build: having a strong foundation and fortification of faith

build - having a strong foundation and fortification of faith (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Maybe it’s not too surprising to be wistfully thinking of summer when a wintry wind is howling outside your window and rain sweeps like stiff  brushstrokes against the pane. Or to be caught up in savouring sunny memories at a stage in life when they feel far more precious than before.

God has a wonderful way of infiltrating the harsh, wintry aspects of our days with the summer-bright laser beam of His light and love, His goodness and grace. Then the bleak emptiness, weariness, weakness or pain we might be experiencing seem to lessen a little, as we absorb the warmth of God’s presence in our hearts.

It begins to thaw our cold souls and infuse hope into our hurting places. Because there is always opportunity to start again, to rebuild, at least in how we might perceive our situations. We can build a new foundation any time we need to, aided by God’s mercy and grace, and with His help and equipping.

I was musing on a memory when I wrote the poem below a few months ago. It probably took longer than five minutes to write, but I am sharing it today like a “here’s one I made earlier” kind of offering, because it fits pretty well with this week’s five-minute-friday prompt. And it’s all my tired mind can currently conjure up! 😉

Fortification

I sit, surrounded by mounds
of sand, clumped yet dry as a bone,
sieving it between my fingers like an
hourglass filling up,

little knowing how swiftly years
would pass, how soon this tanned,
tender, smooth-skinned toddler

eating sand sandwiches would grow
up, become a hirsute man, with voice
gruffly smooth and deep, like gravel
being gently washed by sea.

My small son wears sunscreen, sunhat
and a nappy, protected by pants,
plus a cautious, bemused

expression on his face, as though he
can recall being a few months old,
new to beach and sea, fearing rollicking
waves would sweep him away,

just as they do to the crumbly castles
he builds with help, joy and pride,
which don’t stand a chance against
pulsating power of tides.

I smile at his mild discomfiture, as it’s
always valuable to learn these lessons
young, to grasp how easily

life can change, and how the things we
seek to build our lives upon must have
a strong, secure foundation

to uphold us in future days, in harder
times when problems arise or walls come
tumbling down, and we are required
to be safe and fortified.
© joylenton

build - building a new foundation with God quote (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

There’s nothing quite like a supportive writing community to build us up with encouragement and give us the courage and confidence to share our words. Such as the fabulous five-minute-friday crew gathering at Kate Motaung’s site. This week’s prompt is “build”. You are welcome to join us here and read the great variety of posts being shared.  🙂

year: where our hopes and dreams coalesce with God’s intentions for us

 

As we enter the second week of this new year, hope, if not energy enough, is still fresh and alive. Maybe our hopes and dreams will coalesce with God’s divine intentions for us? Perhaps this time we will stick to our resolutions, goals and plans? Or is that just wishful thinking?

Maybe this will be the year when our life alters in all the best possible ways. Such are the optimistic murmurings of our hearts and the fleeting thoughts that cross our mind. Because change of the positive kind is usually welcome, even when it might also bring demanding things to our attention.

It helps to have one small, achievable thing to focus on as a year begins. For me, it is a yearly God-given word that suggests the theme and shape of the days and months to come. My word varies each year but every one builds on the next like holy stepping-stones. Although it takes time and hindsight to see and appreciate it.

When God whispered this year’s defining word to me I gasped in surprise, because last year I had actually grumbled inwardly, wondering why God wasn’t giving me a more salubrious word like joy, instead of the challenging ones I tend to get. Turns out He was listening carefully to me. Who knew?! 😏

I began pondering if there was more under the surface of this delightful word than I might know as yet. In digging deeper into its potential implications, I am seeing my word “joy” as a sweet grace gift and also no less of a challenge to me than any of the rest.

This is a year

This is a year where I long for joy to break open my low, jaded
and wary soul, pouring itself freely as sweet libation from
heaven, one that can drip lightly through my days and surprise
me with a fresh downpour sometimes, that will make me gasp
like a child splashing in puddles or standing under a waterfall

This is a year when fear can take a backseat and holy courage
will flood, hold sway, shape my thoughts and conform me more
closely into the image of Christ by a healing of heart, a move
of God and an inner work from Holy Spirit that continues here
without limit, as I learn to yield, surrender and do my part

This is a year when healing will begin and pain will no longer
define my days. Instead, I expect to move forward more
than looking back, casting the past behind me, as I learn to
grasp fresh hope, grace and opportunities that God has
lovingly prepared for me to accept and embrace by faith
©joylenton

 

Hope you’re keeping as well as possible, my friend. Sadly, like many others, our household has succumbed to flu. :/  Thankfully, this post was mostly written in advance. Praise God for His timing and grace to enable me to share it today!  🙂

Do you have a word or major focus for 2018? Please share in the comments below. I love to hear from you. ❤

Intentional awareness

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There are days that slip by without me being fully aware of their passing or intentional about how I spend my time.

Some get lost in a fog of fatigue. Others are pervaded by pulsating pain.

Many are victims of inner restlessness and inability to settle to anything much.

But those in-between? Times when some energy and mental clarity are present?

They lend themselves to a little more structure and goal setting.

I’ve recently been trying to deliberately add some routine to a life which is far from routine.

And what I’ve noticed is that nothing goes right for long without making space for sacred moments, prayer pauses and soul-sanctuary seeking.

We need intimate moments alone with God.

Without them we become dry, drained and depleted.

We need to spend time in His Presence to rest and receive, be refuelled, refreshed and restored.

Because it is better to live mindfully than mindlessly meandering through our days. Each one is a gift of grace, even the hard ones.

This morning as I flipped through my prayer journal I came across words God imprinted on my heart a while back.

I’m sharing them with you today in the hope that they will bless and encourage you too.

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‘Intentional resting’ ~ Prayer Whisper

Take time each day to commune with Me. Set apart moments to lift your heart heavenwards. For in stillness, rest and quiet lies your strength. In seeking Me, you set the tone of your day as one of surrender to My will and ways. I do not hide Myself. I can always be found by hungry hearts who deliberately draw close to My side.

Be intentional about guarding your schedule to include soul-sanctuary seeking. Devise your days with My guidance. Together, we will accomplish so much more. Dependency isn’t weakness; it’s a sign of faithfulness and trust. The world will overwhelm you soon enough.

Come to Me for inner cleansing, for deep peace and for wisdom to know how to proceed. Lean on Me and learn from Me. I am humble and gentle of heart.

Let Me whisper words you need to hear. An instructed mind and tongue will become a blessing to others. Try not to rush into My Presence or hurry away without pausing to listen. I know your every need before you ask Me for anything, and My greatest desire is to have an intimate, loving relationship with you.

Come close, My child. There is no fear here. Perfect Love casts out fear. I am Holy and I am also tender, rich in mercy and grace. Bring Me your brokenness, your emptiness, your hopes and fears; I will heal, restore, fill to overflowing and provide for you beyond your wildest dreams. Trust Me to take very good care of you with My infinite goodness, patience and love.” 

As part of my soul-sanctuary seeking I have been revisiting ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’ by Brother Lawrence, as well as continuing with ‘Finding Spiritual Whitespace’ by Bonnie Gray, and reading books which reveal how to blend contemplation with creativity. I hope to share more as I delve deeper into these things.

And if you’d like to see more ‘Prayer Whispers’ here, then please let me know in the comments below. Your thoughts matter. Thank you! 🙂

prayer whsiper - intentional resting PJ file pin