But some words stir deep, unsettle and unleash a flood rather than a drizzle.

Such was the result for me of beginning to write about this week’s prompt:’Release’.

I thought a bit, prayed, set the timer and wrote.. and wrote.. and wrote long past the limit. A poetic rambling and prayerful cry too personal to share.

Because this word hits too close to home to give an easy answer to. I’m living change, transition and release. Begging for it while I draw back scared.

Part of me craving an alteration and part of me resenting the effort it will require before lasting change can take place.

Staying the same isn’t an option once God puts His finger on an area requiring change. He will never give up wanting the very best for us.

So we yield easy, or fight our way up like drowning swimmers gasping for air. I’m fighting, and slowly learning how to surrender restfully.

This morning I didn’t set the clock or expect to participate in any writing exercise.

I woke earlier than usual and sensed a holy call to climb out of the covers. I obeyed reluctantly at first, having had a restless, wakeful night and with a body crying out desperate for sleep.

But I’m glad I obeyed. I met with God as He whispered words I needed to hear and felt prompted to share in the hope of blessing you too.

prayer whisper image

Prayer Whisper:’Release’

Re-lease your life into My care. You are not your own; you were bought with the price of My redeeming Love and sacrificial blood. I paid the price to set you free so that you could learn to become fully yourself as I intended you to.

Release ~ the weight of guilt, burden of sin and shame, turmoil of anger, resentment and unforgiveness. It poisons your body and mind to hold on to such things.

Release ~ your hopes, dreams and desires so that they can be sifted and purified, right motive and purpose given, and all submitted to My will and authority.

Release ~ the past, present and future. I see the end from the beginning. I am Alpha and Omega. Trust Me to take care of it all and pave the way for you to walk steadily with Me, moment by moment.

Release ~ all that chains and tethers you to earth. My desire is to make beauty from the ashes, bring hope out of despair and joy from adversity. Let loose all that prevents you from living freely in body and in mind.

Hand over all that you are, have been and will be. You are no surprise to Me. I know you inside out, and will provide the best way for you to grow strong, be fruitful and live compassionately to impact the lives of others for good.

As you release you will find true freedom because I take it all and give back to you only those things that fit who you are and prepare you for My purpose, all that brings joy, peace, rest and ease because you trust in Me.

Letting go takes courage and faith, but it will bring you so much more than those things you cling on to with tight clenched fists. They become stumbling blocks and strongholds preventing forward momentum.

Open your hands, release and ready yourself to receive, My child. I am waiting to give back to you.”

Linking here with Lisa-Jo, Laura and Mel. You are very welcome to join in.

butterfly ~ seeking release PJ FMF file image pin

You need hands

hands ~ FMF PJ file image 1

Hands can reveal so much about a person.

Their age, gender,  ethnicity, relationship status, occupation, even potential or actual health problems.

Mine shout out that I’m a woman of mature years with joint distortion caused by arthritis (amongst other things).

I would love to have plump, smooth, pretty, ultra feminine hands… sigh. 😦

But, much as  the circumstances of my life affect my body in general, they are also apparent on my hands.

When I was a child I caught my thumb in a mangle and the nail has been bent ever since.

When I worked as a nurse, I washed and washed these hands multiple times over the years, used antiseptic gel, alcohol wipes, and wore rubber gloves.

All of which contributed to the dryness and aging-before-their-time appearance.

It means I conceal rather than reveal. Hide them in my lap. Feel like they belong to someone else, someone older.

They are partly alien to me. I gaze at them with bewilderment some days. How did they get like this? I may be a grandma now but I dislike looking like one!

Yet they could also suggest a practical person who has used her hands, cared for others,  been busy, worked hard, not been afraid to do dirty tasks or chip a nail. 

These days, I can do very little in the practical daily living tasks, beyond basic self care. I need help to keep house and home together.

I am so grateful to be able to scrawl, write, type (albeit badly and slowly) and put these weary, worn, stiff and painful hands to some use again.

And as I reflect upon my changing hands and changed life, I remember hands scarred and rendered helpless, yet ones that transformed my life and eternal destiny, just as they can do for you.

‘Hands’

Hands conceal, reveal, plunder and steal,

reach out and take, gesticulate,

touch tender, become shield and defender,

hug, hold close, achieve the most

They can make, break, defile, wound and stain,

cause harm, alarm, revulsion and pain

Hands pierced fierce to a cross of wood

are the ones that treat us as they should

Arms of Love nailed to a tree

securing mercy, forgiveness and victory

Hands that gentle, soothe and hold

us closer than any brazen and bold

These hands scarred forever by the cross

will never cause us hurt or loss

They reach out across time and eternity

offering help, hope, healing to you and me

comfort, consolation, joy from despair,

goodness and grace seeping everywhere

They are the loving hands of God

welcoming us to the path He trod

Come, take His hand

Come, walk His path

Come, be held safe

through your time on earth

©JoyLenton2014

Linking here with Lisa-Jo for #fiveminutefriday This week’s prompt is:’hands’  You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in. Also joining with Mel and Laura 

hands ~ FMF file image 2 pin

Mosaic of a marriage

mosaic image for PJ mosaic of a marriage

 

Nobody can fully appreciate or understand the dynamics, anatomy and intricacies of a marriage, apart from the couple intimately involved in it.

