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.

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.

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?

Stop for the one regardless of lockdown

Late last year, I bumped into a friend I had not seen for years.

We briefly chatted, and then she surprised me by suggesting we catch up. She said she loved spending time with me years ago, and would love to catch up for lunch. I was delighted, but a little surprised.

Trust me… I am nothing special.

We had lunch and chatted and spoke a little about our own personal challenges. She shared her heart and as she spoke I saw a picture of her sitting at an easel doing art. I asked her about it, explaining that I ‘saw’ her doing something like painting under a tree.

I need to state this friend may not label herself as a ‘Christian’, but she does believe in the goodness of human beings. She believes that we are responsible to others and ourselves to make good choices. She believes it is our responsibility to leave the world a better place than it was before we were in it.

She does know that I do call myself a ‘Christian’, and she accepts me, for all my flaws and inconsistencies that brings.

I go gently in my Christian talk, because I don’t want to offend her – she is my friend, and friends are kind to one another. Friends do not shove values or belief systems down each other’s throats, yet they are not threatened by a difference of opinion, or a healthy discussion. Friends can agree to disagree while honouring the difference of opinion. I find her attitude generous and gracious.

The last time we spoke was years ago, pre prophetic training. I was prophetic back then (news flash: we all are!) but I just didn’t realise I was and I had not learnt how to listen and then mention what I ‘saw’ or ‘sensed’ for people.

So I asked about the painting (with no Christian ease) and she told me she LOVED painting/drawing. I told her what had happened; she accepted what I said, and we moved on in our conversation.

I encouraged her to join an art class, buy some supplies, and recommended a few more personal things, and we went on our way. She was encouraging to me too; it’s a two-way deal people. She was not, and is not a ‘project’, she is a friend, a real live friend, and I see her because I want to, not because she needs saving…

Red hot keen Christians that carry belts with notches please read the above paragraph again…

My friend is not a ‘notch on the belt’… I like her and accept her, and I would continue to see her as a friend even if she never accepted Jesus into her heart!

People can smell belt notching a mile away!

Hence this story…

Within 24 hours I received a message saying that she had ticked off all three items we discussed, and we promised we would catch up again – she would tell me how she got on with her projects, and I would share how I was getting on with mine.

We caught up briefly before Christmas. At the time she was very thankful, and I felt embarrassed because while I was the mouthpiece and the ears (I listened to her and God), I just encouraged her to step into something she loved, into something God created her to do…

Well…

Fast forward to lockdown stage 4 in Melbourne, Australia. We can now be out for total 2 hours (with one other person if they are not from our home). I have thought of my friend a few times over the last 6 months, but about 10 days ago, I acted on the thought (I believe the prompting) and I texted her to arrange a walk.

As we walked, our discussion got deep quickly, and she asked me a little about my belief in God. She shared her views on many things, God, faith, spirituality. She chatted, I listened; I chatted, she listened…

We will catch up again this Wednesday.

Christians on social media seem to think because we cannot gather in a church building that somehow we cannot do anything effective for the Kingdom, we can’t impact people.

This is nonsense.

There are many ways to ‘stop for the one’.

Sometimes it means stopping for the one stranger on the street – as you walk past you offer to pray, or give them a word of encouragement, or just shout them a coffee.

Other times it’s the phone call that you feel you could make, or the email you could send… and you call or you send it.

Sometimes it’s the prophetic inclination you have for your boss and you share it at work, without declaring ‘thus says the Lord’… there is no need to declare a prophetic inclination in that way – just be relatable.

Other times, it’s just catching up with a friend who happens, unbeknownst to you, to need encouragement. That friend needs someone to SEE them warts and all and call out ‘you are loved my friend’. Sometimes we just need to call out the gold… regardless of whether they ever come to Christ.

It’s about being the Body (not doing the Body). It’s about being human. It’s about moving in response to His heart beat for yourself and others, and in this all will see that…

God is Good!

 

What you carry you spread – the honey will flow because God is Good!

Circis Avondale – joy to behold ©Beth Kennedy 2020

I returned from a daily walk last week and noted how beautiful my blossom trees looked. I stopped to take some photos:

These trees make my heart sing. It is the simple things that bring me great delight. Yes… that is a cabbage in my front garden – beauty, form and function.

I have a larger Circis Avondale at the other end of the row, but I did not have a great photo of that one to show you.

