I sat on a stone bench underneath the shade of a sturdy tree with wide branches, dark green leaves and deep red fruit. I was in a garden protected by high walls, shaded by trees such as the one I sat under. The air was lush, cool, soothing. Paradise was rich peace, stillness, life.
I heard Holy Spirit moving beyond the trees, humming as He tended some part of the enclosed garden. Papa sat on the bench beside me as Jesus stood facing us, smiling. I could feel Holy Spirit listening in our conversation even as He worked beyond my line of sight. We were wonderfully shaded by the fragrant dark green leaves of the trees. I was in the presence of Perfect Love. The love that they had for me and the love that they had for each other. I felt so safe and loved.
Heaven has so many varieties of meadows, mountains and interesting places to explore, it can almost be described as a world filled with many worlds. Papa had shown me other gardens before but this was my first time in a small, enclosed garden with such high walls as the one I now found myself in. With love and laughter in His voice, Papa answered my unspoken wondering as His eyes glittered with affection, “You are in a garden within The Garden. This little, enclosed garden is a private place for only you and Us.”
Papa turned to the trees that were all around us. He appeared to be as connected to them as they were to Him. As He moved through the trees, a gentle wind moved with Him and the trees leaned their trunks and moved their branches in response. From where I followed, it looked like a dance between God, wind, and trees.
Turning to smile at me, He continued, “Eden, or what you call The Garden, is open to all who would believe and it is a vast open world that would take eternity to explore. There are private gardens within Eden. Each one is a secret place I have with each child of Mine, and every garden is unique and specially cultivated for its owner.”
As we wandered through the garden, I observed the trees here were different from the other fruit trees He had shown me before in another part of the Garden Eden. I wondered to myself why I had been brought here. Papa chuckled and said, “Come and see.”
A short walk from the stone bench, we came in sight of a river that ran through the garden and out of it. I can’t explain why, but the sight of that river caused such delight to bubble up within me. Its waters were so clear and refreshing, so alive it almost seemed like they danced and skipped over stones on the river bed, waving as they passed by us. The waters seemed to echo back Papa’s laugh as He said, “My River of Life and Delight flows from Me to you and all creation. My River waters everything. Life is sustained through it. Even in places where you can’t see evidence of this River, where it may be underground or blocked, always remember that My river is there because it flows through everything that lives!”
The River Of Life And Delight
While peace and joy remained wrapped around us, Papa’s face grew solemn. With compassion and understanding in His voice He said, “Drink from My River. Do nothing in survival mode. It is time to dream again, but many of My children have become discouraged because the enemy is rabidly determined to take them off their path. The enemy’s onslaught has been a strategic one because it targets what My children instinctively know deep in their hearts – the destiny I have created them for.
I have created them for their inheritance, but the enemy has sought to take them off My path by tempting them to make things happen on their own. Just as the enemy tried to tempt Jesus in the desert to make happen on His own what I had already made His, so too many of My children face that same temptation to take matters into their own hands by the same vicious enemy in this season. Many of them are feeling restless, frustrated, and discouraged. But I am calling them out of survival mode and into Life.
Just as Jesus entered and left the wilderness full of My Holy Spirit, so also My children need to remain filled with Holy Spirit. There is a River in the desert. Its waters never run dry and they must learn to drink continually from My River of Life and Delight. I am bringing them to where they will come out of the wilderness leaning on Me.
Wait. All you need to do is wait for Holy Spirit. Wait and trust for your dreams to be fulfilled in My time. Am I more important to you than the dreams I have given? Release the dreams that are from Me, to Me. Delight in Me. Tell My children to drink from My river; bathe in it and lay down in the soft grass beside it.
Rest in My peace. Those who drink from My River will not be thirsty and they will find deepest fulfillment. Then what they do will flow from their heart, not for their heart.”
Papa continued, “In My reality is Life and freedom. No more survival mode for My children because things that are built from that place will not thrive in this era of Eden. My Eden reality is about participating in that which My River of Life and Delight initiates. You need only participate. My River makes it grow.
This release is an important part of the Dream process. The dream has to die before it can bear much fruit. Apart from Me, you can do nothing. In Me, everything comes to life. Surrender is the way to Life. In quietness and trust is your salvation.
Children, let Life breathe into your dreams. Only a dream that has been laid down can lead to My glory, life to others, and intimacy with Me. A dream manufactured by human hands corrupts and leads to strife, pride, greed, and death. As in the times of Noah, it is not yet time to leave the ark, but it is time to dream. Dream of the new frontier, then release those dreams to Me. Wait and trust that I make all things beautiful in My time.
