'God made the flowers.' This is Isaac's lesson for the week from his AWANA group (his children's ministry class at our church). I first learned this concept 30 years ago, but God is teaching me it anew this week. When I was getting ready to move to the Netherlands after college to work for Campus Crusade, a friend sent me a framed picture of a flower that said 'Bloom where you are planted.' I think God is teaching me to bloom. He is teaching me the 'inside-out' life. I am no gardener, but I know flowers bloom from the inside-out. They can't fake it. They must have good roots and soil and a stem that properly sends the water and air and light where it needs to go for them to bloom. Even if they have the outward things, if they are not healthy inside, they will not grow (note to self: learn more about this! It could help me become a better gardener!)
There are few times in my adult life when I have 'bloomed.' I have searched and grown and done a lot of good things, but spent too much time doing a lot of good things in my own strength. Blooming in marriage will not happen in my own strength. Blooming as a mom will not happen in my own strength. Blooming where we are planted in Frederick, Maryland will not happen in my own strength. Blooming occurs from the inside-out, from the truths of God's Word taking root in my heart and mind and truly transforming me from a self-willed, independent person to who He wants me to be: someone who is joyfully sacrificial with the selfless love that has been given to me in Christ. As pastor Tim Keller noted in his sermon on Luke 18:9-14 (the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax- Collector), Jesus gave me 'approval' on the cross. He is my righteousness. I can be utterly sure of God's love for me in the root of my heart. I can live a life 'dependant on God's radical grace' as He has graciously answered my prayer 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' This is the root of where I am to bloom: as God's daughter, as Ricky's wife, as Isaac and Emma's mom, and in the physical place God has planted us.
For as long as I can remember, I have lived in imaginary worlds-wanting to find my home and fit in the 'wild blue yonder.' While keeping my heart focused on the truth that my ultimate home is in heaven and thus I will never fully be home here on this earth, I pray that God-the One who made the flowers and the lilies of the field and me-will bloom me where He has planted me.