Taking time out

PJ file image ~ Time for a break

This is a season to set free. Unplug. Let loose. Chill out. Relax.

The world’s weight can sit heavy. We can drown under its load.

We need room to breathe. Be still. Listen to the still small voice Who brings calm to our souls.

I haven’t been doing much of that lately and I sense a Holy Spirit nudge to make more space for God.

The poem below was written a few months ago but its sentiments are my heart’s cry now.

The important can so easily get swallowed up in the urgent.

Creativity can get stifled in clamour.

Peace can become stolen by pressing purposes.

Joy can feel elusive when we join in too much with all the activity around us and don’t allow time out for our soul’s sake.

I need time to ponder and pray.

A space to hear holy whispers.

Room to read.

Time to write with no specific end result in view, just for the sheer pleasure of penning poetry and prose.

Maybe you do too?

 ‘Today’

Today…

I cannot connect with the world

Its noise

drowns out His voice

Its chaos

collides with His calm

Its clamour

presses into His peace

Today…

I choose ease and rest

To breathe

His Divine essence

To begin

sensing His Presence

To listen

while seeking His best

Today…

We have choices we need to make

Would you

decide or decline

Could you

sift hard and refine

Will you

chase after God’s way ~ this day?

©JoyLenton2014

Linking here with Beth and friends for #ThreeWordWednesday

**NOTE** ~ As I seek more #spiritualwhitespace to listen to #SacredEchoes I am joining with like-minded souls over at Margaret Feinberg’s place this week.

To find out more about why I need this space, check out this post on ‘Words of Joy’.

I’m looking forward to catching up with you in a week or so.  Please grant grace for a delayed reply to any comments left here. Thank you!

May God bless you and meet with you in a special way as you follow after His heart this Summer.

Today poem PJ file image pin

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

Putting the pieces together

I see it all around. The very air we breathe is thick with the sound of it.

Sorrow hangs heavy. Need drives us to our knees.

People are crying out for grace ~ but they don’t even know it.

Souls weep silent into pillows when losses outweigh any gains and hopes wither and die.

What or who can save us from ourselves and the pain we have to press past on a daily basis?

When life breaks us apart, where do we go to be put back together again?

In my life, the answer may come quick and easy. But the living out? That’s a lifetime’s work.

Renewal and restoration cannot be rushed. Full and complete healing cannot be hurried.

Jesus saves. We know it. We read it. We believe it. We sing about it. And yet..

This world has a way of swallowing us whole and spitting us out. Broken people living fractured lives.

So what does grace look like?

It wears the face of Christ. It’s the very heart of God. Nothing weak or namby pamby about it.

This is grace:It’s solid, muscular, with bite crisp-clean into a bountiful harvest of real gritty righteousness. It floods and fills all the empty spaces of our existence with strength, power and might. 

Living as we do in the tension between the ‘now but not yet’ of the Kingdom, we are people in transition, works in progress by God’s grace.

Much is changing and moving forward, and much still requires transformation to come.

‘Variant themes’

I’m broken, fractured, full of holes,

splintered, wrecked right into my soul

Pieces from the past pierce and press sharp

tearing fierce into the tenderest of parts

Deep calls to deep in the thundering roar

of Your waterfall’s steady, refreshing pour

Wounds fester and hurts remain sealed

in a life crying out to be rescued and healed

Echoing chasms where Your voice is heard

and we drink thirsty of its life-giving Word

How do the variant themes unite as one

perfect melody, harmony and song?

Strung as pearls, lustre-reflecting beads

shine bright and pure in you and me

Discordant sounds may shatter the air around,

joy remains ~ as seed rooted to the ground

Stop. Slow down. Breathe. Listen closer. Pause a while.

Walk gentler. Carry lighter. Don’t forget to smile.

©JoyLenton2014

As to the question, “How do I make all the pieces fit?”, I think the answer is, we can’t do it ourselves. God never intended us to bear that burden. It’s too weighty for our frame.

And that’s a freeing statement. It opens the door to Holy Spirit intervention.

The shards of our shattered hopes and dreams become a marvellous mosaic in God’s hands.

When we take those broken pieces of our lives, frayed fabric of our days, torn edges of our thoughts, tangled threads of our theology, gaps and holes in our flawed and imperfect understanding ~ all become sacrificial surrender, holy offering, and a handing over to the Master Potter and Architect of our souls.

