abandon: on surrendering our lives to God

 

Being abandoned, even temporarily, feels devastating. Nothing else quite strikes at the core of who we think we are and what our perceived worth and value might be in another’s eyes.

Many of us feel the sting of shame at being rejected or abandoned by our birth parents, whether at birth , later on by the way we are treated, or as casualties of our parents’ splitting up.

Such things leave scars which can mar us for life, if we let them. I only began to fathom what unconditional, fully accepting, lavish love looked like when I came to faith in Christ in my late teens.

I still marvel over our Heavenly Father adopting me into His family, viewing me as His oh so precious, beloved child. And I am not alone in this, because that’s how He sees you too, my friend, and longs to be in a close, loving, intimate relationship with you.

There are some barriers in the way at first, most of all our sin. Though unbelief and rejection of His love can also be a hindrance to receiving it. Thankfully, Jesus made a way where there seemed to be no way.

His death on the cross and glorious resurrection are the means whereby we become reunited to God. They reveal how we, too, can learn to die to sin, overcome our shame, guilt and pain and rise again in newness of life with Him.

Once we see and believe just how much God loves us, we start to realise we are never as alone or abandoned as we might feel. And we are given daily grace and strength from Him.

Abandon

I want to become a prisoner of

Hope, abandon myself on the altar

of dependence, and rest in God’s

all-sufficiency—because he has given 

us the greatest abandonment of all

nailed fast to a wooden cross

 

Jesus chose to abandon himself

to death, to suffering, to ultimate sacrifice

for our sin, for our sake, for our lives

He chose the path less travelled, seeking

 

to be a servant of all, relinquishing

his kingly crown and throwing down

the gauntlet to the kingdom of darkness

which had us in its thrall

 

Now we, who were orphans of circumstance,

hostage to habit, taunted by temptation,

have become beloved daughters and sons, children

of God instead of life’s lost, unwanted

ones. We’ve received a fresh heritage

 

made rich by faith, given a brand new

start, new heart, clean slate, on which

our Father God can write his eternal glory

story—as we abandon ourselves willingly

to surrender, and close relationship with him

©joylenton2017

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed. but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (emphasis mine)

Happy to be linking my (rather late), poetic #FMF words in companionship with fellow wordsmiths gathering at Kate Motaung’s site. Just click here to join us there. 

**NOTE** – If you’re seeking solace, you might like to read my poetic memoir journey of discovering grace in life’s hard places. It’s available free today to download here on Amazon Kindle.  🙂

home: our universal ache and longing to belong

home-our-universal-ache-and-longing-to-belong-pj

 

Home is where the heart is, our place of safety, solace and security—or at least it could and should be. Though for many, home is far from a haven. It can often be the very place they long to escape from.

Right from our earliest memories, home remains a place we are either joined together by strong ties of deep love and affection, or feel a sense of disconnection to. Because not all of us are loved well or treated right in our formative years. Not all of us desire to stay or return to where we began our days.

It is natural to develop independence and want to spread our wings when we get to a certain age, but some of us have an inner longing to flee a place where we don’t feel cherished, a home where we don’t seem to fit in or truly belong, a need for a different shelter of sorts.

That’s why God offers us all an eternal Home, a place of grace and loving kindness, a haven of perfect love and peace, an abiding sense of safety and stability and an anchor for the soul of true acceptance and rest. We have a taste of its beauty in this world and glimpses of its magnificence to come.

Meanwhile, His arms are all the safe place and shelter we seek. His love is unconditional, overwhelming and free. His mercy and grace help us to make changes in how we perceive our lives and His healing touch helps us to forgive and move forward again.

Here are 3 aspects of home in 140 characters or less….

twittering-tales-trainwindow

 

He feels a tug to look back

calling him homeward

His eyes realise how vast

the universe can be

He aches to stay as he

breaks the cord to leave

(139 characters)

 

A window seat is a way

to see more clearly, get

a fresh perspective, because

home is anywhere at all

No more or less than

a place to lay his head

(140 characters)

 

“Are you ready for this?

