Thursday, May 29, 2014

Flourishing..."Bring Back Our Girls"

   With the gardening season upon us, my eyes are wide open with the many ways in which God speaks to us through nature and through the reading of His word. Quite often, He compares us to plants, trees and flowers ... Each requires a set of conditions in which they will bloom, grow and flourish.

   Proverbs 11:28 is this years theme verse: "A God shaped life is flourishing tree." Makes me ponder once again if my life is a "God shaped life" and if I am truly flourishing or wilting. I challenge you too to ask yourself: 

Am I growing in faith or dying of spiritual starvation?

   As a tree or plant flourishes under the right conditions to be the healthy vibrant one that grows vigorous, we too are being compared to a plant in this verse to do just that. Our vision here at WJOF is "the restoration of women". We must realize that we will only flourish if we  are transplanted in the soil of God's truth and grace while being "conditioned for the environment"of His Kingdom principles. 
   With all the challenges that distract us from finding centre, restoration seems daunting. Especially when bombarded with media stories like "Bring Back Our Girls" from Nigeria. The phrase has been retweeted more than 2.1 million times since since it started trending a few weeks back. The heightened awareness of this travesty can awaken a vigilante spirit to seek justice or shrink back with great despair as yet another reminder of sin's effect on us all.

     Yet, amidst the pain, confusion and political unrest with situations like these, I hear the voice of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ say in a bold yet gentle voice "Bring Back our Girls". Not just the 300 missing in Nigeria, but all the woman across the nations who too are lost, oppressed and have had their identities stolen and potential snuffed out early without a chance of reaching their God given destiny. John 10:10 is a favourite verse of mine that identifies who our enemy is and who our victor is: "Satan's job is to rob, kill, steal and destroy and the purpose of Christ Jesus is to bring life and to the full!" Jesus came so that we may FLOURISH! Other words that describe "Flourish" is to grow, thrive, prosper, do well, increase, multiply, spring up, shoot up, bloom, blossom, bear fruit, and burst forth... How I ache for that to happen in a greater way in my own life, my family, friends, WJOF team and the world. Not only for the girls lost through the tragic kidnapping in Nigeria, but everywhere we see lives held back and unable to live the life we were created to live. 

  I came across this quote from the late Nelson Mandela : "For every woman and girl violently attacked, we reduce our humanity. For every woman forced into unprotected sex because men demand this, we destroy dignity and pride. Every woman who has to sell her life for sex we condemn to a lifetime in prison. For every moment we remain silent, we conspire against our women.”

   Mandela remained dedicated to ending violence against women throughout his life- not just his presidency. During a charity concert in 2005, he reiterated that the way a nation treats its women is the ultimate measure of that nation's success. I would personally add to that statement: The way men and women treat one another with honour, love, respect and dignity and getting back to our original intent (of how and why God created us male and female in the first place: Genesis 1:27). will bring restoration to all spheres of influence across the globe. Gender Reconciliation... a key to Flourishing, a mandate for Restoration.

                                     Do you hear the voice of God to "Bring Back His Girls?"
 If so, what is our response as we step out in faith? I pray that my life, that YOUR life is "God shaped". One that flourishes to be the life we were created for. Women's Journey of Faith has developed "Principles of Restoration" as a ministry to help define restoration. A living document we believe in many ways is a blueprint for a life that flourishes. Join us on the journey of restoration!
             Click here to read:"Journey to Restoration"    

Jodi Kozan is the founder and President of WJOF and their team is gearing up for their 15th annual conference "Flourish" on November 7-8th 2014 hosted at TCU Place Saskatoon, SK Canada with Keynote speaker Dr. Caroline Leaf and Integrity Worship artist Dustin Smith. Next up? A pre-flourish WJOF Speaker tour "Sharing God's Story through Our Story" featuring Laura Lynn Tyler Thompson, Bailey Riza and Jodi on June 5-9! The tour is made possible through a partnership with Compassion Canada where children can be sponsored on the tour with a special emphasis on  human trafficking prevention through their efforts. The difference is Jesus!

No comments: