reliquaries: how our hearts become repositories of God’s grace

reliquaries - x-ray fingers - how our hearts become repositories of God's grace @poetryjoy.com

When I think of reliquaries as defined by shrines or ancient holy relics, then it causes me to marvel even more at the way God entrusted His sacred self to be housed within our souls. The bare bones of holy breath get to take up residence in souls of dust. We cannot ever measure the depth or extent of it in our minds or lives.

But we can become aware of the measures God has taken to connect with us. Because the bible reveals the awe-inspiring holy wonder of Easter, when Jesus came to live on earth, die for us and dwell forever in our hearts. Though we have our part to play in receiving His presence, as we recognise the barriers of our bad behaviour, turn away from those things and embrace His mercy and grace.

God doesn’t force entry into our hearts. We can resist, ignore, tell Him to go away. Or we can open up, confess our sin and failure and invite Him to come in. God gave us life and breath, and He waits patiently for us to recognise our need of His immeasurable, unconditional love so that He can fully inhabit our hearts.

“…I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands…” — Ezekiel 36:26-27 The Message

Reliquaries

containers exist
buried within our hearts
they’re time capsules
holy reliquaries
recessed deep, accessed by faith

bare bones
of old truth eternal
sit beached
inside our dusty souls
hidden but within reach

tablets of stone
were split, separated
at Moses’ hands
cast down in anger, breaking
of God’s holy commands

no relic now
we’ve been given a new law
it’s written on
human hearts as conscience
which we can choose to ignore

love becomes
the measure of his given grace
our sentience
is not a sentence we bear
but a state that spells release
© joylenton

Reliquaries poem excerpt (C) joylenton @poetryjoy.com - heart image

I’m grateful to be linking my poem with the fabulous five-minute-friday writing crew gathering at Kate Motaung’s place. You are welcome to join us here as we write on this week’s prompt of “measure”, and read the great posts being shared.

Friends, I’m needing to pause my poetic thoughts for a few weeks in order to visit family, celebrate Easter and rest. Meanwhile, you might like to take a look at my latest book, which is an eclectic collection of poetry, soul exhale reflections and blessings. Perhaps you could treat yourself to it for Easter or Mothering Sunday/Mother’s Day? It’s called Embracing Hope: Soul Food to Help Chase Away the Blues and it’s available now on Amazon Kindle. A paperback copy will follow in due course.

Embracing Hope book (C) joylenton

“Are you in need of a fresh infusion of hope? Could you use some help to regain the hope you’ve lost? Because when life gets tough, especially if we’re chronically sick or simply low and discouraged, hope can be hard to muster or hold on to. This gentle soul companion guide will help steer you in the right direction..”

May you have a blessed Easter break. I look forward to catching up with you again on April 26th or soon after, God willing.  🙂 ❤ xox

reliquaries - Happy Easter - cross - bright sky @poetryjoy.com

vanish: letting go of our cares and concerns

November comes in shyly, concealing its icy depths in a cloak of mist. Many days are washed in vapour, made mysterious by the hiddenness of things, the way the familiar can vanish in an instant.

Reducing, darkening daylight hours make us yearn for the light, seek colour and warmth and savour each tiny bit of golden, autumnal glory while we can.

Maybe we could view this concealment as invitation to turn away for a while from the allure of the world around us. To let go of our cares and concerns, and begin to mimic these chillier days by being still and rested in our souls.

Vapour in the mist

Sky shades to silver as a veil of grey
falls like a leaden blanket, allowing
mere slivers of azure blue hues to
filter through

This pale, dove-grey covering conceals sun’s
heat with filmy rays, and invites us to
come aside from busyness and rest
here instead

So we pause a while, breathe a little freer
as we let loose constraints of the day
and watch worries vanish as vapour
in the mist
©joylenton

Father,

When skies shade to grey and our emotions are tempted to follow suit, help us instead to focus on your bright, shining Light that is always with us. May we see mellow, misty moments in these darkening days as an invitation to come aside, breathe, pause and pray, trusting that all our cares and concerns are safe in your hands.

May we reflect on the colour and vibrancy that surrounds us. Give us eyes open to receive and  hearts able to appreciate the onset of winter, sensing awe and wonder in the stark beauty it brings to everything.

Fill our souls with gratitude for the gifts to be found in each season of life and faith.  And remind us how one season will slowly segue into another, eventually vanish from our memories, until it returns in its own form of splendour, with joys we hadn’t anticipated.

Amen

Learning to release

balloon ~ i will rise file image

Days go by and we feel strangely heavy, our souls saturated, weighed down to ground.

Sometimes it’s hard to put our finger on why we are so lethargic and laden.

Sometimes we fail to see what burdens we are carrying, accustomed as we are to their presence.

Sometimes it takes a final filling, a last straw load to tip us over.

And a whispered reminder from Holy Spirit.

He calls soft across the shadows of our mind, His voice gaining urgency to alert our attention.

He warns us we are already full to overflowing in the way we so often try to live life unaided by His grace.

And He speaks wisdom to our spirit. A voice we know yet seldom heed in our pursuit of more, of enough, of extra stuff.

We receive a gentle reminder of Who is our Burden-bearer and how He stands ready to catch us when we falter and fall.

