“You were meant to do more than just survive. You were meant to thrive. You were not meant to struggle to make it through the week, the day, the next hour. You were not meant for your world to feel like a weight, for the break of dawn to be the starter pistol for another meaningless rat race. You were not meant to be shackled by anxiety, worry, and fear.” -Mark Hall from his new book, THRIVE Digging Deep, Reaching Out. As I sit here today rereading Mark Hall’s beginning paragraphs to his book THRIVE, the following words in this quote leap off the page: struggle, weight, rat race, anxiety, worry and fear. If I didn’t know better, I would say that Mr. Hall has had access to my Facebook, Twitter and News Apps of the past month. We are all living in a time where we can’t help but wonder if we or even this world are going to survive another day.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word Thrive in this way, 1.) to prosper, be fortunate or successful. 2.) to grow or develop vigorously; flourish. Really? Prosper, successful, flourish????? How do these words fit into life when there is so much bad and sad news. Life is hard…some days it takes every ounce of energy to just get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. I certainly do not have all of the answers, but this I do know, Jesus Loves Me! Because He loves me I can trust Him that no matter what is happening worldwide or in my own little world, I can Thrive…even when I don’t feel like it. Jesus tells me He came to give me a Thriving Life - “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” John 10:10. I can Thrive because God’s promises to help me - “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear: I will help you,” Isaiah 41:13. I can Thrive because God has a plan that is good for me - “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28. And I can Thrive because of the great truth sung about in a little song - “Jesus Loves Me, this I know for the Bible tells me so.
Little did I know how very much we would all need to hear these simple, childlike words of Jesus Loves Me in August of 2014. It was a month of tragic losses in our world. In my world, I had a tremendous loss on August 3. My 96 year old mother and friend went home to her Lord and Savior. She was probably the first person to sing this song to me. While I am eternally grateful to God for giving me a wonderful mother, I am even more grateful for teaching me that I can Thrive in this life by following Jesus Christ. Not only did my mother teach me the truths found in scripture, but she also taught me by her example. She more than survived many losses in her life. As a child she lost her family home and farm during The Great Depression. During World War II, she lost her closest brother as he served in the war. She lost babies in miscarriage. She lost the opportunity to live near her family most of her adult life. She lost her husband of 50 years. She lost friends when she moved from Florida to Colorado to move in with my husband and I. And, she lost her independence and her home with us when she was moved to a nursing home. I can hear her now, in talking about her losses,“…but as a follower of Christ, I have gained so much more!”
Indeed she did gain so much more. She gained a heart of great compassion that allowed her to serve well as a mother, pastor’s wife and a professional nurse. She gained a giving heart as she learned early in life that all the material blessings she had in life belonged God first, which enabled her to give freely to others. And, she gained a thankful heart, knowing that God always would take care of her, meeting her every need.
In this tender time of grief, I am thriving because I know that our separation is only temporary. I whispered in mom’s ear just hours before she stepped into her new heavenly home with Jesus that it would only be a short time before we would be reunited again. I am thriving because I know that Jesus loves her and Jesus loves me and that someday I will join her. I recently found a little known verse to Jesus Loves Me…
When my work on earth is done,
And life's victories have been won.
He will take me home above,
Then I'll understand his love.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.
Thank you Jesus and thank you Mom!
Note from Debi…
For the past eight years the women of Valley have walked the path of Her S.T.E.P.S. as a statement of direction for Valley Women's Ministries. We have pursued Spiritual Transformation Encouraging Purposeful Servanthood through Her Steps Bible Studies, Events, Retreats, Conferences, Service Opportunities, Footnotes and Footnotes Flash. We celebrate the amazing journey we have taken as women stepping together to Change our Lives and Change our World All through Jesus Christ. The Vision and Mission at Valley Church remains constant and provides a foundation for all other ministries within the church. The direction of women's ministries reflects this constant to encourage women to grow up in their relationship with Jesus Christ; grow in community with other women at Valley Church and grow out in love and service to our city and world. This direction remains the same and serves as a solid foundation for Women's Ministries. This Fall we are changing our look and theme. The new theme for Valley Women's Ministries will take us from Her S.T.E.P.S. to another level of growth in our Christian lives, one that will encourage and challenge us to Thrive: In Every Season of Life. The Valley Women's Ministries Leadership Team believes that God has a very special message for the women of Valley using this new theme. With Psalm 1:1-3 as our Scripture of Encouragement, our prayer for the women of Valley Church is for each of us to grow deep roots in God's Word, produce much fruit in our relationship with Him and to reach out to each other and our world - like the branches of a tree and THRIVE in the abundant life that Jesus has for us.
While this change of theme will not affect the solid commitment to Bible study, activities and events, there will be changes in our look and delivery of these areas that we are committed to in order to better reflect our new theme. Two changes that you will notice immediately are: Her Steps Bible Studies will now be referred to as Thrive Women's Bible Studies and the monthly publication of Footnotes will be replaced with a weekly blog called THRIVE . THRIVE will come to you in the form of a weekly blog. You will have the opportunity to subscribe to the blog or you may choose to just receive it through your email inbox just as you have been receiving Footnotes. A bonus to subscribing to the weekly blog, is that you will have the opportunity to comment and respond to the weekly article.
Our other publication, Footnotes Flash, will continue to come to you in your email inbox under the name of THRIVE in a Minute. It will be filled with Valley Women's Ministries happenings as well as other Valley Church information. This publication will be published on a monthly basis. As always, if you have a specific question about Valley Church and/or Women's Ministries you can always check our webpage at http://www.valley-church.com/women or call the Valley Church Office at 515-226-9973. You may also email Debi Lydic, Director of Women's Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org or Diana White, Women's Ministries Administrative Assistant at email@example.com
We looking forward to serving you, praying for you and Thriving together with you in Every Season of Life!