Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tips For Triumphant Living -- Bloom Where You're Planted
There was a book published years ago, called, "Bloom Where You're Planted." I always loved the idea and have tried to live my life that way. It's not easy, but God gave me a beautiful example through my sister, Leslie.
During much of her life, she was a wreck of a person. That doesn't sound like a nice thing to say about someone, especially not a sister, but it's a true statement.
Leslie, had a great beginning. She had loving parents. They loved each other and her. She was the youngest of five children, was intelligent, beautiful and a superb athlete. And she had a special love for animals of all kinds, including things like iguanas.
In spite of all that she was unhappy. As a child she was the victim of abuse, something our family didn't know about until she revealed it to us as an adult. I think her self loathing began during the years of abuse. An additional heartache was the death of our father when she was a young teen. The hurts sent her down a path of alcoholism and drug addiction. And her fight with lupus and bi-polar condition began when she was just a teen.
Her life resembled a battle field, but she fought back and overcame the addictions to alcohol and drugs. Lupus forced her into a nursing home at an early age. It was devastating to her and her family. But God had a plan for my sister, and the nursing home was part of it.
Psalm 1:3 says, "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season."
For many years, God called to my sister, but she resisted Him. His love never wavered, especially when her path led her into the nursing home. He planted her where she could bloom, a most unlikely place.
The early weeks and months in her new home my sister was miserable. It seemed her life had no meaning. Gradually she found her niche. The senior residents needed her sharp mind and she came alongside many of them, helping them manage medical issues, legal matters with the state and with their families. She became a trusted friend to many.
Life in a nursing home can be dismal so Leslie built bird houses and homes for squirrels to attract the wild creatures into the home's garden where they could be enjoyed. And even though she couldn't walk, she planted hundreds of flowers in those gardens. And she was the one who convinced the directors that a dog would be good for all the residents.
Those of us who loved her watched Leslie bloom. She'd fought God all her life, but in a modest nursing home she found purpose and she found the Lord. When she was just forty three she died from complications of lupus. But before she flew off to heaven she bloomed and became a beautiful picture of what God can do with a life bent before Him.
Even in the midst of the worst circumstances there is joy to be found. Place yourself in God's hands and He will enrich your life and you will bloom.
Grace and peace to you from God.