Posted by: Jennifer | March 6, 2010

Bloom where you’re planted?

       I’ve always wondered about the quote, “bloom where you’re planted.” The concept is inspiring, admonishing us to flourish where God has placed us. But trying to coach flowers out of plants in my over-shaded Florida yard, I’ve had to rethink my application of the quote.
       Plants will not bloom unless they have water, the right soil type, and the correct amount of sunlight. I learned this from painful experience…I’ve planted bougainvilla in no less than four different places in my yard and FINALLY, this amateur gardener has one small, potted, blooming bougainvilla! It just required drier soil (which I’ve achieved in a pot) and full sunlight.
       It was during one of these plant relocations that I found myself rather irritated with the whole “bloom where you’re planted” concept. If plants have physical constraints that prevent them from flourishing then obviously people do too! Yes, God is in control and can give grace and strength for immobile situations, but what of those areas we can alter?
       Homeschooling provides a wonderful example. After successfully teaching Sunshine and our neighbor’s son how to read with the ABeka phonics program, I decided to branch out and use a program more suited to Sweetie’s temperament. Well, I was wrong. Her reading skills stagnated, and within a few weeks, she had shriveled into a little girl who hated reading. Eventually I woke up, reminding myself that the beauty of homeschooling was the freedom to alter the teaching style, and I “changed the soil.” I switched her over to the ABeka program and now she’s blossomed into a little reader.
       Changing gears mid-year is a pain, just like pulling up that dratted bougainvilla and replanting it took time and effort (actually my husband’s time and effort – he calls the plant ‘evil’ since its thorns attack when you least expect it!) But at last, I have a blooming little bougainvilla and a blossoming reader!
       Instead of “bloom where you’re planted,” I now prefer Reinhold Niebuhr’s serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
       May you have a glorious day tending your own gardens!


  1. This is great! Thank you! I needed it!!! you should write a DEVOTIONAL book!!!!

  2. Kids and their differences are hard to tend, but fascinating. Thanks for this great story!

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