January 2023 Flourish Newsletter

Happy New Year! 365 days to fill with lots to do. This month’s newsletter reminds us that in all the busyness to be still. May 2023 be the year where we make stillness a regular part of our routine with God.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

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Need previous issues of the FLOURISH Newsletter? https://usw-womensministries.org/december-2022-flourish-newsletter

Previous issues of the Inspire Newsletter are still available on our website: https://usw-womensministries.org/september-2022-inspire-newsletter/

Flourishing Story: Flourishing in the Pause

By Captain Sandra Solis
Location – Cascade Division

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word “flourish” as, “to grow luxuriantly: Thrive.” Although the word is defined as a verb, an action is to be taken, I have to admit that for some time I did not feel like I was flourishing in my life. 2021 was a particularly difficult year for me. This year was a year of heartbreak, loss and discouragement. In some moments, things just felt stagnant and out of sync and staying still for even a moment felt like a very difficult thing to do. I found myself in a place where I was not certain I would be able to get out of, and I questioned where God was in my life. In a time where staying still was difficult, flourishing just did not feel like it was happening.

How did I find time to grow and flourish and remember who God is? It began by doing the exact thing I always have trouble with. It began by pausing. Pausing whatever I was doing and taking a deep breath -yes, just taking a deep breath and stopping whatever I was doing at that moment, even if it was hard for me to do. By concentrating on my breathing I was able to ground myself and focus on what my next steps were, and what I needed at that specific moment. Sometimes it was just a time of stopping and getting a cup of coffee at my favorite coffee place. These moments became part of my routine to try and figure out or make sense of all that was happening.

The beautiful thing about these pauses was that I did not have to do this on my own, and even more beautiful was the fact that God provided what I needed at that moment. These pauses came in the forms of praying, reaching out to family and friends, encouraging words, prayers that sustained me, a dessert here and there, and taking my dog Oliver out for afternoon walks. So why the deep breaths and taking the time to pause? Because it helped me to calm down, it helps me to refocus on things, and it also helped me gain clarity on the situations.

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) reads, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” The Lord is with us -this verse is a command and a promise! Although fear can be paralyzing at times, we have the God who loves us and has chosen each one of us and tells us to do not be afraid for He is with us. Fear, worry and doubt are somethings that have come across my mind a lot during this season of my life, and perhaps these are feelings that have crossed your mind too.

In the words of Isaiah, we are reminded that the Lord is with us -strengthening and upholding us. Friends, the Lord that loves us and has chosen us is with us every day and every moment. “Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” He is our God, He is with us, and we are not alone. “Strengthen, help, uphold,” these are verbs that mean the Lord is active in our lives. He is for us, He helps us and gives us the strength to overcome the valleys in our lives -He is our God, and we are His children.

Flourishing in a season where things did not always feel synchronous was difficult for me. I love when things are in order and things make sense, but this was also a life changing, life transforming time. In the stillness, in the quiet moments, in the moments where deep breaths took more effort than they should, encountering God made those moments more and more peaceful and it became more and more evident that He was with me every step of the way.

Friends, He is with us in every moment of our lives, through the “asynchronous” moments, down in the valleys and atop the mountains. Psalm 46:10 reads, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” I find it difficult to be still for long periods of time. My inability to be still causes me to miss the growth in my life, my ministry and my friendships. There have been moments in my life when I could not see evidence of growth, but God did a work in me, and He showed me luxurious growth done by His righteous right hand and like a flower I flourished.

Flourishing, may not always look like what we had hoped for, planned for, or envisioned at this time in our lives. In some seasons we flourish and in some seasons we feel like we are not. This is when we pray, we grow, we adapt, and we overcome -and sometimes we eat a slice of cake! (or your favorite dessert). Then we continue to walk and trust in the Lord who is with us every step of the way.

I pray, whatever season you may be in now, you find moments to take a deep breath, take a pause, and know that He is God and be reminded in the stillness of life you are flourishing, and the Lord is with you -strengthening you and upholding you with His righteous right hand.

January 2023 Bible Study: Flourishing in the Stillness

By Captain Jan Pemberton
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary – Cascade Division

When we have periods of stillness in our lives, we can get complacent. This is when we need the Lord the most. This Bible Study will discuss how to remain connected to our Savior in times of stillness and peacefulness. We all know it is easier to stay connected with the Lord when times are tough, but in peaceful times, we can sometimes become lazy and disconnected.

