Every spring my husband and I go into the woods and find wild plants and flowers to transplant. Yesterday we moved some ferns, trillium, ground cedar, various clumps of moss and three plants I am waiting for my father to identify.
I don’t ask these plants if they want to be moved. I have decided that they will do better and be viewed more frequently in the new location I have selected. I do take into consideration the type of soil, amount of sun or shade, and the plants growing in close proximity. When choosing a place to plant something, I try to pick a place that is similar to the original location. If it was originally in the shade, then I won’t place it in full sun! I always have the plant’s best interest at heart because I want it to flourish and grow. I want it to bloom where it is planted.
Sometimes we feel that God has uprooted us. It may be a situation where we physically move to another location, or it may be a change in our lives such as a new baby, a new job, attending a new place of fellowship, or even close friends moving away. Often we cannot change the situations we find ourselves in and we don’t like the change! Things were fine the way they were – why mess things up? We may not be able to change the circumstances, but we can decide how we will respond to those circumstances. We can choose to accept circumstances beyond our control with grace believing that God in His infinite wisdom is looking out for our good.
When our third child was born, we were in a two bedroom apartment. With three cribs in one bedroom, I was feeling squeezed. It seemed like there was not enough room for the stuff we currently had, much less a new baby. I was NOT a happy camper! I took my frustration and concern to God – and I felt His response as a gentle, but piercing question. “Why should I trust you with a bigger place to live when you can’t maintain the small place you have now?”
I immediately was convicted of the truth of what God had impressed on my heart. I needed to be faithful with the apartment where we were living. I needed to tend to the current responsibilities I had before I could be trusted with more. I needed to be content with what I currently had.
Philippians 4: 10-13 (NLT)
10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
In these verses Paul is writing to the Christians in Phillipi. He is in PRISON – yet he says that he is content!!! Paul knew that he needed to “bloom where he was planted” even in prison. He used that time to write letters to Christians in the various locations he had preached. His teaching and discipling continued through those letters and continues to teach us now through the Bible.
Our contentment as God’s children must be founded in the belief that God is a loving heavenly Father who works in our lives for our good. That does not mean that circumstances will go our way – it does mean that God will give us grace to bloom where He plants us.
Gayle, This is a great verse. You will remember our summers at Holly Cove when we had to go back to ILLINOIS after a busy summer and had to face challenges there. I was not eager to return But when I set my attention on the Lord and his contentment I was ready to face any difficulty with his help. Thanks for such a good post.
I was always sad to leave North Carolina, too! But as you know, once school started, I enjoyed it. You were such a good example to me of “blooming where you’re planted”.
Ooh, I remember when I realized what this verse was telling me God wanted me to learn. Didn’t like the idea one bit. But God is faithful and He’s taken His time helping me learn this lesson too. It sure seems to be important in God’s curriculum guide…
Last Spring we had four kids in a room the size of a full matress and another one in our bedroom. God finally decided it was time for a bit more space. And I had thought it was impossible to have three kids in that house!
I never thought about the housekeeping part of it, although I’m no Martha figure. I figured God was weaning me from earth and helping me picture that lakeside house He’s got for me during the Millenium and the presidential suite I’m working towards in New Jerusalem. 😀
Thank you for sharing your insight. I am not a Martha either! At times I wished I was more like Martha so things wouldn’t seem so chaotic,Yet Jesus says that Mary chose the better way. I do know that God wants me to be faithful with what He has blessed me with. I find that the result of being content whatever my circumstances is the ability to be available to God for His purposes. That is the cry of my heart.
It’s harder to bloom in a place where my heart isn’t quite at “home” and where we know it’s not a permanent place for us – but we have made a good group of friends, found a good church, and semi-settled in here. I guess we ought to – it’s been 4 years!
Thinking about the blooming analogy – some plants are perennials, some are annuals. Each are used for different purposes, locations, preference of gardener, climate, etc. Just as these bloom differently, God may have us “blooming” in various ways during various seasons of our lives. The point is “blooming” – not just taking up space without purpose. God has planted us according to His plan – we need to accept.