clear: seeking to trust God’s revelation of Himself to us

 

Life and faith are not always clear to us or easily understood. Often, there are more questions than answers, more wondering about the meaning of life and less living in wonder.

Try as we might, we soon realise our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the divine. We feel like blindfolded walkers stumbling through a long, shadowed tunnel, anxiously trying to make out the way ahead. Where is the light and won’t someone remove our blindfold, please? 

What if we put uncertainty aside, allowed God’s word to speak to us in a clear way, to read us as we’re reading it? And if we tried to absorb its truth by soaking in the promises and believing them.

What would it look like to immerse ourselves fully in His story more than in speculation over how it all possibly came to be—to get to the heart of the matter by way of God’s beating heart for us?

Maybe we still wouldn’t have clear, concrete answers to the myriad questions in our minds, but it is possible we would be more easily satisfied to live into the answers to come, to let faith draw us deeper into wonder, rather than leave us wondering what to do with all the unsettled issues.

Because what matters most is relationship, getting to spend quality time in God’s presence, learning His will and ways in a natural, gradual way, relaxing our worries into His hands and learning to trust Him more than we focus on our cares and concerns.

My first poem below suggests God’s overseeing of things, even if they may look dark, blurry or seem invisible to us.

“even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” ~ Psalm 138: 12 NIV

Clear as day

Night is clear as day

to our Creator-King, Lord

of all living things

©joylenton2017

 

And when we do begin to grasp how God is always revealing Himself to us in the everyday, can we actually turn aside from daily preoccupations and deliberately catch sight of His presence?

“Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God. The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing flame of fire from the midst of a bush… yet it was not consumed. So Moses said, ‘I must turn away [from the flock] and see this great sight—why the bush is not burned up'” ~ Exodus 3:1-3 AMP

Can I turn aside?

Can I turn aside

like Moses—witness my King

burning daylight bright?

©joylenton2017

 

Finally, there will come a Day unlike any other. We will see God as He is, know and be known fully, comprehend what has been deep Mystery beforehand.

“The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”~ Acts 2:20-21

On that Day

On that Day the King

will be revealed in glory

everyone will kneel

©joylenton2017

 

These haiku have been written in response to the prompt of ‘King&Day’, this week’s haiku challenge from our Haiku Master, Ronovon.  If you’d like to read the rich variety of posts being shared and maybe join in, too,  just click here.  🙂

how love and light are just within our reach

love-and-light-poetry-joy

 

Does this world’s darkness make you want to weep? Do you feel overwhelmed at times by the brokenness and pain in your life? Me too. But we don’t have to despair, my friend.

Because light and love are all around, seeping into our consciousness. And they are most apparent for those with eyes to see them. If we get locked into cynicism, grief and despair we may fail to see just how much God permeates this world with His light and love.

Our vision can get warped and skewed by circumstances and situations not of our choosing. But if we look with eyes of faith, then we begin to see that life is more than 50 shades of grey, far more than 100 ways of being beige. There is light and life and love and colour just waiting to be discovered by hungry hearts.

Because, filtering softly from dawn to dusk is an invitation to look beyond the immediate, to grasp hold of the eternal right here, right now, in our midst—an invitation to taste holy Mystery.

And even when the darkness descends in such a way that it seems to temporarily blot out the sun, even then the Son of Righteousness Himself will rise in our minds and hearts when we turn in faith to Him.

This is our plea and prayer…

Darkness chokes

This world’s darkness chokes

life and strangles hope. Oh Lord

let your Love-Light shine

haiku-darkness-chokes-love-and-light-prompt-pj

 

And God helps us to view things from His perspective…

Only in the light

Only in the light

of God’s love do we begin

to see our true worth

haiku-only-in-the-light-pj

 

Then He reminds us how all heaviness of heart is able to be lifted from us as we surrender our burdens to Him and rest in His loving provision for us…

My burden is light

My burden is light

My heart is heavy, full,

holding love for you

haiku-my-burden-is-light-pj

 

Hold on through the dark seasons. Keep the faith when you are faltering and struggling to believe. Because whether you can sense it or not, God is holding on to you and He won’t ever let you go. His greatest joy is to bring His love and light into your life, to turn mourning into joy, heal your brokenness and give you beauty for the ashes of your life.

