Living freely

Aren’t you relieved there are no identi-kit Christians?

We don’t have to look or sound alike.

Having unity together is more about fellowship and being united in love than having full agreement on more than the fundamentals of our faith.

We are allowed to be ourselves. See wood where others see trees. Sense Holy Spirit’s presence in a variety of ways.

God meets us right where we are, at our point of greatest need.

He chased me and wooed me with His unconditional Love.

It was something I’d never encountered before, but my empty, old before its time, desperate-child heart yearned for it.

Here was safety. Here lay security. Here flowed acceptance and peace.

And I came to faith in a ‘happy-clappy’ environment where joy and exuberance were the order of the day.

I wore ‘Jesus Loves Me/You’ stickers, a big grin, innocent optimism in sharing my new-found life in Christ, and a profound gratitude toward God for the glorious gift of salvation.

So I continued for a little while until mental health breakdown, partial recovery, followed by life’s multiple challenges, another breakdown and a haunting legacy of childhood abuse sucked all the joy out of life.

Depression and emotional pain skewed my thinking, clouded my judgement, and left me lost in the wilderness for many years.

Where did God feature? Was His love enough? Was it my fault?

A slow recovery took place and I had a fresh revelation of grace. I drank it deep into my very being as soul manna and sustenance.

But having begun my faith journey majoring on love and forgiveness, I was still largely ignorant of sin and reluctant to speak or think about it. This woman was already stained by her past, full of guilt, shame, self-recrimination and condemnation. And God loved her anyway. 

Because, wasn’t God a God of love? Didn’t grace and forgiveness cover all?

Oh yes.

Though grace is cheapened if we fail to fully appreciate the price Jesus paid to secure it for us.

Now, a little older (and wiser maybe?), though I still struggle with self-esteem issues and will always veer the conversation round to grace and encouragement than otherwise, it is gradually dawning on me how sin cannot be ignored or swept away.

And I am still getting my head around how to achieve the balance between hating sin yet not hating myself. Maybe you get stuck there too?

My soul seeks freedom from all that chained me and those things enslaving me now.

I want to embrace grace and be free to give it to others.

So I am leaning into His love as I think. question, talk about sin’s effects and outworkings, see how fallible and tainted I am and yet (marvellously) so dearly loved and cherished by our heavenly Father ~ just as you are too.

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Here is a ‘Prayer Whisper’ which God poured into my listening heart last February. It still speaks volumes to me and I hope it will bless you too:

file000402181324“How easily you can fool yourself that you’re not sinning. To justify your actions with excuses and cover-ups.

Allow My Holy Light to shine upon your thoughts, words and deeds. Do not be afraid of its consuming power. It will not harm you.

I seek only to burn off the dross and detritus you carry. Such things weigh you down, sully your relationship with Me and sour your interactions with others.

I want to set you free, even from those burdens you have barely noticed as such ~ so familiar have they become.

It is only in the cleansing which follows letting go and laying down that real change and transformation can happen.

Bad habits pollute your mind and body. Once you are able to set them down before Me, you can begin the process of breaking free from them.

Open yourself. Be real before Me. I already know everything about you. Seek to live freely and lightly in the liberty of My Presence.

My purity and power are available to enable and equip you for the next stage of your journey.”

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“The fact that God is love, that He is pure, holy and righteous is the reason why He is angry at sin. It violates, distorts, and destroys what His purpose is. Wrath is inevitable to a God of love, otherwise the love would be tenuous and weak” ~ Charles Price ‘My Daily Journey with Christ’ 

Joining here with Diana and other questing souls as we are #LivingtheQuestions and #LivingintotheAnswers

This week’s question:”What’s with all this talk about sin?”  You are very welcome to hop over and join in the discussion.

Also linking with Mel and Laura

Making connection

It’s often hard to analyse the creative process.

There are probably as many reasons to write as there are writers.

In thinking about why I write, several ideas sprang to mind.

The most important one for me is that I sense God is asking me to express myself this way, and all the more the longer I live.

Other reasons?

Well… here are a few…in no particular order of importance.

1) I just can’t help myself ~ It’s an urge deep within that cries out to be addressed and cannot be ignored.

2) I love to make connection points with others ~ soul to soul ~ to offer encouragement, support and hope.

3) It makes me come alive on the inside ~ enables me to feel free in a life that’s otherwise limited and constrained by illness.

4) To leave a heritage ~ a footprint in the sands of time with memories and memoir.

5) To communicate my voice and viewpoint ~ to hear and be heard.

6) In the process I discover more of who I am and what makes me tick ~ it reveals all that previously lay hidden.

7) It makes me listen more closely to God and observe the world around me with greater clarity.

8) To share my story as part of God’s greater narrative ~ give testimony to His goodness and grace.

9) I get to make friends with like-minded people in the supportive writing and blogging community in which I move.

10) Because it is a world of beauty, love and joy I can share in and be a small part of.

No more ado..here’s a poem to express much of what I feel about making a connection through the medium of words…

“Tears are words that need to be written” ~ Paul Coelho

‘I write’

I write..

mainly poetry

because of its great ability

to connect succinctly

communicating deep and whole

engaging soul to soul

and because, for better or for worse,

my life has been circumscribed by verse

I write..

because I cannot

resist the tug and urge

of emotions pressing to be heard

as they flood and surge within me

to spill and splurge their way

upon the printed page

with passion, joy or rage

I write..

for an audience of One

who gifts me from above

courtesy of His grace and love

with a calling to reveal and share

memories, life and story

threaded with hope and mercy

to encourage those in need

I write..

because I desire

to express myself like this

be it creative agony or bliss

and find catharsis in release

of feelings that are healing

in enabling seeds of recognition to be sown

to show others they are not alone

©JoyLenton2013

“Always be a poet, even in prose” ~ Charles Baudelaire

I am grateful to Jeff Goins and Bryan Hutchinson for inspiring this post.

You can stop by Jeff’s blog to find out why others like to write too.

Flight into freedom

When pain presses in hard we find ourselves longing for freedom.

Chained to ground.

Desperate to escape the shackles.

Looking for a way to live lightly and freely.

Get beyond the everyday struggles.

Seeking goodness. Seeking grace. Seeking God’s face.

Longing for our eternal home.

‘Flying free’

I want to fly free

from all that keeps me

in captivity,

all that imprisons a frail body

held fast and earthbound.

To move with the flow and embrace

Holy Spirit’s current of grace.

Soar above the ground

above all circumstance and place,

all sound and sight

of fallen humanity

into a space

where You dwell

and all is Light.

Become as bird, eagle borne

given strength to flee

and rise above this earthly frame

tied down, weighted fast

with sickness, sin and shame.

Fly into Love’s fragrant air

breathe deep and easy,

no pain or suffering anywhere.

With mind, body, spirit as one

stretch out to reach glorious Son,

feel heat of His radiant rays

filling all moments, hours and days.

Dance to the beat of His song

of freedom beckoning now

whispering softly

 urging me on.

One day I will truly fly

arise and drift beyond

these mortal skies

at last.

©JoyLenton2013

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint” ~ Isaiah 40:31

Linking here with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is:‘Fly’  You are warmly invited and welcome to join in.