Circis Avondale – pollen laden bees in Melbourne ©Beth Kennedy 2020

As I photographed the trees I saw many bees heavy laden with pollen.

This brought a greater sense of delight as I recognised God’s hand in the moment.

Earlier the same day a friend had sent me a word given by Mary Forsythe (Kingdom Living Ministries) for Melbourne.

Listen to the word here: Word for Melbourne

Two days before, the state government advised Melbourne residents that we were staying in strict level 4 lockdown for a further 2 weeks.

Mary heard about this, and she prayed.

As she prayed the name of our city stood out to her as Mel….bourne.

‘Mel’ means honey…

She felt God say that Mel (honey) will be born in this season. God is digging deep wells for greater capacity in the people of Melbourne. Fresh honey will come from the additional time of lockdown BUT with the extra two weeks there will also be an added pressure. Hence, it was essential we guard our hearts and minds.

For those that do not know, ‘honey’ speaks of God’s glory, His abundance, His wealth, His anointing, His favour. Honey has a natural sweetness, and it is a natural form of energy. Honey also has healing qualities: it is anti-microbal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Raw honey fights infection and boosts immunity. Honey has incredible wound healing properties…

The Bible describes the Promised Land as a ‘…land flowing with milk and honey‘… (see Exodus 3:8 is just the first of many references that can be found). The Promised land is promises fulfilled – a place to thrive and a place of abundant provision.

Of interest, Melbourne was born out of another golden substance – gold.

And so, with the word listened to that morning, and the bees in my garden, heavy laden with pollen to carry to the hive… I realised:

Here is an opportunity to gather the pollen for the honey.

Here is an opportunity to choose God over circumstance… not grumble and mummer… and instead say ‘BUT GOD!’

We will spread whatever we carry, just as bees cross pollinate plants as they go.

It is up to us, what we pollinate with…

Fear, harsh words, judgement, criticism…

Or will we cross pollinate with Kingdom?

Please choose God’s words of life, encouragement, kindness, forgiveness…

We will harvest what we gather… we will spread what we carry…

So let us gather Kingdom mind sets and prepare for the honey to flow.

Let’s see the gold, the goodness, and the glory in one another – call it out!

Let’s help one another grow in our capacity to carry heaven everywhere we go, so we cross pollinate, just by being who we are… in the same way bees cross pollinate by doing what bees are designed to do

And as we do, as we go, and as we beeee…. we will release His goodness, His glory, His honey because…

God is Good!

 

What honey are you carrying?

Is there some mindsets, thoughts, behaviours and attitudes that are inhibiting you from carrying good pollen as you go?

Can you see God’s goodness, regardless of our circumstances right now?

Please tell us about it below.

Be still and know that I AM God…X marks the spot – God is Good!

Sometimes the bay where I walk is unusually still; barely a ripple shifts the surface tension of the waters. At other times, the wildness of the weather comes straight from an Emily Brontë novel and the wind whips, forming waves that surge upon the sand.

Regardless of weather, these days God is often speaking as I walk. It could be the lack of quietness in our home because of a full house in lockdown. It maybe I just haven’t stopped, made room. It may just be where He speaks now…

Who am I to question?

We have a full, noisy house…

My husband and daughter work in my home office. My husband at my desk; my daughter at another desk. My son sits in his bedroom, where he has attended most of his first year of high school.

Then there are zoom ballet lessons 6 days a week (day and night at various times). Ballet music fills our living area, which is open plan to our kitchen and dining area. This means that I often duck and weave the camera as I make yet another cup of tea…

My daughter has a habit of settling herself where her mood suits – her desk in my office, her bedroom, chasing the sun outside, at the dining table (which is my favourite place to work).

It is a full, noisy house…

It’s not that I mind noise – sometimes. However, having nowhere to retreat that is free of invasion by good meaning family members is challenging, especially when you feel called into a quiet time with God.

Sometimes I like to have a quiet sit with God; other times, it’s a wild worship in the living area. I may journal, prophetically play music, shout, sing, complete prophetic acts… what I sense Him asking of me, I do, as best I can.

I have not had the luxury of uninterrupted alone time in our house since mid-March 2020.

Playing musical rooms with my laptop, with no place to settle… God still calls…

He’s not interested in my excuses, my reasons, my habits, he sees them all anyway.

I moved a small table from my office into my bedroom – not ideal, but it was a little desk where I could zoom, or write, or do admin, etc. The afternoon sunlight streams into the room and brings me quiet joy. Having a zoom call in my bedroom is not ideal, but we make the most of it.

