The gift of friendship

It is said you can choose your friends but not your family.

We are blessed indeed if we not only like those we are related to, but are friends with them as well.

Sadly, it is not always the case.

To have a close friend and to be there for another is one of life’s greatest gifts.

Whenever we count our blessings, friends tend to be top of the list.

And if we have no or few actual close companions on our journey through life,  we can still take comfort from knowing that God is always there for us, our greatest, most reliable and constant Friend.

God is all about relationship. His heart is fine tuned to beat with love for mankind.

He longs for us to know Him intimately. To trust Him with all our concerns. To seek Him and His ways above our own.

Jesus came in order to bridge the gap between heaven and earth, to pave a way to draw us back to the Father’s heart and to become our lifelong Friend above all others.

In so doing, He also shows us the huge benefit of friendship in its manifold expressions.

Today’s #poetryforthesoul micro-poetry offering is a celebration of friendship, written with gratitude for friends old and new.

‘Friends are’

Friends are

companions on our journey

holders of hands and hearts

listeners to pain and fears

bearer’s of God’s goodness

and all His grace imparts

bringers of smiles

wipers of tears

who make life worthwhile

as embracers of all we are

and can be

containers of God’s love

a gift unto eternity

treasure from above

©JoyLenton2013

Monster bashing

Being scared witless is a thrill-seeking activity for some.

They thrive on the excitement and huge surge of adrenaline it gives them.

Nothing satisfies like being brought to the edge and left hanging by a thread.

Horror/scary movies and roller-coaster rides are a drop in the ocean for such people.

Barely worth raising a sweat for.

I’m not one of them.

Having had much to disturb my equilibrium (and cause emotional highs I could live without) as a small child was enough for me.

It doesn’t take much to rock your world when it’s been turned upside-down by those you trusted to take care of you.

Too much real-life terror can make us crave security and stability at any price.

My peace isn’t rooted in my circumstances, but in the One who is both within and outside of them.

God is intimately involved and concerned about every aspect of our lives.

And He alone can give us all the resources we need to fully deal with the things that scare us, cause us grief and pain.

Childish imagination can run riot. We see life through the lens of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘possibles’.

As adults, we can look at life that way too – often in terms of worry and anxiety – or by asking ourselves, “What if I invited God into this situation? I wonder what would be possible then?”

Have you any ‘monsters’ looming large in your life?

Maybe it’s time for a bit of monster bashing.

‘Monster bashing’

As a child I climbed wary up ‘apples and pears’

for who knew what lurked at the top

of our steep stairs?

Someone might think it a wheeze, a lark

to pop out of a doorway

in sheltered dark

so my heart beat fast and I ran

into my bedroom

safe at last

though only for a little while

as there was much besides

to wipe off a smile

What if…instead of the stairs

there was something lurking

Under There

waiting to snaffle my delicate toes

with tongue poking out

‘neath its bulbous nose?

My breath held still, waiting

while feet slid cautious

under covers, hesitating…

then let out an exhaled sigh

silly me with imagination

running sky-high

Though no night terror could compete

with the monsters inside

my home and street

given freedom beyond my years

I could have been one of

those who disappears

finding, as I did when fully grown

that monsters loom large

more in heart than home

no longer safely contained

under my bed but barely

restrained inside my head

Largest of all is the monster FEAR

which paralyses us greatly

from getting anywhere

He seems unstoppable, untamed

until I remember to cry aloud

in Jesus’ Name

for every monster lurking in our head

has to flee when God’s authority

is stated and said

Even if they return to do their worst

by the power of the Cross

they’re defeated and cursed

So whatever monster you’re facing today

be it fear, anxiety, stress,

don’t let it hold sway

be on your guard, put your armour on,

keep the faith, say a prayer

stand tall and strong

for we’re fully protected by God’s grace,

His poured out blood, love, righteousness

and forgiveness covers

all shame and disgrace

©JoyLenton2013

Linking here with the lovely Ruth Povey for #Letterto This week’s prompt is:‘Letter to the monster under the bed’

You are warmly welcome and invited to join in.

Wall around the heart

Books have always spoken into my life, but some of them are literally life-changing and transforming.

The Bible stands out as the main means by which God brings His restoration and healing into our lives.

For the words within its pages are Life and Truth itself, messages from God’s heart to my own and to all mankind.

All other books I read pale into insignificance by way of comparison.

Though they still have a great deal to enlighten, inform and teach me.

One such book is a pre-launch copy of Mary de Muth’s latest book, ‘The Wall Around Your Heart’, which I’ve been privileged to read.

