I don’t remember how long ago it was, but I do remember that I was having a very normal day. Nothing exciting. Nothing terribly interesting. Certainly nothing spectacular. One of those days that if asked, I would have a hard time really saying what I had done during that day. Not that I hadn’t accomplished anything, but what’s to talk about when it comes to errands, cleaning, laundry, and ironing?
In fact, that’s what I was doing when my phone rang. Ironing. Ironing Gary’s work clothes for the next day. My dear friend, Atha, was on the other end of the phone. I have to admit that when she asked what I was up to, I was a little hesitant to tell her. You see, Atha is Dr. Athalene McNay. She was working on starting her own business. She was a college and university professor. She never, ever made me feel inferior. She is one of my dearest encouragers and friends. It was my own self that made me hesitate before I just told her the truth. I told her I was ironing, feeling in my heart that somehow what I was doing sounded so mundane and boring and unprofessional compared to her life.
And dear Atha, who always lifted me up, said, “Patty, you are established in your purpose.”
I remember standing in that bedroom, overwhelmed by her simple statement. Suddenly I felt that ironing was pretty important after all. I told her how much I loved her words as I processed their significance in those few moments. I’ve never forgotten it. I think of it often. I relish what those words mean.
Established in my purpose.
I was surprised last week to walk out our back door and see our Forsythia bush in full bloom. It’s so early for it to be blooming, but we’ve had unusually mild weather for weeks now. This past Saturday I pruned just the very top spindly limbs that were way too tall, but I left the beautiful blooms alone. This is the prettiest it’s bloomed in many years. We see it instantly when we walk out back. We can see it from the road behind our house. And when we drive up to our house, it and the other smaller one just jump out at us with their bright color from far away. Impressive. Satisfying to see. An instant draw.
I’ve also thought of another bloom that caught my eye last year. I came out our front door one day and my eye was drawn down to a beautiful rose colored bloom. There it was, one lone Gerbera Daisy blooming while all the other plants were just green with no blooms in sight. It was just one little flower, it’s open side toward the house, all alone and hardly noticed. No one could see it from the road in front of the house, much less from far away. Some of its petals had fallen off, so it wasn’t even perfect. But I was drawn to that pretty little flower’s bright color every time I came outside. It cheered me and made me happy to see it. Its smallness didn’t diminish its beauty or its effect on me.
The little daisy was as established in its purpose as is my big Forsythia bush. Both doing what they are intended to do…..bloom where they are, as they are, and to accomplish their purpose.
Established in their purpose.
Can I say the same? Can you? Do you know the purpose that God has for you?
I knew before I ever married that I desired to be at home with any children that God blessed me to have. I loved being able to do that! I loved home schooling them. I’ve always loved being able to keep our house running smoothly. And little did I know that God would give us Aaron, whom I still care for here at home. Atha knew that about me….knew my God-given desires and knew that I needed to know on that day the truth that she said. The truth that was a shot of encouragement in my veins.
I was established in my purpose.
I have to admit that my purpose doesn’t often seem very grand. I’m more like the small daisy, when many times I wish I could be a big bright Forsythia. We don’t like to admit it, but we all place a certain value on being big and bright and beautiful in the eyes of others. Being important and noticed. Making a splash.
Somehow ironing clothes doesn’t quite fit the bill.
But it fits the bill in God’s eyes, if that is part of the purpose that He has given me. All of us has a purpose. So let’s be established in it.
Like Paul said to Archippus: “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” (Colossians 4:18)
My established purpose is my ministry, whatever and wherever it is.
My wonderful friend Atha suffered a stroke in December. She is still in a rehab center as she recovers. It’s been a very difficult road. I plan to hold her hand soon and to tell her how her words have been impacting me once again. And to remind her that in the place she is now, as hard as it is, she has a purpose there.
Be established in your purpose, Atha. God has a reason and a plan in all of this for you.
And I will remember, too, on so many levels, her words to me.
“Patty, you are established in your purpose.”
May all of us be just that!