Plans for 2021 – it’s time to grow and go

I thought that it may be a good idea to communicate what we may be offering in 2021. It’s time to grow and go (and in saying ‘go’ I do not mean you look like me as shown in these stories, but you look like you, in all of your unique and incredible individual ways that you express the manifold wisdom, multicoloured facets, of God in your life, in your sphere of influence as you go about life).

Plans for 2021:

We will continue with Sitting at the Feet of the Father which is predominantly a soaking/growing group. You simply cannot spend time in God’s Presence and not be transformed. Click here if is this is of interest to you. 

We will also be running a prophetic community training group which will be the start of a local and international prophetic community. The local group may start meeting on a monthly basis. International groups will be run on zoom. This group will include training in prophetic protocols and with a view to developing your gifts in a safe accountable environment. Our heart for for this community is that it’s safe to learn, grow, make mistakes, and ask questions. Click here if this is of interest to you.

We also welcome creatives (dancers, musicians, artists, sculptors, writers, poets, artisans, actors) and mystics. We have a heart to create a creative community that is a part of our prophetic family. We are forming wonderful relationships with people who run communities specifically for various creative art forms etc, where opportunities abound to grow in prophetic creativity in a safe, accepting, fun and kind environment.

2021: the year of honey ©Bermix Studio

Neither group is to draw you away from your church, but rather to empower equip and release you into your sphere of influence, dripping with the honey of Heaven as you go.

Gratitude is the attitude for 2021 – free resource in Unlocking the Gold

We recently watched the movie Soul.

I highly recommend it.

Soul is a poignant reminder that our life’s spark is not purpose. Life is not about what we do, for we are not human doings. Rather, life’s spark is about the sheer joy of living, those magic moments when life sings.

Gratitude is the Attitude 
© Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking a great deal about joy this year.

How do we step into JOY?

I believe that gratitude is key!

GRATITUDE…

Simple, easy, yet it has a profound effect on our state of mind, our resilience and health. Working with refugees for years, I truly believe it is key to their coping and thriving after years of persecution and fear.

Each January our family celebrates what we are grateful for, and as we do, we write a list of hopes, dreams, plans, desires, goals for the year(s) to come. We check off fulfilled goals and dreams, and review others. For example – my daughter was travelling as an exchange student to France this Christmas. This did not happen. BUT other wonderful things have instead… we recount these, we are sad for the missed trip; but so grateful for so much else that life has brought us in this season.

Nothing is too big or small to write on that list.

I am grateful for my health, that my legs work, my arms work, my hands work (I honour you Bill Sweeney of Unshakeable Hope & family).

I am grateful for music, that I can hear music.

I am grateful for fresh air, the wind, walks, and Nutella on crepes.

I am grateful for family, friends, opportunities…

I am grateful that I know and love a good God, who makes Himself known to me in profoundly personal and real ways…

Nothing is too big or small to celebrate.

January is great for us in Australia because our school year starts in February; but any time works.

We will do this again in the early days of 2021.

In fact, we did this a couple of months early, when Melbourne opened up from hard lockdown a little, and we could sit at a cafe for a cup of coffee. As we reviewed our list written in January 2020, we delighted at just how many things we had to be grateful for, how many fulfilled desires were on our list, and how many unexpected blessings had come…

If we ever hit really challenging times, we find anything to hold on to, to be grateful for, and speak them out, even when our emotions do not match!

Gratitude is even more crucial in these days – it’s how we hold strong in the storms of life.

Jane Berry, a dear friend, has recognised that gratitude is the attitude.

She has written a free 40 Days of Gratitude e-journal.

You can get yours here on either of her blogs:

Unlocking the Gold

Raising World Changers

Let me know how you get on, and as you complete each day remember that…

God is Good!

Oh and…

Happy New Year!

