Monday, January 17, 2011

Bloom Where You're Planted

Difficulties and disappointments happen. Life can be downright hard. From the time I entered fourth grade, I knew my Dad struggled with health issues. Due to a genetic predisposition for disease and some unhealthy choices, it was only a matter of time before his health began to decline. He had a triple bypass that year, and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a few years later. I can only imagine the pain he experienced on a daily basis.

My Dad's suffering played a big role in my career choice. I wanted to help prevent illness. My focus was corporate wellness: emphasizing everything from smoke cessation to weight management. Setting up exercise programs and motivating clients to stick with their regimen became my passion.

As I look back, I can see how God used a difficult situation to inspire positive growth. The same is true today. Each disappointment carries with it the opportunity to create something beautiful. My challenge is to trust the Lord when each trial comes, allowing Him to make the proverbial lemonade from the lemons.

Step back in time with me some twenty-five hundred years or so. Our city of Jerusalem has been ransacked and we've been taken captive by the Babylonians. We're now living among a strange people many miles from home.

Can you imagine it? It's so easy to let your mind drift back to all the comforts of your hometown. The friendly neighbors you had. The bakery you owned and operated in the heart of the city. The temple where you worshipped the Lord. But everything is different today. Your eyes fill with tears as you long for the way things used to be...

Then you receive the letter. A letter from none other than the prophet Jeremiah, inspired by the very God of heaven. His words cause an initial sting, but you know they contain the truth:

"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace," (Jeremiah 29:4-7; KJV).

Wow! So this captivity is all a part of God's plan. Our poor choices brought His judgment, but even in this place, He desires to bless us, if we just obey Him. Basically, He wants us to move on with life. Bloom where we're planted. Even pray for our captors. Radical commands! His purpose for us is clear, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end," (Jeremiah 29:11).

Fast forward to today. All of us experience difficulties - probably not as drastic as those faced by the children of Israel! What will you choose to do with your trials? Allow them to destroy you? Or trust God through the situation and allow Him to create something beautiful? The choice is yours!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are so good to me. Help me to focus on Your purpose for each trial in my life. I need Your strength to choose to continue living life when things become difficult. Thank You for the truth of Your Word. Use every trial in my life to create something beautiful that points to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.


  1. This post is very meaningful to me.

  2. Thank you for the encouragement!

  3. Terra - Great to see you! It's always encouraging to see God at work! Have a wonderful week! Blessings!

    Becky - Thanks for stopping by! What a privilege to pass along some encouragement! Have a blessed week in the Lord!

  4. Can you believe I read this scripture just yesterday Maria??? I was blown away by God's command for them to prosper under persecution! What a great post you wrote on it, thanks!

  5. Thank you again for your continual perspective and encouragement. It isn't always easy to bloom when you want to wilt, but when one does, it really does make the difference:)

  6. Thank you for this post. It spoke to my heart.

  7. Amen! I tend to "backpeddal" first in my mind and "wish I could change a choice" which has absolutely NO value in working through things. Satan always works from the past and I try to remember that, but often, especially if my kids are hurting, I do the backpaddle and have to then work my way to "God is in control, and I trust Him". AMEN!

  8. To help me make sense of difficult times, I often remind myself that "Man's rejection is God's protection." During such times, faith and trust play pivotal roles with regard to my sense of peace. "Bloom where you're planted" is a stirring way to describe this mindset. Thank you for your post.

  9. Amen, we do have a choice. Good post! :)

  10. Hey, I just came across your blog by doing a bit of blog-surfing, and I'm glad I did! I've added myself as your newest follower, and I hope you'll check out my Christian devotional site as well:

    Have a blessed day!

    In Christ,

  11. Hi Maria -

    I love your perspective on this. Even when we blow it, God still loves us. If we'll trust Him, He'll turn the situation around for our good.

    Susan :)

  12. Marja - I can't imagine what the Israelites were experiencing! My 'problems' pale in comparison - but the solution to any problem remains the same: Look to the God of heaven and follow Him one step at a time. I'm thankful that He IS our peace!! Have a blessed week, my friend! :)

    Terri - Proper perspective DOES make such a difference! Knowing that God's got it all under control helps too! I love the picture of the flowering cactus because it amazes me that beautiful flowers can bloom even on something covered with spines! A true testimony of God's goodness! Have a beautiful week blooming where He's planted you!:)

    Deborah - You're right! It's a hard lesson. I'm so thankful for His grace that makes it possible! Have a wonderful week!

    Elaine - Thanks for stopping by! It's always humbling to see how God uses the lessons He's teaching me. I praise Him for speaking to your heart! Hugs & Blessings!

  13. Kathy - So good to see you! I appreciate your comments! You've definitely hit on the truth: God certainly IS in control! I'm so thankful for that! When we realize nothing happens to us without first being filtered through the hand of God, it helps us accept uncomfortable circumstances. What an awesome God who doesn't just leave us there, but invites us to make the most of things and continue on for Him! Have a truly blessed week, my friend! :)

    Janette - Good to see you! You make a great point! Faith and trust certainly do factor into the equation. Keeping our eyes focused on the Lord throughout difficulties, trusting that He WILL lead us all the way! It's comforting to know that His plans involve peace! Have a wonderful week walking with Him!

    Karen - Glad to see you! More and more I'm struck by the fact that we DO have so many choices. Life doesn't just happen to us - we consciously decide how to live. I'm so grateful that the Lord lays out a clear path for us in His Word. How comforting to know that as I yeild to Him, He gives me the power I need to live for Him! Have a great week! Hugs & God bless!

  14. Dakota - Welcome! So glad you stopped by Life Lessons! Praying His Word speaks to your heart today. I look forward to visiting your blog! Have a blessed week!

    Kristen - Good to see you! What a testimony of God's goodness, when we're able to see Him create something beautiful out of the difficult situations in our lives. What a mighty God we serve! Have a truly blessed week!

    Susan - Thanks for your comment! How wonderful to know our God's unconditional love! He IS the Master of redeeming our messes! Only He could take a mistake and sculpt it into something that can draw others closer to Him. What an amazing God we serve! Hugs & Blessings!