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Dear friends,

As the year unfolds it brings with it a whole lot of NEW; new experiences, new opportunities, new memories and new relationships.  New doesn’t always mean better – but when the old is failing, broken and worn, then the new brings a sense of hope and future.  Two things that the old was lacking! Growth isn’t always easy but it is both essential and beneficial.

We have received so much rain recently, a real abundance.  This rain brings hope and promises new growth.  As I drive up the driveway I have not tired of the long green grass and the mass of weeds that engulf the gardens.  Yes, this means work, but is this not the good work that we seek?  The work that pushes us to keep up with the explosion of new life and of new opportunities – a second chance.  The new growth that we prayed for, called out for and dreamt about.  It is!  However, if we are not careful, we can begin to forget the work that we battled just a year ago, the drought.  This came with its own work, without effort it took from us our most valuable resource, water.  It emptied our tanks and dams. It dried the ground and the grass ceased to grow.  Even the weeds began to struggle and die.

When our men first make contact with Sherwood they are


from the ‘drought’ in their life.  Circumstances and choices that have seemingly, effortlessly drained their every reservoir.  New life has at times ceased.  The very essence of life is almost gone. Hope is fading and the future is uncertain.

On arrival, the men welcome change and this new opportunity that offers hope.

…and a future.  Just like the rain after the drought, if they are not careful the distress and despair that consumed them just weeks or months before can quickly be forgotten.  The abundance of this ‘second’ chance can be taken for granted.  It can minimise the reality of the past – the pain that rests just under the surface.  Like rain after a drought, it takes time for the moisture to reach the very core of the  land, time for plants to regenerate, soil to repair, dams and tanks to fill.  Unless this water is able to soak in deeply, then, the land remains vulnerable.  A week of wind and heat and again we are back, dry and desperate.  Once again crying out for water…for help.

This new abundance brings growth and this can at times be hard to keep up with.  It can become overwhelming!  We must be grateful for what seems like too much, otherwise the pain of the past will call out to us, attempting to pull us back, trying to convince us that it wasn’t as hard as we thought.  Not as perilous as we once feared!  Possibly, even easier than the too much we are facing?  This pain of constant growth that stretches our very being!

While the rain falls in our life we must allow it to soak to our very core, watering and nourishing our foundation, allowing our roots to extend deeper into truth.  When this is able to happen, the tree, young or old will gain an inner strength that it previously lacked.  This rain isn’t just for external admiration, it is for inner strength and new growth.  This rain has the power to bring a new strength with added character to help weather the future climatic events; storms, droughts, fires and floods.  Conflict, loneliness, abandonment, loss, addiction, trauma, disappointment and failure.

Allow the rain to soak deep into your life!  Be open to God and allow him to  nourish you, refresh you and restore you.  Be open to God and allow him to guide you, to refocus your perspective and your life. Be open to God and allow him to teach you to rebuild that which is broken.

Most of all, do not neglect what is important in the midst of the abundance.

Chantal Kemsley