Because of Him

child writing file image PJ because of him post

Writing is a strange occupation. Not one for the faint-hearted.

There are days where words flow freely and we write out our hearts.

On others, it feels like the tap has run dry and ceased its outpouring.

We squeeze and coax them to appear like getting blood out of a stone.

Some days they demand a great deal of energy to pin down on the page.

I’ve been trying to save energy because it will only stretch so far when you have M.E, and  life has recently become much busier for me in many ways.

If I extend myself too much it leads to a ‘crash and burn’ reaction which can cause further relapse in symptoms.

So I took a mini social media and blogging break to recoup some strength.

Pain has been pervasive and leached more life out of this weary frame. And sleep/rest/pacing have become the order of the day.

But I felt a creative itch and urge simmering beneath the surface. It’s never far away though it hibernates sometimes.

Little snatches of verse have been born (and some made public) as I joined in with poetic prompts on Twitter both prior to and since ending my needful break.

Listening and leaning are the new watchwords of my life this year and they are bearing fruit as I abide closer to God.

There is far less urgent clamour about my writing and a lot more trust that words will appear when they should.

I’m discovering it’s a restful place to be in as I surrender the whole process to God. He gives me all the inspiration and words I need.

I long to break free from rigid conformity, from formality, from ought and should, from comparison and feeling ‘less than’.

Joining in with Five Minute Friday has given me permission to ditch perfectionism and embrace the gift of the inspired moment as I offer my words to public scrutiny.

Here I am again, with renewed gratitude that stems from seeing how God uses weak, weary and wounded ones like you and me to speak out for Him.

I can write again. Words have come when I least expected them to….because of Him.

START…

‘Because’

Lord,

I don’t want to write

just because

it is what

I usually do

or because

I want to have a say

These words should come

because You

have thoughts You desire

me to convey

And You know just who

needs to be

encouraged by You

in prayerful offering

which becomes

sacrificial giving

surrendered in this way

So I come willingly

because that’s

how things ought to be

and happen naturally

Here is my pen, my mind,

my heart, my soul

Please take and use them

to bless, heal and help

make others whole

Write Your Word

upon my heart

Inscribe Your ideas

as I start

to write, and allow

them all to flow

because I

have surrendered them

into Your hands

and for Your plans

©JoyLenton2014

STOP.

pen and journal file pin image PJ

Joining here with Kate and fellow #FMF writers as we write bold and brave today. You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in and to discover how you can write this way every day for a whole month if you want to.

Time to be ready

autumnal trees

A new season starts and we wonder if we are ready for all it may entail.

The wind of change blows strong and all that we knew before is carried on its current into the Past.

Like the ever-changing seasons of life,  we too have seasons of the soul.

Maybe you’re in a preparation period, time to till the ground, turn over the soil and ensure it is in a receptive state to welcome and receive.

Maybe you’re readying yourself to sow some faith seeds in anticipation of a harvest to come.

Or could this be the period when God’s promises to you will finally be fulfilled?

Sometimes it feels like we spend forever in a waiting season, getting colder, battening down the hatches and hibernating.

We need reminders that there are cycles of change, life will bloom again and hopes will be met.

Aslan is stirring and Spring is coming to a land long-starved of joy and light.

Faith and hope will be brought to life again, and all that we have hung onto which doesn’t fit who we are in Christ will die a slow death as we co-operate and co-labour with God in the process.

I’m in a new season in many senses of the word and these things hang heavy in my soul.

And as I’ve thought and prayed I sensed God asking us, His church, the Bride of Christ, to make herself ready for His return.

To keep the flame alive, hold on to the hope that is in us.  He is at the door of our hearts.

We are the Light-bearers and Good News sharers to a dark and needy world.

We are the ones who live ever-hopeful of seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

We are destined to be united in heart, mind and purpose  (in all the things that truly matter) as His children and His body on the earth.

Are we ready, friends?

‘Be ready’

Try to remain steady

as I’m making you ready

Preparation is a key part

of a transformed mind, life and heart

My best work cannot be rushed

and your soul must be hushed

to be receptive to My voice

Listen, sow,then you’ll rejoice

All of your life is open, laid bare

I see those things you willingly share

and others you try to hide away

will be brought forth in the light of day

No stone will be left unturned

in a heart that has yearned

to be touched and healed by Me

that longs above all to fly free

Before I can give you wings to fly

you may have unreleased tears to cry

as I seek to uncover and unearth

all that’s tethering you to earth

My will is for you to rise and shine

to reveal grace, to be wholly Mine

Come, My child, take My hand

This is time to be ready, here I stand

©JoyLenton2014

Linking my poem here with  Kate and other bold and brave writers  for #FMF as we go with the flow on the topic of ‘Ready’.

Also  joining with Jennifer as we #tellhisstory , with Mel for #essentialfridays and  with fellow writer friends, grace dwellers and sisters in Christ as we seek to live for Him and make Him known.

Ibis in Flight

A soft whisper

A soft whisper file image PJ

Summer segues soft into Autumn and I sense a shift-change.

A call to quiet and calm. A whispered invitation of grace. A space to receive.

