Life’s a beach

Christmas (and compassion?) wrapped away with the decorations.
Baubles, bells and blessings boxed up.
Merry-making turns to risk-taking.
Trying out the new for size.
Away with the glove-comfort fit of the old.
Seize the day, seize the moment, seize the….
Holiday brochures?
Ah, now you’re talking.
Could do with a break.
All that socialising, magazine and TV-glossed perfection
that leaves us sickened with self-comparison, wearied by the smugness 
of lives lived out before us – our own paling into insignificance, such paltry offerings
redeemable by escaping these sullied shores
where life and weather drear the soul.
Let’s make life a beach – not a bore or a chore

If only life was like this beach:

Easy and leisurely.

Nothing to spoil the view.

No sharp stones or pebbles.

Throw in the company of our loved ones, an endless supply of food and drink and who wouldn’t want to be there?

Most of us have: 
At least a ripple or two of irritation going on.

Some stones on the path.

Large rocks looming up to obscure our view.

Some of us may have waves of worries, be drowning in debt, experiencing deserts of difficulties or feeling lost and alone amidst the forests of frustration.

An astute reader may wonder at all the watery references that have slipped into this blog of late.

I have been feeling a bit ‘Out of my Depth’ recently as I seem to be led to speak about the dark, difficult and painful path of life.

Life can feel overwhelming and far from ‘beachy-peachy’ for many of us, especially in this season, as we plaster on a smile to hide our heartache.


When it feels like the whole world is intent on rejoicing and celebrating, we can feel:

Out of sync, cast adrift on a raft of misery, depression, loss, grief, sickness – or just plain struggle to keep afloat. 

The title of this post could also be taken to mean ‘Life’s a bitch’ as it’s considered to be a kinder way of putting it. That may be an apt description of someone’s life right now. Especially when celebrating a new year is the last thing you feel like doing.

Some may be experiencing or remembering literal floods and tsunami. Precious things are lost and life feels very precarious indeed. When life uproots us from our bearings we long for ‘Ordinary’ again and the reassurance it brings. Bring back familiar. Bring back life as we knew it.

As you read the poem below, please bear in mind these words of reassurance:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you..Since you are honoured and precious in my sight, and because I love you..” ~ Isaiah 43:1- 4 (edited version)

Tsunami

Darkness threatens to engulf me
in its stealthy shadows
as I hit rock-bottom once more –
crying a river of tears,
an unending stream
of desolation and despair

Sinews wrap round like seaweed
refusing to be peeled away
I’m drowning, floundering,
kicking at the shackles
yet they remain like limpets –
imprisoning, suffocating, life-draining

Need to let go of all hopes and dreams,
all the frustrated longings 
of my broken heart..broken life
Slipstream of desires
falling through my fingers
though I cling on tenaciously

I’m out of my depth in this place
as the waves and waters break,
crashing resoundingly on the shore
of Safe Landings
Perhaps I can reach it
if I surrender everything?

A heaving, seething, tumultuous tide of life
has battered and flattened me
Weakly I gasp, head barely afloat,
crushed, exhausted and spent,
resources all gone –
I lay weeping … at Your feet.
©JoyLenton2012

“The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea – the Lord on high is mighty” ~ Psalm 93:3-4

These verses remind us Who is in control – God is our Rock, Refuge, Safe Harbour, Shelter and High Tower at all times. He stands firm and holds us. Lyrics below are from ‘Like the Angels’©2005ThankyouMusic ~ Brenton Brown



“When I am sinking down, when I am lost at sea
No solace to be found, no ground beneath my feet
I turn to You as I go down, I reach for You through roaring waves
My only hope is in Your arms, my only prayer is that You’d save me.

Cause You make me soar like angels

You let me walk on the water
You let me run with white horses
Jesus, my strength when all is gone
(You are my strength when all is gone)

When I am all alone, no land is in my sight

All others lost from view, and comes the darkening night
I reach for You as I go down, I look to You through roaring waves
My only hope is in Your arms, my only prayer is that You’d save me”

To hear Brenton Brown’s song ‘Like the Angels’ Click on the link. Full lyrics are there too.

This is a period for recognising that not everyone feels safe, encouraged, blessed or hopeful. Jesus came specifically to heal the broken hearted and restore what was lost:

“..the Lord has anointed me to preach good new to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners..” ~ Isaiah 61:1
Wherever you are at right now, no matter what you may be going through, remember that God cares, He loves you and desires to protect and keep you safe through all the storms of life. All He asks is that you turn to Him and rest in His loving embrace so that He can hold you close and give you all you need to live as an Overcomer. Then you will be able to echo the words of the psalmist:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust” ~ Psalm 91:1-2

“When I said, “My foot is slipping”, your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” ~ Psalm 94:18-19 

Pause to ponder:

As we begin this New Year,will you allow the tides of life to sweep you up and leave you bruised and battered?


Maybe hide the pain – try to ignore it in some way?


Or will you seek help,support,and the hope and strength that only God can give us?


I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments below.

8 Comments

  1. Thankyou for this, Joy. I think that in the middle of all the Facebook statuses about how wonderful life is; snapshots of perfect smiling families and all the highlights of our lives now and again it helps so much to admit that yes, life is hard sometimes. The last month or so for me has been so discouraging that I'm going into the New Year tired and without much enthusiasm. I always find your blog uplifting and this post is no different – even though the waves crash over me I will not sink. Even though the darkness threatens to engulf me, I have a light that will never go out.
    Thankyou Joy.

    1. Thank you, Helen, for your encouraging words. I really appreciate them! As I am so often drawn to writing about the dark or challenging side of life, it is good to hear that you find it uplifting. Discouragement is a familiar feeling in this season and can so easily turn into despair or depression if unattended to. My aim is to end positively and point the way to the One who loves us beyond measure. We do indeed "have a light that will never go out". May you remain blessed by this knowledge. 🙂

  2. As Helen said, your blog post is very timely. I am so learning about what you say. Once before I suffered from broken dreams and I allowed the pain to drag me away from God. Now I am back with Him, this time I am looking to Him more. I have even started a gratitude tin – writing down things to be thankful for a the end of the day – a way of looking for the pin pricks of light amidst the darkness. It so helps to turn my eyes to Jesus. I remember that old song…"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.

    1. Thank you, Lynda, for sharing here. Your thoughts are very welcome. Oh, how I see patterns yet again in the way God is dealing with His children! A few weeks ago I felt convicted by the negative thinking I was allowing to consume me. So I began logging only positive things in my journal (previously long-neglected) instead of the usual moans and groans. To see "the pin-pricks of light amidst the darkness" is a goal I share this year. Love that hymn, by the way! May your path be greatly illuminated by His presence as you seek to find His will for you. Bless you 🙂

  3. This is awesome.

    i love the beach! its my favorite place ever.

    the one thing that i love is the fact that the soothing sounds of the ocean can calm the most frantic heart but in the same instance, the power of the ocean can destroy like nothing we've ever seen.

    amazing.

    thank you for the joy you bring my way!!

    @spreadingJOY

    1. Welcome, Marie. Thanks very much for your comments. The beach is a great place of reflection and I miss not having visited it for some years now. But I can always return by the power of imagination! You are the one who brings such joy into the life of others by your wonderful ministry and I am blessed to know you in the 'virtual world' we inhabit. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jedidja, for appreciating the realistic nature of life that I try to convey here. The hope and freedom we have in Christ is the greatest reality of all and the one sure thing we can all cling to when life is dark and painful. Bless you 🙂

Your words matter. I'd love to hear from you.