How to grow deep in transition

Transition is an unusual and challenging time.

In child birth, “transition” is a time of intense focus. Past comforts long gone; there is simply ‘here and now’ with (hopefully) the encouragement of others to carry you through.

The old has passed away.

The new is yet to come, with all its… all its… well, all its newness.

In this season, some may seem intensely judgemental, even harsh in their critique. Motives assigned; unfounded in Truth, yet views held tight all the same. Views, I add, grounded mostly in personal insecurity.

Transition can be a time when critics hit out. Words spoken behind backs of intended targets, causing sadness and pain when uncovered. Mutterings and actions have the power to curse. Christians rarely grasp the power held in their tongue. Or perhaps they do. Regardless, they take aim anyway.

Then there are people who fill us with a sense of love and wonder at their kindness. The ones that run by our side, even though we grow weary. You know not what to say anymore. They remain to encourage anyway.

Years ago, in a different time of transition, it was wildly windy as I drove out of a shopping centre carpark. As I drove, I noticed a tree, supported tightly on either side by wooden stakes. The tree was not free to move. Firmly secured by well-meaning council workers, it had no means of standing on its own. The wind was fierce, so you would think such tightly held binds would keep the little tree stable. You would think the tree had grown well with such support. Instead, both stakes and tree blew horizontally in the violent winds. The root system was non-existent because of the extreme confines of days gone before. Diligent protection afforded the tree had left it inept and incapable of standing alone. In its fall, it took the stakes with it. The entire system, well meant, had failed.

My gaze shifted.

Other trees, also staked, blown by the same wind, were free to move within the confines of looser supports tied to their stakes. These trees were being badly buffeted; however, tethered more loosely, they could remain connected to the strong wooden stakes. There was room for them to rock, yet there was support. They were not so tightly bound they created a fall for all. The gently staked trees bent in the forces, but could stand back upright once the winds subsided.

Being a gardener, I knew those trees free to sway in the winds, had developed the resiliency and depth of root system that allowed them to stand in the forces they now faced. However, I also knew that in such fierce winds they still benefitted from the supports provided by the strong stakes by their sides. In time they would standalone.

I also knew those trees had much stronger root systems than their external growth showed. I knew they would continue to stand in the storms of time. Because they had the strength of the stakes by their sides as they grew, they had stood in times of extreme winds, and because they had not stood alone, they had depths of strength yet unseen. This gave them the greatest chance of longevity. Their root structures, and strength to stand, meant in drought and flood they would be firm. They had not stood alone; neither had they insisted on being held up completely reliant.

Had the council planted either tree without a stake, they would have had no chance of either external growth or hidden root growth. They would have struggled and fallen either way.

It made me think of how, when the winds of change buffet us.

We don’t need people to fall over with us, or to climb in our pit when we fall. For if our supports bend with us too far, we all fall together.

Indeed, we need those that stand by us; ones who will give support while allowing freedom to move in the wind. It is those trees, being buffeted, yet supported in the winds, that grow strong and tall. As they grow they develop a canopy, which joins with others that create a network of support for all the ecosystem that coexists around.

The recent storms and winds that thrashed Melbourne last week have caused me to ponder these things again and again. There are thoughts and whispers of movement on the winds of change that suggest more to come. We need those that have been growing deep, growing strong. We need those who have grown positioned to drink deep of the waters that flow, which will allow them to grow tall into the trees, God has called them to be.

The current storm we all walk through is much like the extreme storms Melbourne has had to endure.

After our storms, fallen trees were everywhere to be seen. Most had little to no root system. These trees had clearly received much shallow watering for quick, superficial growth. In the test of time, they fell, having grown too fast for the depth of root systems below.

There is an urgent need to grow deep. Many have grown hidden, positioned with supports by their side, reaching into the depths of God. They have no perceivable growth, but there is a depth to them only the discerning can see. They hope to be ready for the structures to come.

In transitional times, it is critical to know God’s love and acceptance. In these times, He will bring others by your side to remind you of your worth.

So hold to the encouragement of the past, for it is essential to gird oneself for the race that will come.

And hold to the encouragement that comes in this season, especially from those we see by our sides, holding us fast.

In the transitional time of waiting, when the old has passed away, and the new is yet to come, we cannot overestimate the importance of standing with others by our sides.

Community is ever more increasing in its importance, so find those that will stand by your side and cause you to grow.

Seek the ones who will stand firm, like the stakes that stood by the sides of the second tree I saw in the winds. These stand firm in the Truths, and refuse to fall. These will give you the room to be you, to be strengthened, yet buffeted about. Their strength and grace is in their ability to stand firm in their faith, regardless of circumstances. Ones whose bonds allow you to shift and to move to find your feet, yet hold you steady enough until you are ready to grow tall into the tree you are.

We all need those that will stand by our sides and see us for who we are…

There are tethers that bind, and then there are tethers that cause growth.

 

 

 

Those that cause growth will stand by your side and say:

‘Stand! Grow deep! Now run!’

They will see that though you are the smallest of all seeds, yet when you grow, you will be the largest of garden plants and you will become a tree that the birds may come and perch in its branches (Matt 13:32) because…

God is Good!

Fire burns all the time…

In soaking group this week I recalled a truth and a ‘coincidence’ that at the time kissed my tired heart alive. It still leaves me in awe of a good God.

In 2008, I attended revival meetings in the USA. It was a big deal leaving my family. Master M was 15 months, and Mistress R not yet 5. I was home full time with them, and I missed them dreadfully. There were tears all round at the airport.

