shine: how we can shine like water to the thirsty

 

When we read about the way Jesus was crushed for our sin, made weak for our sake, bled freely from myriad wounds, suffered a thorn-pierced brow and died an agonising death nailed to a cross, do you ever wonder just what that has to do with you and me? My answer is: Everything.

Because the incarnation of Christ reveals just how much God identifies with all of us in our broken human condition. Jesus’ sacrificial death holds huge significance for mankind. While taking human flesh and living like one of us, He was, is and ever more shall be the One and only Son of God.

Death could not hold Him captive.  He arose from the grave in resurrection glory. Made heroes out of fearful disciples. Our history shifted to become His Story. During this season of Lent, God’s Holy Light can seem shielded at first, dimmed by the dark stain of our sin, not quite ready to shine in full wattage until we reach the end of the Easter story and Christ’s glorious resurrection to come.

But for those  of us who live in the here and now reality of the resurrection with our faith rooted in Jesus and our lives as living testimony, whether we’re aware of it or not, a constant glow of grace lights up our hearts and floods our thirsty souls like the  ever-flowing Living Water it actually is.

Shine like water

The Rock must be crushed
and spring red life, like rust
beneath an enormous forest
Let it blow cool purple
and light of I AM will
shine like water in us all
© joylenton

 

Jesus shines on in our hearts, radiating out of our broken cracks and crevices, leaking His love to the world at large. The fruit of Christ’s sacrifice is eternal life, hope, joy and peace, as grace gifts given to us when Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts. They are gifts we get to savour here and now and enjoy to the full in the life to come.

Deep-seeded peace

Our intuition has grown
fertile-fresh, sweet and greener
from the fruit of happy peace
breathing sanctuary to nature
through quiet night murmurs
of secret breeze rustle song, as
long and deep as seed would be
© joylenton

from dawn to dusk God shouts out his love for us

 

I often witness sunsets but rarely wake early enough to see in the dawn. When I do, it’s always with breath-held awe. Few other sights grant us such a glorious reminder of God’s hand at work, as He whispers to the sun to “do it again!”, delighting in giving us the gift of one more day.

If we appreciate the created world, take time to observe with our senses alive, we become participators in one of the greatest shows on earth. From dawn to dusk, God is shouting out His love for us, urging His bleary-eyed children to wake up and smell the potential wrapped up in this divine offering from heaven above.

As someone who fails to wake (or sleep) well in the natural, I need all the supernatural assistance I can get, (plus coffee!) to enliven me from the inside out. Even if it takes until noon, it’s still a good practice to pause, breathe, sit quietly, rest and absorb life outside a window before getting too embroiled in tasks.

Just this afternoon, I saw a beautiful little bird in the garden, who swiftly evaded my rather slow attempts to pin her down with my camera, sad to say… maybe another day. Such unexpected sights set our hearts alight. And people-watching is often a favoured (natural?) activity for writers.  🙂

Maybe as we covertly watch those around us, we can praise God for creating this person and that, pray for them as they pass us by, try to read the inner ache and longing in their eyes, seek to remember how God lovingly crafted each one— including those we may not actually like very much!

Nature-watch

Behold, bright spring dawn shines frosty-quiet, moist

and cold—above which moon withers soft, at rest

Gentle insect walk murmurs deep, secret, season peace

sweet like forest air poetry, and every fresh flower

tendril will thrive between stony rock-moss vine

And we nature-watch, rooted in this sacred world

©joylenton2017

 

When we do stop and look outside, or take a walk if we are able, we find our souls coming alive to the beauty on our doorstep and beyond, relaxing in the midst of God’s creation, becoming freer on the inside as we open ourselves to a keen-eyed awareness affecting  heart and soul.

Life is always overshadowed by the thought of death, but that shouldn’t stop us from appreciating the here and now and letting tantalising images of eternity play in our minds instead…

Like petals whisper

Life sings sweetly, like petals whisper smooth over

skin, but some say crush of death is like cool rain,

shadow-mist symphony—it swims through our fingers

Together, we sit and watch sun’s beauty soaring hot and

shining above the blue, as love recalls a sad dream

©joylenton2017

life: life as wild-fire dance and sacred sky embrace

 

How to describe life in all its fullness? There is too much to easily encompass in a snappy line or two, such is the breadth and depth of human existence. Though Scripture reminds us that our lives here are short, but a breath, mist in the ether, dissipating vapour disappearing fast like sand in an hourglass.

And though we are all destined for dusty death, during our earthy, clay-cracked days we can become enlivened on the inside by God’s amazing grace. Then we begin to discover there is so much more to this life than we ever knew before.

In the magnetic poetry below, I am seeing life as fresh, green, joyful, ultimately transitory but full of bright potential, especially when our hearts have been warmed by the love of God. We each leave a legacy, a mark on the world, an ache in another’s heart. Even if family didn’t welcome our arrival, our existence counts for something, part of an eternal plan before we ever began.