 

Love looks like something…

So, this is the beautiful Nikita who writes poetry and loves gifts. She encountered Love a couple of weeks ago when my friends and I had coffee…

Love looks like something
© Nikita Borg 2020
Days after we spoke with her, a group of Christians from another church had coffee there. The pastor chatted to her, and she told him her story of meeting us. He invited her to his church. She plans to go. Ironically, it’s the same church I would have suggested to her, but I had felt not to push it, but allow her to go on her own journey. Now I know why I was to stand back – God had it all in hand. The church is just perfect to accept her creativity, beauty, and gentleness of heart.
I will let her tell more of her story.
She gets it…
this is NORMAL Christianity, this is what Love looks like…❤️
Nikita writes on her Facebook page:

hello facebook, please meet L 🌞 L is a dear friend of mine. he is exactly like you and I. He has a heart and soul and a really beautiful dream; to spread the words of love and kindness. He is an incredibly colourful human with an old soul wiseness and a phenomenal artist as you can see! He is almost always peacefully planted outside the ANZ bank in _____ sipping coffee, smoking making art, being, interacting with anyone that chooses to interact with him. I know I really enjoy buying his art as gifts for others and myself but him all to his own, the human that he is, the alphabet he created and the love he emits he is the most kind and whole soul I’ll probably ever meet. So yes this is a huge plug to get you all to support him and buy his art but he also likes flat whites with two sugars and hugs. I gave him a big hug today and he cried and cried and said nobody had done that for years. So if your lucky enough to befriend him and your a hunger just go for it 💙
Not long after she wrote this post she privately messaged me:

I gave myself to God today in front of everyone at fire church I cried and cried and felt a weight lifted and the pastor I knew came over and said a prayer for me and I feel so different. THANK-YOU! I would also be very interested in a more formal church. Can always go to two…… where do you go?

I LOVE JESUS

Three words:

God is Good!

Love looks like something.

Will you leak Heaven as you go?
What does it look like for you?
I’d love to hear your testimonies.

Post lockdown shopping with Jesus… Kindness matters… #grateful

Grateful Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

The Friday afternoon, after the coffee with friends where we found a treasure in a girl with a heart tattoo, I dropped my daughter to an appointment and went browsing in a local clothing store.

Wandering in I said ‘hi’, chose a few pieces to try on, and popped into the change room.

The owner and I were chatting about the recent lockdown that lasted 4-6 months here in Melbourne. We discussed the businesses we each knew that had closed, the people we knew that had been ill with covid, the people that were so very angry… at everything… and those that had struggled…

She asked me how I had coped.

‘Gratitude’ I said.

‘Choosing joy, while acknowledging heart ache and sadness…’

‘Gratitude…’ I said again.

In chatting we realised we had both chosen gratitude. We acknowledged the fear, the pain, the loss, but we had also looked at all that we were grateful for, the things we did have, and noted that we lived in a safe country, a beautiful country, and that kindness was the primary response that would get Melbourne back up and running.

In between dresses the owner paused, looking at me she said, ‘you look really spiritual’.

I laughed. I looked like a post covid-19 lockdown me. A little bigger than she had last seen me, and that was all. She has seen me over the years regularly. I often walked into browse her shop.

The difference?

She was spiritually open.

We chatted some more, and as I paid for my new dress I offered to pray for her.

She agreed, and so I released the Kingdom of Heaven into her store, I blessed the work of her hands, and her business, I honoured her in her walk of grace in a difficult time with her ex business partner, I spoke of what I sensed would or could be future plans, places to open further stores, business blueprints and ideas…

I essentially spoke God’s heart for her and her business, including the business development plans she had held in her heart…

She was shocked, and exclaimed it was in line with her very thoughts.

I laughed and said that was God affirming her ideas and plans.

Sensing I had finished what I needed to pray, I ended the prayer.

She cried… and asked: ‘can I hug you?’

‘Yes’ I said

And so she stepped out and around into my arms and we hugged as she wept…

It was the second hug of the day from a stranger, that God had set His sights upon.

‘There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God’

Psalm 46:4

I retell this story, not to big note or brag, but to demonstrate that if I can do this, anyone can.

I’m not perfect.

I don’t always get it right.

But God knows; God sees; God loves…

He has a heart to see the one before us, and if we will listen, love and let Him out, He will take care of the rest, because…

God is Good!

Post Script:

I prayed for one more person this same day. There were no hugs, there were no tears, I provided a listening ear. It was a chat at a sweet store (we were buying lollies for Christmas stockings) but there was no overt element that showed me the recipient was impacted. It is normal to have encounters of great breakthrough, and then encounters that would leave you wondering why bother. It’s all good, any attempt is a ‘win’, as long as I step forth in love. It is not a notch on the belt… it is purely seeing a need and sensing a desire to bless or love the person before you, knowing that…

God is Good!

