Haven: when life hurts, Jesus is our refuge and safe place

Our home has become an unnatural haven of quiet. Machines still whirr, hum and sing their song into the ether, but they don’t shout as loudly as the silence announcing that I am home alone.

My beloved husband, soul-mate and carer is absent, currently residing in a hospital bed, a busy environment that is anything but conducive to rest and recovery.

He’s fighting back tears that a stoical man hates to shed, while his post-op body rages with intense, intractable pain the medical staff can’t seem to control.

You might think how lovely it must be to have all the quiet, space and time I need to do my own thing. You would be wrong.

I can’t focus on anything, my mind’s constant chatter an unwelcome noise.

I yearn for him to have better pain management, to improve enough for a phone conversation and some semblance of normal life.

We normally live like companionable sardines, nestled together in our small home, sometimes carving out private space for our individual needs and interests.

So in this vacuum of time before healing is apparent, or discharge is possible, I am turning more frequently to the One who is my soul’s best Friend, Anchor and haven.

Jesus offers a refuge, safe place and haven for all who are hurting and seeking solace Click To Tweet

And while I may find my usual measures of soul soothing are failing me, I can always find comfort in my relationship with God.

He knows my focus is shot, concentration poor, prayers paltry, body weak and weary – and He simply holds me steady, pouring His love like a liquid-honey balm into my heart.

Haven can be described as: a harbour, place of peace, protection, refuge, retreat, safety, sanctuary, security, shelter, a port in a storm – such is God to you and me.

He gives us all we need to survive and thrive during life’s painful circumstances. There is grace for it all and peace beyond our comprehension.

God sees everything we go through, and only He can mend our broken bodies, minds and hearts Click To Tweet

I am struggling to string words together while we’re coping with this situation, therefore the offering below is a pre-written poem, which inexplicably refused to shape itself into the right formatting, sigh… ­čÖü

Against the tide

against the tide - haven WOJCalamity 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 gently 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

┬ęJoyLenton2016

The video below reminds us of the beautiful friendship Jesus offers all who trust in Him…

The poem above is from ‘Seeking Solace: Discovering grace in life’s hard places’, now available on Amazon. US readers can access it directly from the side-bar here, and UK readers can find it from the book link above.

If you’ve already enjoyed reading┬á‘Seeking Solace’,┬áplease would you consider leaving a brief review? Thank you! Proceeds from its sale are going to Action for ME┬áto help fund future research. ┬á­čÖé

I’m blessed to join with the fantastic FMF writing crew at Kate Motaung’s place. This week’s┬áprompt is:┬á‘haven’. You can check out the great posts here.┬á┬áAlso linking with Barbie and Carrie at Lets Us Walk Worthy as we share our walk of life and faith.

34 Comments

  1. What a Friend We Have in Jesus is one of my fave hymns. Praying for you and your hubby. God is indeed our haven in the midst of the storm. I’m in the #8 spot this week.

    1. Tara, I’m glad you love ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ too. It never fails to move me. And when life shifts me off my moorings, I am so thankful for having Jesus as the steady Anchor for our souls. Yes and Amen to this: “God is indeed our haven in the midst of the storm.” I’m sorry for my late reply and for not managing to get over to your place yet. Things are exhausting me more than usual this week. Bless you for your prayers. They are gratefully received! x

  2. What a hard time you and your husband are in right now. I pray God will send you comfort and peace and some relief very soon. Blessings to you, dear Joy! xo

    1. Gayl, thank you for your prayers; they are already being answered. The pain is less severe or prolonged than it was and he is in good spirits despite a protracted recovery. God is keeping both of us in His perfect peace as we cope apart from one another. Bless you, dear friend! xo

  3. I’m so sorry your husband is in the hospital and suffering such pain, Joy. It must be so hard on both of you – him wishing he could be home to help you and you wishing you had the health and energy to be at his side. Praying for both of you. What a blessing that you may find a Safe Haven in the midst of the storm. I loved being reminded of the song, too. Yes, our best and most faithful Friend is Jesus! We couldn’t live without Him, could we? Big hugs to you!

