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.