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…
Sometimes we have nothing left in the tank. The sense of tiredness is real. Self care is essential, so as you read, balance the message with permission to rest.
We reach into the empty barrel believing we have nothing to give; only to find an abundant flow.
I was at kindy pick up for my 3-year-old son when I saw a mum who I had prayed for previously at a play date. She had asked why I was fasting. I explained Australia was in revival and a mighty move of God was afoot across our wonderful nation. As we spoke, she shared some of her private and very painful history, after which I prayed for her. While I prayed, she felt electricity running up her arms, and she cried, feeling His presence course through her body. She had encountered a good and loving God.
On this day, she looked tired. I asked her about this, and the tears flowed. I gently placed my hand on her shoulder and prayed, releasing peace and rest. She reported her sleep was ok, but she was not feeling refreshed from her sleep. I prayed again, asking that one hour of sleep would be as four. I hugged her, nearly crying myself, and said to call if she wanted prayer again.
With said 3-year-old in tow, I planned to head home. Instead, I ‘knew’ I needed to go to a local shopping district. It was close to Christmas, so shopping was not what I felt like doing. However, hearing the nudge, I headed to the store I felt compelled to visit.
Uncertain why I was there, I looked. Feeling exhausted, I did not believe I had anything to give.
My barrel was empty.
Wandering about, I feigned interest. I noticed a woman with a brace on her wrist.
‘Person found,’ I thought.
I approached her and asked about the brace.
She had torn tendons in her wrist and thumb, so I offered to pray. She agreed and as I prayed she felt tingles, which continued long after I finished and she completed her shopping.
I turned towards God once more, knowing I had not completed the task. I felt tired, so I argued a little, but ultimately decided I would stay.
I could not shake the feeling I had not found who or what I was there for.
A woman had watched me closely as I prayed. I was aware of her, but I had ignored the feeling. I felt her watching me again and wondered if she was stalking me through the store.
Crossing her path, I smiled and turned to pass politely, but she suddenly stepped forward to speak.
Earnestly she said she felt stressed. She explained the stress was because she was hosting her son’s wedding reception at her home, followed closely by Christmas.
I agreed that would be stressful.
‘Thank you,’ she said.
The exchange puzzled me. Perhaps she needed to be seen.
I wandered on with my son, but there she was again…
I was sure she was intentionally placing herself in my path.
She engaged me in further conversation.
Tired, I did not want to chat. Small talk is a gift, a gift I do not posses. I have to work at it.
I stopped the sour grapes and simply threw caution to the wind. I offered to pray.
Excited, she readily agreed. She said she saw me on the other side of the store, praying for the other woman.
‘Ah, she had been watching me,’ I thought, ‘and she wanted prayer.’
Her name was Joy, so I prayed for Joy. I prayed for Joy to be released into her destiny; for joy (the Spirit of Joy) to come upon and within her; for Joy to receive ‘joy’; and for Joy to be Joy and all that entailed. In fact, it was the season for JOY!
I also prayed for the other circumstances she had shared.
As I prayed, I looked at her.
‘You can feel that, can’t you?’
She nodded, close to tears.
When I finished, she stared at me and asked if I knew some Christians on her street in a nearby suburb.
‘Oh no, here we go,’ I thought, but then she told me their names.
They were my pastors!
She said I was just like them – she told me she had been watching them.
‘… and now she had been watching me too,’ I thought wryly.
It was clear in that moment God was on her case. It was not a coincidence I was in that store. I was there for no apparent reason other than a hunch. My pastors’ witness impacted her. She was the one God had set His heart upon and sent me. She had a hunger to encounter the God my pastors knew; the God I knew; the God she wanted to know too- the one we all called ‘Lord,’ the one we all called Jesus.
I was there for her!
I explained I had not known why I had come to the shop. Yet, it was now apparent to me I had come for her.
It was apparent that God was on her case.
I wished her well and finished up in the shop.
My barrel was empty today-but God.
