November 2022 Bible Study: Flourishing with Contentment Right Now

By Lt. Jen Liggett
Administrator of San Francisco & Oakland, CA Adult Rehabilitation Centers

Every single one of us goes through seasons…seasons where everything seems to flow and radiate goodness, and seasons where we feel like we can’t catch a break. Seasons that feel like sweater weather and seasons where we can feel the warmth of God’s love on our face like the summer sun. As God’s beloved daughters, we will experience them all. In order to develop the strength of character that God desires to produce in us, we must learn to be content and flourish through them all. Paul gives us an example of contentment in all circumstances in Philippians 4:11-13 when he proclaims:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

Paul is actually penning these words to the Philippians while he is in prison. He is in the middle of a season that has left him broken, beaten and weary, wondering if each day is going to be his last. So, what is Paul’s secret? It’s actually no secret at all. He reveals his source of contentment, when he writes, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). Paul flourishes in this dark, damp season because of his faith and hope in Christ.

  1. Have you been a season, or are you in one now, that has you feeling broken and weary? Are you able to find contentment and flourish in this season? How has your faith in Christ carried you through?

There are times in our lives when we are in the middle of the fire and the only thing to do is remember that everything has to pass through the hand of God. In other words, we can flourish and find contentment in all circumstances, because we know that God only allows things to happen to us that He can use for His glory and our good. In James 1:12 we are assured that:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (NIV)

When we press in and press on through our most difficult seasons, our heart and spirit are being refined and prepared for our eternal destination. The knowledge that we are citizens of Heaven enables us to flourish during seasons of trial.

  1. Are you in a season of trial and testing of your faith? Do you find strength in the promises of God? How does the knowledge that God wants to refine you help you to find contentment during these times? Are you able to flourish under fire?

There will also be seasons when we feel like we are walking on sunshine. Almost as if we can hear the roar of the ocean waves and feel the warm sand slipping through our toes. These are the times when we might have less difficulty flourishing and finding contentment. The psalmist expresses the beauty of flourishing when he proclaims in Psalm 1:1-3:

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” (NLT)

These are the times when all of God’s promises seem to be materializing and coming to fruition right before our eyes. It is imperative to remember that all good things come directly from God, and we are flourishing as a result of His good pleasure. Our contentment should begin and end with deepening our relationship and creating a space of intimacy with our God and King.

  1. Are you in a season of beauty and harvest right now? What kind of fruit is being produced in your life? How are you cultivating that intimacy with God?

In all seasons we can flourish and find contentment when we put our hope in the One who created us. He has seen fit to call us His daughters. He stands at the beginning and the end of the road. There is nothing that we will experience that is a surprise to Him. When we put all of our faith and trust in Him, we can flourish in any kind of weather. Psalm 92:12-15 reminds and reassures us that:

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.” (NIV)

We can flourish in the season we are in when we trust in “the Rock”. As we close this Bible Study time together, let’s say a prayer to remind ourselves to focus on God’s goodness during every season.

Father, help us to remember that your love is unconditional during every season of our lives. That no matter what our circumstances are You are with us, You are for us, and You will never leave us or forsake us. Please help us to flourish and find contentment in every season, as we trust in You and Your plan and purpose for our lives. May we remember that rough times produce strength of character and smooth times remind us of Your goodness. Father, may we always remember that there is nothing that can separate us from Your love and that You only allow us to experience things that You can use for our good and Your glory. We claim contentment and victory through every season in our lives in the might matchless name, the name above all names, the name of Jesus. Amen.

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November 2022 Craft: Handmade FLOURISHING Paper

By Captain Jennifer Swain
Administrator for Program for the San Diego, CA Adult Rehabilitation Center


  • recycled paper
  • large bowl
  • towels
  • sponge
  • seed packets
  • 2 small wooden frames
  • grease splatter screen
  • blender (should be exclusively used for this project)

*Most supplies can be purchased inexpensively at the Dollar Tree, but the blender is a great
opportunity to shop at your local Salvation Army thrift store!

