Written by: Laura Chambers (August 17, 2021)
To say it’s been a rough year and a half would be the understatement of the century. The sudden appearance of COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of our daily lives, from the big life choices like education, careers and travel, to whether or not we leave the house today, or how much toilet paper we buy. Cut off from church and school and work, stripped of everything we used to take for granted, it would be easy to curl up and die, like a plant deprived of water, light, and nutrients.
Some plants are pretty tough to kill. These are the trees with deep, spreading roots that seek the water underground rather than waiting for the rain to fall, or cacti which store their own reserve supply of necessities for not-so-rainy days. The flowers that grow toward the sunlight, or manage to thrive in the shade, even sprouting from cracks in the sidewalk. In Flourish, Mike Donehey reminds us that we, like these unlikely blossoms, can become beautiful, resilient, and far-reaching, even (and especially) amidst hardships.
“Standing At The Edge of My World” describes a place where we’ve all found ourselves at one time or another; poised on the precipice of greater things, afraid to dive in because the world and our fears prevent us. Donehey wonders what we would accomplish if we took that next step of faith.
“Follow You Into The Fire” continues with the desire to go where God would lead, even if it’s into the midst of an inferno. Donehey earnestly pleads for direction, encouragement, and refinement, as stongholds and false gods crumble, leaving behind a pure heart and renewed purpose.
“All Together” paints a picture of a more authentic life, one where it’s okay to be broken in search of healing. By sharing our struggles, we can find common ground and help each other come together in Christ. Look no further than your own refection for where to begin.
In “The Glory I Couldn’t See”, Donehey snaps back into the moment, determined to find beauty in the little things that we often take for granted. In our longing for more, gratitude and appreciation for the everyday take a backseat. God has a way of weaving beauty into ordinary moments, and we must never lose sight of them. “Glory (Reprise)” is a prayer tacked on to the previous song, asking God to help him live in the moment and really see it.
“Flourish” expresses an assurance that wherever we are planted, we can always find what we need to shoot upwards and outwards in an explosion of life and color. Ultimately, our circumstances matter little, as long as we draw from the Source of all life.
After questioning whether God will really keep his promises to provide all our needs, “Abundance” seeks to give, love, and receive an overflowing wellspring of provision and grace. Like the sparrows, we are given everything we need, and so much more.
“From The Start” reminds us that despite our sins and shame, God has always loved us and has pursued us far longer than we’ve sought Him. Surrender to His love empowers us to soar higher and farther.
“Something That I Can’t Explain” seeks an encounter with God that isn’t transitory, or explainable by natural phenomena. The mysteries in life remind us we can never fully understand a God so vast, unsearchable, and holy.
“Breathe In Breathe Out” is an exercise in embracing God’s truth as we inhale, rejecting the lies of the enemy with each exhale. The mere fact that we are still alive is reason enough to praise God. He is present in our sorrow and our joy, the one constant.
“Unity Hymn” caps off the album with a plea for the church to be unified in Christ, rather than divided over matters of (non-doctrinal) opinion. Donehey seeks forgiveness for the schisms between Christians in how we have responded to the current crises.The love of God is the glue that binds us together. If only we remembered that more often.
Flourish might be considered something of a guidebook to weathering the storms of life. Mike Donehey shows us how to bloom in spite of our trials, stretching our roots into the soil of God’s word and our leaves toward the light of His love.