Out of Egypt

When a friend prayed with me a few years ago, she sensed she had a word from God she needed to share.

It was more of a question really.

It seems God was repeating a personal word I’d heard some time before from our Pastor, yet not fully understood or heeded at the time.

He asked, “Are you prepared to leave Egypt behind?”

As I prayed and puzzled over this, it soon became clear that ‘Egypt’ represented those things which held me captive, were enslaving me to some extent and preventing forward momentum.

Eager as I may have been to let go of them, in many ways they represented all that had become close and familiar.

For example, my childhood was riddled with abuse and dysfunction. I hated it but I knew no different.

Growing up under its shadow was all I knew to be ‘normal’, the very fabric of my being, a deep part of who I was as a person.

In order for full healing to take place, I needed to unearth the dark places in my soul, recognise the pain, address it with appropriate help and support, and find a way to live free of its effects.

It took many years of counselling before a large degree of emotional healing occurred in that area.

Now it felt like God was asking this question of my life in general.

Was I ready for seeing life through the lens of His word rather than viewing everything from my experiences?

Could I accept, believe and receive the truth of who I am in Christ?

By faith in Christ, we are:redeemed, renewed, radically and deeply loved, forgiven, free from guilt and shame, forever set free to live without walls, given every resource we need to be whole and healed….and so much more besides.

He longs for us to see ourselves in the mirror of His word rather than viewing the distorted images playing in our minds.

We all have areas in our lives which need transformation, change and healing.

Our willingness to allow access to them in order for healing to take place is another matter entirely.

I’ve written about this more openly and shared what is helping me in this post from Words of Joy.

The poem below is an acknowledgement of how hard it can be to move forward.

‘Leaving Egypt’

When the prison you know

has walls papered over

with past experiences

faded, worn and torn,

fraying round edges,

it can still feel cosy

warm and familiar

like a house,

a home boxed in

with hedges.

We cling to what we know

with surprising tenacity

in spite of pain

leaching into our souls,

a heavy weight with capacity

to drown us in

suffocate breath and life,

holding us down

hard and fast

in an embalmed state.

Leaving Egypt behind

to enter our Promised Land

can feel like strange unravelling,

so we dig heels stiff,

resistant, into hot sand,

with each tender step

we tentatively take

a reminder of how far

we still have to travel

for our safety’s sake

©JoyLenton2013

Words for wounded warriors

In a season where there is more physical and emotional challenge than usual, it helps to think of others who are also in need.

So many wear smiles on the outside yet feel broken inside.

So many give and give and give some more until they are left as limp, worn-out rags.

It can take all the courage we can muster just to face another day.

And often the most holy thing we can do is just to take a nap.

A heart can ache heavy with unspoken fears and cares.

We can feel alone in a sea of faces.

We can move heaven and earth for our loved ones only to be rejected or neglected.

Try as we might, we cannot suppress all the pain we carry.

As I reflect more on my life in an effort to hear all God may be saying to me, I find myself thrown to my knees more often than not.

And there I discover the One who inhabits all the hard places we find ourselves in.

God’s grace crawls into every crack and crevice of our days.

All the mess and mayhem, muddle and struggle are known to Him.

So we pray…

‘A prayer for the hurting’

God bless the wounded warriors,

the ones who crawl and cry through,

those who press in and press on 

with leaking eyes and leaking wounds,

the battle-scarred and beaten down.

Bless the broken-hearted, bleeding and bruised

 reeds rubbed raw by those who have 

rubbished and rejected them,

those who can barely lift their face

weighed heavy with shame and disgrace.

Hold those who cannot hold on another minute,

whose lives are fear-filled,

whose faces are tear-filled,

who feel empty of worth and value

of no repute, cast aside, left behind.

Keep safe the ones who are drowning,

whose days and nights 

drip with disappointment,

dread, darkness and torment 

of body and soul.

Cradle the lonely;

let your love wash over them,

embrace their emptiness

and fill with the companionship

that only Your Presence provides.

Come alongside the misunderstood,

the marginalised,

the misfits,

the mayhem makers

and risk takers.

Bring strength to the weary,

grace for the weak,

hope for the hurting,

freedom for captives,

peace for the pain.

The path is long, the way is hard,

finishing line too far to see

as we drag there on our knees,

dry and thirsty for relief

desperate for some ease.

