Bloom where you are planted

Rev. Janis Heiser

There is a phrase that became very popular in the 1970’s: “Bloom Where You Are Planted.”

I remember it being everywhere on coffee mugs, wall hangings, notebooks, pens… everyone was using it to remind ourselves “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

Recently, I decided to go on a search and find out where this idiom came from. Many think it was in the Bible. Although many Bible truths can be taken from these words, “bloom where you are planted” is not in the Bible. But most give the initial credit to St. Francis of de Sales (1567-1622), a Bishop of Geneva.

St. Francis was known for having a deep faith and peaceful attitude in the many divisions during the Reformation. A famous quote of his was: “True charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.” Modern translation became “Bloom where you are planted.” However, recently there words became very personal to me.

My mother, Betty Kerns was born in 1923, the Roaring Twenties and lived through the Great

Depression, WWII, the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s 90s and the entering of the year 2000, Y2K and 9/11.

My mom was only married 6 months in 1942, when my father was drafted into WWII. He was gone for three years serving in the entire European war zone. He came back from the war but not the same man she married. Their marriage lasted 29 years. Seven years later, she married again; only to become a widow 14 years later.

She had a remarkable life, a “roller coaster” life, full of highs and joy. Yet sometimes her life was very painful, hard, and hurtful; definitely a panoramic experience of American history, culture, styles and change. She passed away this past Thanksgiving Day, 2019. She was 96 years old.

As I miss her everyday and think about my relationship with her, I see her evolve and grow throughout the decades and her trials, circumstances, and ups and downs, “bloom where you are planted” describes her the best.

My mother was a “Lady” at times very private, personal, and quiet but wonderfully creative with a surprising sense of humor. She was a master gardener. She loved gardening and loved spending time caring for plants and flowers.

When my mother turned 90, I asked her what she was thinking about while quietly tending to her plants. She responded quickly, “Oh that is when I pray and talk to God.” I thought “wow!”

My mother was a believer in Jesus Christ. Her faith in God was not flamboyant and many times not spoken about. But her faith was a deep, sensitive commitment to God that she could express through gardening and seeing flowers take shape and grow. I, on the other hand, did not inherit her gardening talents. My children beg me not to buy plants for myself. So curiously, I asked her what was her secret. Her response was so profoundly spiritual. Undeniably a “springboard” for a great sermon on our Christian walk with God.

My mom’s wisdom is: “First you find a place that the plant loves to be.” We all need to know that we are loved. We search in so many different directions, trying to fill this void in us.

The only true answer is with God. John 3:16, “For God so loves the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The proof of God’s love is the gift of Jesus. God loves you and He has a purpose and a plan for every believer who has given their heart and life to Jesus.

God will provide a place that you “love to be” because you are there with Him. In His wisdom, God will guide us to different places. Sometimes the circumstances of our lives are not the most pleasant, but there is always a good reason for us being there.

Secondly and often the hardest, my mom said, “Prune the plant. Remove all the dead and unhealthy parts affecting the growth of the plant. Make sure that you get it all out.”

Sin and anything contrary to God can block the blessings of God in our lives. We cannot be fruitful if we are carrying around a lot of negative, harmful past experiences and feelings. We need to be pruned of what is not of God.

Sometimes we need to be transplanted and being uprooted is not always fun. This is where trust comes in and belief that God’s wisdom and timing are best.

Lastly, “Keep caring for the plant. You may think that you have ‘killed’ the plant because you have removed so much. But be patient, keep caring for it and it will grow back healthy, and better than before.”

We often experience horrific situations that we can see no rhyme or reason for. This is the time to turn to prayer and the Word of God. There are times where I have just held my Bible for strength.

What are some ways you can bloom where you are planted?

1. Be who you are called by God to be. Be fruitful. “But 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

2. Be the best that you can be in your circumstances. Be the best that God has called you to be with what He has given you.

3. Do what is right even in the hardest of times.

4. Do not fear. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

5. Do not become tired of doing good things, of helping others. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Today we are living in unsure, difficult and often fearful times. We are experiencing and doing things we have never known before, totally like a “fish out of water,” some stretched to a far extent. Plans and commitments are being postponed or canceled. We have many uncertainties. What is going to happen? How can we return to “normal?”

Bloom where you are planted. Stay in God’s peace, content with the knowledge that God is all loving and all-powerful. Use this time to draw closer to Him and seek His will.

God will give us all the answers we need and supply all of our needs… one step… one-day… one prayer at a time. I cannot guarantee the future will return to the past but in God’s design it will be better.

I think of my mother just digging in the earth. She found her peace and connection with God. To the ordinary passerby, she might have seemed as an “old woman” quietly spending time with plants. But oh, she was much more than that… so much deeper… I pray that you find God and become closer to Him in all your circumstances.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Janis Heiser of River of Life Fellowship Church, Lock Haven.


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