It soon presented a personal challenge as I began to see the walls I’d erected around my heart without knowing it.

They had been there so long it that I’d grown accustomed to them, seeing them as normal for who I was at times or missing them altogether.

And as I kept reading, it was clear God was asking me to face the fact of their existence and work with Him in bringing them down.

It hurt. Everything inside me protested. This was way too hard.

Thankfully, God deals with each one of us individually,  gently yet thoroughly.

As I made a decision to co-operate (when it became abundantly clear it was essential to do so), God began that deep excavation work He excels at….one small brick at a time….and walls have begun to wobble and shake.

They’re not down yet –  but we’re getting there.

The poem below was written a few weeks ago in response to this awakening.

Maybe you can relate to some of it.

If so, I would like to encourage you to consider how to overcome the walls you may have erected around your own heart.

Left unattended, they are prisons holding us back from living free and uncaged lives.

We are designed for so much more than this. Jesus died to set us free in every way possible.

Let’s aim to have a foretaste of heaven on earth as we learn to live as overcomers by God’s power, grace and strength.

‘Wall around my heart’

There is a wall

around my heart

hardening from hurt and pain

stony through suffering and shame

growing taller, thicker by the year

until I feel

I could disappear

beneath its weight

enclosed

entombed

suffocating shadow

looming over all my days

It’s a covering

a carapace, concealing

raw, soft vulnerability

within, a tender place

of wounding through words

and deeds of others

whose target struck and

stuck fast as shield impenetrable

stiff, unyielding rock

sheer cliff

to topple and destroy

all who may

approach this land

where I dwell

with drawbridge up, castle

fortified, defended, safe

as houses, built on sand

©JoyLenton2013

Today is the official launch day for ‘The Wall Around Your Heart’.

To find out more about the book and why it was written, click here.

To order/buy your own copy you can click here.

I will be blogging about its impact on my life in more detail over at Words of Joy later this week.

Linking here with Kate and Mari-Anna

One of those days

I’m having one of those days.

It started badly with dropping four things before coffee – nothing broken, thankfully.

Just my bruised ego. Dented pride.

As an M.E and chronic illness sufferer, I still like to think I can handle a few simple tasks, until life shows me otherwise.

Clumsiness sits close to us when we’re tired and overdoing things, doesn’t it?

It’s pretty familiar to all M.E sufferers especially, where energy feels non-existent and brain fogged up by fatigue.

At times like this, stubbornness tends to take over and I often make it worse by trying to plough on regardless with my day.

I love to write and paint pictures through poetry and prose to bring a light of recognition to another.

Nothing brings me more joy than pouring out words.

Though I sense God may have other ideas for me sometimes. Rest, sleep, prayer, pause, may be higher on His agenda.

He knows just what each of us needs at any given moment.

We don’t see Jesus living a life of rush or hurry as we read of His life on earth.

He knew when to be about His Father’s business, when to rest, when to relax, when to speak or remain silent and when to seek God’s face.

Everything was carried out in the unforced rhythms of grace with Holy Spirit anointed ease.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn to do likewise?

As I sat pondering these things in my heart, God blessed me with the poetic prayer below.

I hope and pray it will bless you too.

Dear Lord,

It’s one of those days again

where there isn’t a sap of energy

or inspiration to be found

as we tap keyboard, fingers slow

knowing it’s probably better

to just take a nap

for rest is balm to weary minds

and in many ways

we can find it’s all that

 does the trick

restoring light and glow

to a flagging candle wick

And as we rest our soul

and spirit in Your word

we know that You are

making us healed and whole

whispering reassurance low

and soft, yet easy to be heard

welcomed and received

as daily manna, nourishment

we all desperately need

©JoyLenton2013

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly”  ~  Matthew 11:28-30

Stepping out

Walking by faith can feel like fumbling about in a long, dark tunnel where our eyes strain to see any tiny pinprick of light to show the way.

Or traversing a narrow, uneven, stony pathway with deep ditches on either side which we fear falling into.

Any new route we undertake is made more hospitable and achievable in the company of one who knows the way.

And our journey of life and faith is no different.

Faith Steps

Each faltering step of faith I take

draws me closer to Your heart

revealing plans designed for me

though I may only glimpse a part

Foretaste of the future

and all that it may hold

if I only follow willingly

with footsteps firm and bold

Not trusting in myself at all

 but resting in Your grace

supplying provision for my needs

while I run this earthly race

And so I choose to raise my head

and see the way I’m going

not with anxiety, fear or dread

but trust in Your all-knowing

©JoyLenton2013

The way ahead is lit by the light of God’s word.

Much as a pilot can steer a boat safely and confidently into harbour when all the lights are lit, we have means to guide us through the path ahead of us.

One of our ‘lights’ is God’s word. We can be further helped by these things:deep inner conviction from the Holy Spirit, wise and godly counsel from mature believers and confirmation through auspicious circumstances coming together at the same time.

This is no hard and fast rule, more a guide when things seem particularly grey and murky and the way ahead unclear.

Much rests on what God is saying to us personally, how we sense He is leading and guiding.

Stepping out in faith means we don’t necessarily have the full picture before we take a first step.

Such is the adventure of walking with God.

How do you perceive guidance?

Are there signposts you look for to confirm a call from God?

Please feel free to leave a comment below. I love to read them and will do my best to reply to them all

**NOTE** I am excited and delighted to announce that this poem is also profiled on my friend and fellow writer/poet, Joy deKok’s site. Do hop over and check out the other great posts there!

Day 10 of the 31 Day writing challenge #poetryforthesoul.

Thank you for so much for reading and encouraging me and giving me grace when I miss a day.

Not giving up

In the midst of our daily struggles we have hope of seeing change.

God arms us with hope and courage to persevere though trials.

Let’s try to encourage one another to keep on keeping on.

Perhaps you are feeling battle-scarred, weary and worn out by life’s challenges.

Too much may be happening at once or long-term struggles can render us weak and discouraged.

If that describes you, my friend, then the poem below is for you.

And my hope and prayer is that you will feel less alone in the fight.

We are surrounded by a host of witnesses that have gone before us.

We are able to rest secure in knowing God sees the bigger picture.

He gives us strength to cope for one more day..and the next… and so on.

Not giving up

Limping and wounded I may be

but I’m not giving up on my destiny

though it’s a war zone, battle, a fight

life is still filled with God’s radiant Light

His word my compass, eternity my goal

hope keeps faith stirred up in my soul

©JoyLenton2013

Sharp side of life

It’s been the worst of times and the best of times.

Recent weeks have been a period of great turmoil when it felt like everything that could be shaken was being shaken.

The past I thought dead and buried in memory rose up to greet me with renewed darkness and pain.

The present brought challenge and a pressing need for change I didn’t feel ready for.

Nothing felt safe anymore.

My heart was exposed.

Raw. Wounded. Hurting.

I wrote the poem below to express how it felt.

Maybe you can relate to it too.

Shards

Waterfall of rain

sheets hard and fast

steady on pane

with resounding drum

as I wall up my heart

with frame of glass

encasing erratic thrum

ready to part

and shatter all content within

leaving me raw

exposed, bleeding

vulnerability

all over the place

pain stabbed deep

wounded, lanced

shards sharp

piercing steep

in fiery dance of fury

on softness

exposing traces of all

kept hidden over time

and years

when nothing hurtful

allowed entry in this space

and vale of tears

©JoyLenton2013

Yet…there was a new surge of life within as the frame of my thinking shattered.

The old ways had to give way to deep excavation, renovation, rebuilding and renewal.

Peace and purpose grew from pain.

Shattered life made safe by God’s continual presence.

And Christ bled vulnerable for me and you.

He suffered deep dark pains within so that we could be recipients of His love.

There is nothing we go through that is a mystery to God.

He wants to re-write our history in the light of His grace.

His arms are ready to catch His broken child.

God alone can make us whole again.

Are you willing to offer Him your brokenness in exchange for His desires for you?

I know I can trust no other to mend me fully and set me on the right path again.

It’s a brand new day

Welcome to my blog. I’m so pleased you are here. This is a brand new one for me.

My usual place to hang out is at Words of Joy

This space is mainly for spilling out the poetic and prayerful.

Many days have been challenging for me of late and I need to remind myself to try to greet each new day with a positive attitude.

Maybe you can relate?

The poem below reflects those thoughts.

Brand New Day

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Brand new day
I salute you
though I rise hesitant
weary of mind
heavy of limb
I choose
not to succumb
to sadness within
nor stick on my face
fake rictus grin
rather I aim
to see you aright
as a chance
to start again
after restless night
and begin anew
with mind made up
not to chew
on my problems
or sink
into despair
but to see
potential etched
bright with awareness
of God’s light
beaming still
brand new day
I arise
to salute you
through effort
of will

©JoyLenton2013

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” ~ Psalm 118:24

This is a small taster for things to come.

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Thank you so much for stopping by. I am honoured to meet with you here.