story: owning the story of our lives #thedailyhaiku 31

 

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have wanted to disown the story I am living, rewrite it differently and choose an alternative narrative arc. Maybe you have too. So what does owning our story look like? 

As a woman of faith, I venture to suggest it looks like seeing our lives as a small but highly significant part of God’s greater narrative. In the story He is telling throughout history, we all have a part to play. You matter. Your life isn’t a mistake or an accident.

I grew up thinking (hoping?) I must have been adopted, such was the disconnect between me and my family of origin. Later on, hearing how my mother had taken measures to try to stop the pregnancy from continuing, my insecure feelings grew stronger.

Then God happened. He’d been there right at conception, of course, planned for me to live at such a time as this, to be born into the generation I belong to and the family where I arose from but failed to see myself as cherished.

I was born prematurely and against the odds. I was meant to be here. And to survive whatever life threw at me. I was also born to bloom and thrive because of belonging to the family of God. 

Once I came to faith in Christ, my  wounded soul brokenness was no surprise to Him, only a recognisable state we all struggle with to varying degrees. I finally woke up to the fact that I was unconditionally loved—by Almighty God Himself.

It has taken me a while to own the story of my life, filled with brokenness and emotional pain as the years have been, plus decades of health challenges. But that’s only viewing it from a purely human perspective.

Now I am able to see how God poured out His mercy and grace, loved me immeasurably, tenderly wiped away the tears and gave me a brand new start through Jesus.

I am incredibly blessed to have a husband who adores me, a loving family and close friends. I no longer want to disown the story of my life. Instead, I am willing to speak out about how much God has changed and glorified it by His grace. And He will do it for you too, my friend.

Owning my story

I claim this story
the life I live, holding it
shyly—out to you

you gather pieces
of my brokenness and give
them back to me—whole

and in your eyes, wide
as the ocean swells, I see
sweet mercy and grace

caught in a net of love
with no thought of escape, here
I will stay—always
©joylenton

We’ve made it! This is the last post in #thedailyhaiku series for October’s #write31days marathon reading/writing challenge. It’s been a joy and sweet encouragement to have your company here. Thank you! If you want to catch up with the rest of the posts, please click here.  And look out for a surprise bonus tomorrow!  🙂 ❤

denudement: paring back to necessities #thedailyhaiku 30

 

Trees are slowly becoming divested of their covering. Layers are being removed by the elements. It’s a stripping off, losing a covering of leaves, a paring back to skeletal form, especially as wintry winds take hold.

There’s a strange kind of bare-bones beauty in the removal of a tree’s raiment, decorative as it is. Twisted branches speak of weight-bearing under strain, with an arthritic suggestion extending to the depleted spindliness of twigs, one I can relate to in my own weakened frame, with joints distorted by arthritis.

Life itself has a way of paring us back, and we notice it in particular when our bodies grow slack and bones protrude with lengthening years. It’s as if we are being issued with a salutary reminder that life consists of so much more than the physical. Which it does, of course.

Then I think of how stiff and resistant our souls can become, needing the wild winds of Holy Spirit to blow upon them like a wake up call. Extraneous leaves that have littered our thinking are denuded. We are brought back to simple necessities.

We learn how it is always better for us to remain pliant and flexible in spirit, able to surrender, bend and stretch to life’s challenges, aided by God’s grace. His Holy tune is the one that plays on human hearts. We are encouraged to listen to what it is saying and to yield to the wind of heavenly Love as it shapes us from season to season.

denudement

arthritic branches
bend and stretch to wind’s wild tune
denuding their leaves
©joylenton

summer’s ghost lingers #thedailyhaiku 29

 

Do you have a favourite season? I’m particularly fond of autumn and spring. I favour the former for its burnished leaves and ethereal mists, the cooling down (yet not too cold for being outside) aspects it has, as we hunker closer to cosy home comforts.

Spring suggests a freshness, a blowing away of cobwebs, an awakening to emerging light and new life after winter hibernation, slumber and lengthy darkness. It’s when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, bringing holy Hope and Joy to winter-weary hearts. It’s a gentle precursor to summer, a herald in the heart of better days to come, even as frost rimes the ground.

I’m looking forward to seeing spring again, while remembering summer’s passing. Here we are in the thrall of golden autumnal days, mellow haze and crisping of leaves. Summer is receding into the background of our minds, becoming ghost-like, made delicious by fond remembrance, like a warm hug from a distant friend.

God has given us a great variety of seasonal delights to savour. I’d love to hear how the seasons speak to you, how they affect your thinking, inform your creativity or simply make you happy. Feel free to leave a comment below…  🙂

summer’s ghost lingers

summer’s ghost lingers
tasting like wine on the tongue
now autumn has come
©joylenton

Sabbath: space to rest, breathe and be still #thedailyhaiku 28

 

Today, I invite you to come aside from busyness for a while, slump easy on the settee, crash out in a chair (or grab a log) and join me in finding a few moments of rest for our restless souls. We don’t have to wait for a special day to have a Sabbath mindset and heart. Because God is always available to us.

Being holy isn’t about trying hard to achieve a state of perfection or keeping to a set of rules. It’s a way of life and a relationship of knowing Holy Love. Recognising we are set apart for God’s glory, while we live in a fallen world. It means having a surrendered soul and a disposition of faith and trust, knowing God abides within by His Spirit and is willing to work in and though us, despite our weakness and brokenness.

