Today’s post is brought to us by an amazing lady who has stepped into the place of ministering to those of us in ministry. I’d like to welcome Lindsey to the Simple Deep Life blog today as she shares with us an incredibly meaningful topic for so many women in ministry. Lindsey blogs at Interrupted Hopeful and you can also find her behind the scenes at The Open Door Sisterhood, or on Instagram. It’s an honor to have her here today on Simple Deep Life.
A wise woman once told me, “Bloom where you are planted.” I have clung to those words ever since, they have sort of become my life motto I guess you could say. At the time, my husband and I, newlyweds actually, had just moved from South Carolina to Ohio. My husband had taken a job as a high school youth pastor at a large United Methodist Church. We knew absolutely no one and had been plopped right in the middle of a sea of cornfields. The first year was fun and carefree. I was still “playing house” and discovering what it means to be a wife and take care of my own domain or in our case, a one-bedroom apartment. And then came our one-year anniversary and it’s like I woke up from my dream. It finally hit me that I had moved almost 600 miles away from family and friends, from everything familiar and comfortable. Oh, the things you do for love…
I will never forget my conversation with an “oh so wise woman.” She was a mom to two boys in our youth group and was one of the first to take us under her wing. She was originally from Mississippi and the common thread we shared was our southern roots, which was like a breath of fresh air to me. She had actually lived all over the place due to her husband’s job. She invited me out to lunch one day and was graciously pouring in to my soul. She knew what it was like to be far from family and friends. She also knew, that in order to thrive in a new and unfamiliar place, that it took courage and lots of grace. Maybe it was the scared look in my eyes or the loneliness that she could sense in my heart. She looked right at me and said, “ The best piece of advice I can give you is to ‘Bloom where you are planted.’” Her words that day were exactly what I needed to get me out of my funk and help me wake up.
It took two years for me to feel like I was finally starting to “bloom.” There were a lot of two steps forwards and one step back dancing going on. Two major life changes helped propel me forward, but the one I want to share with you today was a changing of season in ministry for my husband and ultimately for me as well.
As I said earlier, what brought us to Ohio was my husband’s job as a High school Youth Pastor. However, a little over 2 years of pouring his heart and soul into this ministry, he transitioned out and into the role as Teaching Pastor. This was totally new territory for me. I knew how to come alongside him in guiding and loving on teenagers but this whole teaching pastor gig, had me like a fish out of water. I no longer knew how to support him or how I could help serve alongside him. While I was super proud of him and knew that this was where he was most gifted, I had a pity party for myself for well over a year.
Side note: there’s much more to be said about all of this but what I’ve learned thus far about being a pastor’s wife is for me to share at another time.
Anyways, finally one fall sitting at church feeling all alone, like no one understood what it was like to be a pastor’s wife or a wife of someone in ministry, I had a light bulb moment. With a church our size and so many people on staff, surely I couldn’t be the only pastor’s wife/ministry wife who had these struggles. So I reached out to some other wives and we started meeting every Wednesday night. We shared our joys and frustrations of life lived in ministry. We prayed with and for each other. We challenged each other in our marriages and in our walks with Christ. We were each other’s Aarons and Hurs holding each other’s arms up when we grew tired and weary. These women were some of the strongest, wisest, Jesus lovin’, interrupted hopefuls that I have had the privilege of doing life with. My life was forever changed because of these women. And on those Wednesday nights for two years, I bloomed. And now, I find myself once again in new territory. We recently moved back to South Carolina this past spring. While this is home, it's changed and the people have changed over the last 6 years just like I have. I have been pondering that phrase again, “Bloom where you are planted,” and asking God in what ways He wants me to do just that.
And maybe like me, you are finding yourself in new territory as well. Maybe for you, like it was for my husband, it’s transitioning from one ministry to another.
Or maybe God is calling you away from full time ministry for a season and asking you to be patient until He leads you to the next right thing.
Whatever season you find yourself in, whatever new place, be all there and bloom where God has planted you. Don’t get caught up in dwelling
on the past but be fully present and ready for the new adventures that await you. When you think you should be further ahead than you are, be kind and gracious to yourself.
And know this, courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s being afraid but doing it anyway.