what night’s inky blanket says to us

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Night whispers its presence as soft kiss of dusk and sunset’s flame fanfare yield to a falling curtain. Each slide toward dark’s velvet covering begins to  conceal day’s warmth and light, suggesting we’re safer staying inside.

Comfort and coziness is found more indoors on these chilly autumnal days as we seek warmth and shelter, try to relax body and mind, unwind from a day’s busyness, crave peace and rest. Though I like to leave curtains open as long as possible as I watch gradual invasion of night swallow up the view, and savour every last chink of light peeking through.

Every shadowy silhouette reflects how even the known, the all too familiar can become draped in mystery. We see so little when we really think about it. Noticing can become dull and senses dim when we are stuck in a rut of finite everyday-ordinary and fail to lift the eyes of our heart toward the infinite.

Inky blanket

Night wraps her inky blanket

softly round a darkening world

 

She steals the light we move within

then proffers silver smattering

 

of stars that glitter jewel-bright

Displayed at their finest now

 

enshrouded as they are by

this murky midnight-blue sky

©JoyLenton2016

Glory moments can be found when we stretch our souls to hear their sound, begin to truly listen to what our lives and the world around  are saying to us. And when we switch off from preoccupation and busyness, we soon discover that silence is full of noise, because a world on constant hum of readiness is continually speaking to us.

I also hear the continual thrum of tinnitus in my ears, a sound I tend to want to drown out with an alternative. Sometimes we hear our own heartbeat or breathing when we still enough to listen, pause for our next breath in the midst of activity or prayer.

God is always offering us an invitation to listen, to hear holy heartbeats, sense sacred echoes in the everyday. Joy is made manifest in His presence, because night is as day to God; there is light and life in abundance, more than enough to refuel and refresh weary souls.

“You have shown me the path to life, and you make me glad by being near me. Sitting at your right side, I will always be joyful” ~ Psalm 16:11 CEV

It doesn’t matter when or how we come, the important thing is to answer the call. God waits with infinite patience, but it is to our own detriment if we fail to find time to be with Him.

Sometimes these daily slowing down periods which night reveals are all the reminder we need of life’s short span, of all that fights for and consumes our attention in the daily grind. They also speak of just how much we need the stabilising power of joy that only God can provide.

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Welcome to #day3 of 31 days of journeying into joy. It’s good to have your company!

How are you hearing creation speaking to you, or sensing sacred echoes best? Do share in the comments below. 

 

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Maintaining a higher perspective

maintaining a higher perspective - PJ

 

When life’s demands send us to our knees, or lay us low with illness and fatigue, we receive all the help we need when we look beyond our current circumstances and look up to God.

In the realisation that we have no resources left we are thrown upon God’s mercy and grace, His unlimited strength, stable unchanging character and limitless love.

During the long summer days when I have been absent here, flat-out with fatigue and often too preoccupied to see more than is before me, I’ve found my greatest peace in knowing God has got me covered.

He has given me supernatural strength to care for my husband after his spinal surgery, and energy enough to take on some of the household tasks I usually need to leave in his capable hands.

Yes it’s been tough, really hard and challenging for this woman with M.E. I’ve ached to resume our  normal routine again, because my husband’s recovery has been slow and support from others naturally lessened as the weeks went by.

I couldn’t write or be present on social media like I used to. My life shifted into a new gear,  demanding all I could give and more besides.

But I always knew (and still do as things ease a little) God was with me, with both of us as we adapted to our challenging changing circumstances.

The cloud of God’s presence overshadows every moment, even as His radiance invites us to look for the glints of light peeking through our own clouds.

He sees all our days. They’re spread out before Him  – a tapestry of grace in all its messy, tangled, colourful glory.

He paints beauty within the commonplace and yearns for us to see and sense it, too, those gentle footprints of His presence.

Some days I’ve looked up and watched the glory in the heavens. I’ve also caught a glimpse of things closer to home.

I’ve deliberately been trying to listen to my life, taking photographs of the beauty surrounding me, seeing things from a fresh perspective.

The poem below reveals the advantage of having a lofty perch mentally, if not physically…

A lofty perch

a lofty perch - PJ

They hover on the brink

close to the edge where

talons meet tile.

Their plump grey plumage

mirroring cloud covering.

Eyes scan the horizon

for a soul mate

to share a lofty perch.

A close companion

become a pigeon pair.

And in the courtship dance

they bill and coo their way

upon life’s stage.