And even then, much remains a holy mystery.

We are husband and wife, friends and lovers joined together in union and communion with God and one another.

Two become one in mind, body, soul and spirit in a divine alchemy of grace.

My marriage is heavily grace-dependent.

My background, experiences and personal problems have gradually made me someone other than the relatively carefree young woman I used to be.

As I’ve tried to work through a legacy of dysfunctional family life, childhood abuse, guilt and shame, (and the mental health breakdown they gave me) the one linked inextricably with me has also lived through it all.

Now, after more than 20 years of having M.E and chronic illness, my ability to be the wife he needs and wants is hampered further still.

Though we have struggled a great deal (and continue to do so), some things shine out bright and clear as I look back over the years:

Love will always find a way where there seems to be no way.

Faith can endure all things if it’s faith rooted in God and His sustaining power.

Hope may wither but it rarely dies.

Joy comes in unexpected places and circumstances.

Grace is a prerequisite for a godly life and marriage.

God gives us all we’ll ever need ~ even if we rarely have all we want.

In musing on these things over the last few days it is no great surprise that my mind turned to this territory to write about today.

And as I do so, I rejoice over the masterpiece God is creating out of the messy mosaic of my life and marriage.

‘Mosaic of a marriage’

Nothing in our courtship could have prepared

our youthful, hopeful, joy-filled hearts

for the prolonged grief and pain we’ve shared

or the need for so many fresh starts

Nothing in my mind could have foreseen

how very hard and challenging

living with me would have been

more your worst nightmare than dream

For we have been tried and tested

as gold goes through the fire

refined, processed and sifted

retaining heat, passion and desire

Nothing I can say will make up

for numerous ways I’ve let you down

You’ve had a bitter pill to swallow

gaining a face wreathed with frowns

But we, who are nothing without

the sustaining power of God

have finally made Something

of this life and path we’ve trod

Given grace from the One

who pours out His love every day

Given faith to persevere

when nothing’s gone our way

So I love you imperfectly

just as I am

and you’ve accepted my offering

a meagre nothing to the feelings

found within my man

Thank God for new beginnings

Praise Him for being true

Give Him the glory for making

faithful, if faltering, lovers

out of me and you

©JoyLenton2014

Joining with Lisa-Jo for #fiveminutefriday (yes, I ran over time!) ~ this week’s prompt is:‘Nothing’. You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in. Linking also with Mel and Laura

You can read more about how the issues above have affected my marriage in this post from Words of Joy.

I share openly in the hope of encouraging others to know they can live with and rise above their circumstances by the grace of God.

mosaic of a marriage file image on PJ pin

Closer than a prayer

father and child ~ trust him image

‘Close’

Sometimes I..

feel quite lost, isolated and alone

despite having a loving husband,

family and friends to call my own

Deep down there is a space, a place

no one can really fill, where

tears are cried and often spill

Because we..

are built for sharing and community

yet feel afraid of others knowing

the ugly truth and full reality

of who we are and how we feel

inside, so we tend to pull and

shy away, conceal and hide

But you..

have a way of penetrating

the deep recesses of our heart

seeing all we are and can be,

understanding every part

Coming closer than a whispered prayer,

a breath exhaled, as you draw near

So please..

be here and

stay close to me

just as you have promised

you will be

©JoyLenton2014

 Linking here with Lisa-Jo, Lyli and Mel

close poem ~ heart image pin

A heart unfurls

as petals fall to ground file image

Grace grows strong in a heart full of gratitude.

As we sow thankfulness seeds we are rewarded with a deeper appreciation of life.

Yet our hearts can be so cold, shrivelled by worry, anxiety, fears.

Casting our cares seems to send them into orbit for nanoseconds before they return multiplied and heavier than before.

How can we learn to live fully and freely? Is there a way to have lasting peace, joy and contentment?

I’m slowly discovering that joy seeps in when my heart turns heavenward.

When I lean heavy on God’s grace and less on my own understanding.

Hope replaces discouragement the more I trust God to take care of things.

Feeding on His word nourishes my inner being.

Daily reflection on and remembering His #1000gifts is an exercise in maintaining a grateful heart.

There are days when He feels far away and I forget to pray. Try to do things in my own limited strength. Neglect to seek His guidance and wisdom.

Yet He stands patient, ready and willing to step in as soon as I allow Him entry.

An open heart is a place He desires to inhabit and fill to overflowing.

Our task is to see our emptiness and be willing to ask God to fill it. And as He fills us with His love, joy and peace they will overflow out to others.