25 weeks of zoomed ballet classes later, I still sit and write in my bedroom… it’s our ‘new normal’.

I can hear the music of my son’s ballet class. The ballet mistress makes corrections, sometimes with kindness, and at other times…

I pray for the person who is the focus of a harsh word as I walk through to my kitchen for a cup of tea.

As a prophetic ‘feeler’, the people, the noise, the news reports, the aggression, the fear, the frustration, the sadness, the intensity of emotions can overwhelm. Many of you feel the same way.

I can walk into a shop, and feel the emotion. I often know the challenges on a person. The atmosphere in a store can slap and if someone is hurting, if someone has been dabbling in the occult, I often sense it.

The atmosphere here in Melbourne Australia has been intense. I’m sure it has been intense in many places around the world, yet, I am still called to Him. I have no excuse.

Being in Him with intentionality is the most refreshing place to be…

Each day I walk, and each day He speaks. Regardless of whether I’m listening, He speaks. He loves me enough to always be speaking, to always be present, it’s just whether I’m present to Him. Am I centring myself in His heart beat for myself, my family, my friends, for the nation…

He speaks, and He shows me that:

He is my refuge.

He is my strength.

He is my God in whom I can trust…

If I will just stop and press in, if I will stop doing… if I will…

 

Be still and know that He is God… (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

The stillness in the storm: x marks the spot
©Beth Kennedy 2020

 

‘X’ marks the spot.

God needs to be the centre of our frame, the centre of our image.

He calls us to walk on water…

There may well be a storm brewing around us, but yet He calls…

There is a place of stillness in the storm and it’s in Him, at His centre…

Will I answer the call?

Will you answer the call?

Will we answer the call together?

If we do, I believe that the earth will see that He is the shelter and as His hand delivers us, they will also see that…

God is Good!

ARK in covid-19 update – God is SO GOOD! (and funny)

This is crazy!

Several people have asked for the details of the beautician I gifted money to.

I can provide details to those that want it.

I have reached out to a coffee shop too, but they are yet to respond.

The beautician is overwhelmed.

I looked at her FB page.

She has been caring for international students and the elderly in her area. She has been encouraging others to buy groceries and cook meals etc to help them right through this covid19 time. She has been offering to buy a week’s worth of groceries, to cook a meal, to give what she can, and she has said to people “no shame” just direct message her.

Her tag is “never give up because great things take time.”

This woman who I “randomly” chose to give money to, in order to support her business, so she in turn can give away vouchers (WIN/WIN/WIN) is giving of herself already.

That is so God!

Well, it’s her time to be blessed.

God sees her!

If you want her banking details to bless her socks off…to give so she is supported and so she in turn can give, please DM me and I’ll provide them.

Thank you to those who have already re-posted on Facebook. Thank you also to those who have committed to this project. There are readers on this blog that have also committed – thank you! See comments below and please support their business if you’re local.

And to those who have acted without commenting, thank you 🌷

You’re amazing 😊

God IS Good!

(and He makes me laugh!)

Just do the next thing – God is Good!

So often in our lives, futures imagined, dreams envisioned, must be laid down. It is in these moments we have a choice: do we allow God to direct our steps, even though we are all at sea, disappointed, hurt; or, do we try to control everything, and keep directing our lives where we think we should go, regardless.

A while back, I felt a stirring in my heart.  We had just changed churches, and we were still trying to find our feet.  Our old church had been big, loud, there was a weekly mosh pit I had danced and worshipped in, and people were hungry for things of the Spirit. The church we had landed in was small, intimate, and sedate, at least sedate compared to what we had been used to, but regardless, we felt it was the right fit, and we believed the church was on the cusp of revival.

I was keen to serve somewhere.  I felt an urge to start a regular prayer group, and a recently made friend and I started fortnight meetings to pray for our church, the community and beyond; but, I was still restless.

Something was stirring.

Back in the late 1990s I often travelled to Far North Western Australia, where I provided legal representation to people who were illegally entering Australia by boat. It is common to refer to these people as “boat people,” or illegal migrants (because of their status of having no visas of entry). They predominantly came from Iraq. Some came from Algeria. A few were from China. That was the mix of countries when I was working. After I finished at that law firm the Afghans came – they were tough cases.

