Easter Blessing

Our tenth grandchild was born yesterday on Easter Sunday. Each of these precious little ones is a blessing! I can remember wondering when I was pregnant with our second child whether I could possibly love #2 as much as I loved #1. My heart was full of love for our first child – how could another child fit in? (To this day, #1 thinks he is my favorite!) Each of our children is my favorite.

I remember a wise older mother telling me – “You think you can never love another child as much as the first since you love them with all your heart. God just expands your heart and gives you more love.” I think that is true. As each child arrived, I didn’t love the older children any less, I just had more love to share with each one. As I looked at this newest little grandchild yesterday, I was once again overwhelmed with love for this new addition to our family. Each one is precious and fills a special place in Nana’s expanding heart!

Easter is the ultimate expression of love – God’s great love for us.  God sent His only Son to die for our sins. That is His love made flesh for us. He rose again and lives in us, His children, through His Holy Spirit. We may believe from time to time that God loves some of His other children more than He loves me. Many Christians are smarter, better looking, funnier, kinder –  the list could go on and on – than I am.  Surely God must love them more because He blessed them with these special attributes.

That is a LIE. 

I Corinthians 12: 12-20

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

I don’t think it is a stretch to associate this scripture with the unique qualities various members of our families have. How would our family function if we were all the same? (how BORING)

Paul goes on to say –

1 Corinthians 12:20-26 (NIV)

20As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 
God’s great, unconditional love for us is the attitude we want to permeate our families. Each adult and child has limitless value in God’s kingdom. The fact that Jesus died and rose for each of us demonstrates His great love. Let’s make our families a reflection of God’s love  – a place where each person has value!

Bloom Where You’re Planted

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.