Life is busy at Christmas time. Children are excited, their behaviour can challenge. People make demands; others can be unkind. We can feel our barrel is empty and we have nothing to give.
However, God’s barrel is never empty. Despite me and my circumstances, as I reached into my empty barrel, God came through and touched three women – all in the space of an hour. Each woman needed a touch of God; all for different reasons.
As long as I will stop for the one, regardless of how I feel, regardless of me, my God will move to touch a hurting world.
Today I saw His arm long enough to embrace others through me; His grace sufficient for my needs to be met and His desires fulfilled. My barrel may feel dry, but His barrel is always full – His power is ever present.
Despite me, wine will always flow.
Since this day I have discovered people are watching. I know if they watch for long enough I will disappoint them because I am mere human; but if they will see through me to Him… that will not disappoint.
I have prayed for many who have yearned for a touch from God. There have been many such occasions. In my daughter’s school, a young teacher cried when I offered to pray. She explained she had been waiting, hoping for prayer. This shocked me, because I always felt so awkward in offering. But here was a woman desperate for the moment God saw her heart’s cry. Through her tears she said she thought she was going to miss out; I assured her God saw and loved her- she would never miss out.
We may think we are at the bottom of our barrel, there is nothing more to give. But, in the empty barrel, there is always more.
If anyone has read my stories, they know I believe in stopping for the one. The masses are exciting and they matter. The big impact is glorious. Yet there is something so very special about the one. Never forget, He is the Father that encourages with the story of the one lost sheep.
Sometimes in stopping for the one, in taking time to sit, listen and serve, I can become quite despondent. I wonder whether it really makes a difference.
Today I gave my time to support others. I spent longer than planned. An hour out of a day, with an extra half hour, does not seem too much; but when you are in a busy world, it makes a tremendous difference.
Feeling a little flat after, I roused myself. I must have made an impact, given how flat I felt. Walking with my son in the sunshine, I reminded myself that God had asked me to do what I had done, yet the niggle remained – had I just wasted my time?
Intellectually you know you are doing the right thing, but…
Master M and I stopped for lunch at a local cafe. I randomly looked at my mobile phone… 1:11.
‘I love you’ I heard Him whisper.
‘I love you too’ I responded and ate my lunch.
As I went inside to pay, I thought about an ARK (Act of Random Kindness) I had performed over a week before in the same cafe. I don’t talk too much about these, and I would not normally be writing about this one, but the goodness and kindness of God radiates by sharing what happened today. It’s my hope you see Him in this story. It’s my wish that you hear His heart. I trust it will encourage you to look for Him yourself when you feel as I felt today…
Just over a week ago, I had left a sum of money at this cafe. It was enough for 10 or more coffees to be given away to whom ever they pleased. Amazed and delighted, the girl behind the til chatted about never seeing something like this before. She was so excited by the idea. I laughed and said that she would have fun giving the coffees away. The tangible atmosphere in the cafe buzzed with Holy Spirit.
This came to mind as I walked in to pay my bill. I wondered why I had bothered, noting the grouchy exchange I had with the owner late last week when I had tried to be friendly. (Note: my stinking thinking). I checked myself and my attitude, and I smiled as I paid and left.
We were some way down the street, when a girl chased behind us.
‘I was that girl that you left all that money with on the til the other day, you will never guess what happened…’
I smiled and waited…
‘You broke something open that day. I’ve never seen it before, but two more people came in that day and they also left money for free coffees for others…’
‘Wow,’ I responded, ‘that is bizarre.’
I know people leave money in cafes. It happens regularly at another cafe a suburb away from where I live. But, she had never seen it happen in this cafe.
She had not finished her story. She was so excited, she repeated herself.
‘I had to tell you, you broke something open that day, you started something that day, you broke it open that day, and others followed you and did the same, you caused something to start that day, what you did opened something up…’
I smiled and was a little embarrassed. Thanking her for sharing it with me, I told her to have a beautiful afternoon, and we walked on in the sunshine.
