2016: Page 99

If each day carries a predominant theme, then page 99 seemed to have the theme of “Bloom Where You’re Planted.”  After sleeping in longer than what I thought I might, I made the 2 1/2 hour drive to Lansing, Michigan to set up the Impact Prayer Ministry display at the Michigan Christian Convention.  When I arrived, I sat in on a session being taught by Ben Merold as I waited for a break to be able to set up the display.  It is interesting that at a convention with a theme of “Relevant”, Ben continues to teach material that I’ve heard him do for a lot of years yet it remains relevant because it continues to work.  For many, when they talk about the church no longer being relevant, they mean it no longer works for them.  God’s Word is always relevant because it works, but it only works in our favor if we apply it.  

At the first break I was able to set up my display and begin talking to people about the work God continues to do through the prayer ministry.  Then during the lunch break I had lunch with a Great Lakes student that was a part of the children’s ministry I led in my early years at Deer Run.  It was exciting to hear her enthusiasm for a mission trip she plans to take this summer and to listen to her pursuit of God being lived out.  The afternoon was filled with a lot of great conversations that were an encouragement to me and I pray were an encouragement to those I talked with and shared the prayer-based resources with.  

As the convention took a dinner break, I was still full from lunch so I grabbed my cameras and took a walk that was almost a 3 mile round-trip from the college to a nearby park.  There was a chill in the air and an occasional flurry of snow but I still managed to get some photos I liked.  With spring’s reluctance to show up, there were not a lot flowers showing color yet but there were patches of daffodils blooming at various places in the woods along the trail.  At the turnaround point of the trail was a small pond with ducks, gulls, and geese gliding across the water looking for bread that someone evidently had been feeding them.  As I walked back toward the college, my mind entered a period of darkness for some reason . . . or for no reason.  The inner questioning of what am I really doing returned and the enemy began to replant the seeds of doubt and despair that anything I do makes a difference anywhere.  It was as this battle was going on within my mind and spirit that I noticed the randomness of the daffodils.  They weren’t always in a place that made sense and they weren’t always in a place that was very noticeable.  Where they were didn’t seem to matter, they were simply doing what they were created to do and blooming where they were planted.  

When I returned to the convention, there were more conversations with people as they came in for the evening session/concert.  Then during the concert, Andrew Peterson talked about struggling with intense sadness for periods of time and finding how God would use memories from the midst of those struggles to form songs.  As he shared in song and testimony I felt that God wanted me to share with him so after the concert and after he had signed CD’s and books for people, I thanked him for his music and his testimony and gave him a copy of each of my poetic devotional books telling him that it was usually in the times of my greatest depression and discouragement that God would put poems in my mind that I wrote down and eventually put into books.  I don’t know if he will read them or even do anything with them, but I did what I believe God wanted me to do in sharing them.  God planted me in this place at this time so my faithful response is to do my part in blooming where I’m planted.

I pray that you and I would realize there is some type of work for us to do wherever we are.  I pray that even when the “work” God calls us to do is rest, that we would be obedient in doing it.  I pray that we would make the most of the opportunities to encourage the people around us.  I pray that we would allow God to use even the seasons of discouragement we face to cause us to listen more intently to Him.  I pray that we would do the things His Spirit prompts us to do even when they are outside of our comfort zone and may not make much sense to us.

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