Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bloom


 

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…. Philippians 3:8a*

 
Bloom where you’re planted. Have you seen that before? I have, so many times. It brings up a lot for me. First of all it’s usually on a magnet, card or poster with a picture of lovely flowers. There’s my first uh-oh, considering that both of my thumbs are black. My home and yard are the places plants go to die.

Then there is the timing. I usually see that precious saying at a point in time when the “where” is not comfy.  It’s usually a season of “I’d rather be anywhere but here.” There it is “bloom where you’re planted.” Here? Really? Ugh!
I saw it this morning and my reaction was more to the “I’m not a gardener” reaction. (Although in the spirit of full disclosure, there are some “garden” spots in my life that I would like to vacate, so it fits that angle too.) Still it made me smile, proof that God can give you joy and even amusement no matter where you are.

So I smiled but then I thought, “sure but what if I’m planted in lousy dirt.”  That’s when it hit me.  I am awful (underline that word, put it in italics, bold print and neon lights) with plants. Lousy dirt? I couldn’t tell you lousy dirt from excellent dirt. Nor do I know a thing about when to plant, where to plant, how to water, etc. Why? I am not a gardener.

Read the little saying again, “Bloom where you’re planted.” Planted, I asked myself, by whom? Oh right, the Master Gardener. Think about that for a second. It isn’t the responsibility of the plant to make the soil is right, find itself a water source or ensure that the sun exposure is good. The plant simply has to grow, relying solely on the gardener to do his/her part. Yay! I can bloom where I’m planted if I leave it up to the Gardener.
This epiphany is also an answer to prayer. I complain and I hate it. I’m not a chronic all day Eeyore complainer but I do it and it feels like too much. This perspective of a plant helps me see that I am in the absolute right place, no matter how it feels, as long as I am in my Father’s will. In that perfect position He will cause me to grow, prosper and thrive.  God in His mercy, love and humor, has turned a saying that has always made me cringe into a lesson. In all things He is in control. Amen

*I used a verse from Philippians to start this message but it was hard to choose just one. The book of Philippians has so much to say that fits this train of thought.

 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

When My Heart Can’t


 

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

On and off again for several months I have struggled with bitterness. Just when I think I have a handle on it that handle becomes slick with the oil of self and slips through my hands. The truth is I can’t get a handle on it so I asked for help.

While reading about Moses and turning the bitter water sweet, (Exodus 15:25) God revealed to me that the Cross, the sacrifice of Jesus, was the wood that would make my bitterness sweet, if I would let it.

The problem with bitterness is that it sometimes feels justified. People have offended me, so it’s okay for me to feel bitter. No! It’s okay for me to feel hurt but bitterness is more dangerous to me than any word or act of another person.  So I picked up a little piece of wood put it in a baggy and began to carry it around with me. Whenever bitter thoughts threatened I could remind myself that Jesus carried an enormous piece of wood that obliterated the power of bitterness and beyond that, brought healing for my hurt. Thank you Jesus and Amen!

God’s grace is so far beyond what any of us can understand.  I felt such gratitude that He had given me such definite and simple guidance that produced so much freedom. The situations haven’t changed but my view has and I felt so much better, peace was taking over where bitterness had reigned.

It seemed that the lesson was finished, until this morning. This morning I read a sentence about God giving us His grace and joy.  That stopped me. God gives us grace and joy, of course. Where else would we get it? Something nagged at the edge of my mind. God gives us His grace and joy.

The bitterness in my heart is gone but my heart is still broken. If in this moment I have to speak to the people who hurt me, how would I do that? There is nothing in my heart for them right now except for the love God put there. There is nothing of me in that. I love them because God loves me. That is His grace. If I were to encounter them today I could be gracious, not out of my own broken heart, the heart that wants explanations, apologies or at least closure, but I could be gracious by the power of the heart of God.

Many times I’ve prayed to have God’s heart for a person or circumstance and He has been gracious to share with me, His view of the situation. When my heart can’t or won’t respond, God’s heart will.

Grace.  I talk to my husband and a couple of close friends about grace all the time. Every now and then one of us gets a glimmer of understanding but there are so many facets to grace. It is exciting to know that the more I learn and think I perceive the more there is to know.

When my heart can’t, God’s can. I’ll stay with that one for today but I am excited to see what He shows me tomorrow.