I heard the Father’s voice. He spoke to me through her excitement and declaration of what had occurred. he reminded me of my purpose, having first reminded me that I was loved.
I was nearly in tears.
She did not know I was feeling flat.
She did not know I have had those same words spoken over me many times. She did not know I had been told I would break things open, and that others would follow.
Being a breaker sounds fun, glamorous even.
There’s rarely people encouraging you to walk forward.
Stepping out in faith is spelt: R I S K.
There’s often jeering from the sidelines. People regularly misunderstand motives. Many, even ‘friends,’ want you to stop where they are at, so as not to cause them too much discomfort.
The point is, God knew my heart, my thoughts today, and He met me with, ‘I love you.’ Even though I was entertaining thoughts of ‘poor me’ and ‘stinking thinking.’
He then said, ‘thank you, I see you’ and He affirmed my identity and purpose.
Through an excited young woman, He showed me the end of a story. I rarely see what happens next, but she had remembered me and had witnessed to me the marvellous results of stopping for the one, and the flow on impact that an act of kindness had. It was His idea; it was my idea; it was both our ideas… His nudge so intangible. A joy to do, feel the atmospheres shift and watch the delight. She witnessed two more people give money away to bless others they did not know… and she somehow recognised that the act of obedience had broken something open for others to follow.
God heard my heart today, and He met it with a kiss. He did so through an unknowing girl who witnessed generosity break out in her workplace. God knew I needed a reminder that I was loved, that he saw me, and he met me in my need. And He will do so for you too, if you look to see because…
We had a few hours on a Saturday to do child free Christmas shopping before going to a movie. With our list in hand, we did not know that Jesus had His own Christmas shopping list for us to do too…!
I was in the ‘ladies’ when I found the first on His list. God told me to pray for someone outside my cubicle. Side note: Yes, He talks to me everywhere.
‘She has been a great blessing to others for many, many years, I want you to bless her’.
As I washed my hands, I looked at ‘her’ in the mirror.
She was an elderly woman waiting for her granddaughter. I introduced myself and stated that that I believed she had been a great blessing to many people over the years. I then asked if I could pray a blessing over her. She looked surprised but agreed.
Her name was Joy.
She was the second Joy I had prayed for that week and I mentally noted the ‘coincidence.’
I blessed Joy knowing that she knew Joy and was familiar with the Joy of God. She teared up a little as I prayed and blessed her, and once done, she asked if I would also pray for her granddaughter. I agreed and prayed and prophesied over her granddaughter, declaring her destiny would open and unfold, that she was a pillar and a leader in the coming move of God, which I believed would be a move that came through the youth in power. Joy excitedly said she had been praying for revival for years…
My husband had been waiting patiently outside. He knew what was going on inside because people were coming out from the bathroom saying in amazement that there was “someone praying in there for people…” and pointing back to the door. Andrew knew what I was up to and laughed. I hadn’t thought about that sort of impact, but it was quite funny…
Jesus assignment done, we got a coffee and discussed our shopping…
As we waited for our coffees, I popped into another store to “bag” our first item. C served me, and yes, God had me pray for her. C was a young girl (about 16) who “felt” the anointing as I prayed. I prophesied she would discover who she was and why she was in the next two years. She had said she did not know, but my gosh, she was a marvellous girl!. I headed off with my purchase and sat with my husband to finish our coffee…
I felt I had done my dash, and we headed off to a sporting store. We purchased nothing, but on our way out I walked past a very disabled girl with her parents. Strapped into her wheelchair, her arms and legs fastened down. The girl’s body was small, deformed, and she displayed no control over her head movements. I felt God’s strong desire for me to pray, but I was so intimidated by the severity of her condition. I internally argued with God as we walked away from the store, but ultimately said:
‘Ok, for You, I’m willing to do it…’ and I went back to search the shop.
