“What’s God stirring in our belly and bones?”

26 Mar 2024

By Naomi Giles

Pictured: Tanya Tindale (Seechange), Deborah Kim (Heartbeat), Amy Morrison (Living Hope Coffs Harbour), Loani Falconer (Southern), Naomi Giles (NationsHeart), Carly Cassidy (GMP), Jess Meaco (Kingsway), Wendy Stumbles (New Day), Vicki Keogh (Mayfield)


What happens when 12 creative women gather to listen deeply to what the voice of God is stirring in each life and the in-between places?

On 14 March, women from across our network stepped aside from their daily lives into a space of welcome on the land of the Dharawal people at Bundeena House on the shores of Bundeena Beach.

I found myself among poets, printmakers, painters, photographers, storytellers, sages and seers – all with a nervous anticipation of what God might bring to life as we listened to Him and each other.

There was a sense of humility and wonder among the group, together with often-repeated questions of, “What am I doing here? What exactly is this group about?”

Over the next two days, under the guidance of Kym Dixon (Leader Health Support and Formation), Jo Huntington (Pioneering Coordinator) and Abi Skelly (Events Support and Formation), nine of us all from diverse backgrounds, vocations and locations voiced something of the fire in our belly and bones.

The words are fire in my belly,
    a burning in my bones.
I’m worn out trying to hold it in.
    I can’t do it any longer! (Jeremiah 20:9, MSG)

From times of personal sharing and deep listening, hands-on creative processes, to play and immersion in creation, we breathed in life and listened as the stories unfolded.

The echoes of His faithfulness resounded, a strength through surrender and trust, the losses and the gains, sacrifices and surprising gifts – all etched on the faces and heard in the resonance of the voice of each woman.

As one of our group, Amy Morrison (Living Hope, Coffs Harbour), gently shared some of her emerging artwork with us there were gasps of amazement to see what comes of a life attuned to His spirit and willing to step out into the unknowns. Amy has only been painting watercolours for 18 months as an expression of her worship. For her it’s a sacred space of stillness and intimacy where art emerges under His hand.

One of her pieces, which is yet to be completed, seemed to speak of the journey we were beginning.  The crushing of grapes by His hands is beginning to produce a trickle of the sweet taste and aroma of new wine.  As we surrender into His hands, this flow will increase as a gift for others.

Artwork: “New Wine” (1/3 in a series), Amy Morrison Photo: Tanya Tindale

As we dared to dream together, something began to form – a way of capturing His voice through a kaleidoscope of media and expression.  A hope grew that we might have a gift to offer to others also seeking life, those who like us are looking hopefully and sometimes desperately for the activity of His kingdom breaking through.

And so, in the year ahead we will continue to walk together, meeting online and face-to-face to share what He is shaping.  We are on a journey of paying attention to His voice among us and bearing witness to His unfolding grace with the aim of publishing a journal of collected works early next year.

We hope and pray that what is produced from this cohort of women (Belly & Bones) might be a gift of perfumed oil from His heart and hands to the people of our network, and to the churches and communities we are planted in.

Read more stories from churches of Christ in NSW & ACT HERE