 

Fruit happens… Coffee & God’s heart for the one

Last Friday I caught up with two beautiful Christian friends. I do life with them. They make up my writers/life accountability group.

Coffee cup filled with the fruit of love ©Ben Libby @benlibby

We met for the first time in person since February. The joy was tangible. We exchanged gifts, laughter poured out, and we released shouts of glee into the outdoor restaurant.

The waitress, a young woman maybe in her late 20’s stopped and smiled: ‘oh I love gifts, Christmas is my favourite time of the year, I just love giving gifts- thank you for reminding me of this.’

We chatted briefly and offered to pray for her.

She quickly said yes.

I prophesied, noting the tattoos that ran up her arms, and released God’s heart of love for her. I said I saw her writing and felt she was a poet… I encouraged her to keep writing and spoke to other things I knew.

She was a poet, and many of the other words also affirmed her. They spoke to her heart. She was not a Christian yet, and she was clearly hungry for the love and the joy we carried as a group.

Later, she saw us outside the café, and spoke again to us, asking where we went to church, calling us angels. I told her what church I attended online and spoke more into her situation. She shared that she had been suicidal during lockdown and she struggled with drugs.

‘God can deal with that,’ I said.

She looked at me and asked, ‘Can I hug you?’

I responded ‘Of course’ and as we hugged, I whispered to her she was beautiful, I kissed her on the cheek and we exchanged details….

The following Monday night I received a message:

‘Beth thank-you all three of you beautiful angels have inspired me to actually go to a church I was heavily drawn to before seeing you which is close to me thank you thank you thank you’

And then Saturday evening, I received this message:

Beth…. I am so overwhelmed and appreciative to tell you I HAVE given myself to god. I cried and cried after work today as I pulled into my driveway and realised I had given myself and I feel so happy to be back with god and to love god and know that he loves me. I feel so happy to be where I belong. You had such a big influence on this as did your friends. I showed this emotion to my mum and she has always gently felt the same but I suppose I wasn’t ready. And then this poem just now the first poem as I open the book….

 

In my daily life since talking with god I feel him and feel peace and when I give I feel perfect and know it is in perfect sense to do so
THANK-YOU THANK-YOU THANK-YOU BETH
❤️

She said:

I felt drawn to a man today to buy him a smiley face biscuit and so I did and he was delighted and his friend said what made you do that and I said I had a tingly in my tummy to do so and the tinglys are clear and strong and warm and just thank-you so much ❤️
[author’s note: anyone can do this!]

Now, I may look like I am the hero in this interaction.

I ‘m not.

As a group, the three of us felt love for one another, and we were expressing our sheer Joy… she was drawn by the fruit in our life…

The three of us just stopped and turned to see a beautiful, gifted girl, and said yes to being the conduit of a loving God, a Father who loved her without reserve. He did the rest…

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

(Galatians 5:22-23)

My friends and I are still in contact with her.

We will be by her side as much as she wants us to be, to encourage her and love her as best we can… because we are not perfect.

We know that as long as she holds onto the love of the Father’s heart of Jesus, she will be ok because…

God is Good!

As an addendum, this beautiful heart wrote:

I am so emotional for you and the gift you are I am so thankful and so happy

I wrote two poems just now just flowed straight out of me and I am going to publish my own book of poetry ❤️

THANK-YOU

PS: I am happy to answer questions about this encounter. This was one of three for the day, as I went about my Friday. I will post about the next in a future post.

My beloved daughter; My beloved son

Who are we?

Questions of identity stir. The depth of that quest for self is confronting, and so we keep busy, we keep moving…

The world says ‘Go, go, go!’

So we run.

Sitting to stop (listening to Schubert with scrolling images of beauty provided by dear friend) © Beth Kennedy 2020

We run until the light of the day goes, and when it has we flick the switch for more light and we party, eat, see friends, turn on screens, call people, text, comment, blog, find other things to do… for we must… not…. dare…. keep… still…, even for one moment! If we stop, that issue of self may chase us down and face us off squarely, showing us we are merely a puff of smoke on the horizon of the earth…

So who are we?

Recently we have had to

sit

still

and just

for a moment

breathe…

‘When can we get back to being busy?’ we ask.