I came back from the US more on fire for God than I was before, if that was possible. I was already blazing hot, but I believed that the revival had set me more alight somehow, and I felt it was my job to keep that flame burning hot. Those women with oiled up lamps were onto something! (see Matthew 25:1-13)

I had already started to ‘stop for the one.’ I was seeing miracles, healings, and experienced profound encounters on the streets and in my own life. All unexplained by ‘logic,’ but none-the-less real. I would not have believed it if I had not experienced it myself.

As a young mum, life got busy, and the vigour seemed to settle somewhat. On the surface, I was running hot, but this striving perfectionist was not burning as hot as before, and it bothered me.

One afternoon, with the youngest asleep in bed, I sat at my desk and cried. R (5 years old by this time) sat on the floor quietly drawing. Deep in thought, she asked me how to spell a few words. Nothing profound. Nothing out of sorts.

Moments passed. I was miserable. I was so sad and knew I had somehow missed ‘it.’ I sat and struggling to work out how I could ‘fix it, fix myself’.

As I sat, a little person gently came to my side placing her masterpiece before me.

‘This is for you, mummy,’ she said with eyes shining. ‘God wants you to have this.’

And there, in red, orange and yellow pencil, were 5 words:

FIRE BURNS ALL THE TIME

I looked at her incredulously.

I had said nothing to her. I had kept my thoughts quiet in my mind.

Fire burns all the time…

The blaze may not be discernible, but it burns.

It does not take much to fan into flame.

Perhaps you are feeling the same?

If so, listen and look for God’s kisses through your days.

Spend time with Him (come for a soak with us even) and learn how to lean in.

A dry piece of kindling will catch fire and blaze hot if it leans into the flame; so too you. More kindling; greater flame. Community matters.

13 years on I reflect and see with some perspective. If I had kept the pace, I would have burnt out. I know some habits that help now, that I impart in teaching and in my writing. Longevity matters.

A wise man counselled me recently. He said if I have been able to keep doing what I have been doing for the last 10 years, then that was a sustainable Christian lifestyle. It has been a lifestyle that has space for the miraculous and family, friendship and community.

Fire burns all the time…

I believe 1 Samuel 3:3 holds one key.

The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was.

(1 Sam 3:3)

The lamp had not yet gone out. Samuel was lying down, positioned where God’s presence was. He did not recognise God’s voice at first, but with the help and guidance of a wiser, older one, he could respond when God called him a third time. Interestingly, Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord – where God was in those days.

These days God is within you; around you; and face to face with you at all times.

So, we are the Ark of God, but are we listening well?

Will we position ourselves to hear?

 

We may be a lamp but if we’re not plugged in, we can’t shine the way we’re designed.

Fire burns all the time…

Will you kindle it into a flame? Lay your head upon His breast and listen to His heartbeat for you, for your family, for the nations?

I retold the testimony briefly in this weeks Aussie soak time. You can have a listen here:

 

Beth’s testimony Fire Burns All the Time (from the mouths of babes):

Fire burns all the time, it will never go out because…

God is Good!

Heart matters

the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. (Rev 5:8 NIV)

I love the smell of fresh soil.

If you’re a gardener, there are certain smells that bring delight to your heart. Fragrant foliage: rosemary, basil, mint, thyme to name a few. Fragrant flowers: gardenia, daphne, magnolia, lemon, fragrant roses, lily-of-the-valley…

Then there are the fragrances that may make a gardener’s heart sing, yet leave the average ‘Joe Blow’ cold. These fragrances include freshly disturbed soil as an old tree pulls up by the roots (such as I walked past last week); a freshly weeded and watered garden; and even the freshly fertilised garden, not because I love the smell of manure, but because I know what fertilisation will bring in due time.

Such too is the Father’s heart. Or so I think…

Fragrance of our delight in Him, of our worship, of our obedience… even the fragrance of us just sitting with Him, and loving on Him. That delights the Father’s heart.

There is a fragrance of intercession that ascends to Him when it’s empowered with a heart of love. Even the simple act of a random kindness motivated from a place of compassion will release Heaven’s scent into a thirsty world.

A beautiful woman in my life group shared a vision that she had in a time of soaking. She came home, despondent after having been told at her church that they would not perform certain songs from other particular churches because they did not agree with the churches involved. This grieved her heart. She felt a great disappointment at the slander and the unkind words said about other ministries and churches. With this sadness heavy on her heart she went home, went to bed to soak, asking God ‘where are you for me in this situation?’

In this soak she went on a glorious trip and saw various churches around the world: Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Charismatic… and so the list went on. As she visited each church around the globe, she heard the Father speak to her heart on the matter.

I encourage you to listen to her words here it runs 2.24 min:

Heart in worship releases a fragrance that delights the Lord

Carol’s testimony 22nd April 2021

I know I want my worship to be a sweet fragrance.

The form of worship is not the issue, rather it is a matter of the heart.

For you see…

Heart matters…

Heart worship, true heart intercession, fills the bowls in the Temple with fragrance. In due time God will pour the fragrances back out upon the world. A fragrant Love so magnificent, so bold, so great that none will be able to contain. A Love poured straight from God’s heart to His people, for His Creation for His world.

To see that God is good – that is the answer. None of us have the right way. None of us have the only way. The Gnostics held the belief that theirs was the only way… modern gnosticism is sadly all too common today…

Instead, like a beautiful Father, He delights in the one whose heart is set on Him. The rest falls into place. If we will just fix our eyes on Jesus, instead of on each other, and then the world will taste and see that…

God is Good!

©Beth Kennedy 2021

Towards Fresh Wine

Water’s Edge
©Beth Kennedy 2020

Some need renovation; others deconstruction. Some are renovating; while  many are consumed with the build.

Yet others, the quiet ones with no meeting place of sorts, know it is time to meet at Water’s edge for it is there that ancient pathways head towards Fresh Wine.

 

 

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!

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!