Warning: This post is going to be painful. It will date me clearly as the 55-year-old woman I am.
In 1976 when I married, as a 19-year-old girl, (you were warned), my mother gave me a classic 70s handmade plaque. Crafts did exist before Pinterest and my mother was into them. She tole painted the plaque that read: “Bloom Where You Are Planted”. I have included a snapshot of MY plaque for the graphic, which is miraculous because I have moved about thirty times since the 70s.
The first time that plaque spoke to me was when we moved to seminary. Hundreds of miles from family and friends; my mother’s handiwork displayed in my kitchen, began to take root in my experience and in my heart. This idea of “blooming where planted” contains a cutesy flea market idea; as well as, a deep theological concept of the sovereignty of God. (Since I only have 550 words I will be unable to cover that territory.)
Surveying the 36 years since I received this plaque has clearly revealed that it’s cheesy but true.
My life as a ministry wife has afforded me thousands of opportunities to “bloom” or “flourish” where God planted me. In EVERY situation from the darkest most painful moment of my life when I became a widow at 45 or when I had to move into a dingy, worn rental in seminary—I could bloom where I had been planted. I could flourish as a stay at home mom of three small children or when our lives got planted in an unfamiliar culture in a city far from home. I learned; as well, that I could flourish when I was confronted with my own sin in the midst of a conflict. In public or private scenarios or in great or small circumstances—I can bloom.
We bloom where planted because God EMPOWERS us to do so. To flourish is not survival of the fittest or merely being a strong woman of faith. It is God’s grace. His grace is when he gives us the strength to do something we do not have the strength to do on our own. He puts HIS power on display when we have none. The truth is, the weaker we are the better we flourish in HIS strength. (See: Life of Paul)
We bloom where we are planted because it is about HIS GLORY. His grace that enables us to thrive and to prosper is designed to put Him on display in our lives. When He is sufficient in our greatest heartaches or He enables us to tackle great challenges—it is about Him. When the gospel redeems us, restores us and changes us—HIS glory marks our lives—not our own goodness or effort.
We are not professional religious “saleswomen”. When we bloom in the circumstances of our lives; whether pleasant or unwanted, or when we prosper as the power of the gospel redeems us and changes us we are “satisfied customers”. We genuinely offer the world around us what we have first received.
We bloom where we are planted for the sake of the gospel.
Thanks Mom. Once again you were right.
Published January 1, 2012