Featured image

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

We often treat this verse like a security blanket or a genie-in-a-bottle wish. We take it to mean our suffering will soon end and the flourishing is just around the corner.

That's taking it terribly out of context! I'm about to destroy this verse for you, but then we'll reframe it to discover something really powerful.

Here's what Jeremiah was writing about: the Israelites were in exile. This wasn't just because there were bad people in the world, but due to the fact that God had removed his protection from them as a punishment due to their disobedience.

Enter false prophet Hananiah, who  boldly proclaimed that God was going to free Israel from Babylon in two years. (Not so much!)

Jeremiah calls out Hananiah’s lie, and then writes the promise we read in 29:11. God does have a good plan for the Israelites, and it is a plan that will give them hope and a prospering future. But, there's a kind of catch.  It's going to happen right where they are. God's not going to change their bad circumstances, but He's going to give them the grace to flourish within this place they wish they were not living in.

Here were God's instructions for the Israelites right there in Babylon:

"Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:5-7)

This is not at all what the Israelites wanted to hear! They wanted to go home. They wanted to be told that their suffering was going to end. Instead, God’s plan was for them to stay right where they were, and . . . to help prosper the nation that enslaved them!

(Oh, then Jeremiah tells them just how wrong Hananiah was. It was, in fact, going to be a long time 'til they were free from exile. How long? “After seventy years are completed in Babylon.”)

So, I guess you could say, "There's good news! There's bad news!"

The Israelites had to decide if they were going to flourish in a nation that did not love and serve God.

I think we're kind of in a similar place, though under somewhat different circumstances.

Our nation is a post-Christian, anti-God climate. Sexual promiscuity abounds. And as U.S. depression rates reach new heights in our post-Christian nation, the number of Christians who are actively involved in discipleship communities is dwindling. 

I want to sound an alarm about this. But I need your help?

God did not mean for us to merely survive during times when the headlines are bleak. He wants us to flourish. Right here where He's planted us. In this time and space, God wants you and I to be Christian women who flourish.

Not to merely exist, waiting for our circumstances to change. But to FLOURISH!

A common definition of flourish is to grow and develop in a favorable environment. But God's plan is more magnificent. A biblical understanding of flourish invites us to live on mission and sustain and outward focus of others even in the harshest of circumstances so that we can spread God's glory throughout the earth.

This spring I'm launching Flourish, a life-giving experience for women aged 13 to 99. This one-of-a-kind gathering will feature the teaching of me and my long-time friends Erin Davis and worship leader Stephanie Martinez. I want to invite you to join us!

Over a decade ago, the three of us toured hosting the Pure Freedom event for teen girls and their moms. Something truly special happened at those events. And I want to invite you to be a part of what I think will be something even more special. After all, we've got another decade of experience and wisdom and life to share with you!

Flourish promises women of all ages an unforgettable experience. Teens can enjoy a special pre-event crafted just for them and their moms. (We still have such a special heart for the 13-19 year olds!) During the main event, you will study an entire chapter of the Bible during a prayerfully structured night of worship. You'll be able to experience the fullness of a multi-day women’s conference, but in an affordable, three-hour, one-night event. It’s designed to encounter Christ and discover the power through HIM to flourish in every circumstance!

Flourish with us in 2024!