I found the girl with her parents waiting at the checkout. The intensity of my nerves made it an extreme fight to approach them. I fought the extreme urge to walk away, knowing that God really wanted me to ask if I could pray for her…
Stopping in front of her chair, I asked her parents if I could pray. I desperately did not want them to feel that I felt sorry for them, but I also wanted them to know that I cared. They agreed, so I knelt and addressed their daughter, who could not talk at all.
She was dribbling and had an angry-looking rash on her face from the dampness of her dribble. Her hands were unformed, and her body was tiny. I knelt and taking her hand in mine, and I quietly introduced myself. Her parents looked weary and watched on as I prayed, and her father leant in to listen.
As I prayed, she locked her gaze on mine. I believe she could clearly feel God as I prayed for her. The frantic movements slowed, and she held onto my gaze several times. I prayed for her parents too and asked God to provide solutions.
Leaving the store, I thanked the girl and parents for stopping and allowing me to pray for them. I felt wobbly and said to Andrew it must be nerves; instead he encouraged me, suggesting it was the intensity of anointing…
“Ok” I thought, “big one down”, shake, shake, shake, “gosh, ok, deep breath” shake, shake, shake…
I slowly settled down as we walked through Big W, fighting the negative thoughts, the accusations of failure and the residual impact of the nerves.
As the legs stopped shaking, I could focus on our task at hand. Andrew encouraging me all the way, we successfully made further purchases.
As we left God prompted me to pray for the cashier who said to me ‘I am not a Christian’ to which I said something like ‘that doesn’t matter, I can still bless you’ which I promptly did, placing my hand on his elbow as I spoke peace over him for this season of business.
It was time for our movie, so we headed toward the theatre. To our surprise, we had calmly and easily done all our shopping.
I felt quite successful, having bagged all that we had, and I waited while Andrew put our purchases into the car. As I stood, I tried to ignore a young girl in a wheelchair. I had noticed her out of the corner of my eye. I calmly ignored the very brief, quiet prompting, preferring to hear the louder “no” that came very much on top of the whispered ‘pray for her’. The prompt was so subtle, and I wanted to get to our movie on time, so I tried to ignore her, and I literally turned my back.
I stood and argued internally, but it was no good; I knew I had to stop for this one too.
Walking over to the girl’s mother, I introduced myself, asked what her daughter had done and if I could pray. The Mum’s name was ‘A’ and was also with her teenage son, who looked like he had down syndrome, but who we later found out had autism. She looked back at me and immediately said yes, that would be great.
I knelt by the young girl (she was 14 years old) and she told me a brick wall had fallen on her, crushing and breaking one leg. The damage included the growth plate, so they had to do the same with the other leg in order that the legs would grow at the same rate.
I placed my hands on her legs (after she also gave me permission) and I prayed. She felt heat. I continued to pray and prophesy, while her friends stood by our side, politely not looking.
I asked her if she had asked Jesus into her heart. She said she had, but on a prompt I said ‘let’s do it again’ and so in response she asked Jesus into her heart. I suggested she ask that He fill her up, so she did. I continued to pray and when she said “enough” (a boundary we had agreed upon before I prayed) I thanked her and looked at her mother who then thanked me.
I thought I was going to go into the movie theatre after this and time was ticking along. We had not been to a movie for years by ourselves, so it was a real treat. However, I felt to pray for her brother and so turning to the mother I asked if I could pray for him too. She again readily agreed.
The boy called “B” was 16 years old. He swayed heavily under the anointing, and I motioned to Andrew, who quickly steadied him. He was incredibly ‘open’ to God’s presence.
I felt to suggest he say, ‘Jesus, come into my heart’
I then felt to suggest to him, ‘say Jesus fill me up,’
B said ‘Jesus fill me up’, and on saying it he kept saying it, over and over, laughing and swaying heavily under the anointing.
I finished and turned to the mother, knowing I had to pray for her too.
‘Well, this is more important than being on time for the movie,’ I thought and I offered to pray.