    1. Trudy, I am so grateful for your prayers and I’m witnessing God’s hand at work in response to them. There have been a few opportunities for me to visit my hubby now and then, and he is improving enough now to be able to give me an occasional phone call and progress report. I would hate to try to live life without Jesus. He is my strength when I feel weak and the comfort that I seek, the safe harbour in life’s storms. Big hugs returned to you, sweet friend! xo

  4. Praying for healing and pain control for your husband, Joy. I’m so sorry you have to be apart during this time, when you need each other the most. Praying, too, that you will regain your focus. May God hold you gently until you do, my friend.

    1. June, it has been quite hard and challenging to be apart for this period of time and to know he is suffering so much. I’ve been unable to settle to anything properly this week, but God has graced me with some needful energy to cope alone and to visit my beloved a few times. I am truly thankful for your prayers. Being held gently by God sounds divine, which of course it is! Bless you, lovely friend. xo

  5. Dear Joy, My words fall so short as I pray for you and your husband tonight. But I know that what I lack in expression, Jesus will fill with His Comfort. So I will continue to cry for MERCY for both of you, and trust that HE is your Safe Haven. –Blessings and Hugs to you!

    1. Dear Bettie, your words are always welcome, as are your thoughts and prayers. Mercy is graciously being poured out because the pain is lessening a little and there are signs of progress, maybe slower than we want but still small steps forward in the right direction. I miss having the wherewithal to write or to read blog posts as I usually do, but kindness and prayers here go a long way to making me feel less alone. Blessings and hugs to you! xo

  6. Joy, I’m sorry for all that you and your husband are going through right now. Praying for healing for him and that he will be home with you soon. Praying that you will be able to draw close to God, your safe haven, and know him with you, sheltering you in the midst of this storm. Thanks for sharing the beautiful poem too.

    1. Carly, your prayers are just what we need, thank you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he will be discharged any time soon because mobility, pain and low BP (amongst other concerns) remain a problem. And when he finally can come out of hospital it might be to a rehabilitation centre or to convalesce with family for as long as necessary before returning home. Drawing close to God is a real comfort while we wait for things to improve. I’m glad you like the poem! xo

      1. Sorry that things are still difficult, Joy. I’ll continue praying for you and your husband. Praying that you find peace and comfort as you draw close to God and that your husband’s condition improves.

        1. Thank you so much, Carly.I covet your prayers because I actually feel a bit lost and sad today, finding even my usual quiet times a challenge due to a restless mind. I guess God is saying that He’s got it all covered and all I need to do is let myself (and my husband) be held by Him. Resting in God sounds easy but it does require our willing participation! Bless you, friend. Xo

  7. I am so sorry you are struggling so much. It’s hard whilst our husbands are suffering as well. Please know you and your husband are in my prayers. Praise the Lord for his friendship, which will never fail nor leave us. You are a beautiful blessing! Gentle hugs xx

    1. Tanya, how typically generous and kind of you to take the time and trouble to leave a lovely comment, especially when life is really challenging for you and your husband right now. Thank you for being so carimg. I really appreciate your encouragement and prayers. Gentle hugs and prayers to you too. xx

  8. Ah, Joy, I’m sorry, my friend. I will be in your shoes soon enough and Jesus will be my haven as well. You’re in my prayers always.

    1. Susan, I am sorry to hear you will be experiencing these things as well. Praise God for being our safe haven! Thank you for your prayers. I’m praying for you too. Blessings and hugs. xo

  9. Dearest Joy, I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Hoping for some relief of the pain that you are both going through. I know that cannot be an easy burden to bear. I’m so thankful for your encouraging thoughts on my recent post & doubly glad to have you as a neighbor at the Let Us Grow link up! (I’ve also added you on Google+ and Facebook.) Blessings to you…

    1. Dear Mitzi, how sweet of you to return the visit, pray for my situation, leave a beautifully encouraging comment and connect with me on social media! I’m touched and awed by the way God works to unite sisters in Christ. Blessed to have met you and looking forward to getting to know you better. xo

    1. Indeed, Carol, there is no other comfort or consolation to compare to that which God brings to our souls. Thank you for your prayers! Bless you, friend.

