Tuesdays with Sarah… Bloom Where You’re Planted – A Year Later

About this same time last year, some beautiful white flowers grabbed my attention.  The reason they grabbed my attention is because they are growing out of the crack between the parking lot and the sidewalk.  It inspired a blog post I wrote titled “Bloom Where You’re Planted… really?”

Well, lo and behold, these sweet flowers have made their presence known again.  Growing in the same hard spot, between the parking lot and the sidewalk…  but with 2 differences.  First – it has gotten bigger!  It has several more sprouts and blooms.  And second – it has sprouted in other places in random sidewalk cracks in front of the church!  So basically it has multiplied and spread out.

Beautiful flowers in front of our church

Beautiful flowers in front of our church

Of course, I took a picture.  I figured it would be good blog fodder for the future.  And as I knelt down to take the pic, I remembered the blog post from last year.  When I got home, I re-read the blog, and it totally blew me away.  Not because I’m some fantastic writer – not in the least.  But I am always in awe of the movement of God.  I had a documented timeframe of about 12 months, where I could look back and actually see the activity of God and what all He has done in this beautiful place called GracePoint at Mt. Olive.  And what God has done with our church is exactly what He has done with those sweet little flowers.  We have gotten bigger!  We have had so many new families join this past 12 months – it’s just like those flowers, with more sprouts and blooms.  Plus, we have spread out.  We have done more outreach events and mission trips, plus launched 2 worship services (traditional and contemporary) so that we can reach more people with the gospel.  We are spreading out, just like the new flowers that have popped up out of other cracks.  Such an excellent visual of what God is doing.

Side by side, flowers from 2014 and 2015

Side by side, flowers from 2014 and 2015

So I felt like God wanted me to re-share my original blog post in light of what God has done at GracePoint these past 12 months.  We are growing, but more importantly, He is growing!  His Kingdom is growing!

One part of the original blog that was even further confirmation that I should re-share it is that I referenced our bishop, Debra Wallace-Padgett, and the challenge she had issued to our conference to ‘plant where you can bloom’.  The reason that was confirmation to me is that the bishop just came to our church to speak 2 Sundays ago!  Her message was timely, as always, and complements blooming and planting so well.  It was about growing.  She encouraged us to seek spiritual maturity.  To ‘grow up into Christ’, as Ephesians 4:15 tells us to do.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

So maybe you’ve found yourself in a place of complacency or infancy.  Maybe you have been planted, but you are still under the soil.  It’s time to grow up.  It’s time to bloom.  It’s time to thrive.


Blog Post – Tuesdays with Sarah – Bloom Where You’re Planted… really?  

September 23, 2014

The other night as I was leaving our church, I noticed that a flower had sprouted in between the sidewalk and the parking lot. The other flowers just like it were blooming on the grass, with the other landscaping. But somehow, I guess this little seed got dropped and was somehow able to grab hold of some soil in the crack between these 2 extremely hard places. Well, of course I had to take a picture of it. I just knew for sure this would be great blog fodder! So I snapped the pic, and it has been saved on my phone ever since.

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The sweet little flower that inspired this week’s blog post 🙂

As I got in the car, the old saying ‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’ came to my mind as I thought about that little white flower. Then all the sudden, 32 year old memories came flooding back to me. The very first solo I ever sang was to a song called ‘Bloom Where You’re Planted”. I was about 6 years old, singing in the children’s choir and Huffman Assembly of God. It was part of a 1982 musical called ‘I Am God’s Project’. I still can hardly believe that I remember it! The lyrics went like this:

The children's musical from 1982 - My first children's musical to sing in :)

The children’s musical from 1982 – My first children’s musical to sing in 🙂

Bloom where you’re planted

Show what you’re worth

God has his flowers

All over the earth

Bloom where you’re planted

And if you’re sincere

You can get anywhere on earth from here

Bloom where you’re planted

And become a part

Of God’s lovely garden

The pride of His heart

Bloom where you’re planted

And if you’re sincere

You can get anywhere on earth from here

Me, around the age of my first solo, my sister Bekah, and Bro. Dan Ronsisvalle, our pastor at Huffman Assembly - I will never forget this man

Me, around the age of my first solo, my sister Bekah, and Bro. Dan Ronsisvalle, our pastor at Huffman Assembly – I will never forget this man

Well, I drove home with a smile on my face, thinking about that song and the wonderful days of Huffman Assembly. I didn’t think much more about that thriving little flower planted in concrete, until this past Friday, when I was backing up my phone. The picture came up as I was thumb scrolling through my pictures.   The flower seemed to mean more to me this time around.  More than just the cheesy, cliché saying “bloom where you’re planted”.