Joining here with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday and with Mel for Essential Fridays. You are very welcome and warmly invited to take part.

‘A heart unfurls’

Circle of thorns

surround a heart curled small

self-protective, bud-tight

against assailing light

Alabaster jar breaks

releasing its sweet perfume

of death, burial, rising free

into the waiting room

Piercing cruel, sharp,

upon the brow so deep

scarlet-red begins to seep

Dripping soft and slow

new life from old

flames bright and grows

The heart unfurls

as gently, one by one,

its folds embrace the Son

Warmed by Love

its fragrance fills

scent of gratitude spills

as petals fall to ground

©JoyLenton2014

gratitude poem heart unfurls file pin image ~ FMF

Our friend

friendship post file image

Genuine friendship is a gift to treasure.

To proffer the hand of friendship to another is to offer yourself in support of their wellbeing, and open yourself to reciprocal attention, care and concern.

Feeling heard and understood is rare in a world that is often too busy to listen or too indifferent to care.

Multiple connection points are provided, but true friendship is a gift of grace.

When it’s all about what you do, who you are, what you look like and who you know, it provokes competitiveness, discouragement and despair at not fitting in with the world’s perceptions of who they think we should be.

As we get assessed, found wanting and bypassed, we can easily feel isolated, rejected and neglected.

So where does our security lie? Is it in the numbers of followers, fans, ‘likes’ and comments we receive?

No, far from it. It’s a shaky foundation indeed to build our self-esteem on other people’s fluctuating, fickle feelings.

Though it’s not all bad news on social media; it does have its positive side regarding friendships.

I’ve been greatly blessed by the wonderful on-line community of writers, poets and bloggers, M.E and chronic illness sufferers, and fellow Christians I have got to know and consider to be real friends.

They are genuine, giving and caring people who lift, encourage and help me come up higher. I thank God daily for them.

And I’ve been bruised by putting too much store on how people in general interact with me.

There is only one friend who will never let us down, always be there for us, consistently reliable, capable, loving unconditionally despite knowing all there is to know about us.

His Name is Jesus.

Our greatest Friend, Lord and Saviour.

And as my real life friendships often fall foul of the challenges presented by my having M.E ~ finding it hard to never know when I’ll be well enough to speak on the phone, be visited, or meet up ~ it is His friendship that means the most to me.

I’m joining here with Lisa Jo and other brave writerly souls  for the challenge of Five Minute Friday, where we write freely, letting words fall as they will with no deep reflecting, on this week’s topic of  ‘Friend’. You are very welcome and warmly invited to take part.

START…

‘Our Friend’

This friend

has arms stretched wide

forming an extended circle

of Love for you and me

This friend

calls us to His side

forming a fellowship of grace

as brothers, sisters, community

This friend

provides a safe place to hide

when life’s storms overwhelm

He is shelter from all harm

and balm for every calamity

This friend

will brook no boast or pride

in knowing Him, for all

are welcome to enter in

embraced, held, received

This friend

is Rock against the tide

of sin and shame

taking all upon Himself

when He died and rose again

to set us free

©JoyLenton2014

STOP.

friend ~ our friend poem file image pin

 

Mighty to save

When we feel able and capable, it is all too easy to think we can handle whatever comes our way.

We neglect to depend on God. We act like we can manage alone.

Sometimes He literally has to throw us to our knees to reveal our neediness.

Lately, my M.E symptoms have magnified and been accompanied by a persistent viral infection.

All of which has shown me how frail I can be and how much I lean on the Lord for strength each day.

There is great Hope in our helplessness.

There is reason to rejoice when we allow God to be strong and mighty on our behalf.

I sink grateful before Him, knowing all inspiration and ability to write, all energy and strength, all ability to live and love are God-given gifts.

He encourages us to abide in Him, rest in His loving provision, be upheld by His word and comforted by His Presence.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit,” says the Lord ~ Zechariah 4:6

‘Mighty’

Mighty oaks spring forth from tiny acorns

and each lake begins with a few drops

A swelling tide seethes from sprinkles

and you so easily forget such humble origins

or how My power is made perfect in weakness

as you despise your humanity, frailty

My hand will lift you out

of any quaking pit of fear

My arm will reach down

and hold you ever near

Standing strong in My strength alone

you are warrior-brave, courageous,

full of valour, confident, bold

Allow Me access to all vulnerable places

give Me the key to your heart

I see its quavering mustard-seed faith

and how it needs My power

to grow resilient,

unwavering ~ in every part

Let go your worries, anxieties, cares

and rest in My mighty cover of Love

shelter of protective prayer

equipping of grace from above

I will be strong in all the weak spaces

invading long-devastated places

to make you mighty ~ and to set you free

©JoyLenton2014

“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

Mighty FMF poem pin

Five minute friday image

Linking with Lisa-Jo, Mel and Lyli