These words and haiku poems have been inspired by Poet Master Ronovan’s latest weekly haiku challenge of Love&Light. Just click on the link to see how it works and to read the great variety of posts being shared.

storytelling: haiku, time and tides of life laced with grace

storytelling-haiku-time-and-tides-of-life-laced-with-grace-pj

 

Let me tell you a story. It’s as short as can be, though it encapsulates life, time and eternity, encounter and surrender to a higher Power—no less than God Himself.

It’s a story of how we seek to define our days and soon discover we are a slave to them, a slave to time itself and to our plans and ideas.

Then we cannot help but compare and contrast our efforts with those of others, see our flaws, faults and failings, even as we admire their seeming mastery of things, their coherence compared to our stumbling efforts to speak.

As a poet, I’d like my words to flow well but sometimes they just find a rhythm of their own. A cadence. A voice. A way to break free of the straight-jacket I often want to constrain them in. Like this week’s prompt from #RonovanWrites which I had three thoughts about.

In thinking about ‘Flow&Tear’ I soon saw how each haiku followed sequentially from one another, eager to speak as a haiku vignette story rather than three separate solo acts. Though I offer them to you individually, because that’s how they first came to me and how poetry often speaks best—one small, singular offering at a time.

Tear up the plans

Let’s tear up the plans

set a watch over our hearts

Life flows in God’s hands

©joylenton

haiku-tear-up-the-plans-pj

 

Comparison steals

Comparison steals

our joy—stilled by silent fear

the flow slows, halts, tears

©joylenton

haiku-comparison-steals-pj

 

A fast flowing river

Grace wipes away fears

It’s a fast flowing river

running like my tears

©joylenton

haiku-a-fast-flowing-river-pj

about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit

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Like a flock of noisy seagulls, voices come at us from all directions, urging activity, challenge and change. What (or who) are we listening to? How do we sift the gold from the detritus, make choices we can live with and trust? In a world vying to be heard, how do we make sure we only take in what we need to?

It’s not easy to avoid all that is clamouring for our attention, or discern the times and tides, especially when so many fresh opportunities are coming our way.  A new year is rife with resolution, full of possibility, potential and hope.

As I try to recover from the festive season, my body is signalling a need to rest but my mind is inclined to pursue the enticement of the Now and the New. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real issue for many—me, too, sometimes. We can become stalled by indecision, paralysed by too much choice and derailed by the very real possibility of disappointment.

At the risk of lagging behind, disappointing or letting people down, it’s better for us to be true to how we’re currently situated and what we’re capable of without jeopardising our physical or mental health.

My spirit longs to listen to what God is saying to me first and foremost , knowing His ways—though seemingly counter-intuitive at times—are always the best. It pays to heed holy whispers. If He is whispering caution, waiting and rest, then I hesitate to press ahead with the next big thing, because in the end it will fail or I will falter, crash and collapse if I ignore the warning signs.

I love to write and in order to do so I have to prioritise, make creative space, rest, pace and avoid doing anything else for the day that’s an exhausting activity for me. It’s all about calling, priorities and sensitivity to Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding, and giving ourselves permission to rest and recover when we need to.

It won’t wash with me

Political spin

won’t wash with me; I’m resting

in God’s plans, you see

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No spin

Life’s waves wash over

my still frame—caught fast by pain

I refuse to spin

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Wash me radiant

Wash me radiant

Let your love spin in my heart

Warm from dawn to dark

haiku-wash-me-radiant-pj

 

Today’s haiku have been inspired by the prompt of ‘Spin&Water’ —(which my tired brain somehow interpreted as ‘Spin&Wash’ instead… oops… so that’s what I’ve based these poems on!)—from our poet master, Ronovan, of ronavonwrites.  Just click here to see the rest of the posts and join in if you’d like to.

