Friday, May 22, 2015

Transplanted into Clay

Right after lunch I dashed outside, leaving the dishes on the table,
in hopes of getting some flower plants transplanted into the soil
before the rain arrived.
The clouds were dark to the west.
Wind was whirling the helicopter seeds off the maple trees
at such a rate that it sounded as though
there were drops already pattering against the ground.

I picked out some flower plants to put into beds,
and some I saved to plant in pots that will sit on our front porch this summer.
These plants are my babies.
Back in the cold of winter I browsed through the seed catalog,
mulling over what seed varieties to buy
for the vegetable garden and flower beds.
I waited for the mailman to bring the package with all the envelopes of seeds.
And then I planted.
Some round seed, some flat, some with odd shapes, some large,
and some so small it was hard to even see them.
And I waited again.
Then there were little bits of green coming through the soil.
The little seedlings lived in our living room on shelves
with lights to grow by.
I watered and waited.
After a number of weeks some had outgrown their space
under the lights, and it was time to move them outside
to begin the hardening off process on the front porch.
They got adjusted to real sunlight and cooler temperatures at night.
But if it was really chilly, they got to come back inside.

 Now it was finally time for them to go
where they were meant to be from the beginning.
In the flowerbeds.
I set to work digging holes.
In some beds my trowel slipped easily into the earth
and brought up dark loose soil.
Perfection for little plants to begin to thrive.
Another area I planted required muscle and chopping at the dirt.
There were bright red clay clods coming to the surface.
And you know, I actually felt sorry for the little plants
with their tender white roots that were going into this hard soil.
It actually wasn’t fair that two plants
went in with the red clay,
while the other two, from the very same container,
went into the rich dark soil. 

That’s when I started thinking…

It’s something that stirs deep inside me when I think of myself
at this time in history,
in this country of the United States of America,
raised by a father and mother who loved me and protected me.
When I think of right now and the little family that is my own.
It isn’t fair that I have all of this.
So, so, SO many of my Christian brothers and sisters,
whether they live a half mile from me
or on the other side of the world,
have a life that doesn’t include these blessings.

On the other hand I have known my own seasons of hardship and pain.

As I put my little plants in the ground
I pondered God’s immeasurable plans and purposes.

I didn’t care less for the flowers I was placing in the clay
than I did for the ones going into the good soil.

Sometimes God moves us to a place of hardship,
a time in our lives where the soil is red clay
and it feels like our tender roots of faith will die.
It feels unfair that we are in this desperate time
when others seem to live life so easily.
Like the God who nurtured and loved us no longer cares.

But just like I will water and fertilize
and watch my own little plants,
God cares for each of His own.
He will not forsake the ones He loves.

In the same way that I have a plan as I put my little plants
with their tender roots in a hard place,
God also has a plan.

My plan is for these plants
to bloom and to create beauty where there is ugliness.
Can it be that God’s sure plans for each of His children
in a  difficult circumstance could be the same?

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 
'plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
 plans to give you hope and a future. 
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, 
and I will listen to you. 
You will seek me and find me 
when you seek me with all your heart.' "
 Jeremiah 29:11-13

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