begin: for when you can’t quite hit the new year running

begin - for when you can't quite hit the new year running - @poetryjoy.com

Dear reader, I’m curious about something: did you hit the new year running, eagerly embracing resolutions, ready for the new and the next, planning and pushing ahead to your heart’s content? If so, that’s great and I rather envy you. 😏

Or are you more like me: crawling on your knees, flattened with illness and fatigue, and sighing because January finds you less than fit and able? The latter? Please raise  or vaguely wave your weary arm in my direction. It’s good to know we’re not alone.

For years, without fail, I’ve always succumbed to flu or a heavy cold before the Christmas and New Year celebrations are over. Each January I’m hugging the duvet, coughing into my pillow and barely surfacing.

Sadly it’s not due to enjoying myself, but because I have a faulty, inefficient immune system that easily succumbs to viruses and overexertion of any kind. I keep hoping things will improve. But they haven’t. Not yet.

Experience has taught me to listen and act on the information I hear from my depleted body. Namely to rest and take care of myself. Because trying to press on in the face of increasing debility has never been a good plan for me. It only exacerbates my pre-existing chronic conditions.

One thing that never stops being active and running like a mad thing is my mind, even when my body stills due to increased sickness. Yours too, perhaps? It chunters on like it’s got something really important to process, while my weakened body is trying to shush it into silent, restful submission.

begin - god replenishes, restores and revives quote (c)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

And I’ve been mulling over what to write. How do we begin again when we’re feeling lethargic, muddy-headed or uninspired? The wonder is that whenever our well, our energy, inspiration or abilities run dry, we only need to ask and God replenishes, restores and revives our limited supplies. And we can begin again with Him any time we need to.

The poem below came to me as I was resting. May it speak to all who are in the throes of illness or lack creative inspiration. I’m also rejoicing that my current ailment seems to be more of a persistent cold than full-blown flu this time. Hooray! Progress!

Writer’s woes

I want to begin
make a mark on this page
this year
on the lives of others
with my thoughts and words

I don’t know how
to begin to write a thing
without assistance
because my brain is muffled
and my thoughts are befuddled

I am uncertain
wondering how to choose
what will speak
louder than my husky voice
of love and grace, hope and faith

in the end
all I have is willing hands
empty though they be
just waiting to be filled
before a drop can be spilled

holy whispers
encourage me to start
right where I am
with surrender, trust and truth
as inspiration filters through
© joylenton

begin - writer's woes poem excerpt - new year (c)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Praise God for gifting this snuffly writer with something to say when she felt empty! Hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. 😉 Do let me know how you are, especially if you’re also below par, and we can pray for one another.

Never forget that rest, recovery and healing are vital soul and body work. You and I might begin this year slow like tortoises but we can still end strong by the grace of God. With love and virtual (germ-free) hugs to you. xo 💜

on being a willing, welcoming host for Christ

bearing-christ-within-pj

 

Each year is pregnant with possibility, holds portent of promise, hope of potential and opportunity to begin again. It’s a wonderful reminder of the daily grace, mercy and forgiveness which God offers us as we place our faith and trust in Him.

My hope and prayer is to host Christ well and make Him manifest, to be a woman who radiates His living presence. As broken people we feel we do that so imperfectly, yet those very weak spots, cracks and crevices in our lives are where His light leaks out most to others, often invisibly to us.

Although we may have moved past Christmas and on into the welcome embrace a new year can bring us, we need never move away from a willingness to make space for God on a daily basis, or a desire to seek after Him and offer Him a warm welcome, a home in our hearts and lives.

May we host Him well. May we be people of the cross who live and love well. May we shine God’s light into every dark corner of this world, as we willingly share His love and grace. May we be Christ’s ambassadors and light bearers, as we pour ourselves out in the service of others. May we appreciate the enormous privilege of bearing Holy Spirit within.

Bearing Christ within

Mary became overshadowed by your

Spirit, a willing host for Holy Ghost

 

How willing am I to bear Christ within

to bring him forth at just the right time

 

to let his Light shine out strong

to reveal how he belongs to all

and I am but a carrier of grace

 

whose mission is to magnify

his Name in each and every place?

 

Lord, help me to host you well

to carry you with tender care

 

to hold onto bright Hope within

and marvel anew at the way you

bore our sin, to seek to be

 

a lowly servant on the earth

if I might only grant you birth

 

and let you loose to live in me

with life abundant, rich and free

©joylenton

bearing-christ-within-poem

 

Happy New Year to you, dear reader and friend! Let’s celebrate all God has done for us. May you be blessed beyond your expectations and imagination in the days and months ahead.

I appreciate you so much. Thank you for being here. I look forward to sharing more poetic reflections with you soon. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. God be with you.

happy-new-year-greeting-2017-pj

hope: making space for the new

hope-door-to-a-new-year-pj

 

We’re at the threshold, waiting on the doorstep, ready to be invited in. Will the welcome be warm? Will we find out heart’s true home, or have our deepest longings met? We hope for more than seems humanly possible, and that’s because we need divine assistance to see us through.

Can we taste the potential, the opening and offering a new year brings? Are our goals achievable? I’m not sure…. and maybe that very uncertainty is what helps give birth to hopes and dreams. Maybe we have to yearn enough to break open a desire which yields to decision, drive and determination.

God is on the other side of the not yet. He hovers in the now and the next. We sense tantalising glimpses of His presence, like a faint mist concealing and revealing what lies beyond our comprehension.

We’re on the boundary, the cross-over point that points the way to the unknown. Will we trust an unknown future to a known God? How far does our faith stretch?

corrie-ten-boom-quote-hope-new-year-pj

 

An approaching year holds more questions than answers, requiring us to rest in God-given grace and discover courage enough to live into the answers to come. As we do so, we trust that God walks with us, accompanies every step we take and leads us slowly onward to our next destination.

Grope for Hope

In liminal space

I grope for eternal Hope

that makes me feel safe

haiku-grope-for-hope

 

Making space

Making space for grace

we become renewed, washed clean

and feel whole again

haiku-making-space

 

New Year

A blank page, clean slate

with empty space to create

Feel free to write on

haiku-new-year

 

These poems have been inspired by this week’s haiku challenge prompt of ‘Feel&Space’ initiated by poet master Ronovan of Ronovan Writes. Just click on the links to discover how it all came about and to join in here.

I tend to view a new year with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, hope mingled with concern and a confident expectation of resting in God’s grace, come what may. While I prayerfully consider my #oneword365 for 2017, I would love to hear how you anticipate the new year. What do you sense the months ahead may hold for you or be inviting you to do?