A call to relinquish, let go, release, relax our tight grip on it all.

Stop… Pause… Breathe… Pray.

A call to pursue God, yield to grace, be filled with Holy Spirit gifts rather than heavy with worldly worries and cares.

Because living lightly and freely is God’s plan for you and me.

Releasing

You surround me like ocean undertow

But I don’t see Your sacred sea

when my eyes are fixed to ground

picking up problem-pebbles in my hand

I examine each and every one

Note each mark, each line and scar

Reluctant to release them

even though my hands overflow

Then I hear a whisper on the wind

calling across the ripples

of my troubled mind

An invitation to let go

Focus my gaze on You alone

instead of holding on to sharp

stones biting into skin

My fingers slowly uncurl

Feeling strangely vacant, light

Watching mesmerised

as each pebble thuds hard

into the sand, until I am

left with empty, open hands

reaching out to You ~ unfurled

©JoyLenton2015

“Casting the whole of your care (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all) on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” ~ 1 Peter 5:7

pebbles release poem pin

Courage to break free

Brave PJ poem file image

‘Brave’

She doesn’t feel brave at all.

It started with a tentative unpicking

Loosing a thread

Dropping a stitch

that spooled and pooled out

all the dirt, debris and detritus

of a life lived edged by despair

and heavy with deceit

Let it out, my friend.

Let it pour as tears

cascading as rivers down your face

Allow that searing wound to be pierced,

lanced with laser-light of Truth;

be exposed, raw, oozing its badness,

ready for cleansing and healing.

Let God’s healing balm bind up the pain

as more threads are snipped

and a life laid bare.

Unravelling of mind and heart

Whispers in the dark

Furtive fumbling

leaving muddy footprints

of fear, guilt and shame.

Be bold

Be brave, sweet sister.

Only in the letting go

can we be free

as chrysalis to butterfly,

become all He created us to be.

Become new

Washed in Blood

Washed in Light

Washed in Grace

Washed in Love.

You are brave

You are bold

You are beautiful

And you are being

set free

to be fully functioning

as you are intended to be.

©JoyLenton2015

Brave poem PJ file image pin

Seeking release

seeking release ~ FMF PJ file image

All it takes is a one word prompt and we write brave and free.

Such is the liberty of joining in for #fiveminutefriday

Or do we? Sometimes words stall in our heads and get left unexpressed. We feel blocked or broken inside.

Deep pondering and marinating are not how we operate in this creative writing endeavour.

Giving in to the moment, going with the flow and eschewing perfection is what it’s all about.

But some words stir deep, unsettle and unleash a flood rather than a drizzle.

Such was the result for me of beginning to write about this week’s prompt:’Release’.

I thought a bit, prayed, set the timer and wrote.. and wrote.. and wrote long past the limit. A poetic rambling and prayerful cry too personal to share.

Because this word hits too close to home to give an easy answer to. I’m living change, transition and release. Begging for it while I draw back scared.

Part of me craving an alteration and part of me resenting the effort it will require before lasting change can take place.

Staying the same isn’t an option once God puts His finger on an area requiring change. He will never give up wanting the very best for us.

So we yield easy, or fight our way up like drowning swimmers gasping for air. I’m fighting, and slowly learning how to surrender restfully.

This morning I didn’t set the clock or expect to participate in any writing exercise.

I woke earlier than usual and sensed a holy call to climb out of the covers. I obeyed reluctantly at first, having had a restless, wakeful night and with a body crying out desperate for sleep.

But I’m glad I obeyed. I met with God as He whispered words I needed to hear and felt prompted to share in the hope of blessing you too.

prayer whisper image

Prayer Whisper:’Release’

Re-lease your life into My care. You are not your own; you were bought with the price of My redeeming Love and sacrificial blood. I paid the price to set you free so that you could learn to become fully yourself as I intended you to.

Release ~ the weight of guilt, burden of sin and shame, turmoil of anger, resentment and unforgiveness. It poisons your body and mind to hold on to such things.

Release ~ your hopes, dreams and desires so that they can be sifted and purified, right motive and purpose given, and all submitted to My will and authority.

Release ~ the past, present and future. I see the end from the beginning. I am Alpha and Omega. Trust Me to take care of it all and pave the way for you to walk steadily with Me, moment by moment.

Release ~ all that chains and tethers you to earth. My desire is to make beauty from the ashes, bring hope out of despair and joy from adversity. Let loose all that prevents you from living freely in body and in mind.

Hand over all that you are, have been and will be. You are no surprise to Me. I know you inside out, and will provide the best way for you to grow strong, be fruitful and live compassionately to impact the lives of others for good.

As you release you will find true freedom because I take it all and give back to you only those things that fit who you are and prepare you for My purpose, all that brings joy, peace, rest and ease because you trust in Me.

Letting go takes courage and faith, but it will bring you so much more than those things you cling on to with tight clenched fists. They become stumbling blocks and strongholds preventing forward momentum.

Open your hands, release and ready yourself to receive, My child. I am waiting to give back to you.”

Linking here with Lisa-Jo, Laura and Mel. You are very welcome to join in.

butterfly ~ seeking release PJ FMF file image pin