Entranced by heights

they stretch and fly

together now, soft dots

against bright curtain swag

of sun and sky

©JoyLenton2016

Friends, it’s  good to be back to writing and sharing here again. I’ve really missed you! Thank you for your patience. Hope you like the new look. The header image is from an arty-style photo of mine taken this summer – an experiment in expressing creativity differently.  What has God has been revealing to you this season? I’d love you to share in the comments below. 🙂

What to do when you scramble for words

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Whether speaking or writing, we can soon come across an inability to find the precise words we want to share.

The stream dries up; all seems lifeless. We find ourselves parched, staring at barren ground and bare bones, our thoughts like twisted twigs.

The Muse seems elusive and unkind some days, or so we say – although she is really a mere figment in our minds.

A reason to hang our excuses upon as we scramble around for words vanishing in the ether.

Inspiration deserts us and we hover over paper or PC with fingers itching to release… only to come up empty.

What do we do when words drift away?

I’ve found that resting, relaxing and praying help enormously.

All inspiration is God-given and a gift of grace.

Because some days? Some days we’re too plumb tired to plumb the depths to extract the exact words we want.

So we pretend not to care for a while, switch off, engage ourselves with new pursuits, or give in to the need to pull back, seek some spiritual whitespace.

And in the quiet contemplation, in the resting in God’s presence, in the slowing down and stressing less we find we can tap into the Source of Life Himself and He begins to fill and flood our minds with lively thoughts once more.

Maybe a seeping through, a slow filter, a line or two, but then it begins to flow again.

We can breathe easy. Speak, write and type as God directs, comfortable in His provision and timing.

Because words will rise easy when God decides they need to and they’re ready to share.

Our part is to stay expectant, listen to our lives and all they are saying to us, listen for God’s voice and remain open to inspiration.

Then my friends, we give thanks, we speak, we write, we pour out our offering and we trust God to use it as He wills.

And we remember that God has an inexhaustible supply of words He desires to impart to waiting hearts.

Last night I was considering why I hadn’t written much poetry recently. There are lots of good and obvious reasons why my mind has needed a rest, not least that I’m currently staying with family.

Then a line or two insinuated itself into my mind, and this is how it ended up…

Cajoling Poetry

Poetry can act capriciously

especially if we try

to pack her into a

little rhyme or two,

or wrestle words onto

a page, she’s apt to fly

into a sullen rage

Although she has been known

to demur when called upon

to assist us in a song

And will indeed, sometimes,

be cajoled into a line

which, for better or worse,

becomes joined into a verse

And even though poetry

will not easily or

willingly bend the knee to me

or resists staying around

when I try to pin her down,

I find if I keep an open door

and open mind, she will return

with an offering – or more

©JoyLenton2015

cajoling poetry pin PJ

Living the ordinary-extraordinary

awakening to wonder PJ

My eyes are still awakening to wonder. A mind and heart engaged on an endless quest.

I ponder purpose and intent, meander around the messy middle of my days and so often still fail to see them for the sacred glory they really are.

Pain can pervade and pull our days out of shape; problems press in on every side and challenges abound.

But this ordinary life so many of us live has extraordinary revelation if we let it speak to us.

Pay attention to its message. Sense the essence of our days. Listen to what they’re saying.

I’m slowly unfurling my winter-weary soul toward the brightness of summer light as I embrace the new and the not yet of my existence, the tentative unfolding of plans which have been long-awaited.

And nothing brings me closer to awareness of God’s presence than to see Him active in the everyday.

Wearing worldly lenses can dull our senses, but spiritual one? They alert us to presence and purpose behind the pain, the ache of holy behind the familiar, the grace seen in hard places.

So this theme is ringing in my heart and I lean toward its refrain like one who never tires of its melody.

Because it’s a song God sings over His children unceasingly.