As I prayed for the mother, the compassion of God came upon me and I nearly cried. She looked like she did too. I received words of knowledge about her–she was struggling (that was obviously a possibility given her two kids) she was making major decisions, and she was a single Mum.
She told me she had 3 children and had told my husband prior to me praying that she had found the recent challenges with her daughter’s injury tough. I prayed, and she quietly received; she was so very thirsty for God and drank Him in, and as I finished praying for her, I placed my arms around her and held her close for a long, long time.
I went to release my hug, but she hung on, so I hugged her some more and when I felt it was enough, I again tried to disengage, but she again hung on again. So, I continued to hold her, yet feeling quite embarrassed by now. Again I went to release her, but she continued to hang onto me quietly. I tried again, and she hung on again… so I just stood in the middle of the busy shopping centre and let her drink and cling to me for what seemed an eternity…
I gave her our church card, and I wrote my private number on it so she could call me if she felt she wanted.
As we walked away my husband said to me he believed we were there, not so much for the daughter, but for the Mother, who had been through such a tough time, for Jesus says:
‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me… streams of living water will flow from within him.’John 7:38-39
We saw our movie, but we missed the promos. This did not bother us at all. We even had time to go to the bathroom and settle in before the movie started. God had it all timed beautifully and I am so glad that I did not rush because He had treasures in the darkness to give…
This is what the Lord says to his anointed…
‘I will go before you and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.
Every person I encountered was a treasure in the darkness, waiting to be discovered. Each was a treasure set out for me to discover, to find, to uncover and my footsteps ordered by a loving and knowing God. He not only blessed us with the miracle of a great time together, Christmas shopping in the Christmas rush, but He also entrusted 10 people that all needed a touch from their mighty and loving God. Ten people altered for ever more. He left those treasures out for me to find because …
God is Good.
Post Script: The shopping day was a Saturday, a few years ago now. I wrote the story up on a Tuesday, and just as I finished writing the mum rang me with the following report:
Her daughter stood without crutches on the Sunday;
Her son lost his aggression and was much calmer. There was a change in his eyes, and they looked ‘more alert.’ He had stopped asking about his father who left the family earlier that and she said the ‘worry has lifted from his face’, he is ‘much calmer’. She told me he continues to say ‘Jesus fill me up’ and is laying hands on his mother and family friends and asking ‘can you feel that?’ and she can;
The mum (A) felt much more at peace (in her home and in herself). The night before meeting us she was suicidal, and when she saw us across the shops, she stood willing us to come over. She said there was a light around both Andrew and I that she saw and wanted to be near. From that afternoon A cared for herself properly, eating 3 meals a day, and was feeling at peace.
A told me she had thought about the encounter every day. She believed it was not a coincidence that we met. Just before she met us she had looked for a car park and just knew that she would find one on the middle level (where she met us) at about 1.30pm, just in time to meet us after getting her daughter out of the car with the wheelchair. She said that she had told her daughter that there would be a car park for them in that place, and there was a reason for the delay in finding one.
During our discussion on the telephone, A gave her heart to Christ. We talked at length and she shared some of her story with me. She also asked for and received the gift of tongues, feeling a ‘tingling up and down her legs’ as we prayed. She also felt the tingles over her head, as she had done earlier. Her ‘spirit spot’ burned lightly as we talked and prayed.
Post Post Script:
I kept in contact with A over Christmas and eventually arranged a coffee at my home in mid-January.
The bell rang, and on answering the door A was with her daughter who was standing. Her daughter’s name also begins with A so I will call her Little A. I stood looking at Little A and they both laughed at my shock. Little A was walking, without leg braces, without a wheelchair and without a walking stick.
After my initial shock, they came into my home where I heard the story.
Little A had stood for the first time unaided the day after I had prayed for her. She had been told on 6th January by her physiotherapist that she would need the wheelchair, leg braces and a crutch for another 6 weeks. Yet, she was walking completely unaided on 18th January… 12 days later! At the six week mark she was back training with cadets.
