resurrection: an unravelling and loosening to be set free

 

How easily we can fool ourselves into thinking we are free, while we live unaware of those invisible chains which still have a hold on us. We can be captured and captivated by the things of this world, enslaved by our own drives and desires, held captive by guilt, shame and pain. But we try to hide away from the anguish it brings.

Jesus offers us a remedy for a life of slavery to self and to sin, and hope for a need to be set free. His blood, His love, His goodness and grace all pave the way to an eternal destiny where freedom beckons with an invitation, whereby bending, bowing and brokenness are the means of entry.

Will we come? Will we heed the risen Saviour’s voice calling out across the sands of time? Will we seek to be loosed, like Lazarus, from physical and spiritual death?

Once a soul has been given to God, it will never be the same again. He will gradually, gently take and break, mould and make us anew, shaping us oh so tenderly into all we were always intended to be.

Being loosed

Lazarus became loosed from death

precursor to the cross to come

where death would lose

its final sting, and Christ

would rise soon from the tomb

 

A strange unravelling,unwinding of

bandaged limbs held fast in waxy cold

confines of morbidity, where life was lost

A warming, rushing pulse of life-breath

flooding through instead, as colour returns

and rigor mortis turns back to vigorous

 

And death’s steely-grip chains break at last

as our Saviour reveals The Way to be free

Now we have Hope and Life anew, as we

limp through our own resurrection days

blinking in unaccustomed Sun’s rays

 

We teeter on the edge, where death

lies as sinking abyss, yet across

its depths Christ’s firm footsteps tread

His arms spread wide to bring us Home

to eternal Life spent by his side

©joylenton2017

And once we have heeded the call to die to self so that we can rise to newness of life in Christ, we discover how, little by little, with Holy Spirit’s help, those things we were addicted to, or which held us fast, are slowly loosed.

An unravelling begins, as we become more alive on the inside, our hearts softened by God’s love, our souls more receptive and ready to be changed. Day by day, Christ’s resurrection glory and joy begin to overcome the darkness within. We are free… We can breathe… We can begin again…. Easter resurrection hope and  joy is ours for eternity.  Christ is risen indeed, hallelujah!!

Happy Easter, dear friend! May you rejoice in the glorious Hope we have in Christ.  🙂 ❤

joy in having a new identity in Christ

write31days-journeying-into-joy-new-identity

 

For way too many years I wore labels. Not the coveted designer kind, more the state-of-mind type people designate to us, or we happily pin on ourselves. Most of mine got attached in childhood and others soon followed suit.

I lost my true identity in a sea of shame, a ditch of guilt and a river of pain. It felt like my head was branded with words like ‘failure’, ‘not enough’, ‘mistake’, ‘unattractive’, ‘rejected’ and ‘unwanted’.  Maybe you’ve worn a few of them, too?

The thing is, unwanted labels can become so intrinsic to who we think we are, so familiar and comfortable we forget we’re wearing them. But they’re speaking lies, sending out false messages, keeping us bound, chained to the past.

Because the truth? We are God’s beloved children first and foremost, given a new identity when we come to faith in Christ. Our old filthy rags don’t fit who we are anymore, yet we cling to them like the latest must-have fashion accessory, and they still stick to us until we realise we can become free of them.

Our minds don’t have to be dressed in ill-fitting garments, because Jesus offers us His own robe of righteousness, a royal cloak and covering, perfectly fit for children of the King of kings.

In order to remember we are covered by Christ’s righteousness, mercy and grace, we have to make a conscious daily choice to put on the identifying clothing of love, joy, compassion and kindness.

We are not the weak saplings we see ourselves as, but strong oaks of righteousness, planted by God for the display of His splendour. Instead of the flawed, misapplied labels from the past, we now answer to words like ‘precious’, ‘honoured’, ‘beloved’ and ‘blessed’.

God sent me to announce the year of his grace — a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies — and to comfort all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory” ~Isaiah 61:1-3 – The Message

You offer me

I hunger for affirmation

and thirst for recognition

You offer me soul completion

 

I hunger for acceptance

and thirst for love, romance

You offer me sacred dance

 

I hunger for gainful employ

and thirst for things that destroy

You offer me deep inner joy

 

I hunger for life perfection

and thirst for new direction

You offer me resurrection

©JoyLenton2016

“You’ll get a brand new name

straight from the mouth of God..

No more will anyone call you Rejected…

You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight)…

Because God delights in you” ~ Isaiah 62:2-4 – The Message

Dear Father,

May we learn to live defined by who we are in Christ — your blessed, beautiful, cherished, joy-filled adopted children, sons and daughters of the living God, heirs with Jesus —rather then as unwanted, unloved, rejected, scorned orphans of our circumstances.

Help us to remember and rejoice in knowing we have been set free from the past, given a new name and identity. We are redeemed, restored, renewed, forgiven, accepted and made righteous because of your generous mercy and grace.