The silence in the stopping is, um, well, it’s, …. ‘uncomfortable’.

Le Marque rose citrus fragrance on the wind ©Beth Kennedy 2020

I stop.

I listen.

My breath, the wind in the trees, birds, neighbours banging doors, traffic, a baby crying at a nearby child care centre, the whirl of the train as it pulls into the station close to my home (the wind must be a northerly for me to hear that), a plane, builders making a buzzing noise with an unknown machine, another train, school bells… these are just some sounds I hear around me…

I stop again.

I look.

Salvia in sunshine © Beth Kennedy 2020

A white butterfly, white roses, purple salvia, the orange/gold pansies planted in March, sunshine, a fly, green leaves stirring in the winds, shadows, sunlight, the greying woodgrain on the table where I work. It seasons with the weather…

I stop.

I smell.

Heat of the day, wet grass in the sun, jasmine blended with the fragrance of roses, hints of citrus riding high on the warm northerly breeze of the day, fertiliser spread on newly planted gardenias…

I stop.

I taste.

Today is the day… © Beth Kennedy 2020

The remains of an almond milk chai, combined with a sweet taste of honey comb and chocolate… ‘just one’ I say…

I stop.

I feel.

The heat on my skin, the hem of my dress briefly flutters across the skin of my leg in the breeze as I sit and write, the touch of the keys as I strike the keyboard, my hands are dry, my hair blows in the wind and tickles my face…

I stop.

know…

The world is groaning.

The earth vibrates to the sound of Creation – I hear it through my feet.

Life will go on, regardless of what I do, or don’t do (for even doing nothing is a choice).

… I know I am Beth…

Pot of Pansies – Joy © Beth Kennedy 2020

know I am loved – by husband, family, friends, God…

I know that regardless of what I do today, this day will pass. Use it for good, or not, again it is my choice…

I hope I use it for good…

BUT

The doing isn’t me, but neither are the sounds, sights, smells, tastes, feelings, knowings…

So who am I?

Am I a sum of these things?

The answer to that question is a journey deep within, and yet also beyond self. It is far; and yet the Answer is right there before us, asking us to stop, see, and know

Where to start?

‘It’s here’, He whispers:

‘My Beloved daughter,’

‘My Beloved son.’

The Father spoke over Jesus at the time of baptism:

You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.Mark 1:11 (ESV)

This declaration of love and acceptance comes before Jesus starts his ministry; before he starts the doing. Jesus has done nothing to earn His Father’s love… He IS loved – just for being. It is from this place of identity Jesus enters the desert, fasts, is tempted and then steps into ministry, into His life’s great opus. Jesus holds firm to who he is and whose he is. From that place of understanding He knows who, Whose, and ultimately what he is called to do…

The Father’s heart © Peter Russell 1994

Mark 1:11…

‘111 My beloved daughter; 111 My beloved son,’ He whispers to us on the wind.

Do you hear Him?

Will you sit and hear His heart for you?

Will you stop long enough and allow Him to sing over you… love you as you rest in the nook of His arms?

Will you ‘…wait a little longer’?

The quest to find out who we are, and so discover what we are called to do starts first with understanding we are His…

The age old question of ‘where do I come from, who am I?’ is pivotal… it’s primal.

We discover the answer when we learn to sit and listen to His heart beat. In doing so we find that we are completely, utterly, and even recklessly loved by the Creator of the universe; and, it is in doing so that each of us will find ourselves because…

God is Good!

© Beth Kennedy 2020

 

The question of identity and purpose are interchangeable, and are revealed through process. We will be running groups to help people discover who and whose they are next year. If you are interested in these please contact us and we will let you know about any upcoming programs.

Sit, breathe and listen.

See what He says to you through this song:

A Little Longer‘ by Jenn Johnson

I particularly like the version on the album ‘We Believe‘ but I could not find an authorised website to link to that version. The version on the ‘We Believe‘ album is a little quieter, and I personally find it more poignant.

Be a lighthouse…

In a time of striving, competition, views, likes, followers, activities, parties, cleaning, shopping… (need I go on?) do we really know who we are, let alone what we’re called to do?

