Thursday, March 20, 2008

1st day of Spring . . . Are you blooming?!

Last summer I watched as several precious daffodils continued to bloom where they had been planted years before by my neighbor. Right at the water's edge, there had been dozens of beautiful, proud, sun-yellow daffodils that had cheered us up and spoke of spring as we sat on the bench by the community "lake" (really a man-made drainage area) behind our house. A few years ago our neighbors moved, and the meticulously cared for area soon was overcome with weeds. Along came a few hurricanes and tropical storms that flooded our little lake and the edge started to grow closer and closer to the bench. Many daffodils were lost in the erosion, and so the last 2 summers I have rescued those few that were left . . . still trying to do their job as they hung almost sideways over the water's edge, unknowingly about to perish.

Last year I removed the final ones and planted them in my front yard near my mailbox. Their blooms were gone for the season, and so I was mainly planting the bulbs and stems. I was looking forward to the sunny flowers popping up next year to welcome the warm weather of spring! However, I was a bit surprised this year when they did. I planted them, expecting them to face the street - welcoming our mailman and other guests who came to visit. However, they decided to continue to face the lake . . . which can't even be seen from our front yard! :) I'm sure it probably has something to do with how I planted them or with the sun, but I just get a chuckle out of seeing my "rebellious" flowers facing the wrong way! It made me think . . .

I drove by a sign at a church last week. It always has some cute or corny saying on it - reminding and encouraging us in some aspect of our Christian walk, like "What is missing from this CH_RCH? . . .U are!" You know the signs I mean! This time it said "Bloom where you are planted". In our American society, we are so accustomed to having a choice . . . of what to eat, where to live, what kind of job to have, who to be friends with, where and when to go to church, etc. In many countries, men, women and children do not have that luxury. They cannot physically get up and move when the going gets tough or just because they feel like it. They can't just go down to the store or pop into McDonald's when the mood strikes or their pantry doesn't have their "favorite" foods. They may not even have a choice as to whether they will even eat that day! We are so blessed here in America!

What spoke to me though, was that I know I have spent many a day complaining about where God has "planted" me in life right now . . . . raising 5 young kids who are home with me almost all day every day, cleaning my house (over and over and over again!), making meals, intervening in fights/arguments, etc! I was a L&D nurse and Childbirth Educator (and part-time doula) for 10 years - and I LOVED it! It was my identity . . .what I did . . .who I was . . . my passion. When God called me to stay home full-time (I had 4 kids at that time). . . I fought it tooth and nail for years. I slowly, slowly weaned myself down from working so much - and then finally took the plunge and obeyed God. He was changing where I was to be planted - much like my flowers. However, just like those flowers . . . I kept looking back . . .waiting for the chance to get back to the water . . . wondering when (and if) God would ever let me go back to being a nurse . . . or doing SOMETHING outside of this house. I was blooming in the sense that I was "doing my duty" . . .but I wasn't really doing it right (with the right attitude) or to the best of my ability. I was definitely depressed the whole first year of being at home 24/7. Then I allowed God to change my heart!

God showed me a vision one day while praying. I was going across a river - stepping on large stones/rocks to get to the other side. I knew where I was going and I could see the spot I was aiming for. But then a HUGE rock stood in front of me. . . . too large to even see over it or go around it. This is what God said . . .

"You CAN do it on your own strength. You CAN climb over it, or struggle to go around it Lori. But What I would rather you do, is to stand where you are and let the water rise around you. Let it rise and then float with it down stream. You can trust me. Will you trust me?"

I wasn't so sure I wanted to go "downstream". What was down there? I KNEW what was across the water (I was going to be a midwife) . . . but I didn't have a clue what was downstream. That part scared me. After struggling with it, and then realizing that I was miserable the way I was, I decided to take the risk . . . . I let go and started to float . . . with God . . . not knowing where it would lead or what would happen to me. And do you know what? . . . . . It led me to actually enjoying being at home more (not every day though. :) You know what I mean!) . . . and it brought me to the place where I felt that I could definitely handle bringing one more child into the house through adoption. That was HUGE for me - as I was a card-carrying member of the "Four-no-more" Club! :)

So I've been home for 3 or 4 years now, and lately my heart has been stirring again. . . . wanting there to be more . . .wanting to know "what's next, Lord?" . . . ready to get out of the house and "doing the Lord's work". Then that sign came along . . . It's not that I had turned back around to look at the water . . . I was facing forward . . .but just wanting more. There are seasons for everything in life. A time to live, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to have all my kids home, and a time to see them go off to school (and eventually work, college, marriage . . .). But am I "Blooming" where God planted me? Unlike my plants, I do have a choice . . .I could disobey, uproot and replant somewhere else (in what I do each day) . . . but I won't be where God wants me. I won't be able to greet those that He brings down my path. I won't be able to cheer on and cheer up those that live at my house like I should. I need to learn "how" to bloom where God has planted me for this season.

My "world" is relatively small here . . . 5 kids, a husband, several pets, and a few neighbors who might venture outside during the day. Then once a week - church, once a month - our adoption group, and twice a month - MOPS. Pretty much the same people each day, each week, each month. I was a bit jealous of my sister in NYC and all the people she comes into contact with each day! What opportunities she has!! But wait . . . what about my trip to Walmart every 2 weeks? What about the people I email, who read this blog (all 2 of you!) . . . even the business men and women I might talk with while we refinance, or look for new windows, etc? God has slowly been showing me that I CAN bloom where He's planted me and REALLY make a difference in people's lives . . . . EVEN as a SAHM! I don't have to have a big ministry like Joyce Meyers, or Joel Osteen . . . but I CAN influence my little world around me . . . brighten up the days by blooming where I've been planted. It may be through a scripture at the end of my email, a kind word or offer of help to someone at the store, or some of my ramblings on this blog. It might be by bringing food to a new mom, or an injured neighbor. It's also by loving my kids and raising them to love God, then love themselves, and finally love others.

Maybe that Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness,and Self-control that blooms from me will be able to not only impact those in my "world", but in the world around us as well! You never know!!

I'm going to bloom anyways!

How about you?


Terri said...

Lori ... I'm blooming where I am planted! :) At least most days. Thanks for this encouraging/transparent post!

bree said...

I love this post:) I see that (His) peace washing over you, not fighting the current anymore (well there are probably some moments! hee-hee) What an awesome thing to see:) New seasons in our hearts...good stuff! God bless you! hugs!