Thank you for the joy we have from our new identity in you. May we embrace it to the full and gladly share it with others.

Amen

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

Welcome to the final day of #31days of journeying into joy. Where did October go?! Thank you SO much for being here. I’ve really enjoyed sharing this series with you.

And I have a hunch this journey will be an ongoing faith exercise for you and me, a lifelong pilgrimage to the Father’s loving heart.

write31days-journeying-into-joy-identity-in-christ-prayer

Streams in the wasteland

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She steps lightly, blithely through deep waves of bluebells, inhaling piercing sweet fragrance, a clean sharp freshness clearing away all cobwebbed thoughts.

Invitation to breathe life and hope, new beginnings.

Opening herself to joy. Sensing the nearness of His Presence, hearing Him call her name.

He takes her hand and guides through a sea of snowdrops, dancing daffodils swaying in the breeze, birdsong heralding the pathway toward a rippling stream.

And there He invites her to come close, cupped hands at the ready to scoop out drops of water and drink freely.

She gulps until thirst is satiated. Her body coming alive with strength, energy, vibrancy.

Eyes opened to see beauty all around, her senses awash with awareness, awakening.

Feet moving of their own accord, skipping like a carefree child whose heart only has room for love, joy and laughter.

His voice calls soft, deep and warm as whispers on the wind. Notes vibrate, resonate and pulsate to her spirit.

For the first time in years she feels truly alive. There is no pain, no sadness or sorrow here ~  just sheer exuberance with her Lord.

Reality bites as the vision ends. She inhabits a body gripped by pain and wearied by weakness. Follows her Lord down endless drifting, dusty pathways with little signs of colour and light. Lacking refreshment. Desirous of change.

But on the inside? Here she sings. Here she celebrates. Here she is free. Walking the royal highway with the King of kings.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” ~ Psalm 16:11

prayer whisper image

Prayer Whisper:’Streams in the wasteland’

I am God of the now. Behold, I am doing a new thing. Can you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is yet to come. As you live more in day-tight compartments, so you will find Me being active and become aware of My Presence.

Begin each day anew. Let your heart fill with expectancy. Watch and see what I will do. Surrender your hopes, dreams and plans into My hands and trust Me for the outcome.

Continue to walk closely with Me and believe that I am preparing the path before you. Whether it is strewn with heavy boulders, littered with pebbles or smooth and easy, My hand is in it all. Many of My children spend years kicking dust and sand in the wilderness. I meet powerfully with them there. Those years are never wasted, nor as bleak and barren as they seem.

Much fruit develops in arid places when you walk closely with Me. These are growing times, spaces and places in your life. Periods to lie fallow while I prepare you for the next step.

May work cannot be rushed. Trust Me to know what I am doing and what I will accomplish in you. A life surrendered to Me is a beautiful thing to bring praise and glory to My Name. And when you emerge out the other side of your valley I will bring you into a green and spacious place, an area of influence and renewed purpose.

Continue to trust and obey as you have extra zest in your step. Do not forget the Lord your God who led you by the hand and kept you safe. Remaining by My side is vital to receive impartation and anointing for today and maintain a heart at rest and peace in Me.”

Grace crumbs:a vision of hope and encouragement, words flowing again, focus and energy to write them here, answered prayer, sensing God’s presence ~  #1000gifts

Linking here with Nacole for #concretewords This week’s prompt is ‘path’ 

And with Jennifer and Holley

prayer whisper ~ streams in the wasteland

In transition

We’re in a season of change.

Air stirs with sound familiar yet different. It’s like our ears remember the refrain but it doesn’t quite sound the same.

We’ve been laying fallow. Now we sense it is time to move forward.

Stretch limbs to sun, welcome warmth on upturned face, breathe easy.

New life springs forth from dead and dying. Darkness gives way to Light.

We see it in plant life. Sap surges and vitality rises from decay.

It is mirrored in our souls.

Each day is opportunity to start again.

Embrace change; embrace life, hope, healing, growth to come.

Yet.. while we waken, stir inwardly; while we make space for new, there is a growing pain.

Skin  cracks under the weight of it. Joints protest. Habits die hard and dig deeper.

Hope can fail us and discouragement sit heavy when we focus more on where we are now rather than where we can be.

We’re in transition from moth to butterfly and our souls ache to fly free.

In time, we will.

Hang in there, friend. There’s a hand waiting, reaching for yours, holding you safe as you wobble.

God has got you. And He’ll see you through every painful process of becoming all He intends you to be.

‘Transition’

You feel as if

you stand on the edge

of the abyss

tottering forward

on the precipice

I see you

as seed fallen

to the ground

ready to yield

its abounding harvest

Those things

which root you

to the earth

those pains

are pangs of new birth

You’re in a state

of transition

where you wait in position

as I ready to bring forth

hope of seeing Spring

I am training

you in love

before the raining

of my gifting

pours from heaven above

©JoyLenton2014

While we wait God is working on our behalf. We are being prepared for a destiny with an eternal perspective.

