With our house on the market, my husband three months in to his new job, and relocation to Tennessee on the horizon, it seems silly to be planting spring bulbs this fall. Still, that is exactly what I did one beautiful, sunny day last week.
We’ve been in this house 5 years. Almost every year I have weeded out or cut back on perennials that were already here. Most years I have planted bulbs or perennial shrubs or flowers. I love flowering perennials. I don’t have much of a green thumb, but I try really hard (which should count for something). Anything that comes back and blooms in the spring is all the encouragement I need to keep going.
The real estate market has been depressingly slow the last few months and it has been exhausting to show our house to so many potential buyers and still not have the house sold. We trust God’s timing; He has always been faithful to us and we have learned that our time table is more short-sighted than His usually is. We originally thought we’d be settling in to the Nashville area by this time already, but instead we find ourselves making holiday plans with family that we didn’t think we’d get to make this year. Certainly an emotional tug of war–disappointments and yet small “hurrahs.” We are anxious to get a jump on the next chapter of our lives. We’re excited about the possibilities that await us. Yet we dread leaving behind our community, our friends, our support network, and moving further away from family. Mentally and emotionally, I’m up and down all the time.
When we first said “yes” to this new opportunity, I quietly began to withdraw from our relational outreaches here. I didn’t pull away from friends, but I consciously stopped making an effort to reach out and engage in new relationships. My time was consumed with purging unnecessary items, cleaning constantly, wrapping up house projects, and beginning the packing process. I was busy. But, also, I had my eyes on the next thing. I was still here physically, but my heart and my mind were moving on already. Then, as summer wrapped up and our house hadn’t sold yet, I heard God’s still, small voice telling me to invest here. Even if I won’t be here long enough to gain dividends, He wanted me to invest here. What does that look like?
It means planting seeds and bulbs that I may or may not get to see come to bloom. As I planted crocuses in places that I thought they’d grow in nicely alongside hyacinths and tulips next spring, I excitedly wondered if I’d be here to see them. I wondered if they would be a delightful surprise to someone else living in this house. I wondered if they’d be completely neglected and ignored by someone who is indifferent to the joy of blooming flowers in April. I wondered if they’d even thrive in this soil and climate. Maybe they’d rot in the ground and nothing would come of them. Maybe my efforts would all be in vain. But maybe not.
Even while my heart and mind are yearning for God’s provisions that will take me to the next place, I have to make the effort to be all in here and now. If I give God’s love and grace and light to those around me here, I may never know if my efforts are in vain or if God will bring along someone else to water, prune, and care for what I planted. Pridefully, I can sometimes worry that if I invest a lot into someone, they may be left feeling empty and alone if I leave. I don’t want it to seem like I’m walking out on someone. I forget that everything I do should be for God and about God, not for me or about me. If I fill a need in someone’s life, it is about God’s faithfulness, not about me at all. At other times, selfishly, I feel overwhelmed enough by what is on my shoulders. Do I really need to stretch myself beyond what is already uncomfortable? Then I think of Christ’s example. I think of persecuted believers around the world. And maybe the load on my back isn’t so heavy after all.
So I’m trying to “show up” every day and receive opportunities God gives me to show love. To go deeper with someone. To be a friend to the friendless. To mend bridges that have been burned; to speak life into places where death has taken a stronghold. This is what we should do. Live each day, willing to go where God will take us, willing to leave it all behind, but also willing to give it all right here and right now.