Qui transtulit sustinet. (He who transplanted still sustains.)
-Connecticut State Motto
Are you ready for an exercise in imagination? Picture a particular flower. (Mine’s a peach ranunculus.) Come on, it’ll be fun. Mentally plant your flower on a plain, grassy hill. Now picture a copy of that flower, but place it in the middle of a verdant garden, wild colors spilling everywhere around it.
Against which background does your flower make a bigger visual impact?
Church planting can often feel like the first scenario—no other blooms in sight. You’re a surprising burst of color, but you’re lonely and insecure about your placement on that bare little hill. But what if the area God has called you to will eventually look like the second snapshot? What if all the surrounding barrenness needs is a bee to be drawn to your scent to start spreading pollen, a breeze to pick up your seeds and scatter them abroad?
Every church planting wife has a choice: to flounder or to flourish.
Floundering is natural at first. We can’t help but feel the “transplant shock” of being uprooted from our homes and friends and sense of normalcy. Between a slimmer income and a husband under more ministry pressure than ever before, not to mention adjusting to a new culture, it’s no wonder the world seems shaky.
But at some point, we face a decision. Will we lean hard into what the Lord has brought us here to do, or will we shrivel up in fear?
Leaning hard grows a sturdy soul that has faced the icy blasts of winter and pushed up through the soil anyway. A steady stream of the Transplanter’s energy feeds us through the darkest of nights and the harshest of storms. We may or may not be aware of the outward transformation taking place; others can’t help but notice.
Granted, sometimes the ground you find yourself planted in is less than cheery. (It obviously needed some sprucing up.) But it was specially chosen for your growth, and you were specially chosen for its development. If the Master Gardener is trustworthy, then the question naturally turns from “Is this really the right spot for me?” to “How best can I bloom here?”
Some keys to thriving in a harsh climate:
- You need water. Soaking up the Word daily is the simplest, most basic necessity for a planted wife.
- You need food. Prayer is spiritual “Miracle-Gro,” your source of nutrition for a bountiful yield.
- You need light. Find people of peace with whom you can create community around the Son. Gospel friends are a must in ministry.
- You need protection. Give yourself room to rest. Burnout is one of the biggest pests in the planting world—guard against it like crazy.
- You need roots. If you’re waiting around for something (or somewhere) better, you’ll miss out on being here now.
- Most of all, you need the Gardener. Your thriving is ultimately His responsibility, and He knows what He’s doing. Remember that.
So the next time you look around and see nothing but a plot of grass, don’t drown in discouragement. Rather, let your eyes fill with the future: a new creation, a second Eden, right in your own backyard.
And then bloom.