The stories moved me, the politics of human rights law saddened me, and the other lawyers laughed at me, saying: “you wear your heart on your sleeve” (a weakness in their mind). To this I would respond, “if I was in their position I would rather someone like me representing me, then someone like you.”

I didn’t stay in refugee work for long, and I left my position as junior lawyer to start a business of my own as a corporate consultant, while providing immigration legal advice to people on the side, just to keep my toe in. I referred any refugee work – it was too emotional, and too political. That was until 10 years ago.

When my youngest was about three, I received a call from a Melbourne businessman who wanted migration advice for a Christian Egyptian family he had met while overseas. The father was an Anglican Minister. The businessman wanted to help them. It was to be a straightforward case, but once involved I realised there were very serious persecution risks at play for the family involved. Each time I went to refer the case on, each time I tried to shake myself loose, I would feel God on it – He wanted me to see it through. While the case would have qualified as a refugee case (they were being persecuted for their faith) we did not run the case as a refugee case. Instead, we needed to run the case differently (the refugee landscape had changed and was getting increasingly difficult to negotiate). It took years, but we got the family into Australia under a different visa category. This case confirmed that I didn’t want to do refugee work ever again! The responsibility, the sorrow and the desperation, the trauma…

The Egyptian family that came established the first Arabic Anglican Church in Australia. Other Arabic churches exist, but not of this denomination. And, as I write, they now lead two such churches in Victoria (one in Melbourne, the other in Geelong). They head up a vibrant, growing Christian community. All led by the beautiful family who God would not let me shake loose – people I now call friends. The family reach the Arabic world in Melbourne, and people come to Christ.

Anyway…

We had just changed churches. All my dreams, plans, hopes and vision had fallen away. I was a ballet mum in a world of ballet I never saw coming (yes God has a sense of humour) and I was in a small quiet church, albeit, earmarked for revival. I wanted to serve God, but I did not see any opportunity to do so in my passion and gifting, and so I prayed a prayer that I do not recommend, unless you are ready to just obey!

I prayed: “God, I can’t see where or how I can serve you here. I want to honour leadership. There is no favour to teach what I know, or to release what I carry, but I want to serve you, what do you want me to do, I’ll do anything you ask me to do, I just want to serve you.”

I prayed the prayer, and I thought I knew how God would answer it.

That weekend we attended the opening of the new Arabic Anglican Church, on the other side of town. We were to witness the baptisms of recent converts, and the church’s official opening.  The service was full of the Holy Spirit. The worship was wonderful – all in Arabic, with a different beat, a different feel, but God was there, and I could tangibly feel Him. It was fun.

We stayed for dinner, and as we tried to eat, the people pressed in on me.  Refugees from Syria, refugees from Iraq, all trying to get the rest of their family here. People with heart break and need. They represented the cases I avoided for years. I prayed for many, prophesied over others, and listened to their stories. They all wanted my help, for word had got around.

Heading home I said to my husband I was feeling a stirring. I confessed what I had prayed. I could not believe it – God was calling me to act for these people, and it horrified me. Yes, I felt for them, but I did not want to do their legal work for them, I didn’t want to feel their pain, hear the details, they were all so desperate. And the legal landscape had radically changed – I was underqualified… but God!

When I prayed, I had not envisioned this! When I prayed, I thought He would release me into my gifting in our church, in our local body, somewhere… anywhere. I thought He would place favour on me to minister, that I would have a green light to step up into my calling, while honouring, supporting and loving our leadership, or even maybe out into elsewhere. Anywhere where I could ignite others with a passion for God.

It was not to be.

Instead, I walked into the pain, trauma and hurt of these people.

I argued with God that others were more qualified, better trained, up to date, and professional. God just came straight back at me: “Step up.”

Every time I went to Him He would say: “step up.”

And when I argued I couldn’t do it, He just said “trust me – step up.”

I suggested I refer, that others were better than me in this area of law He just said: “yes, but they won’t pray as you will.”

And so I stepped up…

I did not know what I was doing, but each step of the way he would say:

“just do the next thing you know to do.”

When I quietened myself enough, I would know what I had to do next. The anxiety was dreadful. The stories traumatic. One day I cried my way through the reading and the videos, but each time I turned aside to talk to Him he would say again:

“Just do the next thing you know to do.”

So, in this time of change, turmoil and challenge, when our plans for 2020 seem lost in a haze of virus, lockdown, and shifting worlds. In a year that is not what we thought it would be, I encourage you to do as I am also trying to do (thankfully with friends and wise counsel by my side) and ask Him what he would have you do. Instead of looking at the entire job at hand, the surrounding trauma, the pain within you, while acknowledging that it is there, ask Him:

“What next?”

