My mom taught us to do our own laundry at a very early age. I spent a good deal of time in the laundry room (especially during my teenage years). Hanging above the washing machine was a tiny framed drawing of a red flower growing out of a tin can with the caption: "Bloom where you are planted."
I always read that sentence and assumed it meant "stay." The grass isn't always greener. God has placed you here for a reason. Grow roots. Be content, etc.
So when my parents floated the idea of a move to New York when I was in high school, I balked. I sobbed. I pleaded with them to allow me to stay. How would I survive anywhere else? What about blooming where I had been planted? We stayed.
My hometown is an amazing historic community called Portland within the larger city of Louisville, KY. My grandmother lived most of her 99 years there within about a 4 block radius. She had everything she needed: church, family, grocery, friends. When the family pitched in and bought her a helicopter ride for her 95th birthday, she had the pilot circle Portland. When her friends later told her she'd missed the excitement of a helicopter hovering above the church, Grandma told them with a twinkle in her eye that she hadn't missed the excitement; she was the excitement!
I love my roots. I love that I walked to school every day until high school. Grandma was only a 5 minute walk away, 2 minutes if I rode my bike. High school was only a few miles away. When Aaron and I got married and he got a job in Cincinnati, OH, I was terrified. Cincinnati?! That was an hour and half away! Were they even in the same time zone?? I cried and cried.
But then God showed me the hidden meaning in the picture above the washing machine: The flower was planted in a tin can. Portable. With His help I could "bloom" wherever He planted me. He is the constant companion and Light. He knows I need people in my life. I crave friendship and community. And He provides friends wherever we go…Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Washington, Texas...
Yup. Literally halfway around the world. Now I'm as adventurous as the next girl, but the thought of this big move takes my breath away. Aaron and I will be traveling there in a few weeks to search for housing and schools. We haven't signed on the dotted line yet…but I imagine that's coming soon. And I can't wait to see what God has planned!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9