    1. Joy, you barely know me and yet you see courage and signs of a strong faith in the words I’ve penned. It must be God-given insight and discernment, because I feel far from courageous! Bless you for stopping by to offer encouragement. I’m so glad we’ve connected and hope you will return. x

    1. That is exactly what God is doing, dear friend, wrapping us “in His healing embrace” and ensuring we are having our individual needs met. Progress may be slow and homecoming delayed a while longer, but there are baby steps forward which speak of God’s goodness and grace. Healing takes time after major surgery and we both need to be patient as we celebrate each small sign of recovery taking place. Thank you for your kind thoughts. x

  10. Oh Joy, my heart strings are pulled taut as I read what your husband is going through and what you are experiencing. I am ever so sorry, yet will be holding both of you in my prayers.
    I am moved by your words: “He knows my focus is shot, concentration poor, prayers paltry, body weak and weary ÔÇô and He simply holds me steady, pouring His love like a liquid-honey balm into my heart.”
    I am grateful for the safe and sweet haven of the Lord, even when all else swims around you. He is our refuge and He is truly yours in these days. I thank Him for His care.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. Dear Linda, I am truly thankful for small mercies this week: for meals out of the freezer to microwave, for lifts to the hospital to see my beloved and energy enough to cope alone each day, for tiny signs of progress as he begins to inch toward recovery, and for lovely friends like you who make it bearable by your prayers and petitions on our behalf. God certainly is my/our refuge, help and strength! Rejoicing with you at the way He cares so tenderly for us. Bless you for caring, my friend, and for your faithful prayers – all gratefully received. xo

  11. Joy, my prayers and thoughts are with you and your husband. Your poem is just lovely.

    If I may, I would like to share two short poems that have given me some comfort in my situation.

    “I am sore wounded, but am no slain.
    I will lay me down to bleed awhile
    and then rise to fight with you again.”

    “Go tell the Spartans,
    stranger passing by,
    that here, obedient to their laws,
    we lie.”

    I am finding that Haven is a choice, and I must make it my choice, every day. God bless, my friend.

    #2 at FMF this week.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/06/your-dying-spouse-163-saving-strawberry.html

    1. Dear Andrew, these words: “I am finding that Haven is a choice, and I must make it my choice, every day” are so wise and insightful. Yes, it is a choice, one we so often forget we play a part in seeking. I love the poems you have shared, especially the former. We so often feel “sore wounded”, don’t we? Then to see how we may suffer but “am no slain” is a wake-up call to continue fighting the good fight of faith. In your own situation I daresay you can strongly relate to:
      “I will lay me down to bleed awhile
      and then rise to fight with you again.”
      Thank you so much for being here and for fighting strong despite feeling so weak. You always seem to have a word to share that strengthens, helps and heals. Bless you for appreciating my poem. You might care to read ‘Seeking Solace’ and see what you think of the rest! I hope to stop by your place soon, but I am a bit behind with my blog reading. God bless you, my friend.

  12. You are fighting against a strong current right now and I understand the context for the comment you left me today on my blog. I am adding your husband to my prayers as well as continuing to pray for you. Even though your life is chaotic, your words are a haven for those who are facing similar situations. Blessings as you navigate the current with the our Savior at the helm!

    1. Mary, I love how you’ve described the situation as “fighting against a strong current” because that’s exactly what it feels like! Although my hubby and I have hit a fair few storms in our lives, we manage to stay afloat without capsizing because our Captain/Saviour is at the helm. Thank you so much for your prayers. They are deeply appreciated. Bless you. xo

  13. Enjoying reading your work and know the Lord is going to do great things for you and for your husband. God bless you richly. I love the song. Be well and thank you for the strength you give out to others.

    1. Linda, I so appreciate you being here. Thank you for the sweet encouragement you bring with your presence and your words! May God also strengthen you for all He is calling you to do. Blessings. x

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