year: where our hopes and dreams coalesce with God’s intentions for us

 

As we enter the second week of this new year, hope, if not energy enough, is still fresh and alive. Maybe our hopes and dreams will coalesce with God’s divine intentions for us? Perhaps this time we will stick to our resolutions, goals and plans? Or is that just wishful thinking?

Maybe this will be the year when our life alters in all the best possible ways. Such are the optimistic murmurings of our hearts and the fleeting thoughts that cross our mind. Because change of the positive kind is usually welcome, even when it might also bring demanding things to our attention.

It helps to have one small, achievable thing to focus on as a year begins. For me, it is a yearly God-given word that suggests the theme and shape of the days and months to come. My word varies each year but every one builds on the next like holy stepping-stones. Although it takes time and hindsight to see and appreciate it.

When God whispered this year’s defining word to me I gasped in surprise, because last year I had actually grumbled inwardly, wondering why God wasn’t giving me a more salubrious word like joy, instead of the challenging ones I tend to get. Turns out He was listening carefully to me. Who knew?! 😏

I began pondering if there was more under the surface of this delightful word than I might know as yet. In digging deeper into its potential implications, I am seeing my word “joy” as a sweet grace gift and also no less of a challenge to me than any of the rest.

This is a year

This is a year where I long for joy to break open my low, jaded
and wary soul, pouring itself freely as sweet libation from
heaven, one that can drip lightly through my days and surprise
me with a fresh downpour sometimes, that will make me gasp
like a child splashing in puddles or standing under a waterfall

This is a year when fear can take a backseat and holy courage
will flood, hold sway, shape my thoughts and conform me more
closely into the image of Christ by a healing of heart, a move
of God and an inner work from Holy Spirit that continues here
without limit, as I learn to yield, surrender and do my part

This is a year when healing will begin and pain will no longer
define my days. Instead, I expect to move forward more
than looking back, casting the past behind me, as I learn to
grasp fresh hope, grace and opportunities that God has
lovingly prepared for me to accept and embrace by faith
©joylenton

 

Hope you’re keeping as well as possible, my friend. Sadly, like many others, our household has succumbed to flu. :/  Thankfully, this post was mostly written in advance. Praise God for His timing and grace to enable me to share it today!  🙂

Do you have a word or major focus for 2018? Please share in the comments below. I love to hear from you. ❤

Living with shadows

This week I’ve had a wake-up call.

Ground has shifted beneath my feet.

Stirrings sit uneasy in my soul.

The life I thought I knew has become redefined.

As I reflected long and prayerfully on what my ‘love idol’ might be and the overcoming of it, some things have surprised me.

When you live in Shadowlands of sickness and pain, attempting to recover from a painful past,  it can be hard to see your way clearly. 

Now I have insight I wish I’d known about before.

God has pointed His finger at the familiar ~ people approval issues, insecurity, concerns about not being ‘enough’, putting other people and things before Him, spending too much time on social media ~ all painfully true.

Then another idea wove its way into my mind, threaded through my thoughts, and caused me to unravel.

How do I perceive myself? As a believer who is overcoming a challenging present and a painful past by the grace of God?

Or.. as an M.E and chronic illness sufferer who is still cloaked in shame, buried beneath pain, consumed by cares, ground down by the gritty reality of daily life?

A pit dweller, wilderness wanderer, valley-living soul longing to see daylight, scale mountain peaks, rest easy. 

Most of my days I aim to see glimmers of grace, maintain an attitude of gratitude, emphasise the positive.

But I still define myself as an ill person with problems ~ and that’s the problem. 

God is showing me I’m actually halting my own healing and preventing His full work in me by not seeing myself as I am in Christ.

I’ve stopped praying and saying out my healing in Christ. I’ve believed the lie that this is as good as it gets. I’ve made it my identity.

It’s become an idol because it steals my joy, inhibits faith growing, reminds me of where I came from rather than where I am going to.

And it has to stop.

‘Living with shadows’

A wrongly assumed identity

of living with shadows and infirmity

Christ calls me to believe I’m set free

unchained, unmarked, untainted, liberated,

whereas I see myself caught, ensnared,

decimated by childhood abuse, illness, M.E

As if I wore a label belonging to another

instead of one provided by my soul’s Lover

Living with pain and chronic illness over many years,

observing my career, hopes and dreams slip away

trickling with my tears as water down the drain

nothing quite the same, only weakness and fears

I’ve worn it as a shroud, death mask, daily dress

instead of clothing myself in His robe of righteousness

Feeling insecure, dis-abled, incapable

when God has gifts He wants to bestow

I’ve failed to receive and accept them all

while my thinking is focused on being unwell

We can only grow when we are willing enough

to let go of all that’s slowly killing us

©JoyLenton2014

I can’t deny the physical reality of my life; it’s effects are ever-present. Loosing and letting go of the idea of myself as chronically sick won’t be easy.

All the evidence is before my eyes. And the past is still pervading my days with its own anguish and pain. Abuse leaves a legacy, a scarring of soul, heart and mind ~ etched inky black stains. 

But I deny the spiritual reality unless I begin to call forth those things which are not yet as though they are.

Look into the mirror of His word and start seeing myself as healed, whole, restored, renewed. Speak out the promises. Live as though I truly believed them.

It won’t be easy. I’ve lived this inhibited, limited life with M.E for over 20 years. Lived far longer with the scars of my past. Yet I know nothing is impossible with God. And I’m ready (knees shaking, heart quaking) to do this.

Not to deny the reality I live with but to embrace the life Christ died to give me. 

Because when God won’t let something go, then neither should we. When He asks us to let go of something, we need to pay attention.

Those things He may be pointing to in your life? It could be time to #listentoyourlife and listen to His voice.

You too can join in with Jennifer and the Love Idol community as we seek to unearth our ‘Love Idol’, confess and address it.

I’ve been privileged to read a preview  of the first chapter of Jennifer’s  book. You can pre-order it here. And  for the free printable resources, click here.

I’ve also been greatly helped on my continuing journey toward healing from childhood sexual and emotional abuse by readingNot Marked’ by Mary de Muth.

I’ll be writing more about where this journey is taking me in the weeks ahead and I’d love you to join me.