begin: for when you can’t quite hit the new year running

begin - for when you can't quite hit the new year running - @poetryjoy.com

Dear reader, I’m curious about something: did you hit the new year running, eagerly embracing resolutions, ready for the new and the next, planning and pushing ahead to your heart’s content? If so, that’s great and I rather envy you. 😏

Or are you more like me: crawling on your knees, flattened with illness and fatigue, and sighing because January finds you less than fit and able? The latter? Please raise  or vaguely wave your weary arm in my direction. It’s good to know we’re not alone.

For years, without fail, I’ve always succumbed to flu or a heavy cold before the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over. Each January I’m hugging the duvet, coughing into my pillow and barely surfacing.

Sadly it’s not due to enjoying myself, but because I have a faulty, inefficient immune system that easily succumbs to viruses and overexertion of any kind. I keep hoping things will improve. But they haven’t. Not yet.

Experience has taught me to listen and act on the information I hear from my depleted body. Namely to rest and take care of myself. Because trying to press on in the face of increasing debility has never been a good plan for me. It only exacerbates my pre-existing chronic conditions.

One thing that never stops being active and running like a mad thing is my mind, even when my body stills due to increased sickness. Yours too, perhaps? It chunters on like it’s got something really important to process, while my weakened body is trying to shush it into silent, restful submission.

begin - god replenishes, restores and revives quote (c)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

And I’ve been mulling over what to write. How do we begin again when we’re feeling lethargic, muddy-headed or uninspired? The wonder is that whenever our well, our energy, inspiration or abilities run dry, we only need to ask and God replenishes, restores and revives our limited supplies. And we can begin again with Him any time we need to.

The poem below came to me as I was resting. May it speak to all who are in the throes of illness or lack creative inspiration. I’m also rejoicing that my current ailment seems to be more of a persistent cold than full-blown flu this time. Hooray! Progress!

Writer’s woes

I want to begin
make a mark on this page
this year
on the lives of others
with my thoughts and words

I don’t know how
to begin to write a thing
without assistance
because my brain is muffled
and my thoughts are befuddled

I am uncertain
wondering how to choose
what will speak
louder than my husky voice
of love and grace, hope and faith

in the end
all I have is willing hands
empty though they be
just waiting to be filled
before a drop can be spilled

holy whispers
encourage me to start
right where I am
with surrender, trust and truth
as inspiration filters through
© joylenton

begin - writer's woes poem excerpt - new year (c)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Praise God for gifting this snuffly writer with something to say when she felt empty! Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. 😉 Do let me know how you are, especially if you’re also below par, and we can pray for one another.

Never forget that rest, recovery and healing are vital soul and body work. You and I might begin this year slow like tortoises but we can still end strong by the grace of God. With love and virtual (germ-free) hugs to you. xo 💜

holy listening to life, love and loss – magnetic monday

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Life’s deep secrets contain echoes of eternity, breath of love, hint of loss and eventual leave-taking. For we cannot love well, fully and freely without seeing and sensing the sharp contrast of light and shade together, which involves a kind of holy listening to life itself, acknowledging those smudgy grey areas we all inhabit.

When we raise our awareness, become accustomed to holy whispers making themselves known to us in the midst of the mundane, we soon realise that we share those deep secrets—both concealed and laid bare—as glorious partakers and curious onlookers observing God’s work in this world.

In turn we become holy listeners, those who wait on the Word, seek out Truth, hoping to hear heaven’s heartbeat, to bear its joy and sorrow, become saturated in its love, mercy and forgiveness, as we learn the wisdom and discernment only God can impart. Then we offer these things as gift to all, especially those in our sphere of influence.

In my first magnetic poetry poem below (made with the Original Set), holy listening can be interpreted as you see fit.

Holy Listening

She said vast dark secrets

of old dazzle like dance

a brilliant word for

this holy listening

I can bring cake

give me warm ocean

breeze lingering in

cloudy night air to

celebrate their wake

magnetic-poetry-holy-listening

 

My second poem—made using the Poet Set—examines love and loss, inextricably linked as one heart-rending experience.

Love and Loss

love is our mad sun

or it’s cool as death

whispered lies to the wind

wanting one last symphony

bitter as black mist

her arms were

daylight bare

languid as language

magnetic-poetry-love-and-loss

 

What is God whispering to you this week?

How is this magnetic poetry speaking to you?

I’d love to hear in the comments below.  🙂

ring out the bells of welcome and praise

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We search for signs, look for signals of change, indicators of promise. Because winter can lie heavy on our world-weary souls. Will the bells ring out for us this season? Will we find reason to rejoice?