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” ~ Zephaniah 3:17

Ordinary-extraordinary

God can be found in the everyday

ordinary-extraordinary of life

with all its wonder and ways

We count the moments because

moments count, and we count

blessings because we give freely

and they return easy – spilling

forth as gifts in the lap of time

Our eyes peel slow, waking

to wonder as we sip and savour

this coffee held in hand

this paper rustling conversation

this relating and waiting and enjoying

lost in the ether if we let it

become mangled by stress

tangled up in busyness

So we pause, catch our breath

release our reservations

snatch back each holy second

and see it for the sweet soul

sacred beauty and glory

mirrored reflection of

God’s story that it is

and we give praise

©JoyLenton2015 

“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life” ~ Psalm 42:8

ordinary-extraordinary PJ pin

When manna fell

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Manna fell

I brought my weakness

and vulnerability

joining soul-sisters

in community

And I found my voice

while notes wafted round

redolent and full

as incense in the room

Each vibration seemed

like it was sounding

a death-knell to loneliness

a call to unity

a warm, welcome caress

I drank proffered cup

swallowed bread offering

sensed a hum of healing

hovering inside of me

And my heart opened up

embraced gift of grace

made way for Presence

savoured His essence

As I took a sip of Life

and Love, manna fell

freely and I found my

grateful soul kneeling

©JoyLenton2015

It is said that every picture tells a story.

Much lies concealed, known only to the creative source behind it, though a hint of mystery still remains.

As I paint pictures with words and images here,  I’m also unfolding some of my life story and the greater narrative behind it which God is continually writing, and which I need to keep eyes wide open to see its gradual revealing.

The poem above was inspired by a gift-of-grace event I’ll be talking about on ‘Words of Joy‘ later this week. I’d be honoured if you’ll come over and take a look in a day or two.

poppy PJ poem pin

Gifts of grace

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Day by day we are writing out our story, a living tale of all that takes place and a living testimony of God’s sustaining grace.

A birthing can occur at any moment in hearts receptive to the new and the next and the in-between.

What seems dead can be enlivened and resurrected by His power – brokenness made whole, beauty brought forth from ashes.

Although many days are shrouded and clouded by painful circumstances, God is still writing out His good and greater narrative into the margins of our lives.

Yes, even as we hover crazy-busy on this edge of space, time and eternity and so often fail to see or sense His continual presence.

We need to remember how we live and breathe and have our being in Him and He lives and breathes in us by His Spirit.

Nothing is incidental, or irredeemable. Nothing is forever lost or wasted.

All is gift and all is grace, but we need eyes to see the sacred in the secular and appreciate its daily nuances.

As we listen closer to our lives we begin to piece together the story they are telling us.

Such thoughts are shaping my daily living and making their way into today’s Five Minute Friday poem.

Grace gifts

Each day we are alive is a gift,

an unfurling, unfolding kernel

mirrored in tender bud and leaf,

so our hearts remain hopeful

of seeing a good ending

I long above all to recapture

a sense of child-like wonder,

become captivated, entranced

by delight seeded within

as this daily sacred dance begins

Each moment we linger longer

to appreciate The Moment

will help peel back layers

to reveal a gift of grace,

open our eyes, blinded by

cultural excess, dulled by stress

and wearied by naysayers

For we are the revealers

unwrapping the Gift of God,

the Truth-sayers, the Way-sharers,

keepers of Light and Love who

employ a deeper discerning

as we dive expectant into the true,

hopeful, bright-blue waters of each day

©JoyLenton2015

I’m blessed to be joining in with the wonderful writing-free-from-the-heart community of ‘Five Minute Friday’ writers over at Kate Motaung’s place as we give our best on the topic of ‘Gift’. You’re very welcome to join in. Do hop on over and check out the other posts there. It’s amazing what a rich variety of thought is stirred by a one word prompt!

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Getting off the treadmill

Pausing PJ file image

‘Pausing’

In a frantic 24/7

treadmill life, it’s no heaven

to have stress, strain and strife

Because we gradually learn

how it makes us crash and burn

In order to still our body and mind

we may have to be cruel to be kind

Discover what helps or hinders us

as we step off the ‘always busy’ bus

And as we try to do our part

we’ll find the calm of the Father’s heart

is found in silence and in rest

In listening, pausing, seeking His best

Placing ourselves into His hands

Yielding our motives, goals and plans

Reading the wisdom in God’s word

Absorbing its truth seen and heard

Finding peace-pauses in each day

to simply be, breathe, and pray

Then stillness will soothe, fill and flood

our hearts with God’s peace and love

©JoyLenton2014

On a weary, M.E symptom-heavy day when I’ve spent several hours in bed, I’ve wished I could press ‘pause’ on the thoughts in my head. A body can be experiencing a degree of rest and ease while a mind spins like a hamster on a wheel. However, some thoughts are welcome ones and I am grateful to God for the unexpected gift of words to write and share on such a day as this.

Joining here with Kate and other ‘feel the fear and do it afraid, brave and bold, no worries about perfection’ writer friends for #fiveminutefriday You are very welcome and warmly encouraged to join in. This week’s prompt is:’Still’

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