How are you sifting the wheat from the chaff as you make plans for 2017?

What new thing (or word) has God given you for the days ahead?

hope: making space for the new

hope-door-to-a-new-year-pj

 

We’re at the threshold, waiting on the doorstep, ready to be invited in. Will the welcome be warm? Will we find out heart’s true home, or have our deepest longings met? We hope for more than seems humanly possible, and that’s because we need divine assistance to see us through.

Can we taste the potential, the opening and offering a new year brings? Are our goals achievable? I’m not sure…. and maybe that very uncertainty is what helps give birth to hopes and dreams. Maybe we have to yearn enough to break open a desire which yields to decision, drive and determination.

God is on the other side of the not yet. He hovers in the now and the next. We sense tantalising glimpses of His presence, like a faint mist concealing and revealing what lies beyond our comprehension.

We’re on the boundary, the cross-over point that points the way to the unknown. Will we trust an unknown future to a known God? How far does our faith stretch?

corrie-ten-boom-quote-hope-new-year-pj

 

An approaching year holds more questions than answers, requiring us to rest in God-given grace and discover courage enough to live into the answers to come. As we do so, we trust that God walks with us, accompanies every step we take and leads us slowly onward to our next destination.

Grope for Hope

In liminal space

I grope for eternal Hope

that makes me feel safe

haiku-grope-for-hope

 

Making space

Making space for grace

we become renewed, washed clean

and feel whole again

haiku-making-space

 

New Year

A blank page, clean slate

with empty space to create

Feel free to write on

haiku-new-year

 

These poems have been inspired by this week’s haiku challenge prompt of ‘Feel&Space’ initiated by poet master Ronovan of Ronovan Writes. Just click on the links to discover how it all came about and to join in here.

I tend to view a new year with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, hope mingled with concern and a confident expectation of resting in God’s grace, come what may. While I prayerfully consider my #oneword365 for 2017, I would love to hear how you anticipate the new year. What do you sense the months ahead may hold for you or be inviting you to do?

A taste of the holy invading our everyday

a-taste-of-the-holy-pj

 

How can we fail to notice the holy? Sadly, all too easily. Yet God leaves little messages in each moment. Markers of His presence. Footsteps of the divine in our midst. Evidence surrounds us everywhere but we often miss it.

A good way to heighten our awareness of the holy is to seek frequent sacred spaces in our days, whereby we look, listen and pray. We can aim to live with an expectation of wonder during Advent and beyond, to put spiritual lenses on, watch and wait with anticipation, have a heart set on holiness, remain alert to its appearance in our everyday ordinary.

We can become deaf to God’s voice due to disobedience, fail to step forward into encounter because of fear, or drown Him out by our busyness and drive toward independence.

Our resistance may stem from many things, but we eventually begin to see how much we can miss by not readily opening our eyes, heart and mind to the holy in our midst.

Sometimes God may choose to conceal Himself for a while. Then we have to exercise our faith muscles, to trust He is still with us in the dark, grope our way back to believing, have praying companions who come alongside and remind us of God’s goodness, His immanence with us.

God offers us numerous opportunities for connection, whispers words into our consciousness and does everything in His power to gently lure us into a deeper relationship with Him. There is no coercion to be close to God, only an open invitation of constant love.

Our eagerness to discover God hiding in plain sight is more than matched by His willingness to be found. And creation itself is the loudest and clearest clarion call signalling His significant presence with us on a daily basis.

Thoughts of the way we often taste the Holy in sweet, tangible ways and sense an essence of God in our midst have shaped the haiku I’ve written today. All three haiku have been prompted by this week’s poetic haiku challenge of ‘Kiss&Taste’ set by Ronovan Hester. Just click here to visit and meet the man behind the challenge.