And then do it…

Just do the next thing you know to do.

Then it would be: “send that email”, “write that statement”, “make that phone call”…

Little baby steps.

And once taken I sought Him again, I would breathe, pray, listen, obey…

And as you do, the pieces will fall together, the focus will come, and the peace and the joy will rest upon you because…

God is Good!

Open the door and enter in

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9

I’ve had a couple of dreams of late.

Who hasn’t?

One recent one, which brings comfort, especially as I repeatedly take it to God to seek clarification of it’s meaning, as He exposes layers upon layers, even through daily ‘happenings’ within our home through this time of so called ‘lock down’ was as follows:

I found myself in a shopping area in Ringwood, which is the suburb where I grew up in Melbourne, Australia. I was in the carpark of Target Square. As I walked I felt uneasy, and as I looked around I started to note that there were terrorists all around me, huddled in groups, with guns.

Naturally I was frightened, and I hoped they would not see me. As I walked I saw that they indeed did not see me, but they were huddled ready for action. The fear was palpable. I tried not to draw attention to myself, hoping they would not open fire.

[yes lots for me to unpack people …]

The dream then shifted. I don’t recall much of the mid-part, but all I sense about it was that I had been hiding, running, avoiding detection, perhaps with others too.

The final scene, I was in a labyrinth like area, with a group of others. The walls were high, and I was trapped, with pretty much nowhere to go. We could keep running, but it would continue to be more of the same, we would be trapped avoiding detection, hiding from the terror, trying to survive, but it was just more of the same.

The group that had been running with me were to my right. To my left, towering before me as I stood, was a huge, ancient looking heavy set wooden door, with dark metal work, hinges etc, much like you would find on a castle. It was HUGE. The door was of significant (read very large) proportions.

I stood with the door before me – to my left. It hinged on the left. The people with me begged me not to open the door. They were full of fear of what was beyond the door. They said it could have the terrorists on the other side. I was hesitant, I could feel the anxiety. I too feared what could be behind the door, but I said to them ‘what other choice do we have but to open the door and go through, there is nowhere else for us to go, I must open the door, it may be a way out, I could not longer run and hide, I had to take the risk and open the door.’

And so I did … I opened the door.

As I did, I saw beyond. It is difficult to explain what I saw. I stood on the thresh hold.

To try to explain what I saw would be like trying to explain colour to a blind man. The best I can do is to refer to how, in The Wizard of Oz movie, it shifts from black and white to multicoloured – but that just does not do it justice.  It was so technicoloured, and what was beyond vibrated with energy, with life. How technicolour it was, how vibrant it really was …

Beyond that door was a technicoloured vibrant scene, it vibrated, it shimmered, it shimmered, it shimmered. There were greens, golds, yellows, and hints of red … it was as if seeing it out of the corner of my eye … there was life beyond the ancient of doors … there was safety.

It was a garden, but the shimmering meant I could not quite see it all with clarity … I had to step in 🙂

I smiled and looked at those with me , the group full of fear. I let them know we were safe, and I woke as I stepped through the door.

We are in days of wonder, yet the spirit of fear is yapping at our heels. I understand we are in a global pandemic … but God!

There is sadness, there is sickness, there is fear, there is loss of jobs, there is crisis … but God!

Terrorists trade on fear, and on uncertainty. They trade in the idea that you have no idea where they may strike, who they may hit next – the fear becomes palpable.

Through my legal work with refugees, hearing their stories, I have studied the impact of terrorism. I have met people in my work who have survived church massacres. I have sat through videos of unspeakable atrocity. The fear is palpable, and insipid and dark and dangerous – it is the thing in the atmosphere world wide now …

So I call upon the spirit of Hope, Faith, Kindness, Healing, family, Unity, Love …

I call forth the prophets, the seers, the creatives to find the Ancient of Days, to step through the Door that is there … and to encourage the others that hold back in fear that it is ok, it is safe to step through The Door …

Open The Door to freedom those that have gone before …

Open The Door to Safety … those that have been there before …

Step through and meet the Ancient of Days …. those that seek …

Step through to freedom, where you need to run and hide no more …

Step through and taste and see that …

God is Good!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Rev 3:20

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.   

Isaiah 43:19