The age-old concept of ‘finding yourself’, romanticised by Hollywood, mocked by parents of gap year students, and scoffed at by life-hardened cynics, is tricky to conceive, let alone give birth to, and so we side step the issue, claiming it to be stuff of poets and novelists, and we ‘get on with it’… whatever ‘it’ may be…

As a teenager, I romanticised the concept of ‘finding myself.’ Once ‘there’ I was sure I would find my destiny. Therein lay the key to ‘happiness.’ My mother, ever the realist, told me ‘get on with it,’ work hard, just as she had done from the age of 12 or 13, just as her mother before her done…

Restless, I completed my Arts/Law degree and stepped into the ‘respected’ career of ‘lawyer.’ Square peg in a round hole, but I had a heart for justice. Perhaps in the throes of doing I would truly find myself; yet something remained amiss…

Oh Baby! ©valeria-zoncoll

With my 30’s came children, and considerations of self fulfilment disappeared with sleepless nights; dirty nappies; and the gentle joy of a little one wrapping their arms around me as their beloved parent, protector, provider and source of all good things. It was mind numbing work being the stay at home, full-time parent. There was a loss of identity too; yet it was also one of the most fulfilling and intellectually challenging things I have ever done. I would do it all again, for who they are becoming…

The yearning remained.

Had I missed ‘it’?

In those years, I learnt to listen and hear the gentle whisper of meaning on the wind. A Promise remained…

We release our children into who they are & provide support for what they are created to do ©naassom azevedo

My youngest went to school. Both children dreamt dreams. We gave permission for them to dream in daring ways for I believe a parent’s role is to equip, establish, encourage and release. But with their dreams, suddenly the expected space for my ‘thing’ disappeared. It was time to die to self… again.

Jesus is right… No greater love… (John 15:13).

Noble romantic concept – tough to do…

There are so many ways to lay down a life; death comes in so many forms. I once heard Graham Cooke teach wryly: ‘Do everyone a favour and die quietly’.

I stifle a groan.

Again I quiet my soul and listen for the Wind.

Throughout this process of death to self, growth… death to self, growth… death to self, growth… I learn.

It has hurt; I have cried; I have found peace.

In the pause, I learn to breathe; in the pause, I teach others the same.

It is in this most recent global pause I remember who I am. I remember what I had learnt years prior, but had somehow lost in the recent flurry of life. Don’t strive. Wait. Listen. The Heart-Beat will announce the beginning of something new… the new is coming, yet it’s old, it’s been there all the time…

I wait.

In this place, I learn to be, before I do.

I’m not perfect – striving is a lifelong habit, and it is the world’s way.

The noise amid the current storm has been furious. So I step back. I step in, and I breathe.

Like many, I find myself on the precipice of decisions, but the striving to know what, where, when, why must leave…

Being supersedes doing.

It is from being that identity flows, and from identity comes the fulfilment of purpose and destiny.

Identity flows from being… not doing.

So I be…

From there it is safe to go…

From There, I am called to go…

Doing before being will immerse me in striving. My identity will ship-wreck on the world’s values of performance, a sure recipe for burnout, disappointment, and an inner sense of failure. My outer world will not match my inner world… and I will either implode or explode, hurting myself and/or those around me.

So, being supersedes doing BUT it does not replace doing.

Once you can fully be who you are, the doing will flow from you with ease.

We are all works-in-progress, so there is a constant tension and interplay between being who and Whose we are, while simultaneously stepping out in obedience, into what we are called to do.

In reality, there is ‘both/and’ at play rather than an ‘either/or’…

We be AND we do.

BUT first we must be.

We are lighthouses set on the shores of Love, lit up for others to see, so that they too may find their way Home…

Home really is where the Heart is.

Yet to settle in the place where you now stand is to settle for nothing, for we are continuously being called to step forward into the language of Love, the language of dance, and as we answer the call to step into the Truth greater and bigger than ourselves, we will continue to see that…

God is Good!

And so in this time of storms, tempests, winds and rain…

BE… 

THEN DO…

Lighthouse on the shores ©Everaldo Coelho

©Beth Kennedy 2020

Provision in the midst of the storm… God is Good!

Our family has a new game. We place our name in a hat, and we pull one name out each week for the following weekend. That one person chooses a meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack) and an activity, during which all phones are away, and each person’s attention is complete.

