Tuesday, June 3, 2014

“As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where He wants it.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:18

In the early 90's, our family started receiving monthly book deliveries of Christian romances from Heartsong Presents. We are big readers and my mom wanted my sister and I to have good clean romances to read and this was a great inexpensive service. Each delivery would include four 100-150 page novels - two contemporary and two historical. Thankfully we could agree on how to divide them since I preferred the contemporary and my sister preferred the historical. But we would share them amongst us all and they were read very quickly. We received these books for many years and they are always quite good for a quick read.

Over the years, we accumulated hundreds of these books and have passed along many of them to friends, family and thrift stores or yard sales. But I have a collection of about 10-20 that became my favorites. These are ones I have read and reread over and over again because something about the stories or the characters stuck with me and became like cherished friends. I was re-reading one of these books a couple weeks ago and something stuck out to me that never had before. A character was singing an old song to their child and the words touched me and I wanted immediately to write about it. Of course, I didn't write about it right away...but it's been in the back of my mind since then and now I'm finally getting a chance to do so.

The song was Bloom Where You Are Planted and here are the lyrics:
Bloom, bloom, bloom where you're planted
You will find your way
Bloom, bloom, bloom where you're planted
You will have your day. Look at the flowers, look at them growing
They never worry, they never work
Look at the way our Father clothes them
Each with beauty all its own
Each with beauty all its own
Some plant the seeds that others will water
But in all things, God give the growth
Come let Him garden the flowers within you
Come and discover some you've never known
Come and discover some you've never known.
Look at the love that lies deep within you
Let yourself be! Let yourself be!
Look at the gifts you have been given
Let them go free! Let them go free!
Let them go free! Let them go free!
When I was looking up the full lyrics to that song, I read some things about the phrase "bloom where you're planted" and it appears that this phrase was first attributed to St. Francis de Sales - "Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence."
I was suddenly struck by the realization that I am where I am for a purpose and that I simply have to trust God, listen to His leading and "bloom where I'm planted." I don't have to run around trying to be something I'm not, I don't have to stress and worry about why I don't have the strengths and gifting of other people around me, I don't have to feel guilty. There is freedom. Freedom in being who God made me to be. Freedom in trusting that I am where I am for a purpose. Freedom in trusting that God will do the growing and I just have to be in Him.
I believe that God has given me a gift - a gift of encouragement and one of the ways I use that gift is through sending cards. I send a lot of cards. I definitely keep the post office in business. I believe in the power of words to encourage, support, uplift, and love others. I love quotes and verses and use many of them in my cards. I read a couple daily devotionals and often include them as I feel led. I have found and created several laminated bookmarks and verse collections that I frequently send to others. This is how my process works:
  1. God brings someone to mind - sometimes through reading a Facebook post, sometimes while flipping through my address book, sometimes completely out of the blue.
  2. I look through my collection of cards (I frequently buy them from Hallmark, Current and even occasionally have had a subscription for monthly card deliveries through Someone Cares). Sometimes as I look for a card, one of them will remind me of someone else and I'll pull that one to send as well.
  3. I sort through my Quotes folder looking for a quote, verse, devotion, etc that speaks to me as something for that person.
  4. I either print out or hand write in their card the chosen words and then wait.
  5. Sometimes these cards sit for a couple days, occasionally a few weeks, and very rarely a month or longer. I fully believe that although it feels like I'm slacking off or being lazy about sending them in time it really is God's timing because often it's these cards that I feel are sent late that I hear from the recipient that they came at exactly the right time.
  6. Writing a message in the card is usually preceded by thoughts of them, perhaps a prayer or two, and very occasionally have felt like words written by God Himself not because I think highly of myself but because I felt that the words were too strong, too direct or simply something I feel uncertain is the right thing to say, but feel strongly must be written.
  7. Add addresses, stamp, and of course stickers and then mailed.
I love sending these cards. I love when I hear from the recipient that they appreciated it. But I don't always get a response or acknowledgement. And I don't need one or expect one. I'm not fishing for compliments or praise. I trust that I am doing what God calls me to do and what matters to me is not any kind of applause, but to believe that God is using my gift to bless others. Sometimes it can feel like what I do doesn't matter, but I have faith that it does. “…very often I expect, the service He really demands is that of not being (apparently) used, or not in the way we expected, or not in a way we can perceive.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Sometimes I might wish that I had different gifts. Like my sister, who is amazing at acts of service - if she knows her friends are sick, she will make a big pot of soup and bring it to them. Or she will clean someone's house if they can't due to sickness or pain or other such things. She is kind and generous with her time and her abilities. Or my husband who makes friends with everyone and has the wonderful gift of making people laugh and feel their best. He is a server at Olive Garden and he makes all his tables feel like close friends or family - he jokes and teases, flirts and winks and makes them happy. This is a huge gift and one that I definitely don't have! :)
But, we must remember -  “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”  ~ Galatians 6:4 God has made us all uniquely gifted to do different things and one is not better or worse than another. When we all work together and do what God has gifted us to do then we will be able to bless others and experience the joy of being where and who we are supposed to be. “And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God…defines your life…The really important thing is obeying God’s call, following His commands…Friends, stay where you were called to be. God is there. Hold the high ground with Him at your side.” ~ 1 Corinthians 7:17a, 19, 24
God has made me who I am and He has made you who you are. He has placed us where we are supposed to be and our only job is to listen, obey, and love. If we are putting our trust and faith in God, if we are doing what we were created to do where we are planted, and if we are obeying God's leading then we can have joy and be able to bless others.
This is my prayer for you:
"...asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to His will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. {I} pray that you'll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works,  you will learn how to do your work. {I} pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul - not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us." ~ Colossians 1:9b-12

1 comment:

Joshua Murcray said...

I love you, Babydoll! So glad you are writing again. I love reading your thoughts.
Well done! Looking forward to the next one!