He nods, gulps back tears, turns to take another look outside, where home shrinks small while he faces new horizons. (140 characters)

The thoughts, poems and prose above, were inspired by my creative friend, Kat Myrman,  and this week’s ‘Twittering Tales’ photo prompt she has provided. Just click on the link to read more. You’re warmly welcome to  join in if you’d like to.

What does the word ‘home’ conjure up for you?

Do you feel ready to take a step of faith toward the next thing God has planned for you? 

Riding the waves

riding the waves PJ

Riding the waves

When waves threaten to overwhelm

seal my cells in the security

of Your safe embrace

Remind me that life’s storms

cannot completely swallow me

I belong to a different shore

A Kingdom of peace prevailing

where joy is the sound

that roars, deafening in its

clarity. For nothing there

can sink us, only draw us

closer to Your trinity

So as these waves of worry

encompass me today

and waves of uncertainty

try to have their way,

keep me anchored in Hope

held fast against the Rock

sheltered from the storms

battering and bruising my heart

Render me ready to meet

life’s waves with equanimity

And steady myself in Your grace

while they rise higher day by day

May I see only Light’s beacon

burning bright ahead

and rest in tender waves

of Love rushing toward

me as Lifebelt holding me

close in their stead

©JoyLenton2015

riding the waves PJ poem

This is day 21 of write-31-days five-minute-free-writes with the prompt:‘wave’. You can see the rest of the prompts here. I am also joining in with fellow writing friends at Jennifer’s place for #TellHisStory and with Holley for #coffeeforyourheart as we share God’s grace seen in His hand on our lives.

Thank you for being here and at Words of Joy where most of the posts have been written this month.

I am so thankful for your company and support!

Being cloistered

cloistered file image PJ

‘Cloistered’

Impatient, busy feet

cross the street from sunlight

to shade, preferring dark

in the shadowed cloisters

of their barren heart

They do not see You, still

and patient in their midst

Nor catch the uttered cry

light as butterfly wings

that sings into the air

already thick with Your words

Blind eyes and stone insides

remain mute to their touch

What will it take to make

a world awaken to

the wonder and glory of You?

©JoyLenton2015

Dear Father,

As the storms of life arise,

may we be cloistered within

your heart, kept safe and

sheltered within the calm blue

sea of your grace, held fast and

secure by the anchor of your

love and tethered to you by

faith and trust in Jesus

Christ our Lord

Amen

Friends, I’ve been cloistered inside for a few weeks, needing a time set aside for necessary recuperation and rest. And I want to say how much I appreciate your kind thoughts, comments and prayers as I’ve been recovering some energy.

I’m slowly discovering there’s no safer place to be than in the shadow of God’s wings. May you also find the help, support and comfort you need during your own seasons of withdrawing unto Him.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Whose power no foe can withstand). I will say of the Lord, He is my God; on Him I lean and rely and in Him I (confidently) trust!” ~ Psalm 91:1-2 (Amplified) 

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

A place of refuge

baby being held ~ safety file image

When the world wants too much from us and we have nothing left to give, when we are weary of waiting and hoping for change, when shame and pain have haunted our nights and days, when we long for a place of refuge and a person we can fully trust ~ to whom can we turn?

Only God can provide all the safety, healing, comfort and reassurance we need. We can crawl into His presence and be held fast.

Allow Abba Father to pour His unconditional love out on us. Be held. Be calmed. Be loved beyond all measure.

His arms are our sheltering place.

His heart is our home.

His love is our lasting comfort.

His joy is our strength.

His promises our hope.

His word our light and guide.

Friend, if you are hurting right now, if the world has wearied you, if you need a reliable person to trust and turn to then come, come to God and be helped.

