Women of Reverence welcomes Heather Phipps as a guest blogger.
I have always had an inherent love for people and organising so my choice for studying after school led me to Public Relations & Marketing. I have had my own PR company and worked in some incredible corporate PR and Marketing divisions.
After marrying my childhood sweetheart, Stan and I have been married for 26 years this year. Along the journey of life my Civil Engineering husband and I felt called into a full time ministry capacity at the church we are part of, Glenridge Church. So from building roads we began to build into people's lives.
There can be no greater privilege than to walk with people through their joys and sometimes struggles in life. We led the Glenridge Glenwood site for 6 years and have been back at the station leading Glenridge for 4 yrs now. Although we have always desired to plant a church we love the bride of Glenridge deeply and count it a privilege to lead with the team around us at this time.
We have 3 awesome children our eldest son Matthew is 22 and studying at UKZN, Natalie is 18 and in Matric and Cameron is 12 and in the his final year at primary school. All born and raised at Glenridge. We embrace the old proverb of “it takes a village to raise a child”.
When I was asked to do a blog in September the month of SPRING and to write about something around this theme, I was immediately reminded that my name actually is a flower - Heather and one of the meanings is “Blooming”. This was followed by an unexpected delivery at the door of proteas with a prophetic word and it was sealed.
I love all things related to gardens, trees, grass, flowers and birds. However, a love of these things does not necessarily mean a knowledge of them. And I think the attribute I lack most for gardening is patience. I can understand the concept of sowing a seed, but I lack the patience to see the shoot sprout and have therefore over the years gone for little saplings to plant and then watch them grow.
So when the time comes in our garden to prune back the bushes and shrubs during winter before spring comes I struggle terribly with the fear that the bush will never grow back again and have to leave it in the hands of our trusty friend who has been working in the garden for many years, and, true to the season – spring comes and the bush begins to sprout again.
So to with the work of God in our lives. It is definitely a term that has been adopted in Christian circles that we often refer to the different seasons we walk through in our lives. Someone once said to me that to determine a longevity of a relationship it is helpful to go through some different seasons with that person. How do they respond when things are not going so well, perhaps a season of loss or great disappointment? How do they respond in a season of plenty? Understanding and learning to read the seasons is the challenge. I trust that we can help each other grow in this area as we explore the scriptures further.
As believers our goal should be to study and seek how Jesus would respond and endeavour to be more like him. In his life here on earth as a man I think we can agree that He faced many different seasons in His life. A great bible study for another day.
But for today I would like us to look at the scripture in Jeremiah 17 vs 8.
“But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers— Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season."
"They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
1. Let us … Live a life like a tree
A tree may stand alone in a garden but it is connected by its roots to many other plants in a garden we cannot live our lives in isolation we have to remember that our lives are influencing and shaping others around us. The Redwood trees in California are the tallest recorded trees on Earth, however even more impressive to note is that the roots of these trees are relatively shallow comparative to the height of the trees, the way the trees stand is they link roots and that is where their strength comes from. This for me is how God designed for us to live. We need to reach high towards Him but we need to live connected lives designed for community. A tree withstands the buffeting of the winds, and when it flourishes it blesses others, animals and birds with its unfailing fruit and shade.
A tree constantly stretches its roots to the source. Sometimes when the seasons become tough, we can forget that our source remains the same. Our source is reliable. The season may look stark and unfruitful, but our source can always be trusted and never runs dry. Our goal is to abide in Him in all seasons, cling to the vine. (John 15 vs 7)
2. Let us … still plant seeds
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. – Robert Louis Stevenson
I have tried over the years to even plant seeds in the tough seasons. Because I trust the gardener. I also want to be living for the next generation, we are so grateful to the men and women who have walked ahead of us and planted seeds that we get to harvest. Seeds leave legacies. I take this principle in to all areas of my life, marriage, parenting, friendship, and work.
Seeds are full of potential. Sometimes we cannot see the potential in a seed (as I said I prefer a sapling) but God knows that each seed holds potent energy. Our role is not to worry about what’s inside the seed but to plant them anyway and leave their potential to God.
God sees in you a masterpiece about to happen – Max Lucado
3. Let us … continue to trust our Father
Sometimes in our striving to bloom and grow we forget the powerful scripture in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 that it is God who brings the growth not us. We need to hold on to the truths in my first few points, then remind ourselves that I need to search for signs of His loving presence in every day and in every season. He has created each day for me and is walking along side me in every season so even when things are tough and uncertain, I know the one leading me and walking alongside me. Watch for His footsteps.
As women we wear many different hats in our lives and we travel through many different seasons. Some seem longer and more challenging than others, some we master and some we impatiently pray that they would change.
My encouragement to each one of us is to read the season you are in, continue to plant seeds in every season and then we will live lives that are blooming and bearing fresh fruit in the Lord’s garden.