Walk with us as you did of old

on sand-crusted shore,

dirt-trodden pathways,

seeking and saving 

those who are lost.

For we need you, Lord Jesus;

Your return seems far off,

We fight and we fail,

shout, cry and rail,

for a touch from above.

Amen

©JoyLenton2013

 “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out” ~ Isaiah 42:3

This poetic prayer lament appeared first on Words of Joy. It is a heart’s cry God delights to answer. Hungry, hurting hearts will always find grace to help in time of need.

May it bless you to read it here and remember that God is with you in every trouble, trial and testing. If you would like me to pray for a specific need, please reply in the comments below.

And keep in mind that God loves you so much, just as you are ~ He really does ~ and wants above all things for you to seek His face in the everyday challenges of life.

Treasure mined in darkness

Christmas may be over for another year; food supplies begin to deplete along with our flagging energy and enthusiasm.

Yet hope, love and grace are evergreen ~ lingering eternally in our hearts even through the darkest days.

We may clear away the debris of celebrations but we hang on to memories we have made.

Think of Love come down to earth and how that impacts the everyday with awe and wonder.

Admire our gifts and consider the greatest Gift ever given to us ~ our Lord Jesus Christ.

And we may ponder the worth and value of the gifts we have been given by God over the last year and beyond.

For a gift may come wrapped in sadness and sorrow, problems and pain, suffering and shame.

It can take some searching to see the light shining through the darkness.

Appreciate grace glimmers in hard places.

Such a gift came to me and it took me many years to receive, unwrap and appreciate its worth.

‘Hidden Depths’

It can be really hard

to understand

how weakness and fragility

that render lives

dependent, still and slow

may be gifts

from God’s right hand

that He, in infinite mystery

has chosen to bestow

And yet there lingers

surprising nuggets of His grace

glinting bright in dark

circumstance and place

we deem rightly painful, sad;

though from His loving fingers

we can trace joy and hope

rising through all that seems

heavy weighted-down and bad

For those who cling

desperate closer toThe Vine

can find strength beyond measure

as they seek to bring

their lives as daily offering

found in their struggle,

pain and suffering, it can

yield unexpected treasure

of hidden depths to mine

©JoyLenton2013

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” ~ Isaiah 45:3

This poem links with the theme of the blog post ‘When a gift doesn’t look like one’ that I wrote as a guest post on my writer friend James Prescott’s site. You can click here to read it.

Reaching out

This is a season for reaching out.

Making quality time for loved ones, family and friends.

Offering gifts, help and encouragement.

Creating space to meet with our Creator-God.

Seeking to engage our finite minds and lives with the Infinite One ~ our Lord Jesus Christ.

Preparing hearts and homes to receive Him anew.

As the Advent season of watching and waiting, reaching out and receiving draws to its glorious ending, I reach out to you with gratitude for all God has done in my life this year.

I am particularly thankful for the many new friendships I have made in the writing community especially.

Thank you for being here and sharing the poetic journey with me. I have really appreciated your company and comments.

And as I take a brief break to recharge my batteries and enjoy having time to read and reflect more, I pray that you may you have a truly blessed and hope-filled Happy Christmas!

‘Reaching out’

There’s a reaching out

across time and eternity

as Love comes down

to embrace our fallen humanity

and spill the fragrance, sweet savour

of God’s holy favour

There’s a whisper, a shout,

an angelic proclamation

as the Prince of Peace

invades every tribe and nation

with the news of His birth

echoing throughout earth

There’s a longing, a sigh,

in hearts heavy and weary

for a way to break free

from days hard and dreary,

with scattered hopes and dreams

failed plans and schemes

There’s a wonder, a cry

and recognition dawning

that this baby, Christ-child

brings us a resurrection morning

of forgiveness, mercy and healing

seen in God’s grace all revealing

©JoyLenton2013

Let us worship Him

Advent is a season for contemplation, reverence and awe as we consider all that God has done for us in Christ.

The Christ-child brings hope and light in our darkness.

We recognise the importance of His coming to earth.

We offer our gratitude, worship and praise to our Lord and Saviour.

I have been thinking about the meaning of worship recently and the poem below is an attempt to hone in on the essence of it for me.