Apparently she had been walking not long after being prayed for. They had gone on holidays after Christmas at a caravan park in Phillip Island. They took the wheelchair, but had not used it, and she had been walking unaided since.
So, here she was, walking well, on Wednesday 18th January, having had two broken legs and having been told she would need a wheelchair, leg braces and a walking stick for at least another 6 weeks on 6th January…!
On this visit, Little A explained that she still needed more strength in her legs. I laid hands on her legs and called strength into her thigh muscles and as I did her mother, my daughter and I noticed her knee caps moving up and down with no input from her, as if her thigh muscles were being contracted and released. She did not feel it, it just happened.
She stood and tried them out and I prayed again, and it happened again…
Her Mother and I concluded her thigh muscles must have been being strengthened supernaturally. It was the oddest thing to watch her knee caps bobbing up and down in a rapid movement!
After we finished praying and we went for a walk during which I heard more of her story.
Apparently A’s family transformed. Her son was no longer violent, she was walking in abundant favour, disputes settled supernaturally, with no effort on her part. She shared how she had told a friend who was also in a place of despair how she too could be free-she was ready to give what she had received away to others!
A said the entire journey had been remarkable, the turnaround, marvellous…
I just listened in awe, knowing that it was all a miracle, and I noted that I nearly did not stop for them because I wanted to get to the movies on time…
I wondered how many others I had simply walked past…
How many others may have had a life transformed… had I stopped for the one…
I am certain that there is no condemnation in Christ, but how His heart yearns for us to recognise and to step into who we truly are, to co-labour with Him in the family business.
… all creation groans…
Will we be bold enough to step into our inheritance and bring others with us?
Dare weto lay claim to the “treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places” (Is45:3) and set them free?
Dare wetake people by the hand and say “come”?
God is breath taking in His beauty, in His kindness, in His Glory!
Last Friday I caught up with two beautiful Christian friends. I do life with them. They make up my writers/life accountability group.
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
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 Joy 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.
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.
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
for a moment
‘When can we get back to being busy?’ we ask.
The silence in the stopping is, um, well, it’s, …. ‘uncomfortable’.
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.
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…
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…
The remains of an almond milk chai, combined with a sweet taste of honey comb and chocolate… ‘just one’ I say…
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…
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…
I 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…
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…
‘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…
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.
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.
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…
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.
‘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…
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
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?
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…
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?
Our family has been in a time of rapid transition.
It’s been a ride.
One aspect of our recent journey has been to start an online zoom group. We always planned to start an online group, and covid-19 made us very aware of why this start up was on God’s heart.
Our zoom group includes people we know and trust. These people will try things out online with us, give us feedback, cut us some slack, while we hopefully sow something of value into them. It’s still nerve-racking because, well, God has to show up!
As with all groups we have run, the first topic we covered was: ‘who are we anyway?’
‘A simple question to answer,’ you may say, but it is surprising just how many (read everyone) struggle with this topic when you scratch the surface. Our religious and societal beliefs are so entrenched – ‘we must perform to be loved’.
I believe that we all struggle with this idea – that we don’t earn our right at the table with God! God approves of us, having done nothing!
Mark 1:11 makes it clear:
‘And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”’ (Mark 1:11 NIV)
Check out this link to Mark 1:11. The different translations, of the same verse say the same thing. In essence:
‘You are my son, I love you, and I am well pleased with you.’
I find this scripture fascinating. It is at the point of Jesus being baptised by John, before Jesus starts his ministry years. Jesus has done nothing to earn his father’s love. It is from this place of identity Jesus enters the desert, fasts, is tempted by the devil and then steps out into his ministry. He has held firm to who he is and whose he is.
The Father loves and approves of Jesus- before Jesus does anything.
Jesus would have studied etc prior to this point in time, but… he had presumably done nothing. He had not stepped into his ministry works.
