Bloom Where You Are Planted

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Floyd has had a good week.  He had some special visits with friends who came for the All Nations Gathering last week.   One of his therapists said he was very energetic in his session with her too, more so than normal.  That's a good thing.  

The All Nations Gathering was a great week.  We had workers here from 33 of the 44 countries we work in.  So many said how much they appreciated the fellowship, and how sweet the Lord's presence was in the times together.  I told Floyd that he would have been so happy to see how special the time was.

Mary Ho, the international director who took over from Floyd, has done an awesome job of leading.  She has had a challenging task in taking over from Floyd so unexpectedly, but she has done so well. 

I wasn't able to be at the Gathering for the whole time because of my low energy levels, but it was special for me to be able to share a message the had given me on "The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength”.  In spite of not having a lot of energy, the Lord helped me. 

I have hard days with a lack of energy, numbness in my feet and several other things that are plaguing me as well.  On the rough days, I rest.  God is always faithful to restore me.

There have been some reports in the news recently about an object that has streaked across our skies that originates from outside our solar system.  There was great excitement over this.  It's only the 2nd time that an interstellar object has been observed that crossed into our solar system.  They have named it - they're studying it - and are watching it closely.  It will be closest to earth in early Dec. 

I was excited reading about it......and then the thought came to me that we are impacted daily by something outside our universe!!  God breaks into our lives every day with His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His strength, and His sweet words into our hearts.  It may become so "normal" that we forget what an awesome thing it is.  The Creator of the universe reaches down into our human existence and touches our lives.  He loves us, He meets our needs, and He works on our behalf in countless ways every day.  How wonderful He is!

I am keenly aware that I wouldn't have made it on our unexpected journey if the God of all creation hadn't helped me each step of the way.  He has directed each of those steps.  He has strengthened my faith in the uncertainty.  He has brought good into the midst of the hard times.  He has given me His "peace that passes understanding" in the turmoil of all that has happened.  He has worked in ways that only He can on this journey.  He has cleared away the fog and confusion when I've faced big decisions.  He has poured out His joy, which is my strength.  He has given me courage to persevere on the long journey.  He has met my every need.  He has been so, so good and faithful!

For all the scientists who are excited about this interstellar object, I wish I could share with them about how we are impacted from outside our solar system by the God of the universe every minute of every day.  It's so much more exciting than any object they are studying!

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are  higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."  Isaiah 55:8,9

"Have you never heard?  Have you never understood?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth.  He never grows weak or weary.  No one can measure the depths of His understanding."  Isaiah 40:28

"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?"  Psalm 8:3,4 

My heart is full to overflowing in gratitude that God, the creator of the universe, continually breaks into my life with His goodness.  He is so awesome!

We have a small bottle brush tree in our back yard.  It's in full bloom right now.  In fact, it's in "over-the-top" bloom!  I looked at it a few days ago in amazement.  It has so many flowers in bloom that there are hardly any green leaves left......and I'm surprised it doesn't topple over with the weight.  It's really beautiful.  The picture at the top of this update is one just like it.

As I stood looking at it, I could sense the still small voice of the Lord speaking into my heart.  It's a small tree, but it is abundantly "fruitful" in its blossoms.  Its gnarly branches bear testimony to the fact that it has weathered the stormy Cape weather.  It doesn't seem like a very big, strong tree - but it has stood the test of time and is producing the most beautiful, vibrant flowers.

I sensed the Spirit saying that we may think ourselves small, weak even, but as we weather what comes our way, with the Lord's help - He will bring beauty and fruitfulness from our lives.  He will help us to "bloom."

Years ago I received a card that said "bloom where you are planted."  I took that phrase as a personal motto in my heart.  I determined I wanted to do that - wherever I was, in whatever situations I found myself.  I heard someone say once that even if you find yourself planted under concrete, look for the crack to find your way out.  In the hardest situations, there is always a way to "bloom."

I don't want to stop blooming when I find myself in a difficult situation.  I think a key to that is to always have a heart of gratitude towards the Lord regardless of our circumstances.  There are always things to be thankful for.....and as we worship Him, it gets our situation back in its proper perspective and allows us to bloom and grow.

I have been grateful that in the midst of my need and weakness of our unexpected journey, He has given me opportunities to still bloom, to still be fruitful.  I have been weak - but He is always strong!  And He doesn't "waste" anything we go through.  He helps us learn and grow!

"Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."  Jeremiah 17:7,8

"The godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon."  Psalm 92:12

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives."  Proverbs 11:30

"Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."  John 15:4,5

"The name of the second he called Ephraim, 'For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.' " Genesis 41:52

There is beauty to be brought forth in whatever life throws at us - be it lemons, rocks, sickness, or unexpected journeys.  With God's help we can be fruitful in any season, in any situation......we can "bloom" where we are planted!