burden: chained by circumstance but freed by grace

burden - chained by circumstance, freed by grace @poetryjoy.com

There are days when our burdens, be they physical or emotional, become impossible to ignore. Days when we feel consumed by the weight of them. Chained to our hard circumstances. Dragged down into a dark place.

I prefer not to talk too much about having chronic illness, although it’s an inescapable fact that faces me each day. It demands enough. It has stolen too much. So much that I tend to want to ignore its presence and pretend I am fine, doing okay, even when I’m not.

It feels better to plaster a smile on my face and seek to maintain a positive outlook on life. It seems less bothersome, less of a burden to fight the good fight of faith and try not to yield to dismay. Or give in to self-pity.

But sometimes? Sometimes I am just too tired to fight against the pain. Sometimes I just want to sit and cry. Sometimes I lose sight of my loving Saviour sitting in the ashes with me, holding out His hands to receive.

Because God doesn’t want us to bear our burdens alone. He longs for us to turn to Him. To offer up our pain and problems like a fragrant thing. Because sometimes it’s truthfully all we are able to give to Him. And that’s okay. It really is.

Burden

fear nibbles at the edges of her soul, like a rat
aboard a sinking ship that leaks, lists and tips
because she has woken to face yet another
pain filled day, unrefreshed in every way

her spirits are plummeting fast and her heart
contracts as she thinks about the future, for
she longs above anything else not to become
a burden to others or to those she loves

during these days of increasing debility
and weariness, she can often forget
just who she should be handing all her
heavy burdens over to—until he speaks

with whispered reassurance in his voice
to her hurting soul—while he pours the balm
of hope into her heart, forcing fear and
discouragement to flee, and she falls

further, on bended knee, when Jesus
tenderly reminds her once again that
every burden handed over to him will
not only lessen the load on her soul

it will also miraculously transmute
into a blessing by faith, shaping her
perception, if not her situation in life

and so she prays, tears welling up in her
eyes, and she gives praise like a willing
sacrifice—in spite of nothing visible yet

taking place, she has already tasted his
goodness and grace, and sensed the difference
inside, where calm and peace now abide
© joylenton

We might not feel like it but we can learn to praise God in the storm, sense His presence with us and gain comfort in knowing we are not alone.

I’m so grateful for God’s grace in my life. His comforting embrace. His enabling when I am weak. For words coming when I feel drained and dry. And for being able to share my 5 minute(ish) poem with the fabulous five-minute-friday crew. This week’s prompt is “burden” and you can join your words here. 

burden - #FMF - burden poem excerpt (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

When we need to accept help

helping hand PJ FMF

How hard it can be for us to realise we are helpless in some areas.

Human effort will only get us so far, as will natural talent and abilities.

Yet we so often strive to succeed by ourselves, not seeing our need of help or wanting any assistance.

Independence is a good thing on the whole, but a degree of dependence is also a sign that we’re aware of our own limitations.

We can see how the gifting in others enriches us and there is grace in accepting assistance and support.

We begin to accept that we need other people. Together we achieve so much more. United we are stronger.

Because eventually we’ll reach an impasse. A point of no return where we cannot do a thing except trust in another.

See our need and willingly (or grudgingly?) receive.

We’re wired to exist within community and live mindful of each other’s needs.

And some things in life are completely beyond us. Maybe you can think of a few?

In my life with M.E and chronic illness I’ve learnt to be gratefully dependent on those who assist me with daily living tasks.

In my writing life I’m completely dependent on Holy Spirit inspiration, grace, gifting and energy.

In my spiritual life I responded to what God had already done in Christ, seeing my impotence to save or change myself.

The poem below is my five-minute-friday contribution as I join others who write brave and free in a supportive community. You’re very welcome to join us over at Kate Motaung’s place. Today’s prompt is ‘Try’.

Also linking with Barbie at The Weekend Brew.. do drop in for some soul refreshment.

START…

You don’t have to

You don’t have to try to curry

favour with a risen Saviour

You already are His glory treasure

and He loves you beyond measure

It’s not your effort that will gain

you a seat in heavenly places

Jesus bore the cross and shame

so that forgiveness would embrace us

You don’t have to worry

as you go about your days

There’s no peace in stress and hurry

only in following His ways

You don’t need to do a thing

beyond believe in Him

and see how His sacrifice

offers us a renewed life

Rest easy, my friend

Seek the wonder of salvation

and eternity without end

for every person, tribe and nation

Relax and sense the flow

of His holy joy within

as you surrender and let go

trusting your life to Him

©JoyLenton2015

STOP.

flow PJ FMF pin

Our friend

friendship post file image

Genuine friendship is a gift to treasure.

To proffer the hand of friendship to another is to offer yourself in support of their wellbeing, and open yourself to reciprocal attention, care and concern.

Feeling heard and understood is rare in a world that is often too busy to listen or too indifferent to care.