Taste of Love

Feel the taste of Love

Descend from heaven above

Kiss your cares away

haiku-taste-of-love-pj

 

A Holy kiss

Taste a Holy kiss

Sealing your heart, soul and lips

A divine imprint

haiku-a-holy-kiss-pj

 

Benediction kiss

Holy Spirit sighs

Breathe a benediction kiss

We taste deep inside

haiku-benediction-kiss-pj

 

What is helping you to sense the holy in your midst?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the conversation below.

gold: bringing Jesus our best Advent offering

advent-come-to-jesus-pin

 

During Advent we are invited into story, made aware of the reason for the anticipatory watching and waiting. There will be surprises to come, a humble birth to proclaim, gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense to be proffered by kings, now bowing to the King of kings on His bed of straw.

Advent is a golden time, a twilight hour before the main event, a necessary pause in proceedings as we ponder our own part in all of this. Because it cannot leave us cold. We are active participants too.

Not only do we pause, ponder and pray, mull and marvel at the miracle of God become man, we also start to see ourselves as the reason why He came, the purpose for this most Holy of invasions, this gentle leap into earthly territory.

And it may make us wonder what our response should be to the birth of our Lord and Saviour. What can we bring to Him, the One who throws stars into space and rides galaxies?

I believe God came for our hearts, our open devotion and willing surrender to His goodness and grace. I believe He wants us to be captivated by His offering of relationship.

We bring Him our gold, our best. What would that be? I think it’s our brokenness. We bring our messed up lives, our hidden sin, our secret dreams.  We bring Him failure and defeat, loss and longing, need and desire. We bring all the broken pieces of our lives like scattered ashes at His feet, ready for Him to bring beauty forth from them.

He tenderly takes, sifts, sorts and remakes us better than before. God isn’t afraid to get His hands dirty with our dust and detritus. He asks us to come as we are, no frills, no excuses, no pretence, no hesitation. Isn’t that the best invitation of all?


I didn’t intend to post today, but I wrote a tiny haiku with these thoughts on my mind. It was in response to a prompt which my lovely writing friend, Gayl Wright, speaks of on her blog. She also shares her own beautiful offering to the prompt of ‘Gold/Sing’ as found on Ronavan Writes – where this inviting poetic haiku challenge originates from.

This is my response:

Bring your offering

Let your gold pieces sing sweet

Laid at Jesus’ feet

I hope you’ll feel tempted to give it a go yourself!  🙂

gold-offering

Learning how to yield to rest

cat- yielding to rest PJ

It’s natural for cats (and babies) to yield to rest at every given opportunity. They swiftly switch off from the world for a while, whenever they feel like it. But it is not always so easy for the rest of us.

I sense God urging this weary woman to desist from her online labours and rest a while. I’ve already had to pull back from so much, including writing as often as I want to.

Yet I sense a sliver of resistance within, even though I am desperate for rest.

The struggles are manifold for a person with M.E who has to carefully consider the use of all (or any) available energy, engage mindfully, pace and rest regularly on a daily basis. To be asked to do so for weeks at a time seems daunting.

Because rest so often feels like a giving in to insignificance rather than a gentle yielding to necessity.

This feels especially true for writers, who are meant to develop and maintain an online presence, retain their visibility.

Questions arise when we have to withdraw for a while: Who am I if I am not present to the world? How can taking time out be such a blessing to me?

And that’s when God steps in with His thoughts to help still our anxious ones…

Prayer Whisper: ‘Yield to rest’

prayer whisper image

“In rest and repentance lies your strength. In surrender to Me you find your true significance.

Time may be of the essence, but do you not know that I stand beyond its confines?

Have you not considered how I also wrote eternity into your heart so that you would seek Me with an open mind and embrace My love to infinity?

When you resist rest, you resist opportunity to witness My deeds and to hear from Me in the quiet spaces of your day. 