Keep trusting and believing. You are precious to Him . And though it may not look or feel like it yet ~ His timing is perfect.

*Bird photo credit:Image used courtesy of Kathy Snow

 

Joining here with Holley and other encouraging friends as we seek to offer #coffeeforyourheart

Also with Jennifer for #tellhisstory and with Lyli for #thoughtprovokingthursday

New arrival

Like most families, we are excited to welcome a new arrival. Our first grandchild arrived only a couple of days ago.

And I have been inspired to pen a poem in honour of his birth.

He has already had one dedicated to him in the womb on ‘Words of Joy’.

This new life will bring total change and transformation to that of his parents.

There is serious adjustment to be made to become a family rather than a couple.

Nine months have been spent eagerly anticipating this moment.

Yet nothing  fully prepares you to meet and greet a baby into your world.

This is life of their life. Flesh of their flesh. And a unique and special person all in his own right.

Part of our family and a new member of the family of God.

Each child is created and formed in the womb by His mighty hand.

To be celebrated. Enjoyed. Loved. Nurtured and protected.

Welcome, little one! We are delighted to celebrate your safe arrival and look forward to getting to know you.

‘Arrival’

You arrive ~

with eyes screwed tight

against sound and sight

until you brave and blink

your way

into the brightness

of the light

Discerning

in the noise around

that dear, familiar sound

of voices

who have been near

accompanying you on

your journey here

For nine long months

you floated in

a darker

more enclosing space,

now limbs flex freely

within

a very different place

And arms reach out

to circle you about

with safe protection

as you snuggle close

to those who love you most

and whose lives

you share

Falling back to slumber deep

after nuzzling to be fed

you rest and sleep

growing strong inside

for all the things you’ll need

to do in days stretching

long ahead

©JoyLenton2013

#mondaymusings ~ Change

Sharp side of life

It’s been the worst of times and the best of times.

Recent weeks have been a period of great turmoil when it felt like everything that could be shaken was being shaken.

The past I thought dead and buried in memory rose up to greet me with renewed darkness and pain.

The present brought challenge and a pressing need for change I didn’t feel ready for.

Nothing felt safe anymore.

My heart was exposed.

Raw. Wounded. Hurting.

I wrote the poem below to express how it felt.

Maybe you can relate to it too.

Shards

Waterfall of rain

sheets hard and fast

steady on pane

with resounding drum

as I wall up my heart

with frame of glass

encasing erratic thrum

ready to part

and shatter all content within

leaving me raw

exposed, bleeding

vulnerability

all over the place

pain stabbed deep

wounded, lanced

shards sharp

piercing steep

in fiery dance of fury

on softness

exposing traces of all

kept hidden over time

and years

when nothing hurtful

allowed entry in this space

and vale of tears

©JoyLenton2013

Yet…there was a new surge of life within as the frame of my thinking shattered.

The old ways had to give way to deep excavation, renovation, rebuilding and renewal.

Peace and purpose grew from pain.

Shattered life made safe by God’s continual presence.

And Christ bled vulnerable for me and you.

He suffered deep dark pains within so that we could be recipients of His love.

There is nothing we go through that is a mystery to God.

He wants to re-write our history in the light of His grace.

His arms are ready to catch His broken child.

God alone can make us whole again.

Are you willing to offer Him your brokenness in exchange for His desires for you?

I know I can trust no other to mend me fully and set me on the right path again.

Veiling and revealing

Autumn is a season where we begin to experience a shift-change in our natural environment. Leaves take on a brilliant kaleidoscope hue; they glow as invitingly as the open fires we long to huddle over. Its colours warm our eyes and hearts. Its mists breathe out mystery. Its transience lends itself to reflection. For it’s a portent of death and dying with leaves falling and flowers losing their bloom. It lends itself well to poetic ponderings. The poem below arose at such a time.

Veiled

Sweeping across the veils of loneliness and despair

beautiful in its death

Autumn mists cling hopefully to me

a season’s sea-changing tidal broom

But do I rather cling to them

sensing reflections of death ~ my death

as I cling to you with crying need

unheeding the shattered veils

of our past

and the  reborn curtains

cutting across our future

We may rejoice in the untold beauty

that exists

now within a leaf

now within us two

as Autumn eclipses our moods

but decay stands

hoveringly with splendour

a quiet presence but always there

I stand as one amazed

and yet aware

watching this poem falling

into my mind and tumbling

rudely into yours

with no more grace than I possess

Receive it into your heart

for it was written for the deep corners

and already lay

embedded there before

it was begun

©JoyLenton2013

In plant life, dying is a precursor to new life springing forth in time to come. In human life, we can learn to die to selfishness and self-preoccupation as we allow God’s gift of new life in Christ to take root. If we hold on to a life of personal gain and are not prepared to embrace change, then we risk becoming destroyed on the inside – even as we give every appearance of being alive. Embracing the life offered us in Christ means hope, growth, change and potential for today and all the days yet to come.