I visited a local nursery a few months ago to buy vegetable plants for our garden. I took Aaron with me, hoping that he would enjoy seeing the various goodies that we were going to plant in our garden. But Aaron had eyes for one thing only – sunflowers!
“MOM!!” he exclaimed as I stood at the counter to pay, “can I get some sunflowers?”
I turned to see him with the packet of sunflower seeds already in hand, so I agreed. He watched carefully as the cashier scanned the small package, all the while talking excitedly to her about how we were going to grow SUNFLOWERS!!
We decided to plant the little seeds between our house and our neighbor’s house, near her raised garden beds. This way, their children could also enjoy the sunflowers. Amanda loved the idea, so one afternoon Gary dug the holes…I handed three seeds to Aaron to plant in each hole…and Aaron bent over to place them in the ground. We covered them up and went about our day.
Aaron wanted those sunflowers to be growing the next day but growing takes time. Growing takes lots of patience. One day, though, we saw the tiny shoots emerging from the ground! Aaron was SO excited! Over the next weeks we watched each little bitty plant become more and more established. They grew!
But not into the huge sunflowers that we have had in the past. These seem to be smaller sunflowers, or maybe they are responding to the harsh heat and the dry weather we have had.
Then one day, Amanda texted me with some exciting news. We had a bloom! Later, Aaron and I walked out to the row of sunflowers and sure enough, there was one bloom.
I noticed something that day. The pretty sunflower that had been the first to bloom was the smallest of the others in that row. Its flower wasn’t large and impressive like ones you typically see in Kansas fields.
Yet the happiness that our little blooming sunflower gave all of us was huge!
Sometimes I feel like my life is that of the small sunflower. Others are living more impressive lives similar to the taller sunflowers that stood on each side of our shorter plant…lives, quite honestly, that I thought I might have.
But God has taken that measly sunflower that bloomed first and has used it to reinforce a lesson I know well in my head but don’t often practice in my heart.
Yesterday God gave me a verse that says it perfectly, as only God can:
“The Lord has made everything for its own purpose…” (Proverbs 16:4)
God has planted me where I am for a purpose.
And more importantly, God has planted Aaron in my life for a purpose as well.
If I believe in God’s sovereignty…and I do…then I must also believe that every area of my life is sovereignly planned with purpose by Him.
My idea of great purpose is usually not God’s idea.
Yet God’s idea is always best and right. Not always easy or even fulfilling on many days…but always best.
I can live a life that shines for God as I care for Aaron, or I can live a stunted life of anger and questions and comparisons to others.
I can see Aaron as a weight that keeps me down, or I can see Aaron as a means of experiencing God’s joy.
I can bloom or I can wither.
And here’s the catch. Often no one…NO one…sees my bloom. I feel like my life has no purpose.
But God clearly says that He has made everything for its own purpose.
I am to bloom brightly for Him, not so that my bloom will necessarily be seen and admired by others but so that I will grow in grace and be more like Christ.
So, little sunflower, I am thankful that you were planted where you were. I’m thankful for yet another lesson that God planted in my heart using the least of these.
May I live a faithful life no matter how small I think it might be.