How to…

  • Create your paper mold by cutting the wire mesh out of the splatter screen and stapling it to one of the frames. The other frame should remain loose to work as your mold. You’ll hold them together to use them in the mixture.
  • Tear your recycled paper into 1inx1in pieces. Fill your blender threequarters full with water and then add a few handfuls of paper.
  • Blend until the paper is pulpy and wet.
  • Pour your mixture into your large bowl and repeat the process.
  • Add as many seed packets as desired to create texture.
  • Once your large bowl is full of mixture, which should be mostly water, dip your frame into the bowl and move it around. Lift it from the bowl, ensuring all of the mesh is covered with the pulp mixture, and allow some water to strain before moving it to your towel.
  • Once placed on the towel, press on the mesh with the sponge to remove excess water (squeeze water from the sponge back into the bowl).
  • Remove loose frame and turn frame with mesh over onto the towel and gently pull paper off onto the towel.
  • Leave paper to dry for 24-48 hours before cutting into fun shapes to give away!

You can encourage yourself, and others, to FLOURISH by planting these, or framing them, as a reminder that God can use all there is of us to create something BEAUTIFUL!

“I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation…” Philippians 4:12 TLB

Download printable instructions of this craft:

Flourishing Story: Flourishing in the Ordinary Seasons

By Captain Jessica Stevens
Family Care Director – College For Officer Training

I am a creature of habit. I take the same route to work and to church every time I drive. My daily walk traverses the same route, I buy multiple pairs of the same jeans or Target t-shirts, and reread the same books over and over again (I see you on the shelf, Where the Crawdads Sing!). An introvert and homebody, when I fold my laundry, sip my mug of French Roast, or read to my son before bed I feel most at peace.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that after five years of nearly daily use my Birkenstocks needed replacing. I hunted through multiple department stores to find the same pair, to no avail. I finally caved in and bought a NEW style. I’m still getting used to them, and frankly, wish I could have found that same trusty pair of black Birks.

As a pragmatic box checker, a calendar keeping gal who also struggles with anxiety, my head does not get stuck in the clouds. My brain and my heart get stuck in the details and the plans and the to do’s. A few years ago, during a season of stress and significant personal and professional upheaval I became fixated on checking enough of the boxes, nailing down the plans, or finishing the to do list.

I was so focused on WHAT MUST GET DONE that my perspective became warped. Slowly but surely, my lens was limited, and spirit became closed off from connection. I was so wrapped up in what was on my plate, or my calendar that I began to miss moments where I was needed.

I began to resent the things that used to bring me joy. Because was my heart was focused only on temporal tasks, I found them feeling like drudgery. As I bogged myself down with duty, my joy swiftly exited stage right. Resentment brewed stronger than my morning cup of joe.

As He has so many times throughout my life, the Spirit lifted my eyes and gave me a new perspective through the very ordinary routine I went through each morning. Coffee? Check. Chair? Check. Scripture? Check.

But this morning in particular, my heart was tender. My head ached from too little sleep, and my thumb was cramped from too much social media scrolling. (Ok, not really or actually. 12) I felt hollowed out, because I’d been distracted by the shiny promise of approval from others.

My Bible fell open to the words of Jesus in Luke 12: “Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.” (Luke 12:24, The Message)

Free. Unfettered. Carefree. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt any of those feelings.
I’d been dragging duty around, depending on myself rather than on my Savior. So, on a weekday morning before work, I paused the productivity train. I felt the presence and peace of the Spirit reminding me “You count far more.” Not because of my achievements or calendar commitments, but because of Jesus. Because of his love, his grace, his peace, his forgiveness: I can be “carefree in the care of God.”
I’m still a box checker, and a sucker for a good planner or calendar. But I’ve been able to refocus. What matters most for me, is the people behind the productivity. When I remember who is behind my tasks, what relationships and people are behind my ordinary obligations they become sacred. Paul reminds me in Romans that all of my life is to be an offering before the Lord, and that when all of it is surrendered to Christ, each boring bit, maturity will result. “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1, The Message) I have so far to grow, but I remain thankful that the peace and presence of Christ go with me on each ordinarily beautiful day.