He has been revealing to me lately that healing is a process, a gradual unfurling to God’s love, a continual learning from His word, a daily leaning on His mercy and grace and a laying down of all that keeps us captive to shame and disgrace.

Come and receive the sustenance your soul longs for. He is waiting to receive you as soon as you are willing to believe and turn to Him.

 ‘Safety’

Held fast in the circle

of Your embrace,

my weary head

falls to rest on

shoulders of strength.

Feeling my heartbeat

slow and steady

to match Your own.

Sense my breath

gulping deep,

drinking hard

the very air

You breathe.

There is no

condemnation here,

no fear, no pain

I can let go

tears and years

of struggle, of shame,

of hurt and fears

And asking questions

with no answers.

I can let go

deep-bone weariness,

weakness, sickness,

for they cannot abide

in Your presence.

For now it is just

You and me together

And I feel safe until

the material

world intrudes again.

©JoyLenton2014 

Joining with encouraging friends

Holley ~ Coffee for Your Heart

Jennifer  ~ Tell His Story

Bonnie~ Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews

SONY DSC

Seeking sanctuary

We all need a safe place to vent. Let off steam. Be ourselves, warts and all.

Be real and authentic in sharing life and faith issues.

Consider the question, “Is there room for my tears here?” being asked by Diana Trautwein this week.

We read in the shortest verse in Scripture, “Jesus wept”  ~ John 11:35 Succinct words speaking volumes. He was unafraid to be authentically open and human. Giving us a pattern for being fully human and fully alive unto God.

Our tears are a soul’s lament. Reminder of our weakness, frailty and humanity.

If we try to keep them hidden they still find  a way to rise, unbidden, to the surface.

Revealing deep emotion at the core ~ joy, pain, vulnerability, sadness and grief. The very heart of who we are.

Though we find ways to choke them down and bid them drown in their inner stream.

In the unraveling of life, thought and years, we soon discover our safety and security is found primarily in God alone.

As a body of believers in Christ we are joined by links of love and shared endeavour in the fight of faith.

We’re all invited to enter in, embrace God’s gift of grace seen in Jesus’ suffering, pain and loss for our sakes.

We’re welcomed to a place of love and acceptance. A hospital for the hurting ~ only some churches hide that pretty well.

I’m too weary and worn out to try to pretend I’ve ‘got it all together,’ and too desiring of being a voice for those who are hurting to stay silent in my small-corner obscurity.

Because in the end it comes down to how much we love and are loved.  How much we are willing to give to one another.

Make room in our own woundedness to walk the road with others who are weak and in pain. Be a sanctuary for the seeking, the saved and those sick in body, mind or heart. 

Weep with those who weep. Rejoice with all who rejoice. Lift and uphold each other in prayer. Come alongside and be Christ’s ambassadors in caring for all in need.

The poem below expresses my hopes about being part of the body of Christ, what I am currently experiencing as a member of some lovely supportive writing and friendship groups and the reflective, sharing ‘Living the Questions’ group over at Diana’s place.

Although this is the type of welcome we could (and probably should?) be extending to all our brothers and sisters in Christ.

‘Invitation’

Your tears ~ whether of joy or sorrow ~ will find a welcome here

Your questions and fears for tomorrow we too will share

Your faith journey and experiences in all their rich variety

serve to enrich and inform us of all we still can be

Your need for speaking out in a friendly space

can be met here in this ~ a safe and open place

Your desire to listen, reflect and ponder deeply

is found in this forum and sacred sanctuary

©JoyLenton2014

Sadly, many feel disappointed, discouraged, sidelined, ignored, bruised, hurt and wounded by church. Perhaps we forget we are all imperfect ‘works in progress’. This prayer may help. It was written in support of all wounded warriors.

There should always be room for tears ~ and laughter, joy, hand-holding, lifting up, coming alongside, praying, caring and sharing as we aim to be ‘Jesus with skin on’ for one another.

Joining here with Diana, Mel, Laura and Lyli