As we seek to realise and express the wonder, you are very welcome to join in the conversation and add your own thoughts here.

“It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men” ~ C.S. Lewis

Worship Is…

Bending of mind, will, heart and knee in supplication

to God in recognition of all we have and all we can be

Raising of voices, lifting of hands, heart and head to His call,

lowering of our own goals unless they’re in tune

with the will of the One who is sovereign over all

Making time to spend in His word, by His side,

learning to sit still, to listen, rest and abide

Seeking God’s face, not His hands, His Presence, not His presents,

His heart, will and voice, as we give thanks and rejoice

Wonder and awe at all He is, has done, created and made,

how much He loves, gives, restores and saves

Being aware of Who we approach in prayer, words and song

as we give due reverence to the Holy One

Going wherever He leads and calls with prompt obedience and speed,

relying on His supply, provision and help for our every need

Knowing He is Father, Comforter, Helper, and our greatest Friend,

spending these days on earth with Him unto eternity without end

©JoyLenton2013

“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God” ~ William Temple

 I’m exploring more of what worship means to me, and how my perceptions have changed over the years, on my writer friend, Josh Collin’s site where I’m delighted to be guest posting this week.

You can click here to read the full post.

Rays of grace

When our eyes are open to God’s work in our lives, we can see glory in the gritty reality of ordinary.

Have days made dazzling by His grace.

Gain hope and encouragement from seeing His hand upon our lives.

Find that our vision expands exponentially the more we are attuned to seeing the supernatural and extraordinary in the everyday.

Observe touches of God’s loving ways filling the commonplace with potential and promise.

As I have attempted to look with deliberation at these things, my heart is filled with wonder, gratitude and praise.

Days remain challenging.

There is struggle and pain, sickness and sadness fighting to control us.

But God…

He is always here to offer hope, help, strength and encouragement.

May your heart also beat thankful, swell with awe and gratitude for all the myriad ways He leaves a mark of grace on lives thirsty for His Presence.

‘Fiery rays’

It began…

with lack of rush or hurry

deceptively slight and slow

as barely a hint of maiden-blush pink

provided a tint to tinge edges

of clouds dancing fluffy, low

to brush rooftops and chimneys

with apparent ease

But then…

within the blink of an eye

as I observed with awed

and rooted gaze

the sky lit up in fiery

rays of scarlet-red bleeding

into toasted tangerine and gold

a veritable panoply of praise

very soon took hold

And I…

watched rapturous, sore-amazed

with wonder in my head as God

poured glory Hallelujah out upon

this familiar place I trod

in bygone healthier days

now wreathed in holy blaze

as earth was put to bed

©JoyLenton2013

“Earth’s crammed with heaven ~ and every common bush afire with God” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Linking here with Jennifer for #TellHisStory where we seek to celebrate God’s work in our lives

And with Mel for Essential Fridays link up

New arrival

Like most families, we are excited to welcome a new arrival. Our first grandchild arrived only a couple of days ago.

And I have been inspired to pen a poem in honour of his birth.

He has already had one dedicated to him in the womb on ‘Words of Joy’.

This new life will bring total change and transformation to that of his parents.

There is serious adjustment to be made to become a family rather than a couple.

Nine months have been spent eagerly anticipating this moment.

Yet nothing  fully prepares you to meet and greet a baby into your world.

This is life of their life. Flesh of their flesh. And a unique and special person all in his own right.

Part of our family and a new member of the family of God.

Each child is created and formed in the womb by His mighty hand.

To be celebrated. Enjoyed. Loved. Nurtured and protected.

Welcome, little one! We are delighted to celebrate your safe arrival and look forward to getting to know you.

‘Arrival’

You arrive ~

with eyes screwed tight

against sound and sight

until you brave and blink

your way

into the brightness

of the light

Discerning

in the noise around

that dear, familiar sound

of voices

who have been near

accompanying you on

your journey here

For nine long months

you floated in

a darker

more enclosing space,

now limbs flex freely

within

a very different place

And arms reach out

to circle you about

with safe protection

as you snuggle close

to those who love you most

and whose lives

you share

Falling back to slumber deep

after nuzzling to be fed

you rest and sleep

growing strong inside

for all the things you’ll need

to do in days stretching

long ahead

©JoyLenton2013

#mondaymusings ~ Change