He alone can fully mend, heal, renew and restore to better than it was before. We seek, ask, do our part, trust, rest, and leave the outcome up to Him. 

It isn’t easy. Everything inside cries out to know and understand beforehand. Relinquishing control is a challenge.

Resting is a conscious choice, and the best way of allowing God’s peace to replace anxiety and stress.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Joining here with friends: Diana, Mel and Lyli. 

Against the tide

In the flotsam and jetsam of life we soon discover our shared humanity.

It is said that time and tide wait for no man. We cannot claw it back or alter its progress.

Similarly, suffering is universal. Pain, loss, grief, hardship, sickness, calamities beset us all.

Though there is no way of assessing its intensity. It is personal and painful, no matter what.

What is minor for one is major to another. Comparisons are useless. We can only accept suffering of varying degree exists and is hurtful to all who experience it. 

Where do we turn to in our suffering? Or, more correctly, whom?

There is One who Scripture depicts as ‘a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief/familiar with suffering’. He took our shared humanity, knows and understands intimately what we go through.

Jesus bore every sin, sickness, dis-ease of every kind on the cross for us.

He willingly embraced it all for the joy set before Him ~ of restoring us back to the Father’s side.

‘Against the tide’

Calamity cracks us open to the core

revealing our frail humanity

exposing vulnerability ~ tender, flawed

Beneath this skin, the carapace I’m in,

lies a raw, wounded human being

If each person is an island , then

we’re all floating in a communal sea

desperately trying not to drown

It takes courage to swim against the tide

when there’s no sheltering place to hide

Until a safe harbour hoves into view

tugging gentle on our heartstrings

willing us to steer strong and true

Vessels rest weary, depleted, worn,

storm-battered, tattered, torn

Ready to refuel and be restored again,

seeking respite for a little longer

we prepare to face fierce winds and rain

Now with our Captain at the helm

these surging tides no longer overwhelm

©JoyLenton2014

Sinking into the arms of God is what helps us stay afloat in the changing tides of life. He holds us up when we’re too weak, weary and overwhelmed to do more than flounder in the waves.

Being found in Him, we can learn to let go of fear. Find peace and rest. Be soothed and settled. Find reassurance and ease.

Love rescues us. Love surrounds and keeps us steady, on an even keel. Love embraces our brokenness and begins to piece us together again ~ bit by bit. It is the anchor for our souls.

And we see we are far from alone. Others are in the trenches too. Many voices clamouring for relief from misery. Brothers and sisters in suffering.

Those who are strong can help to carry the weak. Sit in the ashes. Hold hands and hearts. Listen and lean hard on solid Rock until the tides turn in our favour once more.

Because the best place to take sorrow, grief, pain and suffering is to the One who can support us through it and works to set us free.

Joining here with Diana and other questing souls as we are #livingthequestions and #livingintotheanswers

You are very welcome to join in the discussion.

Love is speaking

Love speaks to us in myriad ways. Way beyond Valentine cards, roses and chocolates ~ welcome as they are.

There is heartache and elation, pain and promise, sadness and joy wrapped up in human love, circumscribed as it is by our woundedness.

We can be broken and made new by love.  God’s love heals, renews, restores and makes us whole.

The Word made flesh  revealed in Jesus offers us the gift of mercy, grace and forgiveness from His poured out blood-bought sacrifice.

We are eternally, unconditionally and wonderfully loved beyond anything we can know or imagine.

All creation continually signals the love of the Creator.

It is never silent because God is constantly pouring out His love to us.

He longs for us to know Him and discover we are deeply loved by Him. It’s the greatest love story ever told.

‘Love speaks’

Love speaks

As

an aching formless void, seeming nothingness

into which pours poetry, music, melody and noise

In

the echoes of a dream, vibrancy we glean

in everything we encounter, visible and unseen

So

we tune our hearts to hear soft whispers

on the wind tickling our attentive ears

With

longing breaking forth in our souls,

a sense of awe, wonder, becoming and belonging

 Begin

to make us feel complete, fulfilled, whole,

so we strain to draw close, come near

 To

the Source of all we could or would be

growing familiar as He starts to appear

 And

lingers to impart His light and grace from above

into thankful hearts made ready for His love

©JoyLenton2014

The video below is a love letter from the Father’s heart to our own.

It speaks volumes about how each and every one of us is deeply loved and special to God.

May it bless and encourage your heart as you watch it.

Linking here with Jennifer,  Lyli, Mel and Laura