candle: love burns in our hearts with faith and hope #thedailyhaiku 18

 

It’s all too easy to take each other for granted in relationships, isn’t it? Become like comfortable furniture to one another. Dependable and reliable, or so we hope. Desire, mingled with love, flickers like a faltering candle, setting chilly hearts aflame once more.

Our task is to nurture each tiny spark, watch to see that the candle doesn’t die out, remain vigilant in not taking one another for granted, whether we’re a long married couple, just setting out together, bringing up a family or going solo for a while.

Love and relationships need to be given priority, so that the candle flame of love doesn’t blow out with every breeze that blows, get snuffed out by an open window to the world (whereby extraneous people get invited in) caught in the crossfire of communication failure, lashed by harsh winds of confrontation, stubbed out in anger or left to die a slow death of neglect instead.

How is that achieved? Not with our fickle hearts or in our own limited strength alone. It takes heavenly resources to stoke the fires of love in our wayward hearts and maintain its heat through years of trouble and toil. It takes grace and guts, grit and sheer determination to rise above the emotional pain we are in and that which we unwittingly inflict on one another.

It takes faith and patience, perseverance, endurance and an ability to forgive again and again and again. It takes a willingness to admit we are wrong and an ability to talk things through, rather than pretend everything is fine. Honesty is a top priority. Only God can grant us these graces to love one another well, plant His pure, unconditional Love in our hearts and keep it alive to the end of time.

heat-sealed

it’s scabby with wax
this candle burning brightly
heat-sealed in our hearts
©joylenton

**Hi, if you’re new around here, welcome to my #write31days series of the daily haiku. To catch up you can access the rest of the posts here. A big grateful hug to all who have been following so far. This weary woman applauds you. We’re on the home straight, friends!** 🙂 

Reflections of grace

sunset reflection

Even as we live out our unexceptional, hum-drum, wondrous lives we are reflections of God’s grace, mirrors of His glory.

It’s an awesome calling for every blood-bought son and daughter.

And an amazing privilege.

Most of the time we’re oblivious to the impact we have on others, unaware of  how much God may be using us to be light and salt in a needy world.

Perhaps that’s just as well.

Pride lurks close to our hearts and would have a field day if it saw the quiet, unseen influence we are having.

But the wonder of it all is how our dim light still reflects God’s glory, seen best in our faulty and flawed brokenness, our wounded lives.

He pours out of whatever crack or crevice we provide.

The more we feel unworthy, the more we are prospective channels of grace.

A willing, receptive heart is all He asks for.

A surrendered spirit.

A set apart soul.

And in all the 40 years I’ve been married to my beloved, I have seen him mirror God’s love to me time without number.

Because he loves as openly and unconditionally as any man can.

He always believes for the best, hopes for better, forgives me over and over again.

Sees portent of promise and potential in me long before it creeps into my consciousness or actions.

He makes allowances for all I am and breathing space for all I’m still becoming.

I still struggle to see myself as he sees me, rather as I so often fail to see myself as I fully am In Christ.

But I’m learning – to accept his love, believe in his (somewhat biased) perspective and relax into its promise.

The poem below appears in the anniversary card I’ll be giving to him this Sunday morning.

Reflections

In your eyes I see

reflections of all

I truly long to be

A woman of wisdom

A thing of joy and beauty

A person of great worth

And in our marriage unity

we reflect the complexity

of the 3 strand cord

A blessed trinity

A depth of love

A mirroring of God

Earth stands in awe

of holy intimacy

©JoyLenton2015

reflections poem pin PJ

Being the beloved

being the beloved PJ pin

Our insecure hearts seek signs of belonging.

Our minds ache for reassurance.

Our bodies seek to express love to others.

And when I am held in my beloved’s embrace, the inner turmoil melts away.

Concerns may sit heavy but they become lighter for being shared silently.

As he reaches for me I feel wanted, loved, cherished, accepted just as I am.

I can finally be fully myself with this man who knows me so well, who has partnered me for almost 40 years.

Words become unnecessary as we lean into one another. We speak each other’s language now.

Marriage made us as one and we remain so, even as life’s challenges and painful circumstances have tried to pull us apart.

Troubles are shared with kisses. Joy is magnified in the melding, in the overcoming, in the giving and receiving.

And in these heart to heart, soul to soul embraces we are reminded of the way God is continually holding us safe and pouring His unconditional love out upon us.

Because this love of ours has been sustained solely by His grace, nurtured by holy fire, stuck fast by faith.

We love because He first loves us. He is our pattern and example. The glue in this marriage.

And His arms of love never grow weary. We will always be welcome there.

God rejoices when we learn how to accept His love and live in the knowledge of being the beloved.

