I find it funny that when I am selling stuff at the Op Shop that the stuff that is more than 15 years old it is considered retro / vintage. That means that most of the things I recognise from the 80’s have some form of appeal simply because they are old.
Over 7 years ago Steve and I became the senior pastors of Hills Church and one of my roles by default was to `look after the women’. I have written before that this was a bit obscure and plenty of people and pressure from me made it difficult to articulate what that meant. What I do remember between nappy changes, doing the washing and discovering where to find a descent grocery store was the argument I had with my heavenly Father over the possible name he wanted me to use for our women: Flourish. I promise you I had several other ideas but kept coming back to that one word. 7 years ago that word was not trendy or inviting.
I am not a vintage type of girl and doilies are not my thing. 7 years ago vintage and retro meant something quite different to what it does today. Flourish simply made me think of carnations, baby’s breaths and mothballed doilies (none of which were in fashion at the time and none of which are my sort of style choice). Seven years on and that word is trendy, as are all things vintage (including a little baby’s breath:(). The word Flourish is now popping up in instagram posts, in messages and is even the name of several conferences and women’s groups around the world. I feel better now than I did back then because it is so much more in vogue but it also make me a feel like changing e name cos I don’t want it be some thing trendy.
Despite all that, Flourish is such a fantastic way to describe who Hills Church women are:
12The righteous one (yes YOU) will flourish like the palm tree, growing like a cedar in Lebanon.
13Planted in the house of the LORD , They will flourish in the courts of our God.1
4They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green,
15To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
FLOURISH IS DEFINED IN THE DICTIONARY :
To thrive or grow well; To prosper or fare well;
To be in a period of greatest influence; To grow luxuriantly; To be in a period of highest productivity, excellence, or influence.
To make bold, sweeping movements.An embellishment or ornamentation.An noticeable act or gesture: a flourish of generosity.
This word flourish is not just about intent. The righteous WILL flourish…. the moment you connect to Jesus Christ you become living proof of what it means to flourish. This idea, ideal, this vison I have when I used the name ‘flourish‘ is not my vision for your life …it’s God’s vision for your life. You have the right to have a flourishing life! You have the means to have a flourishing life! My kids, my marriage, my church, my relaitonships, my finances, my health, my soul, my spirit all have the right and capacity to FLOURISH. Every aspect of your life in every season of your life has God’s promise to flourish. My vision for my kids is that they will know what it means to flourish in their childhood not just when they reach a certain age or when they have a job or when they are grown up.
It is not possible for me to flourish for you and when you flourish it effects those You are connected to. Flourishing is simply an outcome. It is not something you can force or make happen but it isyour responsibility. I am not the Gardner of your heart nor am I the soil or the source of what you need. Flourishing is dependent on where you are planted, the condition of the soil where you are planted and where you get your nourishment from. Your capacity to flourish can be effected by how much you allow the Gardener to attend to your heart and life and daily choices. Jesus is the vine, the Father is the Gardner. My heart for us Hills girls is that we flourish!
Your life is like a plant. My passion is that you will flourish in every season not not resist the conditions for your life to flourish. There are a variety of ingredients that will help a plant to thrive and there are things that will inhibit a plant and stop it from flourishing. The beauty of this picture is that we simply need to trust the Gardner to do his thing. God doesn’t expect us to flourish without him nor giving us everything we need to do so. The difference is that we (unlike a plant) can resist the conditions required to help us flourish. When the pruning shears come close we can resist them. A vine can be flourishing in the autumn and there is no evidence of fruit. So too Flourish is not about how much fruit we have but how healthy we are in what ever season we are in. Jesus promised even when we were fruitful that the fruit would be cut off for greater fruitfulness.
This year, for me personally, flourishing has meant revisiting some stuff from my childhood. It has required a deeper level of honesty, seeing a councillor and vulnerability and deliberately processing my thoughts and feelings when i have felt like shutting down and allowing the Garender to come close. It has required me to confront facts with truth and that is never easy. None of us resist flourishing but we do resist the things that will help us do so. I have never resisted flourishing but I have resisted the weeding and pruning process that has been required to help me flourish in my marriage, in my parenting, in relationships and even in my health. And I have justified it!
Is flourish a word that you would use to describe your life right now? Emotionally??? Physically??? Are you flourishing in your soul? Your thought life? Your attitudes? Scientists describes your thoughts as trees! are those thought tree toxic or flourishing?
Are you flourishing in relationships? A you flourishing in how you relate? Not just with one who like you…. A you flourishing in forgiveness? Does flourish decribe your respinse to offence or not feeling heard. AAre the words that come out of your mouth in e heat of the moment descriptive a branch connected and abiding in the vine?Are you flourishing in good works? What are you saying no to so you can say yes
Are you flourishing in your marriage? What about purity?
Are you flourishing in you your resources?
This word FLOURISH may sound a little vintage but thank goodness it is as relevant as when the words of the Psalm were scribed.
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love.
In his days may the righteous flourish and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.