This is a four-week Bible Study on Being Still. It is designed to be done in a small group. Group studies are essential to our church mission, to grow saints, and have a better understanding of the Bible.

Why Small group Bible Studies? Why is it important to be in a group setting?

How to Have Discussions on Flourishing During the Stillness of Life

Discussion Guidelines:

Have easy questions that everyone in the group can answer. We will dig deeper throughout the study, but this is a good starting point. Have fun with it, and laughter is encouraged.

Read the passages of scripture together. Have the group discuss the passage read and give feedback. Encourage several members of the group to share.

Relate the passage of scripture to what is happening in the world today. Unpack it to see how it affects those worldwide and our communities. What do others, both believers and non-believers, think or believe?

What is going on in your world and the world around you? How can the group apply the scripture to their current lives? Be honest and be real. Give examples if our group feels comfortable enough.

Prayer is the best way to end a conversation during our study together. Also, give praise reports as well.

Small-Group Guidelines:

How to stay connected to God during the still periods of our lives. Connect, grow closer to the Lord, and learn more about the Bible. These are essential to grow spiritually and transform lives.

Regularly attend meetings to increase trust within the group.

Safe Environment to share:
It provides a safe place to share deep feelings and ask questions a person may not feel they can invite others. It provides a safe space to avoid judgment.

Like providing a safe space, no judgments, do not share the struggles or worries with others outside the group.

Spiritual Health:
We are encouraging one another to live a God-honoring life.

Participation and Encouragement:
Find the value for everyone’s unique contribution. Help one another by encouraging everyone to find a way to participate.

Build Relationships:
Find ways to pray, serve the Lord, and enjoy each other’s company.

Week 1: Keeping our Souls Recharged

We do not do well when we run on empty. This week is about keeping the flame of our faith going in the quiet periods of our life.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation; I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 NLT

  1. Take a turn to answer: What are the top 3 things we need to keep our momentum going?
  2. Read aloud Exodus 14:14, Psalm 37:7, and Isaiah 32:17. What theme is present in all of these verses?
  3. What do people in the world do in their peaceful times or stillness? Is this any different than what we as Christians do? If so, why?
  4. What one thing could we change in our life this week to help us keep our souls at peace? Please explain.
  5. How do you flourish in the still times of your life?
  6. How do we pray for each person this week?

Week 2: Relying on Others to Help Sustain our Flourishing Life in this Still Period.

How can we help others in our Corps stay grounded and dedicated to relying on God?

Let all I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. Psalm 62:5

  1. Share about a time when you were going through a peaceful period of your life, and someone came alongside you to offer guidance?
  2. Read aloud 1 Thessalonians 4:1; Psalm 5:3; Psalm 62:1; Psalm 62:5; Zephaniah 3:17. Why is being still and hearing the Lord’s voice so important?
  3. 1 Samuel 12:7 Now, stand still that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous deeds of the LORD that he performed for you and your fathers. How can we help others flourish in their lives? How can we flourish while being still?
  4. How do friendships help our Corps flourish?
  5. Is there anyone you would like to reach out to and thank for their support and encouragement?
  6. Does anyone have any answered prayers since our last meeting? How do we pray for each person this week?

Week 3: Retaining Balance When Faced With Adversity. How to Remain Still.

We need to help the people in our Corps focus on the things that matter most. Those who are stressed and overwhelmed may feel that all is lost, and their peacefulness could be jeopardized.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

  1. If we had extra time this week, what would we do with it?
  2. Read aloud Isaiah 26:3; John 14:27; and John 16:33. What is the way you kept your peacefulness this past week?
  3. Why is it important for Christians to obey the 3rd Commandment?
  4. Out of all the things we have on our plates daily—work, family, health, friends, and spirit— which one is the most likely to intrude on our peace? Why?
  5. Which one is most likely to be dropped by us if we are in turmoil and not at peace?
  6. Have you ever reached your limit of any of the following: physical, emotional, mental, space, or time? Why is it essential to examine the priorities in your life?
  7. How can practice one of the tools of your faith– prayer, journaling, worship, reading and studying the Bible, participating in a Bible study discussion group—help us with the limits and juggling?
  8. What are 1 or 2 things you can do this week to maintain the stillness or peacefulness in your life?
  9. How do we pray for each person this week?