We started playing this game in early April in Melbourne’s first lockdown. We have continued ever since.

Anything reasonable is fair game. Activities include the purchase of fresh croissants and large tubs of Nutella; roast dinners; magnum ice-cream tubs; crepes with cream and melted chocolate; French takeaway; movies; Greek food; homemade Devonshire tea; walks; cards; board games; movies and this last weekend, my weekend, I chose a beautiful cheese platter with a family soak…

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a ‘soak,’ the best way to describe it is a spiritual spa. We find a place to rest comfortably, with a pen and paper nearby, and we sit quietly at the feet of the Father, and when done we note down what we see, hear, feel, know, smell, taste, receive, etc.

I felt it would be good for us – we always come out refreshed, invigorated, loved, and encouraged… much like what a day spa does for you in the natural. It teaches us to ‘… be still and know that [He] is God’ (Psalm 46:10 NIV). After we chat, laugh and discuss what each saw, and discuss what it may mean, and how it might apply.

So after our cheese platter on Sunday afternoon, we settled ourselves, popped on some music, and we quietened ourselves from the world’s noise. We made ourselves available to hang out with God – mindfulness with a Christian edge.

I don’t normally share these processes, or what I see or do publicly, but on this occasion I felt the Father ask me to share some of what He showed me:

I saw a river of dark blue, troubled waters. The waves were rough. Overhead, the dark clouds swirled as I swam upstream. I noted the dark skies above, and as I did, I sensed a raft below.

© John Towner with thanks from Unsplash

I looked and saw I was on a tree branch raft, strapped together with ties. I continued up the river and noted skies of greater darkness. The waters rose, rougher than before. The raft was semi-submerged and as I crouched down upon it, I saw it had a mast, and out of the waters it came… a yacht.

The yacht I stood upon was small, but I knew to stand mid point, over the ballast. I thought of a word I had received several years past, telling me to stand on the ballast where I would be most steady, central and upright. I was near the mast, and as I raised the sail to continue my journey, the seas became rough and darker. The waves on the water grew. Heavy rains released as stormy clouds swirled above and lightening struck the mask. My yacht became a cruise liner.

I looked and saw I was on the liner as I continued my journey through the waves and the storm. The cruise liner was steady, able and strong. I looked ahead, knowing again the journey would require more.

As I knew this and looked once more, the liner became an icebreaker.  I saw the start of the ice. I knew we broke the ice and as we did, I danced on the deck with sheer joy.

I saw more for myself, but I felt to release the above publicly as a way of encouragement. There was joy at each stage of the storm. There was also a sense of surprise at each upgrade and each new provision for the journey at hand. I sensed that He said and is saying to us all:

… at each stage of the journey, no matter how rough the storm, or what gets thrown at you, I will provide you with whatever you need to get through the storm.

However, as I write, I sense the joy in the dance will be our choice…

Please note that I was aware of the storm, but just as I felt overwhelmed, the upgrade came, and with each upgrade of vessel, came an ease in travelling through the storm. There was delight and joy found in the provision and upgrade as I went.

Looking at the vision further, I note that I travelled upstream. Upstream is where the Temple of the Lord resides. See Ezekiel 47 for where the river flows from, and to… it starts at the Temple, so to head upstream is to travel towards Him…

Our determination to enter in brings Him joy…

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God … (Psalm 46:4 NIV)

And I sense Him say:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (John 11:28-30 NIV)

And so, in a way that is not characteristic of me, I release this to the Body of Christ as a way of encouragement. I share the vision, in transparency of process, because I know many people read the posts on God is Good to learn and to grow, and by sharing the process, you see some ‘how’.

I genuinely feel that we are all being encouraged to know that regardless of the roughness of the journey at hand, God will always provide just what we need to get through the storm. And as we see his provision we will dance in the storm and in doing so we will watch Him break open the frozen lands ahead because…

God is Good!

 

*If you want more on soaking use the soaking tab or search associated words on my blog and you will find further stories to equip and encourage you to step into greater intimacy with the Father. I believe that it delights the Father’s heart the most when we choose to be with Jesus, sit with Father, or just hang with Holy Spirit, with no hidden agendas, and it is in that place that you truly discover that God is indeed Good!

Soil Matters

I love my garden.

It makes my heart sing.

