Seeing life whole by Joy Lenton

As we carefully select colours, adding nuances with deliberate shades and hues, we aim to sew a fine seam with our words. 

No loose ends. Neat and complete. Nice and tidy. Job done.

But it's those frayed fronds, snagged ends and tangled threads we long to snip away at which can make our word-weaving richer.

They add texture and character to our stories and authenticity to our testimonies.

Tangles, knots and snarls serve to make us stop a while for some necessary unpicking, yet they also provide a pausing place to see the picture differently.

The view from the back of a tapestry is a mess and muddle of line and shade criss-crossing one another. But to others? It's a beautifully wrought piece of work when seen from their perspective. 

Sometimes we imagine our lives should run smooth and fine, outwardly light and bright. And if we spend much of our time in testing and fiery trials, in deep dark places of the soul, hidden and unseen, we think our lives look like it too.

Maybe they do. God can set us apart for a purpose, for a season in which our souls learn to lean on Him more than they rely on the approval of others.

Valley living and wilderness life feel unsettling, uncomfortable and unceasing while we are going through them.

We can feel invisible while we're being refined.

But I believe it's the grey shadows they cast which add depth to the overall image of our lives. They balance and build, blend and define, shape our outlook and firm our minds.

For without them the Light within couldn't shine out in such stark relief. 

Broken holey people, wholly devoted to holy God, are great receptacles for glimmers of grace to show through.

In the shady places of valley living, faith grows. Seeds of trust are sown. A harvest will be reaped in due time.

We learn to pray in ways that stretch our belief, and develop deeper confidence in God's ability to walk us through the mire.

And we see our need of being mended, being restored and refashioned by God's loving hands as a necessity more than a nuisance.

We won't always be in challenging circumstances but we will always have need of a Saviour.

Our challenge is to discern between a godly tension or one we've created for ourselves.

One brings forth life and grace. The other reveals our great need of it.

And to remember there is power in the unloosing and unleashing of His work in us because it enables us to see our lives more clearly and to see them whole.

God knit us carefully and thoughtfully together in the womb and He is continually making us all He desires us to be.

'An unloosing'

It doesn't serve us well
to be stitched up on the inside
Seamed with regret, resentment
Nor to have no more than tangled
threads, knots and snags tied up
as worries in our heads
Unloose us to love
Undo our hearts
Unravel us to compassion
Let our hearts reveal
our soul's deepest need
to shine Your light
glowing prism-bright
Each reflection remains a reminder
of why You came and suffered
to illuminate and renew us

Joy is a grace-dweller who weaves words out of the fabric of her days, penning poetry and prose in her PJs. As an M.E and chronic illness sufferer (who is also recovering from a painful past), she writes with a heart for the hurting and to support and encourage others who are struggling with life and faith issues. You can connect with her at her blogs, Words of Joy’ or ‘Poetry Joy’, and on Twitter or Facebook.


  1. Beautiful, as ever Joy, and a real encouragement and reminder for me personally. Thank you for your honesty and your creativity in expressing it. x

    1. Thanks, Deborah! I love to encourage if I can. And writing openly seems to be my default mode. :)

  2. Joy, you have learned, by difficult experiences in your life, some things that the Apostle Paul also discovered in his: that some of the things that seem so messed up, things that seem to be the problem, are actually part of God's solution for you as He works in your life. You express it so beautifully, so poetically! I thoroughly enjoyed the truths you've presented here, and the presentation as well. Excellent!

    1. Hello Neil. Thanks for following me over here. It's good to see you! Yes, hindsight is a great teacher and experiences make and mould us into deeper people of the cross. I love the way you express it here:"things that seem to be the problem are actually part of God's solution for you as He works in your life."
      Indeed they are. Although it may have taken many trials and many years to appreciate them in that way. Thank you for your kind encouragement and for stopping to leave a lovely comment. Bless you, friend. :)

  3. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭7-10‬ KJV)

    1. A timely Bible passage which brings your point home beautifully. It is one I turn to frequently as a wonderful reminder of the all sufficiency of God's grace. Thanks for sharing it, Neil.

  4. Joy, beautiful encouragement indeed. From where I sit my life seems to have more than my fair share of tufty bits and knots and tangles, but I trust that the One who holds it all together is making something special from it.
    Thank you. This is lovely.

    1. Helen, it is also my hope and prayer that "the One who holds it all together is making something special" from the tangled threads and knotty places in my life. Much of His work is unseen but we can ask for glimpses of God's grace to become more manifest in our lives. Thank you for encouraging me with your comment. Bless you. Xx ☺


Post a comment