We come aside to spend time in God’s presence because we can. It’s a Holy privilege given to us. God longs for us to meet with Him. We don’t have to wait for Sabbath to arrive or a gilt-edged invitation to come in the post, because Jesus is the ever-open Door into the Father’s presence. 

And when we do see ourselves as God’s Beloved ones, realise just how much our Father desires to be with us, then we approach Him with due reverence and awe, coupled with a grateful, childlike heart that eagerly runs to the throne and delights to be in her Abba’s arms again.

keeping Sabbath

time to be holy

set apart for God’s glory

space to breathe and Be

©joylenton

Let’s listen to the hope filled words of the song below, still our souls, breathe freely, simply Be and rest in knowing we are loved Just As We Are and blessed beyond measure by God…

 

 

grace: a drenching in holy rain #thedailyhaiku 26

 

God is lavish with His Love, magnanimous with His Mercy, perfect with His Peace, jubilant with His Joy, free with His Forgiveness and wildly generous with His Grace.

We don’t have to beg for it. We don’t have to worry that it will run short. God’s grace is freely available to all of us, all of the time. How good is that?!

We can easily become saturated by grace, like a drenching in Holy rain. This is no mere trickle or a small shower. This is more like a flood, a pounding waterfall that roars with power.

What does it do? Here’s a brief description:

  • God’s grace takes, breaks and remakes us.
  • We are washed clean from our sin.
  • We are changed from the inside out.
  • Grace sustains and strengthens, knits together and mends.
  • All that is weak and wounded, flawed and faulty, broken and bent in us is gradually rewired, renewed, restored and refreshed.

Why do I call God’s grace wild? Because it’s so indiscriminately and generously given, untameable , out of our control. We don’t have to pass a test or do anything else to be deemed worthy of being washed in God’s grace. All qualify. Period. For all time.

In a very real sense, you could say that God’s grace is wasted on us because that’s exactly what it is. Not one of us has done anything to deserve grace. It is literally God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense, bought and paid for at the Cross, poured out freely on us.

wild grace

there’s a wildness here
a drenching in holy rain
we are rewired, changed
©joylenton

equilibrium: where our best soul peace comes from #thedailyhaiku 25

 

It doesn’t take much to rock our world or spoil our day, does it? With 24 hour news reports, lives that are increasingly fractured and eminently distracted by pinging phones and tablets, we can quickly sway from delight to despair, from joy to sadness, from feeling carefree to being consumed with fear.

And that doesn’t include our own internal make up and body chemistry, plus our propensity for self-preoccupation and concern, which can play havoc with our feelings on the best of days.

So how do we find and maintain a state of measured calm in all of this? How do we avoid being at the mercy of our feelings and subject to change because of shifts in the world around? Where is the equilibrium we all seek?

What works may vary from person to person, but the major stabilising thing in my life is my faith in Christ. Not that my faith doesn’t shake or falter at times. The vital part is what and who we place our faith in, not how great our faith might be in and of itself.

Trusting in Christ is how I achieve a measure of balance, composure and calm, despite what might be happening in my life. It’s not a state of switched off bliss, ignoring the things that disturb my soul while I meditate or something. It starts with a conscious awareness of my need.

It’s a willing surrender to God as loving Father. He cares deeply about what hurts us, and has the ability to keep us stable instead of falling apart, to give us wisdom, equilibrium and strength whenever we need it, and remind us that He is in charge of everything.

Though I may come to God in a state of turmoil to begin with, once I have stilled and rested myself in His presence, prayed and handed over my worries and concerns, He fills me with His supernatural peace, calm and contentment.

It’s a gift. Pure grace, in fact. Freely available to us all. And the best thing? We have access to it as often as we need. There are no limits to God’s willingness to meet with us and calm our fretful hearts.

equilibrium

equilibrium

we become happy and calm

focusing on God

©joylenton

let: when wishes become a way of life #thedaikyhaiku 24

 

As I reach the tail end of this October writing marathon, I must confess that my reserves are very depleted. No surprises there. 😏 But I don’t want to allow discouragement in or let myself become derailed by fatigue. Those things can so easily define my days.

Here’s the thing. I want to go out on a cloud of grace. Same way as I came in, in fact. God carries me each day, holds me close to His chest and whispers words of reassurance whenever I feel defeated by life.

If I am wanting to let anything affect me during these oh so weary days, then let it be joy. Let it be love. Let it be peace. Because I’m done with yielding to my SAD feelings and allowing my body’s state to dictate how my days are shaped. I want to surrender to God most of all, hard as it can be sometimes.

Will you join me? if your health or life is less than tickety-boo, then give it over to God instead of giving yourself a hard time, or wallowing in hurts and slights. Yes, they are a pain, quite literally. Yet what God is willing to give to His children far exceeds those things.

Whatever is troubling your soul, let it be, my friend, and let God be who He wants to be in your life: a rock-steady Hope, a force for Good, an Anchor to hold you firm, a sea of Grace, a river of Peace, a Saviour and your closest Friend, and so much more than we can ever imagine.

let it be

let joy permeate
let love be my calling card
peace be my heart’s state
©joylenton

If my words are insufficient, then why not let the Beatles song above persuade you to let go of your cares? PS: John Lennon was my favourite!  🙂