The season of intense sifting has been to bring My children into Eden’s reality of rest and peace. My rest is not doing nothing. It is active participating in what I initiate. Let Me set the course. Trust in Me with all your heart; don’t lean on your own understanding. Pursue peace and remain in it. Don’t seek to fill your needs by yourself or others – that path only leads to futility, frustration and emptiness. Eat and drink from Me – it leads to life. My path is Life and fulfillment and grace.”
My heart was pierced as Papa shared His heart. How many times had I loved His gifts & destiny for me more than I loved Him? How often did I value experiences with Him more than I valued Him? I was so sorry for using Him in my survival mode more times than I probably realized. I was heartbroken as this scripture came to mind, “”My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the Spring of Living Water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2:13).
Papa put His arms around me as a subtle fragrance filled the cool garden air. I could feel His welcoming love and perfect forgiveness even before I apologized, but I was thankful that He waited for my words. Giving us space to apologize is one of God’s tender mercies. In making room for us to take ownership of our mistakes, He bestows back on us the dignity that sin has stolen. Asking for, and receiving, forgiveness gives us the experience of His River of Forgiveness flowing from Him to & through us. It is a cleansing, liberating, beautiful thing.
The fragrance of Myrrh increased till it hung heavy in the air. Papa enveloped me in a hug as we sat a few minutes with both hearts laid bare.
Follow The Way Of Peace
Papa began to speak, and I felt the words coming from deep within His heart, “I am establishing a Covenant of Peace and all are invited to it. Follow the way of Peace. I am making a people who are at rest; a people of Peace. Those who enter into My Covenant of Peace enter into Shalom, wholeness in every part of life.
This is why I have allowed situations to reveal areas of strife, unforgiveness, even bitterness, in My children’s hearts. I am challenging internal structures that have governed your way of living, Babylon which is led by fear, anger, self-preservation. Unforgiveness ties you to earth, unable to enter the rarified atmosphere of heaven. Forgiveness frees you, releases you into Eden.
Babylon taught you to fight for your space and defend your own rights. Babylon thrives on the lie that only the strong survive and you are on your own. But I am declaring, “No more survival mode. Come out of Babylon and let Me take Babylon out of you.” Come out of that tiny prison cell; step into the great wide world that is Eden, My reality. I want to show you that there is an abundance of space & safety for all.
Follow the way of Peace; do nothing where My Peace does not rest. Peace is never far from you. My peace never leaves, but sometimes you may walk away from it. You just need to feel around for it and you will find it; it is never far.
I am raising up a new breed of people who are led by Peace. This posture of rest, peace, and being in Me, is the only way they will be able to handle the influx of heavenly activity & blueprints I am releasing on earth. Apart from Me, you will explode from the sheer magnitude of creativity & innovation I am releasing. It is as I said through My prophet Isaiah, ‘You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the fields will clap their hands.’ Creation follows those that are led by Peace.”
The Garden Within
In the days that followed, He began to show me the Way of Peace. He taught my heart how to “feel around” for the presence of peace and then follow it just as I had followed Him among the trees in our little garden. When responsibilities & to-do lists pulled me into survival mode, He reminded me to wait and let Him quiet me with His love. He guided me to do, say, and go only where Peace was. Life flourished in that Way of Peace. It was like being able to breathe again after years of holding my breath.
Then one day Papa asked me, “Do you know why I have taken you to visit our smaller private garden within The Garden Eden?”
He knew that I didn’t know, for He knows me more truly than I know myself. So I said, “Why?” because He enjoys the dance of back-and-forth conversation although He already knows all my thoughts.
His next gentle words entered my heart like a flash of light, “Thus far, you have experienced Eden around you. You have come up to heaven and explored Eden on earth as it is in heaven. And yet you do not believe that Eden is within you. It is easy for you to see heaven around you, but you have not seen heaven within you. All these years you have lived believing there is such darkness, brokenness and ugliness within you, and it has broken My heart because in rejecting your innermost being, you have rejected Me.
I took you to the little garden because that little garden is your heart. My River of Life and Delight flows in you. My Holy Spirit tends to the beautiful fruit that grows in you. My child, Eden is not just around you; it is first within you. Eden – Life – flourishes and expands within you. Your soul and body is filled with My Life, Light, Presence, and fruitfulness. You are good. You are very good. I take great delight in you.”
Papa is preparing a people so at Peace, so at rest in Him. Eden is about being. Eden is both an external and internal reality because His River of Life and Delight runs through all of life. Eden grows within us and expands in & around us.
Holy Spirit our beloved helper and gardener works in our hearts to that end. He rips out decaying foundations of Babylon (strife, survival, rejection) and pours in His unbreakable foundation of Eden – Peace, Life, and the Love & Delight of God.