Captain Jessica Stevens

October 2022 Flourish Newsletter

Check out the premiere issue of the Flourish Newsletter. New name, new format, more pages, but still it is a great resource to use in Women’s Ministries or personally.

This month we are focusing on how to flourish in the ordinary seasons of life, with the reminder to seek out God in the ordinary, routine and even mundane days, with a devotional as well as a focus on practicing the presence of God.

Inside you will find conversation starters to help you to connect with others, a prayer idea as well as a Bible reading plan to help you to flourish in your connection with God. This month’s reading plan is a guide through the book of Proverbs. Also included are some fun activities to help you flourish in the month of October.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Just like in the Inspire Newsletter, every month will feature highlights of various activities of Women’s Ministries around the USA Western Territory.

Download this month’s issue:

Previous issues of the Inspire Newsletter are still available on our website:

Welcome to the West

By Major Beth Desplancke

On September 1, 2022, Colonel Genevera Vincent joined the Western Territory’s family as the Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries.  Her and her husband, Colonel Eddie (serving as the West’s Chief Secretary) hail from the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Commissioned in 1986, Colonels Eddie & Genevera had the wonderful privilege to serve as Corps Officers for 19 years. After being Corps Officers, they served 7 years as Divisional Youth Secretaries, then 4 years at THQ in Personnel. Before arriving to the West, they served as the Divisional Commanders of their home division, Newfoundland and Labrador Division, for 6 years.

Installation of Colonels Eddie & Genevera Vincent; Photo by John Docter

When asked if she had a favorite appointment, she couldn’t name one. She mentioned that every appointment had high and low moments. She has enjoyed her different roles in each appointment and has loved the opportunity to journey with people. Their 19 years as corps officers were very special to them. Through the years she can trace God’s hand of blessing and faithfulness through her life.

In her words, they were “gobsmacked” when they got their appointment to the USA Western Territory. Having visited California before, they had said “we could live here,” but never imagined in a million years that they would get to. When I interviewed Colonel Genevera, (only being here two weeks) she commented that “It doesn’t look like home,” as she stares at a palm tree right out her window, “but it feels like home.”

They leave their son Stephen, a firefighter, and his wife Melanie, a preschool teacher, and their son Ryan, a software developer, back home in Calgary. However, they are now closer to them here in California than when they were in Newfoundland. Genevera is excitedly anticipating Christmas, her favorite holiday, when all the family will not be a celebrating a white Christmas in sunny Southern California, but will be together, for the first Christmas in 3 years. She loves to entertain and especially loves to cook.

Ryan, Genevera, Stephen, Melanie, and Eddie Vincent

When I asked Genevera to describe herself she said she was a sensible morning person, who wakes up immediately, rather than hitting the snooze button. For her, her glass is always half-full. When I asked her to describe herself with only three adjectives, she immediately said friendly. When she couldn’t think of any others, her husband was able to include a few more, “She is beautiful, humorous and compassionate.” After just a few minutes of talking with her she felt like a long-time friend.

When asked about a skill she would like to master, her response was sewing. One Christmas she said she would love to learn to sew, so her husband got her a sewing machine for Christmas. Her friend, Sylvia, casually asked her about what she had gotten for Christmas one evening at songsters. When Genevera mentioned she got a sewing machine, Sylvia was quick to encourage her to start quilting. Genevera panicked at first but signed up for a “Block-of-the-Month Club.” Each month she received the materials and directions to make a 12” block. The following Christmas, Eddie bought her the finishing kit for the quilt, and she made her first quilt, “Garden Trails.” Since then, she has made 2 more quilts. She says she still needs a lot of direction.

Genevera is a woman who is flourishing in her walk with the Lord. At the welcome chapel held at Territorial Headquarters she said, “We bring who we are. We consider ourselves servants of the Most High God. We have a deep love for God, love and appreciation for people, and long to see lives transformed.” She has walked with Jesus most of her life, having received Christ as her personal Savior at the age of 7. Whenever she was asked what she was going to be when she grew up, she always said a Salvation Army Officer.