Every group we have run, we cover the same idea – we are loved, approved and accepted, without works, having done nothing. In fact, we don’t have to do anything to remain in this place; however, when we really catch this concept in its essence, the irony is we can’t help but do something in response.
‘111, My beloved daughter; My beloved son.’
What do you hear Him speak over you today?
Will you just sit and let Him whisper sweet nothings?
Will you let Him sing over you, as you rest in the nook of His arms?
Will you ‘…wait a little longer’ with Him?
He wants us whole, and fully comprehending that we are His beloved daughter or son, in whom He is well pleased. It is from this place of identity that we are to step out and go, and as we do we will shine with His goodness, with His light, with His love because…
God is Good!
Please, sit, breathe and listen. See what He says to you through this song:
I have never finished writing up the story of the kindy teacher and her husband. Life got busy and the journey on this one was intense. It was, as many stories, one that did not finish with the first, or the second encounter, but as with life with God, there was a journey to be had … for both the teacher and her husband … and me.
It was not long after I had attended the ICU the second time, and had the feedback that L was doing really well, that I dropped my son M off at kindy for his session and received a very aggressive response from the kindy teacher. L had suddenly gone backwards, and had started to experience arrhythmia (a disturbed heart rhythm). While some arrhythmias don’t affect your overall health, others are more serious, even life threatening … and L’s were apparently serious enough to require surgery and from memory a a pace maker to regulate his heart beat.
Now while I knew I was not responsible, I felt responsible. I barely made it back to the car before the tears started and by the time I was home I was a sobbing mess. I called a friend, an older wiser Christian, who encouraged me, said it was part of the battle, and that it would be ok … and after the phone call, even though I wanted to call another friend to wallow in my misery, I knew that God expected me to come to Him, to appeal to Him, to take my heart break to Him … so I did …
I spent time pouring out my heart. I spent some time praying. I spent time declaring. I spent time worshiping. And then I listened … and all I got was to go shopping for the kindy teacher, to give her a decent serve of my bolognaise sauce with some spaghetti pasta and to fill er cupboards with wholesome nourishing food … and a few treats. I knew she didn’t need me to give her Christian platitudes, or to even offer to pray again … she was angry with me and angry at God because her husband had taken a set back, she was rejecting me, and with me she was rejecting my God and I felt like a failure.
I did what I was told, feeling all the while helpless and frustrated … I felt like I had given them hope and I felt responsible for the let down … I felt responsible for “failing” them … and I knew the kindy teacher felt the same way … she was icy and angry!
I pulled myself together, bought the bits and pieces I felt to buy her and braced myself for the kindy pickup.
I quietly left the package with the teacher, explaining what was in the package of groceries for her, including the bolognaise sauce and spaghetti pasta, I got my son and left … telling her that I would continue to pray, and that I was sad there had been a set back.
The next time I saw her she gave me back my bags with a note, her demeanour completely changed … she said that what I had done was in her view the “most Christian thing anyone could ever do” … she had completely melted … through one act of kindness … through a bag of groceries and a cooked dinner … through an act … through a doing word … through His Love …
I was shocked, but relieved … and it had been God that had give me the solution … no trying to fix it in my own strength was going to work … instead I had to come to Him and listen … so that I could release His desire for her, so that I could hear what she needed … not what I wanted to do … which by this stage was to run!
She said no-one had ever shown her such kindness, and that she believed that what I had done was truly what it was to be a Christian (not that I agree since my father, who was at best agnostic often did acts of kindness for people but it’s what she thought one was) … and all I had done was to show her LOVE as a verb rather than say the word LOVE as a noun … I had shopped, given her some groceries and given her a meal in a challenging and scary time …
There is no way I could have known what an impact that one act would have … but God knew … and that one act of kindness seemed to open the door of her heart … and you will see, as the next chapter unfolds, that while He used me in Australia he was preparing another in South Africa … where He was lining up lives, situations and people all for the kindy teacher and her husband because …