Making room for mercy moments in the mundane and eternal encounters in the everyday.

Words rise and fall in my head but fail to find their way onto the page.

My writing voice is stilled, though it clamours for release.

My mind feels overly busy with thoughts running around like headless chickens.

My body aches for rest, bed, soothing sleep, healing and restoration.

God wants me to be in tune with This season ~ a time to listen rather than speak, a time to refrain in order to gain the better part.

A heart receptive to His voice and a spirit that says Yes. A voice that whispers gentle and soft rather than shouting its presence.

All of which means that the things I long to share have been put on hold.. for now.

I am needing to focus more on the important than the urgent and make way for God’s ways most of all.

Yet He has encouraged me to send this poem forth because its message is timeless.

I wrote it in the flush of youthful love many moons ago, and published it two years ago on ‘Words of Joy’  in the context of a post about being seen, heard and loved.

I wrote the poem to my future husband, and as I read it again it speaks to me anew of our  heavenly Bridegroom calling for His Bride.

Maybe it also describes an intrinsic, eternal yearning inside us to be close, to feel cherished and loved, or maybe a way of seeing God in all of His creation?

However you take it, I pray God will use it to speak to you in the way you need to receive it.

‘Whisper your name’

Whisper your name in the

cold cubes of ice that

melt with heat’s breath

Whisper your name in the

wild, swirling tussle of

leaves on the ground

Whisper your name in the

snow that is black

with your words

Whisper your name in the

warm, woody ashes of

Winter that’s gone

Whisper your name in

Spring flowers that

nod out your greeting

Whisper your name in

the heavy haze of Summer sun

and Autumn sunsets

Whisper your name,

my love

and I’ll…..

whisper MINE

©JoyLenton2012

Praying for space for a sister to be slow, room for a recycled poem, and grace to come late to the party as I link here with Beth and friends for #threewordwednesday and with Kate for #FMF where this week’s  prompt is ‘Whisper’

**If you’d like to read more about words God has specifically whispered to my heart this year, then please feel free to check out the ‘Prayer Whispers’ category here**

A soft whisper file pin image PJ

Reaching out in faith

reaching out FMF PJ file image

Hearts, hands and voices reach out to God.

There’s a yearning, a desperate need to be heard.

To have our needs fulfilled.

And so often it feels like we come up empty.

Prayers appear to go unanswered.

Hopes are dashed.

We droop with disappointment and discouragement.

But could it be that we fail to receive because we fail to fully believe He will answer?

Missed careful study of His word to see what He has already said about this issue.

Been impatient, failed to linger in His Presence long enough to hear a response.

Or we’ve already worked out just how the answer will look, and This. Isn’t. It.

And in our haste to have answers, we can so easily forget that God often uses our confusion and pain to rouse us into deeper dependence on Him.

God has already spoken fully through Jesus, the living Word of God Incarnate.

He speaks still in hearts receptive to His voice and surrendered to His will and ways.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” ~ Isaiah 55:9

In pondering this, here are my best ‘five-minute-friday’ thoughts on ‘Reach’:

‘Reaching out’

Sometimes answers to prayer feel out of reach

no matter what we say, think, pray or preach

It feels like something could be missing

or maybe we’re not too good at listening

Failing to heed Your written word

or receive its wisdom seen and heard

Yet, there are many ways in which You reach out

with love and goodness in a whisper, not a shout,

Soft breaths fall as dew in the morning air

as manna drops to feed us, and to share

We are never left empty or alone

because in every heart You make a home

And Your arms were impaled, pierced to a tree

to reach out to all suffering humanity

Revealing Your forgiveness, grace and love

as they poured like wine from heaven above

So as we sit and ponder, rush and hurry,

there is really no need for us to worry

You hear and answer every prayer

with Wait, Yes, No, I am here

©JoyLenton2014

reaching out FMF poem pin file image

Linking here with Kate for #FMF (as we write freely for five minutes flat, with the joy of abandoning perfection) about ‘Reach’, and with Jennifer as we reach out to encourage one another and #tellhisstory in the process. You are warmly invited and encouraged to join in.

Lost and found

busyness ~ lost and found PJ

Something has got lost in our increasingly busy, frantic lives.

We’ve forgotten how to detach from activity.

Neglected to resist the lure of the urgent over the important.

Taking time out just to ‘be’, to pause and breathe slow is rare.

Hours spent hunched over screens is making us more concerned with what’s in front of us than what’s going on in our hearts.

How can we see the way ahead when eyes are glued downwards?

Maybe we need a break, to lose ourselves in the inner life instead of outer activity.

Read a book, rest, relax, pray perhaps.

Perhaps we’d hear echoes in our hearts, reminders of our need for God.

Listening could take the place of continual noise.

In the silence we encounter ourselves as we truly are.

And that can be alarming.

But we also allow space for God to enter in.

We find what our souls have always been looking and longing for.

And that can be life changing.