Multiple connection points are provided, but true friendship is a gift of grace.

When it’s all about what you do, who you are, what you look like and who you know, it provokes competitiveness, discouragement and despair at not fitting in with the world’s perceptions of who they think we should be.

As we get assessed, found wanting and bypassed, we can easily feel isolated, rejected and neglected.

So where does our security lie? Is it in the numbers of followers, fans, ‘likes’ and comments we receive?

No, far from it. It’s a shaky foundation indeed to build our self-esteem on other people’s fluctuating, fickle feelings.

Though it’s not all bad news on social media; it does have its positive side regarding friendships.

I’ve been greatly blessed by the wonderful on-line community of writers, poets and bloggers, M.E and chronic illness sufferers, and fellow Christians I have got to know and consider to be real friends.

They are genuine, giving and caring people who lift, encourage and help me come up higher. I thank God daily for them.

And I’ve been bruised by putting too much store on how people in general interact with me.

There is only one friend who will never let us down, always be there for us, consistently reliable, capable, loving unconditionally despite knowing all there is to know about us.

His Name is Jesus.

Our greatest Friend, Lord and Saviour.

And as my real life friendships often fall foul of the challenges presented by my having M.E ~ finding it hard to never know when I’ll be well enough to speak on the phone, be visited, or meet up ~ it is His friendship that means the most to me.

I’m joining here with Lisa Jo and other brave writerly souls  for the challenge of Five Minute Friday, where we write freely, letting words fall as they will with no deep reflecting, on this week’s topic of  ‘Friend’. You are very welcome and warmly invited to take part.

START…

‘Our Friend’

This friend

has arms stretched wide

forming an extended circle

of Love for you and me

This friend

calls us to His side

forming a fellowship of grace

as brothers, sisters, community

This friend

provides a safe place to hide

when life’s storms overwhelm

He is shelter from all harm

and balm for every calamity

This friend

will brook no boast or pride

in knowing Him, for all

are welcome to enter in

embraced, held, received

This friend

is Rock against the tide

of sin and shame

taking all upon Himself

when He died and rose again

to set us free

©JoyLenton2014

STOP.

friend ~ our friend poem file image pin

 

Words for wounded warriors

In a season where there is more physical and emotional challenge than usual, it helps to think of others who are also in need.

So many wear smiles on the outside yet feel broken inside.

So many give and give and give some more until they are left as limp, worn-out rags.

It can take all the courage we can muster just to face another day.

And often the most holy thing we can do is just to take a nap.

A heart can ache heavy with unspoken fears and cares.

We can feel alone in a sea of faces.

We can move heaven and earth for our loved ones only to be rejected or neglected.

Try as we might, we cannot suppress all the pain we carry.

As I reflect more on my life in an effort to hear all God may be saying to me, I find myself thrown to my knees more often than not.

And there I discover the One who inhabits all the hard places we find ourselves in.

God’s grace crawls into every crack and crevice of our days.

All the mess and mayhem, muddle and struggle are known to Him.

So we pray…

‘A prayer for the hurting’

God bless the wounded warriors,

the ones who crawl and cry through,

those who press in and press on 

with leaking eyes and leaking wounds,

the battle-scarred and beaten down.

Bless the broken-hearted, bleeding and bruised

 reeds rubbed raw by those who have 

rubbished and rejected them,

those who can barely lift their face

weighed heavy with shame and disgrace.

Hold those who cannot hold on another minute,

whose lives are fear-filled,

whose faces are tear-filled,

who feel empty of worth and value

of no repute, cast aside, left behind.

Keep safe the ones who are drowning,

whose days and nights 

drip with disappointment,

dread, darkness and torment 

of body and soul.

Cradle the lonely;

let your love wash over them,

embrace their emptiness

and fill with the companionship

that only Your Presence provides.

Come alongside the misunderstood,

the marginalised,

the misfits,

the mayhem makers

and risk takers.

Bring strength to the weary,

grace for the weak,

hope for the hurting,

freedom for captives,

peace for the pain.

The path is long, the way is hard,

finishing line too far to see

as we drag there on our knees,

dry and thirsty for relief

desperate for some ease.

Walk with us as you did of old

on sand-crusted shore,

dirt-trodden pathways,

seeking and saving 

those who are lost.

For we need you, Lord Jesus;

Your return seems far off,

We fight and we fail,

shout, cry and rail,

for a touch from above.

Amen

©JoyLenton2013

 “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out” ~ Isaiah 42:3

This poetic prayer lament appeared first on Words of Joy. It is a heart’s cry God delights to answer. Hungry, hurting hearts will always find grace to help in time of need.

May it bless you to read it here and remember that God is with you in every trouble, trial and testing. If you would like me to pray for a specific need, please reply in the comments below.

And keep in mind that God loves you so much, just as you are ~ He really does ~ and wants above all things for you to seek His face in the everyday challenges of life.