Circis ‘Avondale’: Soil matters ©Beth Kennedy 2020

In Australia, this blossom is not common. It is so uncommon that people slow down outside our home, roll down the window and take photos (night and day). The display is breathtaking, and I feel so fortunate to have four in my garden.

Two years ago, during a very challenging season, two died. For many they are ‘just trees,’ but to me, they were a silent, gentle joy that died amid the storm.

I asked our gardening gurus who designed our garden to look, and as kindred spirits, they wept with me (figuratively). The deaths puzzled them. Everything around the trees was flourishing. The trees had put on a magnificent display…  and then died.

In my stubborn way, I sourced two more baby trees. My husband and I dug up the old and planted the new, with fresh, beautiful soil.

Look at them now. There’s two, one behind the other:

Circis Avondale: new trees a joy to behold ©Beth Kennedy 2020

With March 2020 came Lockdown 1. Like a gentle garden gnome, I crept into the garden and allowed my heart to sing quietly as the world mourned. With sad news, I would seek solace in the soil, in my garden.

March is Autumn for the Southern hemisphere. I did what I knew: I watered, I weeded, I turned the soil to let it breathe, I fertilised, and I waited. I then planted for Spring – pansies, silver beet, beetroot, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, snap dragons, mint, parsley… It was a time of rest in my garden.

People walked past, pointing to the vegetable patch, the trees, the colour of Autumn. I waved to them from my garden beds or my verandah. They would stop and comment on the pansies, planted by the gardenias; my cabbages and broccoli planted amongst the flowers, and many smiled at the mixture of vegetables and flowers in my vegetable patch.

Various family members sat on the porch chairs. We moved into winter, and weather permitting, I sought afternoon solace in the sun with a cup of tea, chai or coffee. I often sat quietly, cherishing the blessings around me. I found Joy amidst the storm, and I knew my trees would bloom come Spring.

One of the original 2 trees bloomed early, with magnificence. My heart sang. The rest followed. I felt peaceful Joy as I came in from my walks. During Lockdown 2, these gentle moments of beauty remind me, remind my family, my local community, that this too shall pass…

And then I noticed it. One of my original, beautiful Circis Avondales was dying. The one that had blossomed first, with apparent vigour and glory.

I called the experts.

It perplexed them; it made no sense. They were doing so well, and everything under the trees was flourishing – gardenias, daphne…

I continue to turn my gaze to the beauty ©Beth Kennedy 2020

If you look closely at the first photo above – in the bottom right-hand corner, you will see a little dried up stick. That stick is my dying Circis Avondale. I don’t have the heart to show you the rest.

I continue to turn my focus to moments of beauty, cherishing what is before me, aware a new tree will be possible after lockdown. Yet I am sad knowing I have lost 8 years of growth.

Last week, our garden guru solved the mystery:

‘My heart has been breaking over these Circis. I’m devastated but think the other trees had phytopthera. It’s a disease that can be in the soil or in mulch. …’

Oh!

I learnt two years ago that a dying (or even a dead tree) can bloom with great beauty. The sugar reserves  built from the previous season provide enough energy for a dying tree to bloom with grandeur. They looked amazing. But when it was time to develop further into the season – they died. They were all show, with no substance.

It was last Friday morning that God talked to me about my tree.

‘ … it’s about the soil’ I felt Him say as I woke.

This season… it’s all about the soil!

Many times last week I used the example of the apple tree. Friends call, with dreams and plans. With 200+ days in tough restrictions, my friends (and I) feel frustration. We know it’s a time of rest, reset, but we want to get going… produce fruit now

As I feel the frustration, I step back into the One that knows…

The apple tree grows, it buds, it flowers, insects pollinate, it fruits.

I need not push the fruit out. Fruit comes from a place of being who and Whose I am.

BUT

If the soil is not heathy… if disease, or dis-ease, creeps into the soil, not only will the crop produce less than what’s it is capable of, the tree risks death. It cannot flourish or even grow. It may look great on the outside as it dies, but in its beauty there is great sadness – nothing will remain.

The Israelites rested their land every 7 years from crops – they rested the soil. And every 50 years was a year of Jubilee… Wise people!

‘We are in a year of rest,’ I say to my friends (needing to hear it myself too).

‘… but rest does not mean “do nothing.”

