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Grow Where You're Planted

Sometimes, our life in Oregon seems like a different life altogether. So much has changed since we packed up our lives and said goodbye to everything we had ever known. I will remember that last morning forever. Standing in our driveway with the kids in the car, Sharif and I stood there and held one another. Tears were shed; grief, joy, fear, excitement all wrapped around our hearts. We were stepping into an unknown place, and we had no idea what to expect of it.

When I think of how we made our way to North Carolina, I can't help but imagine that God planted us here. He plucked us up out of the soil of life in Oregon, and planted us here in North Carolina. At first we felt as out of place as a a pumpkin in a watermelon patch. The soil (both literal and figurative) was foreign and uncomfortable. We didn't know how to nourish our roots, because we had no roots here.

Over time, however, we began to understand what God saw for us here. He watered us with thunderstorms so beautiful that they take my breath away. He fertilized us with deep friendships and strong community, and he covered us in the sunshine of His word and His people.

When I think about my garden this last year I can't help but see my own life reflected in it. This is our first Summer in our new home and because there was not a garden plot here, we had to start one, meaning that the soil wasn't ideal. It will take years to add the nutrients that will make it the perfect growing environment, and to loosen the hard clay enough to let the plants spread their roots deeply. Yet, the plants did grow. They grew where they were planted, even if there is work still to be done.

Our first year in North Carolina was very much like this years garden. The soil didn't feel soft or fertile, but we grew anyway. Maybe not ideally, but we grew. Each year that I plant a garden on this land the soil will improve, and each year that we allow the soil of our life to improve the stronger we will become. The more opportunities He will place in our path and the deeper we can allow our roots to grow and to spread.

It is my fervent prayer that He will allow us to grow like one of the tulip poplars that I have become so fond of; tall and wide, a pillar of the forest. That in the garden that is our community here we will provide shade, comfort, and respite for those around us, and that our roots will intertwine with those closest to us so that we may all grow strong, right here where God planted us.

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