‘Lost and found’

Lost in busyness

occupation, activity,

endless toil, never at ease

Lost in despair

hopelessness, gloom, misery,

failing to see God can set us free

Lost in dreams

hopes, schemes and plans,

missing the best from His hands

Lost in sorrow

sadness, grief and pain,

He comes close to us again

Lost in ourselves

our lives, our world,

waiting for future to be unfurled

Lost and alone

in the midst of a crowd

voices sounding harsh and loud

Lost and found

when we release our cares

let go the burden of years

Lost in Love

when He calms our soul

comforts, cleanses, makes us whole

Lost in peace

we cease from anxiety, worry,

relax in His Presence

no rush, no hurry

©JoyLenton2014

Linking here with Lisa-Jo, Laura and Mel

lost and found ~ PJ MS image pin

Whistling in the dark

praying_on_bible_red

Sounds reverberate off the ceiling. Bounce back to knock us sideways.

We hear our voice alternately whispering, crying, calling out.

Is this a monologue or a dialogue? Better not to say anything, perhaps.

Does silence really speak volumes?

Sometimes praying can feel like speaking to ourselves.

Is anybody listening? Or are we just whistling in the dark?

Thoughts swirl loud. Hearing our heartbeat pounding.

Murmurs of life pulse and throb, yet all around is a seemingly empty void.

Can you hear me, God? Am I getting through to You?

So often we feel lost. Adrift on a sea of sounds of our own making. All feels dark. Empty.

Yet it is here, in the depths of silence, where God reminds us darkness is as light to Him, and there is no place where He cannot be found by seeking souls. No way He cannot make Himself known to a listening heart.

Cathedral cloisters ~ listening poem pin

 

Our tears are prayers, carefully collected, cherished.

The unspoken cries of our hearts are heeded.

We need to remember this as we call out as the psalmist did:

“God, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries” ~ Psalm 102:1 (The Message)

It’s in rest and quiet, in a drawing aside, a laying down, a giving, offering and opening up that we ready ourselves to hear and receive.

Come aside. Breathe deep. Inhale Holy Spirit breath. Lay aside doubt, preconceptions and prejudices.

Come empty to be filled.

Come thirsty to be refreshed.

Come to the One who knows you inside out.

Make space to just be. To let go of anxiety and pain. God is big enough to take it all.

Quiet your heart. Still your voice. Tune out the world and tune in to Him.

We can never emerge from God’s presence the same as we came into it.

Let Him love on you. He is the giver of all good gifts, Father of compassion, Restorer of all brokenness.

Come, my friend, come…. seek the Light, seek grace, seek God.

He is here. He is listening. Meet with Him in the mundane moments. Sense His hand in everything. Listen to your life.

Wait with holy expectation. Keep hoping. Keep believing. Stay in faith. Live mindful of His Presence. In due time, answers will come.

47051-ExcellentQuotations.com-Mother-Teresa

Our friend

friendship post file image

Genuine friendship is a gift to treasure.

To proffer the hand of friendship to another is to offer yourself in support of their wellbeing, and open yourself to reciprocal attention, care and concern.

Feeling heard and understood is rare in a world that is often too busy to listen or too indifferent to care.

Multiple connection points are provided, but true friendship is a gift of grace.

When it’s all about what you do, who you are, what you look like and who you know, it provokes competitiveness, discouragement and despair at not fitting in with the world’s perceptions of who they think we should be.

As we get assessed, found wanting and bypassed, we can easily feel isolated, rejected and neglected.

So where does our security lie? Is it in the numbers of followers, fans, ‘likes’ and comments we receive?

No, far from it. It’s a shaky foundation indeed to build our self-esteem on other people’s fluctuating, fickle feelings.

Though it’s not all bad news on social media; it does have its positive side regarding friendships.

I’ve been greatly blessed by the wonderful on-line community of writers, poets and bloggers, M.E and chronic illness sufferers, and fellow Christians I have got to know and consider to be real friends.

They are genuine, giving and caring people who lift, encourage and help me come up higher. I thank God daily for them.

And I’ve been bruised by putting too much store on how people in general interact with me.

There is only one friend who will never let us down, always be there for us, consistently reliable, capable, loving unconditionally despite knowing all there is to know about us.

His Name is Jesus.

Our greatest Friend, Lord and Saviour.

And as my real life friendships often fall foul of the challenges presented by my having M.E ~ finding it hard to never know when I’ll be well enough to speak on the phone, be visited, or meet up ~ it is His friendship that means the most to me.

I’m joining here with Lisa Jo and other brave writerly souls  for the challenge of Five Minute Friday, where we write freely, letting words fall as they will with no deep reflecting, on this week’s topic of  ‘Friend’. You are very welcome and warmly invited to take part.

START…

‘Our Friend’

This friend

has arms stretched wide

forming an extended circle

of Love for you and me

This friend

calls us to His side

forming a fellowship of grace

as brothers, sisters, community

This friend

provides a safe place to hide

when life’s storms overwhelm

He is shelter from all harm

and balm for every calamity

This friend

will brook no boast or pride

in knowing Him, for all

are welcome to enter in

embraced, held, received

This friend

is Rock against the tide

of sin and shame

taking all upon Himself

when He died and rose again

to set us free

©JoyLenton2014

STOP.

friend ~ our friend poem file image pin