The boys, they run fast. Arms swinging and legs kicking, they race down the trail.
Florida’s natural beauty surrounds us. The oaks are poised to dance, as if awaiting their future redemption. The palms tower impressively, providing shade from the sun. Having no pretense, the lands exists the way the Gardner laid it out.
My neighborhood is lined with palms, perfectly planned and everything put in place by a landscape architect. I once had an architect explain the design method of planting taller bushes up next to a house, smaller plants in front of those bushes, and then smaller flowers in the very front. The descending elevation of plantings creates balance for the eye. Examples of this landscape design are everywhere on my street. In front of each home, the grass is perfectly green and most of the trees stand together in odd numbers. Everything’s been planted with the intention of pleasing the eye of the beholder.
Many of us would prefer to live lives that are beautifully planned and laid out just way we like. I’ve made my own plans for my life, attempting to order it in a way that pleases me most.
But what if I lived my life contented, not wishing to be where the grass is greener? What if I actually thrived where God planted me–even if it’s in a wilderness?
My heart has fought a battle these past fifteen years. I’ve resisted where God planted my roots. I’ve argued against His plan saying that I wasn’t made for a tropical climate–this land of ocean waves, swaying palms, flip-flops, hot summers, and perpetual tan lines. I complain that I can’t relate to the culture and how could anyone want to live where there are no seasons?
The boys ran on ahead and I stood still, tilting my head back at the palms which seemed to point to the sky. I feel small and out of place here where nature shouts its praises. I long to feel that freedom, to simply live and thrive under the Gardner’s care. I want to live like the oaks that bend as they appear ready, just waiting for the sound of the last trumpet. Even the weeds sprout in brilliant color.
Until that day, these trees, they grow, they thrive, and they honor the Great Architect who planted them.
God planted me here but my heart resides elsewhere. What if the soil here is what my roots need most to grow? What if the place that seems greener to me only provides illusory joy? Will I find that true joy awaits in the wilderness and not in my perfectly planned and neatly landscaped life that I’ve long desired?
My Savior left a place He loved, a place of love and perfect selflessness. He left a royal throne and golden paved streets to live in a place of poverty. He grew where He was planted, glorifying the Father in every situation and circumstance. Having no home of His own, He gave thanks to the Father for His daily bread. Even when He came to the cup that brought Him great sorrow and distress, He took it and drank in obedience.
Sometimes it’s not a geographical location in which we resist being planted. God has placed me other in other situations in which I have resisted Him as well. Sometimes He plants us in places like a job, a church family, a ministry, a relationship, or even a spiritual gift. Each one of those situations are opportunities to grow and glorify Him. Yet, how often do we look at where we are and wish we were somewhere different? How often do we just go through the motions of surviving our time in a place, just waiting for the opportunity to leave?
What if by seeking to be somewhere else, I’m actually rejecting the loving hand of my Father? Aren’t I just orbiting my life around my own desires rather than the Son of Light?
I’m not where I want to be. But I’ve been placed here for a reason. When I remember all that my Savior gave up for me, I am humbled. What have I been willing to give up for Him?
It’s only when my heart is emptied of all my desires and those empty places are filled with Him alone that I can joyfully thrive where He’s planted me. And then I find, it doesn’t matter where I live geographically, because my true home resides with Him alone.
Counting the ways the Gardner plants and prunes (1465-1486):
A merciful and gracious Gardner who plants us exactly where we need to be
Hiking in the woods
Boys who love to run
A dear friend who took some profile pics of me
caladiums on my front porch
venison stew with friends
smell of clean floors
fun of trying mochi
Starbucks new mocha cookie crumble frappucino–so good, yet so bad
getting my sister’s “save the date” in the mail
new book to read with my accountability group: The Pressure’s Off: Breaking Free from Rules and Performance
our swimming pool–gotta have one if you live in Florida:)
support and encouragement from friends
Starting our summer curriculum
Ethan’s successful end of the year evaluation for homeschool
A heart shaped blueberry in my cereal:)
The book of Revelation
Planning our girls weekend to the Here is Our God conference–can’t wait to hear Tim Keller and his wife speak!
New read aloud–Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Playing Uno with the boys