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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bloom Where You're Planted!

“And whatever you do,

whether in word or deed,

do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:17 NIV

Today I had an opportunity to enter my garden at mid day instead of early morning. My morning had gotten off to a rough start. As the day progressed I began to think about a lot of changes in my life that I did not like. Because of my unrest I decided to go to the garden even if it was in the middle of the day. It really wasn’t because I didn’t have anything else to do; it was because my spirit was in need.

I began to remember all the times that major change had taken place in my life. The fact is I have rarely welcomed major change. Much to my dismay my apple cart has been turned over more than once in my life!

I remember moving to Maryland. I had never moved before and I was leaving precious family and life long friends behind. I was also leaving my daughter in Illinois to attend her first year of college.

Not long after arriving in Maryland I met Linda, who not only had moved one time but many times. One day over lunch she shared with me something that she had learned in her heart’s garden. She said, “Look for those people that God has sent to you to help you get through this life change, and also look for the people that God is sending to you so that you can help and encourage them.” Then she added, “I do that everywhere I go.” Well now that is what I call blooming where you are planted!

When we face major change in our life there are choices to be made. Today I am remembering a major lesson that God taught me one day while I was in the garden looking for answers. On this particular day as I was nonchalantly walking the garden paths. I was enjoying the beautiful red geraniums when I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at the delicate pink Impatiens. The Master Gardener strolled up beside me and said, “Paula, there is a message here.” You are fretting about the change in your life without even giving me a chance to work all things together for your good. Your impatience and discontent is robbing you of the peace and joy that is to be found while you are waiting for your answers. So I got up my courage and asked the Master Gardener, “How long must I wait?” His replay was, “You need to wait as long as it takes.” I got the real impression that God wanted me to stop fretting and questioning. Again, I remembered what my friend Linda had said and so I began trying to discover ways that I could bloom where God had planted me. I now had a choice, I could wait in the garden impatiently with the Impatiens or I could wait in peace with the Peace Lilies. Either way it seemed pretty clear to me that I would be waiting.

I am the type of person that needs examples. I began to question, what does it look like to bloom where you are planted?

I thought about Gladys, who was mentally retarded. She sold greeting cards to earn a little extra money. In addition, she sent birthday cards to everyone in the entire church. I then remembered my brother-in-law Dale, who was confined to a wheelchair and placed in a nursing home at a very young age. Dale always had a smile for everyone and a word of encouragement everywhere he went. I am also thinking of another man. This man has been falsely accused and imprisoned. Even in prison he is currently trying to be an encouragement to others. I know another couple who had looked forward to retirement but are now limited in what they can do because they are caring for an elderly mother. Their gracious treatment of this fine lady is a testament to God’s grace in their life. I fondly think of this same sweet elderly Grandma, who plants a garden every year and will not let me leave without giving me a beautiful head of cabbage. Another couple, living away from family, opens their home to singles in their church every Thanksgiving so that these individuals might have the opportunity to share a dinner with others, instead of eating alone. Yes indeed, these folks have all learned how to bloom where they are planted.

You see, sometimes God gives me the privilege of entering into someone else’s garden as a visitor. These folks share their stories and I listen. I am always amazed at how different their garden is from mine. When we allow God to show us where and how to bloom each heart will flourish with its own unique beauty. Our heart’s garden will become a collection of blooms that are testimonies of God’s love and grace. Today I am reminded that I am not alone in change. Every one of us must choose to bloom wherever God plants us. Wherever we are in our life we must rest assured that God will help us find purpose in this place. We may never know why we are in our current situation but we can still ask God to help us find purpose. Blooming where we are planted is not only serving others but it is also our service to God.


Are you struggling with your circumstance?

Have you been thinking that where you are right now is a terrible mistake?

Even if it is a mistake, have you asked God to show you where you might bloom?

How will you bloom where you are planted?


Dear Father in Heaven,

Please help me to understand that sometimes things that happen to me are completely out of my control. Help me not to drown in self pity but rather look up beyond my circumstances and see your face. God I know with you there are no mistakes. If I trust you, you will help me find ways to bloom where you have planted me. I don’t want to waste a single day. I am so thankful that you have already gone before me and that you already have in place the work I am to do. Thank you also for those that you will send to encourage me along my way. Yes God, help me to find your peace and joy as I bloom where you have planted me.

In Your Son’s Name I Pray. Amen.