Colonel Genevera sharing your testimony; Photo by John Docter

I asked Genevera when she hears the word “flourish” what comes to mind? Her response, “growth and beauty and life.” What tips does she have for women in order for them to flourish in their daily lives? “Quality time with God is the key, if we want to make a difference and be a transforming influence.” As a woman of the Word, when asked what her favorite Bible verse was, she shared she has lots. The verse that came to her mind as one of her go-to-often verse is Psalm 18:1-2 which says, I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Genevera participated in Arrow Leadership program in 2020. During that time, she learned this quote that has become her motto for life and for flourishing: Live passionately, Listen More, Laugh often, and Love always. Genevera is excited to represent the USA West and is ready to make connections with the women throughout the territory. She said that if she had a warning label it would say, “Don’t get me started on story telling or laughing.” As she visits around the territory, she is ready to talk, share stories, laugh, and probably over a cup of tea, to flourish together.

October 2022 Bible Study: What Are You Wearing?

By Captain Jessica Stevens
Family Care Director – College For Officer Training

Small talk about wardrobe, what to wear, etc.

  • How many of us have been going out with a group of friends, and called or texted first to see what everyone was wearing? What’s the wardrobe going to be for the evening?
  • Casual? Business casual or California casual?
  • If I’m going to a conference, I want to know about the dress code: Fatigue uniform? Civvies? Full tunic required?
  • Salvation Army corps retreat: Are we making corps T-shirts? Do we need hiking boots?
  • Fancy date with your spouse? Are they wearing a dress jacket? Is it a maxi dress and sandals kind of thing, or a heels and little black dress kind of thing?
  • What’s your favorite type of clothes to wear? What makes you feel most comfortable and most at home? Are you a jeans and screen printed t-shirt kind of girl, or a bit more formal?
  • What kind of clothing makes you most uncomfortable? Where do you feel ill at ease?

In our Scripture today, Paul talks to the Colossians about qualities that need to be “taken off,” and then gives them a new wardrobe, one that needs to consciously be “put on.”

Read Colossians 3:12-17 out loud together.

Questions for reflection and discussion:

  • What is one quality of your personality you wish you could change? Why?
  • Which of these qualities listed in verses 12 and 13 are areas of growth for you?
  • Which feel more natural?
  • Has there been a time in your life when you needed to be treated with “tenderhearted mercy” and instead you were met with rigidity or judgment? If you feel comfortable, describe the situation to the group. How could the outcome have changed if mercy reigned?
  • Think through the last week, when could you have worn different clothing? (When could you have been kinder, gentler, or more patient).
  • What personality types are hardest for you to deal with? What can you learn about these personalities? How can you ask the Spirit to reign in the interactions you have with these people?

Wrap Up:
One thing we hear in The Salvation Army, as officers, is the phrase “tunic is always appropriate;” meaning that, if you don’t know what form of uniform to wear, or even what to wear, you can’t go wrong wearing a tunic. In Southern California or Seattle, some might say Birkenstocks are always appropriate. 12 We might go back and forth when choosing an outfit for a date or a afternoon out with friends; but we have no need to do so when it comes to putting on the qualities of Christ. Our lives in Jesus must include the qualities we read about today. These verses tell us that love binds all the others together, in essence, love is the perfect accessory. As 1 Corinthians reminds us: our accomplishments or actions are without depth or significance if we are unloving. Love is always appropriate, regardless of the weather, or what others are wearing. We can wear the love of Jesus in every situation.

Closing Options:

  • Have each woman choose an attribute from verses 12-14, and pray specifically for more of it in their lives. “Jesus, I need your tenderhearted mercy in my life. Help me see others the way you see them.”
  • Anagrams: Provide notecards and make anagrams out of the attributes. Use sticky notes to stick on the attributes onto one another. For instance, if you see gentleness in someone, you put a sticky note on them that says “Gentle” or with a note of affirmation included.

Scriptures for Further Study:

  • Galatians 5:22-26
  • Ephesians 4:17-24

Download a printable version of the Bible Study: