restoration: our brokenness is made new by God’s grace

“Christ is building His kingdom with earth’s broken things… Heaven is filling with earth’s broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory.” — J.R. Miller

Restoration goes hand in hand with “renew”, God’s given word to me this year, and I’ve slowly been unpacking and experiencing something of its depths.

Namely the numerous ways in which we can become renewed, restored, and refreshed. Such a prospect offers us all great hope when life is hard.

As I’m in a season of requiring renewal, combined with extra rest and refuelling, I’m having to trust that the healing and restoration process continues silently within me even if I cannot see the results of it yet.

Because faith asks us to accept God is always at work even if it doesn’t look like it. And God specialises in encouraging the defeated, restoring the broken, healing the hurting, and strengthening the worn out and weary who trust in Him.

“The work of restoration cannot begin until a problem is fully faced.” — Dan B. Allender

Restoration

I'm depleted
come fall on me like rain
saturate this place
shower me with your love
water all who thirst on earth

I'm sorrowful
come light my way with joy
I lift my face
expectant of your goodness
hungry for your gift of grace

I'm empty
come fill me to the brim
to overflowing
with an excess to share
with a fullness within

I'm worried
come soothe away the cares
take the burdens
lift them from my weary frame
help me find relief in prayer

I'm praising
come rejoice and celebrate
my heart ached
God gave me his rest and peace
now his child has her soul eased
© joylenton

“May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth.” — Psalm 72:6

Friends, I think I tried to come back to blogging too soon after moving house because I’ve not been so well over the last few months, hence the weeks of silence. I hope you will be happy to accept an occasional offering here and over at joylenton.com for a while instead of the more regular posts you were accustomed to.

PS: It’s my birthday today so I’m giving a free gift to you!! It’s a pdf copy of my ‘Soul Shots: 31 Days of Pocket Wisdom for Your Hurting Heart’ e-book, which is a warm hug for your heart, with a mix of soul refreshing poetry and encouraging prose. If you like it, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon so others might be encouraged to read it too. Thank you! Lots of love, Joy Xx 🙂 ❤

wholeness: sensing hints of wholeness

“I take literally the statement in the Gospel of John that God loves the world. I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love. I believe that divine love, incarnate and indwelling in the world, summons the world always toward wholeness, which ultimately is reconciliation and atonement with God.” — Wendell Berry

Hints of wholeness 

 Where do we begin and end? 
 Is there a boundary between you and me
 and other living things?

 Don’t we all draw breath, our sustenance 
 given by a generous, almighty hand
 that loves us without restraint?

 Now we look at air and water,
 fire and earth, tree and leaf,
 noticing the connectedness.

 We see and sense our union 
 with all living things, our sentience 
 linked inexplicably with theirs.

 Earth in its rawness, primitive 
 soil teeming with hope,
 with richness, and with life.

 Fire exists in the heavens,
 wrapped in the golden glow of sunset 
 and sad devastation of forests.

 We see repeating patterns
 in the sky, in a flower,
 in each day, the length of hours.

 And our souls can sense
 areas of difference still
 giving hints of wholeness.

 Variety is seeded in the universe,
 in all burgeoning plants,
 in faith, and in infancy.

 What we will become
 is still a mystery
 for now, waiting to be revealed.

 Brokenness is our default state
 throwing us on God's mercy,
 his great forgiveness and grace.

 We learn not to divide 
 our hearts but yield them up
 in surrendering to his love.

 Our brothers and sisters 
 are not too dissimilar to us
 when viewed through grace.

 One day differences will subside 
 because what unites us
 is greater than what divides.
 © joylenton

“[Jesus] matters because of what he brought and what he still brings to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises wholeness for their lives. In sharing our weaknesses he gives us strength and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of eternity.” — Dallas Willard in Ruthless Trust – Brennan Manning

waterfall: being drenched by God’s waterfall of grace and love

waterfall - being drenched by God’s waterfall of grace and love @poetryjoy.com

Many years ago, God gave me an unforgettable vision, a foretaste, perhaps, of life in the Kingdom-to-come. I saw myself joyfully frolicking and laughing under a waterfall.

There were others with me who were equally enchanted by the beautiful place we were in, and overjoyed at the absence of darkness and pain. I had zest, energy, and ability in abundance, as I jumped and danced and immersed myself in the gushing water.

I felt alive, fully alive for the first time, as I dipped myself under the powerful, pounding flow again and again. Yes, little ‘ole me, who hates water and can barely swim! 😉

There, I had no fear, no worry or anxiety whatsoever. It felt like I was bathed and saturated in life itself, in love, in grace, in light, and goodness. There was an endless supply of it. It was marvellous.

“Grace is finding a waterfall when you were only looking for a stream.” — Vanessa Hunt

Waterfalls
each day
requires us to receive
linger long
under waterfalls of grace
get saturated, satiated

but it's not
to satisfy our souls alone
we receive enough
so we can pour out to others
from our excess and overflow

every dry spell
requires us to pause, to refuel
we must stop
surrender to the rest of God
keep a regular Sabbath break

we come apart
before we fall apart from fatigue
we might need
a longer season of rest and peace
for our soul's full recovery

let us breathe
let go of excess busyness
let us receive
the very best we have on offer
for our body, mind and soul's sake
© joylenton
waterfalls poem excerpt - waterfall - landscape - (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com

“Christianity is about water… It’s about baptism… It’s about full immersion…. Most of what we do in worldly life is geared toward our staying dry, looking good, not going under. But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and fonts, you agree to do something that’s a little sloppy because at the same time it’s also holy, and absurd. It’s about surrender, giving into all those things we can’t control; it’s a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched.” — Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

My friends, it’s time for me to linger longer under God’s waterfall of grace because I’m experiencing greater health challenges. I’m more depleted than usual and in need of a break.

So I will be resting my words here for a few weeks. I hope to become refreshed and restored enough to return by mid November, God willing. May God bless you and pour out His abundant grace on you until we meet again. xo ❤️💜

waterfall - blessing - May God bless you and keep you blessing (Numbers 6_24-26 TLB) @poetryjoy.com

Mind if I pray for you?

Father God,

We so often allow ourselves to become drained, dry, and depleted by life. It can be hard to stop or even pause long enough to breathe freely sometimes. We ask for the wisdom to know just when to pause and take a break, maybe a little bit each day, or longer, so we can become strengthened and healed.

Would you graciously refresh and restore us as we pull back from busyness and rest ourselves in You? May this time of coming aside, however long it might take, be a precious oasis offering us a saturating waterfall of Your strengthening love and grace.

Amen