Unless you can release the drive and desire to succeed or to be seen into My hands, you will wear yourself out in circles of comparison and slip into ditches of discouragement.

Come, My child. Come and rest those ambitions, dreams, hopes and plans as you yield them to Me. I am the One who will exalt you in due time when you humble yourself before Me.

It is My greatest desire for you to walk in daily dependence on Me. Watch and see what the Lord will do. No good thing will I withhold from those who love Me and walk according to My precepts.

Come closer. Relax your hold on life and allow Me to carry you as I also keep all things safe. Here, in My Presence, you will find deeper rest and peace than ever before. A peace only I can give you; peace which no-one can take away.

Trust that all your cares and concerns are safe in My capable hands. I know what you can bear and what is too heavy for you to carry.

Seek My face at intervals throughout your day. I made you and I will sustain you.”

Such words bring me up short. They also allow me to exhale, breathe easy again.

This is a season for slowing down, a time to rest, recoup, recover, become restored. You may find yourself in a similar situation.

We can relax better into a season of rest when we realise how much God looks forward to us spending quality time with Him.

He longs to infuse fresh energy into weary bodies, instil new inspiration into dulled minds. God also requires our willing submission when His Spirit urges us to draw aside for a while, take a break with Him.

I need more rest, more of God’s best for me in every way, and I feel ready to relinquish my hold on other things to make it possible. Will you join me? 

We can meet up here again (and over at Words of Joy) and see what God has worked in us when we’ve become less concerned about our own accomplishments, or the lack thereof.

Forgive me for running way over time for my last #FMF and #letusgrow post for a while. The prompt, ‘rest’ was a beacon to my brain.

Here’s a tiny helping of haiku to set us up for more restful days ahead…

sleep haiku - poetry joy

Relaxing into relationship

lavender relaxing PJ

There are days of summer living when heat is high and energy low and it’s all we can do to muster a clear thought.

Even in coolish UK we’ve been having a few sultry humid days where I wilt like a dry and dying flower.

This is becoming a busier family season for me too.

We spent time away at our son’s home recently and they’re on their way to visit us soon.

Being with family and friends is a precious gift indeed. And one I value more with every passing year.

It’s a time to take a pause from deep pondering and begin relaxing into relationship instead.

There’ll be slow days, a BBQ or two, a celebration meal out for the adults, and moments to make memories with my toddler grandson.

And there’ll be a bit of a gap on the blog because I anticipate being too weary for words for a while, unless God gifts some to me.

But I don’t know if that will happen in a few days or a week or so.

Much depends on my body’s ability to recover and recoup after expending more energy than usual.

Living with M.E is a see-saw ride where we creep backwards and inch forward.. (as I write about here).

It’s a balance of alternating periods and days of activity with adequate pacing and rest to avoid burnout or relapse.

So this week’s offering is small as we prepare for family to arrive.

Just a couple of little haiku poems for you to enjoy as I wind down my laptop and unwind my mind.

Until God suggests otherwise, I’ll be resting my pen and relaxing into closer relationship with Him for a while.

Aiming to enjoy some necessary down-time for soul refreshment and spiritual whitespace.

Meanwhile, you are very welcome to dip into the archives here or over at my Words of Joy site.

May you enjoy rest and relaxation into relationship too in the days ahead. Looking forward to catching up with you soon!

Blessings and love, Joy 🙂 ❤

blotting paper haiku PJ

tucked into haiku PJ pin

Earth, wind and fire

As we mark the occasion of Pentecost, I am considering the varied ways in which Holy Spirit makes Himself known to us.

He gives us life and breath.

Initiates our new birth.

Provides all we need during life on earth.

Sustains us through to mortal death.

He hovers over all, anoints, equips and saves.

The author of our life ~  keeper of our days.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” ~ Genesis 1:1-2

earth haiku file image pin

 

“Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest?’ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” ~ John 4:35

haiku ~' Wind'harvest file image pin

 

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what appeared to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” ~ Acts2:1-4

fire haiku file image pin