Week 4: Holding on to our Peacefulness

When discouragement enters, we may feel our peace is lost. This session is designed to help everyone in your Corps let go of the things causing the loss of peace.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and his mighty power. Put on God’s full armor so you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11

  1. What things, when they enter our lives, cause us to lose focus on peaceful living?
  2. Read Psalm 37:7; Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 11:28; and 1 Peter 5:7. How do these verses tie together? Which one speaks the most to you?
  3. Reviewing this four-week study. What was each individual’s favorite week, and why? Can it be put into practice?
  4. What prayer does each of us want to be lifted by the group for our future?

Download a printable version of this Bible Study:

January 2023 Devotional: Flourishing During the Peaceful Seasons of Life

By Captain Sandra Solis
Salem, OR KROC Hispanic Ministries – Cascade Division

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. Psalm 1:1-2 NLT

Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation; I will be honored throughout the world. Psalm 46:10 NLT

Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7 NLT

Peace be with you; Shalom in Hebrew was a typical goodbye in the times of Christ. This simple phrase was not only a way to say goodbye but to wish their fellow man a peaceful rest of their day or journey, almost like a prayer or blessing upon the traveler, no matter if they were a loved one, friend, or stranger. Peace be with you, four simple words that some may not have thought about most of the time, but if we, as Christians, were to take up this practice of saying, peace be with you, as our fellow man leaves. To be able to wish someone Shalom, we must have peace in our souls as well.

We can look at our flourishing life as like a garden. If our garden is not tended to regularly, we can lose the peace and rest that the Lord gives us. We learn throughout the bible that we need to tend to the garden of our soul. This takes work, and it takes support. You cannot grow to an actual garden, but just planting the seed and walking away, you need to water it, supply nourishment, and pull the weeds. We need to do this; sometimes, we must remove the weeds that affect our peacefulness and joy. Remember, friends, when pulling out the weeds of life, we might run into painful moments, but they are necessary. These moments make us stronger and healthier and allow us to grow into the person God has intended us to be.

We must remember that we need the Lord with us, maybe even more during our times of tending the garden of our soul, because when we let the weeds come in, our peace and stillness are affected. These are the times when we honestly need Him the most. This is because we don’t reach out to our master gardener when we feel like everything is going well. We feel like we can handle things ourselves. However, we need to stay connected to God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit at all times by reading the word, staying in intentional prayer, attending Bible studies, and fellowshipping with our church family. We must remember that when we flourish, we do so by studying God’s Word.

Lord God, we pray that your Holy Spirit brings those into the lives that can help us tend the garden of our soul. Please give us the right mindset to hear what you have for us. Let our hearts discern the counsel that your Holy Spirit is giving us. When we seek your will in our lives, let us follow you and not get complaisant or get in your way by saying, not now, Lord. Let us be willing to accept the path you have walked before us with a generous spirit. In Christ’s name, Amen!

January 2023 Craft: Finding Your Peace Painting

By Captain Jan Pemberton
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary – Cascade Division

When we are looking for peace or a break from the ordinary in our lives, we often gravitate to a hobby that gives us peace and lets us disconnect from the stresses of the world in which we live in. Some of us love the great outdoors, enjoying activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing, and some of us enjoy the outdoors in other ways, such as watching nature from the comfort of our homes or campsites. However, not everyone is cut out for the great outdoors, some due to mobility, health, and such. When those of us who are not outdoorsy look for something to give us peace, we turn to other activities such as playing an instrument, coin and stamp collecting, sewing, embordering, and painting.

Today we are going to explore the world of painting. Remember, we don’t have to be Rembrandt, Van Gogh, or any other famous painter to enjoy our hobby. All we need are some simple tools, inspiration, and time.

Below are instructions to paint a simple background with your favorite memory verse or inspirational quote.

Supplies needed:

  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Primed Canvas
  • Pencils
  • Paint Markers, if desired
  • Ruler or stencil
  • Paint remover for brushes
  • Table covering


  1. Paint the entire canvas with desired background color

2. Draw the intended image for the background and paint the image with desired colors.

3. Add your favorite scripture verse or inspirational quote.

4. Have fun with this craft. Make it your own and put your personal spin on this project. Remember, no matter your interests, allow God to use them for His glory and use the talents He has given you.

Download printable craft directions