This year is about the soil. We must care for our soil each day. We cannot afford to run on energy past, or on sugar alone. It’s a new season with additional needs.

‘Attend to the soil,’ He whispers, ‘so that what has been planted will grow. In its appointed time – fruit will come…’

There is no push.

With good soil maintenance, fruit will come…

In this season, I’m quietly addressing the condition of my heart. Everything is gently being turned over; everything is being changed, readjusted. Thought patterns and behaviours that I may have been able to get away with in a previous season, just will not carry me into the next time of growth. I am being called to a higher standard, and from that internal change, my outward behaviour will follow. I may fall, but I will get up. If I fail, I will fail forwards… asking forgiveness as I go.

I am being called to prepare the soil…

And if the soil is good, if I’m planted in a healthy community, and I listen to the ‘next’, I need not strive to grow fruit.

Fruit will come with ease because…

God is Good!

Can you see the one before you?

This morning I was a little flat. We are still in stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, and although there was some lifting of restrictions last night, the changes do not really change anything for us in our little bubble.

Restless, I pulled on my big girl pants and drove to the naturopath to pick up some tablets.

As I chatted to the owner, I asked her how she was.

She felt the same – a little flat.

We chatted and exchanged comments, and as I did, I noticed the tangible presence of the Holy Spirit.

I stopped and asked: ‘can I pray for you?’

She looked, muttered ‘yes’ and instantly cried.

‘Oh gosh, yes, please, oh, gosh, that would be nice… I don’t know why I’m crying, how kind…’

Her words tumbled out through her tears.

I responded through tears: ‘it’s ok, I can feel the Holy Spirit here, and I felt to offer to pray…’

She came out from around the desk. I asked if I could place my hand on her back. I actually desperately wanted to hug her…

I prayed for her to be refreshed and to receive joy, hope, good sleep, favour for her children who would also remain at home when school returns in a week.

I also felt I heard a word for her, which I gave for the business, and she stepped back wiping away her tears.

There was nothing more to say in that moment.

We both agreed – three more weeks and perhaps it would be better for us both…

Gerberas to give. Nothing to lose ©Beth Kennedy 2020

As I drove away, I thought of the woman who had texted me that morning that she was closing her business. It was too hard. She texted all her customers; I was just one of many. I felt the nudge to drive to the concourse where her shop was located and buy some flowers, so I did, some beautiful large bright happy orange gerberas, thinking I would offer to buy some of her produce to help with the finances of closing shop and moving to the country.

If I was to do this, surely she will be in her shop clearing it out… if I had ‘heard’ right… right?

The shop was closed and no-one was answering my knock!

Maybe I got it wrong…

Frustrated, I then felt to drive back to give them to the naturopath practice.

‘Surely it would cheer her day,’ I thought. Nothing to lose. I did, but I felt it fell flat… I felt foolish…

Maybe I got that wrong…

Still feeling unsatisfied, I drove back to shop area, drove past the shop and the door was still shut with no-one inside.

So I took the Gerberas home ©Beth Kennedy 2020

‘Right’, I thought, ‘I’m driving home’, but it didn’t feel right to just drive home…

Soooooo, I went back again and bought some gerberas (this time smaller bright orange ones), hoping I had ‘got it right’ this time…

Nope – the shop remained shut and empty.

I brought the flowers home and they sit on my kitchen table, bright and cheery.

So I am telling this to encourage those that are giving this ‘stopping for the one’ a go. People that have heard many of my stories think somehow that I get this stuff right, all the time…

I don’t!

You will get it right sometimes.

You will get it wrong sometimes, but if it blesses someone who cares, God loves your heart, and someone gets blessed.

You will get the timing wrong sometimes – I will give it another shot if I can to bless the woman whose business is closing. Let her know her community cares.

And sometimes you just don’t know what you were hearing… but try to step out any

way.

The bottom line is, giving it a go counts – giving it a go is a ‘win’.

So, even though I feel like I missed it, I didn’t.

I loved on a woman who was struggling, and I tried to love on another.

Incline your ear, regardless of how you feel.

Stop for the one as you go, and you will learn, as you go…

And I can guarantee that you will taste and see that…

God is Good!

 

Let me know when you thought you got it right, but then you got it wrong, or you thought you got it wrong… but did you?