We are here to know and love God, find fulfilment in His will for us and seek our best joy in being united with Him. We are here to love and support one another, become soul companions on the journey we are all making toward wholeness and healing.

Life’s like…

Life’s like a shady green stone which murmurs

Listen to it falling, blanketed soft by earth

A soul must feel wild sun-love, thrive and breathe,

grow light, dawn-bright—but soon become moss-cold

as sweet river harmony gives long rest stroll

©joylenton2017

 

A sacred sky embrace

I wake to the joy of a wild-fire dance,

devour warm rhythm of flowers on grass,

picture an eternity with God-breathed poetry

surrounding me like a sacred sky embrace

and words melting in cloud-kissed breeze

©joylenton2017

 

There is a dark shadow hanging over all our days, and a bright white Light guiding us Home to our heavenly Father’s throne. We can look forward to a time when sorrow, sickness and pain are but a distant memory, tears will spring from a joyful, thankful heart and our problems are in the past.

We will sing, laugh, dance, and live more exuberantly than ever before when we’re finally experiencing the fullness of the Kingdom of God, where we were always meant to belong. It is where the poetic promises of Scripture will be lived out to the full, and what gives us Hope in the here and now, while we struggle and suffer under life’s dark clouds.

How do you view your life here? What gives you hope for the future? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  🙂

bucolic: God grants us an expanded vista with eyes of faith

 

We’re en route to visit our elder son and his wife. And I’m this mad woman passenger, happily snapping scenes out the car window, to the amusement of my husband and annoyance of other motorists, no doubt.

What passes like an oh so familiar blur for others is a source of endless fascination for me. I rarely travel any distance, due to fatigue and pain, and this is less than an hour’s duration. But I’m greedily drinking in the view, like a thirsty woman deprived of liquid refreshment.

Being housebound by M.E and chronic illness can feel confining at times, so when I have an opportunity to view a broader expanse of sky, an accumulation of cumulus, flash of greenery and a bright yellow beam of rapeseed, then I lap it up, enthralled by the beauty all around me, lush with loveliness. Though I cannot deny the way that my life of stillness, retreat and rest speaks volumes to me too.

When we walk with the Lord through challenging soul night-watches, we learn a little bit more about how lovingly He inhabits each moment, light or dark as it may be. We begin to have deeper discernment of God’s thoughts and ways, as we surrender our drives, desires and frustrations to Him and open our eyes to the sheer wonder of His glorious presence with us, rendering the mundane beautiful.

Gently bucolic

Earth’s verdant garden is gently bucolic,

blooming like Eden, with dawn love-light

But in life’s dark night-watch season, our

pure, full moon will almost wither, and

intuition blossom, as we wander long there

©joylenton2017

 

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me’, even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You” ~ Psalms 138: 11-12 NKJV

Life may try to steal our hope and joy, and external beauty may wither and wane, but we always have Hope when we turn to our loving Father God. He invites us into an eternal, sacred dance, a deeper exploration of joy than we’ve ever known before and a desire to follow Him in the here and now, linking hands and hearts across the universe.

Exploring joy

My broken self is a haunted prisoner

of dark poison secrets—heart of glass

But I wake from decay and embrace my

Father. We dance, celebrate with a kiss

and sail this perfumed ocean universe,

exploring joy like a lively velvet star

©joylenton2017

storm: what to do while looking for a break in the clouds

 

I’m a curled comma, crouched under the duvet, waiting for the storm to pass. Hoping it will be short-lived—relentless, sharp and heavy as it is. This is no ordinary storm, though it’s physical enough.

It’s a dark cloud covering raining down weariness, weakness, profound fatigue, swirling brain fog and constant pain. Bolts of lightning shoot through muscle and bone like fiery darts, making me horribly aware of my fragile frame and frail humanity, and how it hurts so easily.

Maybe you’ve got some storm clouds hovering over you? They could be physical, financial, emotional or relational. Perhaps you, too, are waiting for the weather of your circumstances to improve and longing for those dark clouds to give way to sunshine again.

It is said that every cloud has a silver lining, and that we can learn to dance in the rain. Optimism is a wonderful thing, but there are days and seasons when we lack the wherewithal to stay positive. What then?

We can take comfort from having a God who walks on water, as Master and Lord of any storm we may encounter. He invites us to come, look up and keep our eyes on Him, listen to His voice above the surging din, ignore waves rising and our fear of drowning, and confidently reach out for His hand instead.

Healing air of Home

When dark nights haunt a good morning

let’s dance slow to life’s hot fire and

picture a young, green universe, like velvet

breath-kiss, embracing peace with angel breeze

See how healing air of Home bleeds open

like sacred ocean smile—and here we fly

©joylenton2017

 

Sometimes the storms are literal. Many a dramatic summer drenching from years ago springs to mind, where we had to urgently gather our belongings and hurry off  the beach, as thunder and lightning crashed above our heads and some brave souls stayed in the sea! Though thirsty land and plants welcome each refreshing drop from heaven.