Christmas is a clarion call to celebration, largely of the material kind. It is also an oasis of hope, peace and joy for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus, a welcome pit stop to remember His first coming to earth and His future return.

We’re invited to take a holy pause, to savour the sacred in our midst, honour God above all things. And we cannot fail to see how creation itself speaks of a deep yearning for the difference which each new season of the year will bring.

My first haiku today was sparked by remembering that many are now knee-deep in trenches of snow.  Yet, despite how prolonged it can seem, winter will be over before we know it and spring is already stirring beneath the frozen soil.

‘Ring out a welcome’

Bells silenced by frost

Snowdrops ring out a welcome

Sign of early spring

haiku-ring-out-a-welcome

 

If creation is a clear sign of God’s presence, it also holds whispers of His joy. Every flower is full of His glory, each green stem a vivid reminder of God’s vitality, His thisness  infiltrating our everyday with the living sustenance, strength and support which only He can provide.

I believe living things ring clear and true of God’s goodness and grace, and that includes us too. We are receptacles and shining lights, offering a glimpse of His manifest glory working in and through us.

‘These inner bells’

You can’t silence these

inner bells—they peal freely

ring out joy within

haiku-these-inner-bells

 

Time inches closer and we are almost ready to celebrate Christmas, to proclaim the joyous news of Emmanuel, God-with-us as a babe in Bethlehem and as Saviour and Lord in the here and now.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders..” ~ Isaiah 9:6

‘Ring out praises’

Sound the living bells

Let earth rejoice and ring out

Praises to her King

haiku-ring-out-praises

 

“And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace: ~ Isaiah 9:6

I’m linking here to Ronovan Writes where this week’s haiku challenge prompt is: ‘Bells/Ring’. You are warmly invited to join in. There’s no need to write more than one haiku but I tend to get carried away!  🙂 

finding joy in the dark times

write31days-journeying-into-joy-joy-in-the-dark-times

 

I woke feeling out of sorts, restless and agitated. Insomnia and pain often affect my mental state, because the weariness they bring begins to permeate everything like a dense heavy cloud. Maybe you’ve felt that way, too?

On days when light and joy seem to be absent and our souls feel downcast, we have to make a deliberate effort to pursue joy. Because joy hides behind every dark cloud and we see it when we search it out. It’s a matter of the will, of mind over matter, Spirit-led living over flesh-induced feelings.

Rest and joy are closely aligned, dependent on one another, especially resting in God. Our days of extra busyness, weakness and weariness are speaking to us of a pressing need to pause, a soul drive toward silence and stillness instead of a crash-and-burn-style of living leading to illness.

This isn’t just for those of us who have M.E and chronic illness; this is for everyone. Because we all live in a fallen world which can drain every ounce of vitality out of us if we let it. The words below were whispered to me in prayer. My hope and prayer is that they will speak to you, too…

prayer whisper image

 

“Rest isn’t an emotion or a feeling, though at times it will seep into your mind. But the kind of rest I offer you is one that sinks into your spirit and lingers. It’s a turning toward Me, a continual attitude of trust, no matter what your circumstances might be.

It’s a gift of grace which brings inner peace and Holy Spirit ease to accomplish all I call you to do. It’s an understanding which fires you to willingly live close to Me. It’s knowing Me as a loving, caring Father who always has your best interests at heart.

The more you learn to lean on Me, the more you will be held secure in every way, because I created you to live in dependence on Me. Your greatest and deepest joy will be in receiving My rest as it permeates every aspect of your life.

You will grow more aware of My presence watching over you like a protective mother hen. You will have strength and equipping for everything. You will have deep inner peace that remains. Your whole life, memories, past, present and future will be seen as safe in My hands.

Relax. I know everything about you, My child. You can rest in My infinite love, tender compassion, mercy and forgiveness. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to give you. Come and rest with Me. Pour out your fears and tears. Allow Me to soothe them all, to hold you close and whisper words to help and heal. Come now…”

A prayer

Gracious Father,

Forgive us for being so weak and easily led by our feelings. for falling into anxiety and worry, frustration and fear, stress and distress, for neglecting to spend quality time with You.

Thank You for your words of hope and reassurance. We receive them into our spirits. May they take root and begin to fill every hurt, wounded and aching part of us.

Only You know the heaviness of the human heart, and only You can show us how to live fully and freely again.

Help us to sense deep holy joy within, hovering on the margins of our days, always readily available in Your presence.

Amen

31-days-of-journeying-into-joy-badge

Welcome to #day7 of #write31days of journeying into joy. Thank you for being here! 

As we examine those things which steal our joy, may we also discover how to regain it again by resting in God.

 

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