The reason it means more now is because we are less than a week away from re-launch, or grand opening you might say, of our new church, GracePoint at Mt. Olive. If you’ve followed this blog, or mine and Scott’s Facebook Page, or know us in any capacity whatsoever, then you know we were appointed to Mt. Olive UMC this past June and tasked with bringing a new vision and new energy to this fellowship of believers.   Just like anything that has been around for a while, sometimes things can get a little stale, a little stagnant, and God decided He wanted to Smyth family to stir up the pot I guess! So now, 3 months in, it is time for our grand opening! And I think that little flower just reminded me to bloom away – corporately as a church, and personally, as His child.

Personally, regardless of how hard things might get, (I mean, you can’t get much harder than sidewalk concrete and parking lot pavement!), or how out of place I might feel (flowers look a little odd with no grass or soil around it!), I am called to bloom. As long as I’m somehow tapped into the good soil of His word and the living water of His spirit, I should be able to not only survive, but thrive, wherever I find myself being planted.

As for GracePoint, this wonderful place I am blessed to be a part of, we have to keep the faith, pressing on towards the vision that God has given us. Regardless of how hard things might get (traditional worship vs. contemporary worship), or how out of place we might feel at times when so many things are in a state of flux (name changes, leadership changes), we are called to bloom. All we need to do is make sure we are tapped into His Word and His Spirit, we too will thrive – right on Mt. Olive Road, across from Earl Lee’s Auto Sales 🙂

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Our Church, GracePoint at Mt. Olive

Last night, Scott and I sat on the back porch, enjoying the beautiful fall air and did a little star gazing. As I shared with him my thoughts regarding this week’s blog, he told me something he heard at the North Alabama Annual Conference this past summer. He said that our bishop, Debra Wallace-Padgett, challenged Methodists to ‘Plant Where You Can Bloom’. Well, of course, I took that little bit of info as my confirmation from God regarding this week’s blog. God always seems to give me a little sign to help me know I’m on the right track. Not sure if it’s because my faith is too small to just run with an idea, but all the same, He always helps me out!

So ‘plant where you can bloom’… well, that’s a bit different. The action changes – ‘plant’ instead of ‘bloom’. The accountability shifts – from being ‘planted’, which is based on external forces, to ‘planting yourself’, which has you choosing where you will ‘be’. Instead of just making the best of imperfect situations, it’s intentionally planting yourself in places where the resources are there for you to bloom.

But the more I went over these two phrases, I came to the realization that I’m not really sure if either of them is the ‘best’ way. Not really sure which one of these actually happens. Which one is actually ‘truth’. Kinda like Forrest Gump, when he’s talking to Jenny at her grave at the end of the movie regarding fate and destiny:

“Jenny, I don’t know if Momma was right or if, if it’s Lieutenant Dan. I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.”

Forrest at Jenny's Grave

Forrest at Jenny’s Grave

So maybe ‘blooming’ and ‘planting’ “is both happening at the same time” as Forrest would say 🙂  Regardless of whether we had a choice in where we have been planted or not, it is up to us to take action to make sure we can bloom. The blooming only happens when we do our part. We have to intentionally dig deep into God’s Word, and let His Spirit flow through us. Then our lives will be covered in blossoms of His love to share with the world… so bloom well, my friends! And if you are looking for a place to worship this Sunday on the north side of Birmingham, we’d love for you to join us at 11:00 for worship. We are GracePoint at Mt. Olive – where grace and life intersect. And if you keep your eyes open, you might just catch that tiny white flower still blooming in front of the church 🙂

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