Philippians 4:1-13. Our reflections for the following 13 weeks will be based on this passage from Philippians. We invite you to weekly read all 13 verses as a way of soaking in scripture.
“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved” (Philippians 4:1 (NRSV).
The Romanian Black Sea coast is a fascinating place. The sea can be so calm and warm that it feels like a perfect giant swimming pool, but it can also have strong waves that pull you down and plant fear even in the bravest of hearts. We were at my local church’s women’s retreat three years ago when the waves took over the otherwise peaceful shore. The waters were strong and foamy, impressive, scary and attractive, all at the same time. They would have been dangerous for one person to brave them alone, but we decided to do something! Several of us got in together! We decided to hold hands and get under water when the waves came in, then to come up again for air and to not let go even when our feet were up in the water and it felt like we had lost control. It was fantastic! The adventure of togetherness, the courage we were giving each other, the holding of each other that helped us stand firm or regain balance when one of us had lost it! I remember the big smiles on all of our faces and the story after story that we kept sharing. We would not have been able to enjoy this experience without togetherness. Alone, we would have fallen under water.
I love the affectionate language of Paul in this verse. It feels like he is looking for more words to express his love for this group of people and he could not get enough of them to truly show his heart. As I read this verse I realized that it is expressing my heart for you, my dearest Lifesprings sisters, my friends, my joy, my inspiration, my beloved. You are a rich gift in my life and I cannot imagine my life without you! We are in this wild adventure of loving and serving God and others together and, sometimes, when the waves are high and strong, knowing that we’ve got each other, is a sweet reassurance. We can stand firm in the Lord – together.
Prayer of Response:
My heart is full of gratitude for this worldwide community, Lord. Thank you for my Lifesprings’ family and for how you’ve shown me grace, truth, wisdom, gentleness, care, generosity, guidance and abundant love in this family. Please help us continue to pursue you together – your heart and your will, with joy and abandonment. And also, Lord, give us vision for who else you want us to extend all that this community has to offer. Give us your eyes to see others and to welcome them with your love and tenderness. Full of gratitude, with joy, in your name we’re praying, Jesus, the One who holds us together. Amen.
Questions to Ponder:
- What are some of the things you are grateful for concerning Lifesprings? Make a small list or reflect on a story that blessed you.
- What is one of your spiritual gifts or passions that you would like to bless this community with? We love having you here and would love to provide a space for you to better use your gifts and passions.
- Ask God if there is someone that he is bringing to mind who you can invite into this community.
—Submitted by Diana Anton
Diana was born in the fascinating lands of Transylvania and now lives in Bucharest, Romania. She serves as the new executive director of Lifesprings and her passion is to see women worldwide connected, encouraged and prepared to impact their communities with the love and peace of God. She sometimes shares about her life in Romania on her blog www.lifeonfarmroad.com.