Nearly 3 years ago I sat across a table in S. Africa, sharing my story with an African Christian leader. He said, “The pain and unsettledness you’re experiencing now is God digging around your roots. He is getting ready either to fertilize you for greater growth or to transplant you.” Since then, I’ve been watching for signs - sniffing to discern whether that smell was fertilizer or something else. It turns out to be something else.
When I realized last November that we were being transplanted, fear set in. I worried: will the soil be good for us to grow? I wondered: how can we put down roots in a desert?
Then I heard them chatting nonchalantly in the lobby as I lay on the table, face down, in the chiropractor’s office.
“You just cut if off, put the end in water, and it re-grows roots. That’s what those plants are made for.”
“That’s me!” I thought with great surprise and a little bit of pride. That’s what I’ve done my whole life. Every few years, as an “air force brat”, and then as an ever-moving adult, I’ve been cut off, transplanted, and have re-grown roots. So this is nothing new. Nothing scary. It’s what I was made for!
When I thought I was a normal plant, I feared being cut off. (Cut flowers are beautiful and portable. But they fade, wilt and die. Keeping them in water at that point just makes them stinky.) But I’m not normal. (No comments.) I’m made to put down roots again in a totally new environment. I don’t even need soil! Just plenty of water. And God has already promised to be that for me.
The beauty of this kind of plant is that it can easily be multiplied. The roots left behind – the ones that have gone deep into Madison soil for 12 years, the roots that have been going down into InterVarsity soil for 29 years - will grow a new thing after I’m gone. That’s a comfort. And it’s comforting, too, to know for sure that I’ll be able to grow roots again. It’s what I’m made for!
Nairy Ohanian is a former colleague and an amazing, cross-cultural woman. She's a beautiful example of a plant that's made to put down roots even after being cut off. Her book, Now, Can You Trust Me, is a collection of often humorous, always inspiring stories from her years in Armenia.http://www.nairysstories.com/
Are there signs in your life that God is either fertilizing you for growth or preparing you for transplanting? Ask God for insight into your life circumstances and for receptivity to His work in your life.Looking back on your life, do you see similar experiences cropping up? Is there a pattern that gives you insight into what you are made for? Ask God for clarity. What skills and wisdom have you gained through those experiences that can be leveraged in your current circumstances? Thank God for giving you everything you need to grow and to thrive.