Arms of Love

Arms of love encircle me

holding secure and steady

as I finally exhale, release

breathe soft and calm

feeling prepared and ready

to accept and believe

hear and receive

that as beloved arms

encompass round

God’s Spirit hovers

without a sound, yet

speaking things He wants

to urgently impart

into the very depths

of my insecure heart

saying, “You are safe; you are loved

You are beautiful; you are enough

You are free – just trust in me”

©JoyLenton2014

love WoJ + PJ

Youth blooms eternal

listening PJ file image

Music speaks into the air.

We sway soft, holding one another close, watching years roll away.

Laughter erupts and we collapse onto the sofa.

I sit on his knee and we kiss.

I see a gleam in the eyes of this man I’ve known and loved since forever.

Youth blooms eternal in a heart that loves. Age is no barrier.

We warm ourselves by its fire, persuade its embers into life again, coax the coals.

Others pay attention, attracted like moth to flame, desiring the heat of it.

Although our human love is but a poor, pale shadow of God’s love, it glows with hint and suggestion of His radiance.

Hearts hungry for love sense a longing echoing in their own souls.

And as my beloved and I come closer toward a significant wedding anniversary, we do so with humble gratitude, awe and wonder.

Because this love we’ve been given, shared soul deep, fought hard to retain over years of fears and tears, has survived against the odds and never lost its fire and fervour.

So I make no apology for posting about love this month as I reflect on the gift we’ve been given and the years shared.

Here’s the first small offering… a potential poem for my forthcoming anthology?.. You can decide.

Watching Muse
We’re watching Muse on the TV
our voices joining in
with the melody
in our own idiosyncratic
cracked and rusty way
And it doesn’t matter that
I’m applying your Parkinson patch
as we dance clumsily as one
or that I sway uneasily
on these weak, arthritic knees
What matters is the unleashed
joy as giggles erupt free
and we clutch one another
in imperfect harmony
with a youthful abandon
and familiar, ancient ease
©JoyLenton2015

couple dancing

Mosaic of a marriage

mosaic image for PJ mosaic of a marriage

 

Nobody can fully appreciate or understand the dynamics, anatomy and intricacies of a marriage, apart from the couple intimately involved in it.

And even then, much remains a holy mystery.

We are husband and wife, friends and lovers joined together in union and communion with God and one another.

Two become one in mind, body, soul and spirit in a divine alchemy of grace.

My marriage is heavily grace-dependent.

My background, experiences and personal problems have gradually made me someone other than the relatively carefree young woman I used to be.

As I’ve tried to work through a legacy of dysfunctional family life, childhood abuse, guilt and shame, (and the mental health breakdown they gave me) the one linked inextricably with me has also lived through it all.

Now, after more than 20 years of having M.E and chronic illness, my ability to be the wife he needs and wants is hampered further still.

Though we have struggled a great deal (and continue to do so), some things shine out bright and clear as I look back over the years:

Love will always find a way where there seems to be no way.

Faith can endure all things if it’s faith rooted in God and His sustaining power.

Hope may wither but it rarely dies.

Joy comes in unexpected places and circumstances.

Grace is a prerequisite for a godly life and marriage.

God gives us all we’ll ever need ~ even if we rarely have all we want.

In musing on these things over the last few days it is no great surprise that my mind turned to this territory to write about today.

And as I do so, I rejoice over the masterpiece God is creating out of the messy mosaic of my life and marriage.

‘Mosaic of a marriage’

Nothing in our courtship could have prepared

our youthful, hopeful, joy-filled hearts

for the prolonged grief and pain we’ve shared

or the need for so many fresh starts

Nothing in my mind could have foreseen

how very hard and challenging

living with me would have been

more your worst nightmare than dream

For we have been tried and tested

as gold goes through the fire

refined, processed and sifted

retaining heat, passion and desire

Nothing I can say will make up

for numerous ways I’ve let you down

You’ve had a bitter pill to swallow

gaining a face wreathed with frowns

But we, who are nothing without

the sustaining power of God

have finally made Something

of this life and path we’ve trod

Given grace from the One

who pours out His love every day

Given faith to persevere

when nothing’s gone our way

So I love you imperfectly

just as I am

and you’ve accepted my offering

a meagre nothing to the feelings

found within my man

Thank God for new beginnings

Praise Him for being true

Give Him the glory for making

faithful, if faltering, lovers

out of me and you

©JoyLenton2014

Joining with Lisa-Jo for #fiveminutefriday (yes, I ran over time!) ~ this week’s prompt is:‘Nothing’. You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in. Linking also with Mel and Laura

You can read more about how the issues above have affected my marriage in this post from Words of Joy.

I share openly in the hope of encouraging others to know they can live with and rise above their circumstances by the grace of God.

mosaic of a marriage file image on PJ pin