Lively water music

Summer beauty is so black-dress gorgeous

as purple petal rain storm rips through

garden’s elaborate gown like mad language

and lies languid as drooling death—beating

time with lively water music—as sun’s hot

tongue still sits and sings over our skin

©joylenton2017

 

Life’s sudden squalls and storms begin to dissipate as we yield to God’s free-flowing river of grace, His vast ocean of love and continual rivulets of peace. In the surrender of resting prayer we are given means to cope and rise above it all.

And in the remembrance of God’s goodness toward us, we have resources for  the stormy days ahead, while we look for a break in the clouds today.

alive: awakening to signs of resurrection hope

 

Spring issues us with an invitation to come alive. Winter’s hibernation slumber is over. it’s time to embrace the new and the next. But are we ready? It’s all too easy to become lethargic.

Though our mind and body may protest, feeling like we’re being tugged into a season we’re ill-prepared for, we all need a holy prod sometimes to remind us how to come alive to God, especially while we walk this Lenten pathway.

Resurrection life awaits us with the dawn of each new day. Every moment is an opportunity to engage with the holy. Every hour can speak out wonder for souls alive enough on the inside to be alert to God’s continual presence with us.

I have been thinking along these lines for my magnetic poetry offerings today, because I long for sufficient sensitivity to sense earth stirring, sap rising and God’s new life being reborn in me as I look to Him to provide for all my needs, and as I seek the eternal sunshine wonder of His glorious face each day.

Alive like wild rain

Follow ancient path’s water cycle

Stroll soft and long; climb quietly

and breathe pure, soul-sweet spring

air above daffodil-deep sanctuary

Rest and feel alive like wild rain

blanketing grass with its wet shade

©joylenton

 

Slow cloud joy

Here they devour slow cloud joy in

eternity’s liquid night-drink sky, and

wake—laughing soft—with the morning

like velvet prisoner’s in poetry’s home

as God gives His sacred time picture

of life’s warm and wild secret colours

©joylenton

 

Maybe we can learn to love our everyday, ordinary lives, and come alive to possibility and potential in the midst of pain and problems. Just as we marvel over spring flowers emerging from dusty, barren ground, we can watch those things we felt were dying or dead suddenly regain new shoots of life before our very eyes.

Eyes of faith see beyond the temporary and ache to experience the eternal in the temporal, the profound in the prosaic. Those with resurrection Hope etched into their souls learn to be aware and willing to receive the next thing God has planned for them.

We can have hope because God’s resurrection life pulses through our veins, rendering the ordinary mundane a work of extraordinary art and grace. Will you join me in deliberately looking for signs of resurrection life within and without and focusing on what is most alive in us in this season?

ancient: God’s ever-new and ancient ways threading through our days

 

We live, survive and thrive within love’s grasp—the tender canopy holding us gently all our days—and rest in God’s safe, secure  arms. Love is the precursor of our existence, planned since the beginning of time, as Holy Love smiled on our arrival, our life finally unfolding before His very eyes.

God offers us an ancient love walk: a swift slide through seasons and sensations, a slow stroll of learning His ways in the fires of adversity and realms of experience, and a walk of stumbling faith over dusty, wilderness pathways and rocky terrain.

We become birthed into the new of our life’s beginning. We are offered a new birth in Christ as a fresh beginning, a clean slate start for our messed up lives and broken hearts. Because the ancient patterning from Eden still lingers in our DNA.

We are meant for more than this life can offer or convey. Though sin rules and reigns in hearts far from God, His desire is for all of us to return to our pre-Fall state by His goodness and grace, His mercy and forgiveness in Christ. And to get to know His wonderful love, its wise, ever-new and ancient ways threading through our earthly days.

On this, the first day of spring, my magnetic poetry thoughts have taken a walk into the heady days of summer and stretched into our life’s dependence on God…

Ancient love walk

A bee’s intuition is to stroll

insect-gentle and soft over blossom,

like an ancient nature love walk

above beautiful summer flowers; and

behold full, deep, moist spring beneath,

thriving like life’s thick, green river

vine wanders wildly in my soul

©joylenton2017

 

We once walked with God as naturally as we might accompany a good friend—relaxed, happy and chatting easily together. Now we dream hopefully, long to recapture better days, and have a deep soul yearning for our Edenic state, where we lived and walked freely, bathed in Love’s continual light.

Our urge to dream

When we recall our urge to dream,

live in love’s light and elaborate

on life’s bare beauty, let’s sit

together here and whisper of

summer swims and cool sea spray,

beating sweet as music mist

on skin, shining fast like a

thousand tiny water tongues

©joylenton2017