Bloom Where God Planted You

As I sat near my bedroom window, watching the birds flitting about, and thinking of a good topic for my English speech, I happened to look at our backyard fence. It appeared to be more like a bush instead of a fence, because of various types of vines that had clambered their way up. Then my mind shifted from the fence to the vines, and I recalled that one time there used to be a squash vine amongst them.

We were quite surprised to find the squash vine placed with what seemed to be useless vines. Going around to our neighbors, we asked if any of them planted squash near our fence. However, no one did and nobody knew who planted it. Then, one neighbor said, “Perhaps God planted it”.

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We sometimes call our family “The Most Traveled Family in the World”. Although often stated as a joke since we have not the facts and figures to prove the title we call ourselves, it is no falsehood for we do travel a lot. We’ve journeyed to various places in the Philippines, as far as General Santos, Cotabato in the south, to the east, Borongan, Samar, west, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and up to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.  For distances as far as Manila, Cavite, and Batangas, we have trips almost two to three times a week.

In addition to all those traveling, we have also changed addresses of our dwelling places. In fact, in all my seventeen years, we have moved from house to house for almost ten times! There were even times when we had to stay at one place for a week and go to another place the week after. But you know, in all those packing and unpacking, and restless traveling, I was learning things of great value.

One thing I learnt was flexibility. Being in a military family, we experienced having calls and sudden decisions to be made. Anytime, in at least ten minutes, we should’ve been able to pack clothes and other necessities, and ready to go. (This was one cause why we were homeschooled; it was easy to take our schoolwork with us.)

Next to flexibility, another character that was built in me was contentment.  I remember wishing I could have a pet, but I knew that due to our frequent trips, it would be impossible. So, I gave up wishing, and made myself happy having our good watchdog around. Such small things, but if you’re happy and satisfied with small things, you will be content with big things. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  Content to sleep on the floor of the car, content to eat whatever is given, yes, it was happy contentment in all things.

While these are good traits to have, the most important lesson I learnt was to bloom wherever God planted me. We moved houses, had different neighbors, saw different cultures, but in everything that had happened, God saw it fit to use us in every place He put us in. I have thus learnt that God will choose to put us in places where He wants us to serve Him, and we must rely on His leading for our life and simply do our best for our Lord Jesus Christ.

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“Perhaps God planted it.” Yes, I believe God planted it. No one knew who planted it, no one watered it, no one cared to tend to it, but still it grew and its flowers bloomed. In time, the flowers turned to fruit, and we were able to enjoy it in many meals and even share with our neighbors. The squash vine bloomed where God planted it and God used it to feed families and be a blessing. In a way, we are like this vine–planted, watered, and tended by God. Should we not do our best for Him in any place He puts us, just like this squash that bloomed?

The Making of a Submissive Wife

I have heard many wives say, “Being a submissive wife is a learning process.” It’s true. However, it will be easier for a woman to learn Biblical submission if, in her childhood, she has learnt obedience. Being a wife starts at the time when the minister says, “I now pronounce you husband and wife”, but learning to be a submissive wife does not. It starts early in life and at home, when a little girl is being taught to obey.

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Four-year-old Sarah did not understand why Mommy and Daddy kept telling her what to do and what not to do. She could not see why they demanded her obedience. Tick-tock-tick-tock…and years pass by. Now she obeys voluntarily whenever her parents tell her to do something. Tick-tock-tick-tock…and more years pass by. A young lady now, she is learning to submit to her father’s authority. She had the choice to disregard Daddy’s advice (which is actually from the Bible), but because she has learned to obey, Sarah submits to what Daddy wants. Tick-tock-tick-tock…time flies. Little Sarah has matured to a beautiful virtuous woman and is happily married. Her husband rejoices in the blessing of having a submissive wife. (That was a quick story, wasn’t it? J)

 

Here’s how it went:

 

  1. Obedience demanded

 When Sarah was four, Mommy wanted her to memorize Ephesians 6:1. “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.” But she never understood what it meant. Her parents would tell her to obey what they wanted her to do and not to do because it was for her own good. If she did not obey, there was the switch. During this time, Sarah’s explanation of her verse was: Children ought to obey their parents because it is right.

 

2. Voluntary and happy obedience

 As Sarah grew up, her understanding of Ephesians 6:1 increased. Not only would she obey her parents because it is right, but also because it pleases the Lord. Her obedience to her parents gave testimony that she wanted to serve God. She learnt that obeying without murmurings and making faces, in other words, obeying because you’re happy to do it, is doing God’s Word and pleasing Him.

 

3. Submission in obedience (while in her father’s authority)

 There were many instances during her teenage years when Sarah wanted to go somewhere with a group of young people. Most, if not all, of them profess to be Christians. She would tell her dad where she wanted to go, who are the people she would be with, why she wanted to go, etc. Dad would then tell her why he did not want her to go, giving hint that he does not give his consent. He gives her Biblical truths that give him the reason not to permit her to go. Since Sarah has learnt to obey, and because she wants to please the Lord Jesus Christ, she happily obeys what her dad (and the Bible) says. In obeying, she is learning to submit under her father’s authority. Obedience is the stepping-stone to submission.

 

4. Happy submission (when she is married)

 Years pass by…oh, how time flies! Sarah is now happily married to a Godly man who loves her “even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it”. Her memory verse is changed. Her childhood verse was, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord…”. Now, her present verse says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” –(Ephesians 5:22) She has learnt to obey and submit to her father’s authority; it is easier now for her to learn to submit to her own husband.

 

As a little girl, Sarah saw that her obedience to her parents pleases the Lord and is one sure way of serving God; this was her understanding of the application of Ephesians 6:1. Comparing this verse with Ephesians 5:22, she saw that these two verses were parallel. The way that she happily obeyed and submitted to her dad is the same way she now joyfully submits to her husband, and because of that, her husband also praises her, and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is glorified.

 

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You marvel at the elder women who, with their example, “teach the younger women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands”. You esteem virtuous women and submissive wives, and you wonder how they became to be so. Look around, and you’ll see. It starts when one is young, and it starts at home.