Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Transplant - Sequel

For those of you who don't know, we moved to South Carolina for ministry, which was a bit of a transplant for us from the cozy, tight-knit feel of our community of fellow missionaries in training in Kansas City, Missouri. As we prepared to leave, I wrote a blog entitled "The Transplant" which discussed the similarities I was seeing/expecting between a plant growing in the greenhouse being suddenly transplanted to the outdoors, and the reality of being uprooted from a special community and being transplanted into a new environment.
Here is a little exerp from the above mentioned blog:

Here is what I can tell you about transplanting flowers in the natural and you can probably easily draw some parallels that would apply to us.
  • When you transplant a flower, when you secure it in its new home its best if you cut off all the flowers and cut back 1/3 of the growth, it helps the plant to stop wasting time feeding all those blooms and growth and focus on putting down strong new roots - you cut off all the pretties and let it grow into its new home.
  • When transplanting a flower from a greenhouse environment to an outdoor setting, it is considered normal to have a season of stunted growth as the plant adjusts to the new environment.
  • Newly transplanted flowers need extra water and fertilizer and attention for their whole first year in their new home to help them stay healthy (especially trees and shrubs).
  • If you leave a plant that is ready to be transplanted in its old small pot in the greenhouse it will eventually become root bound and no amount of water will keep it from drying out and eventually dying. If left in the pot in the greenhouse, the growth will become spindly, weak, and unsightly, very few things are ever planted in a greenhouse with the intention of letting it live its whole life in the greenhouse.
  • After a year of acclimation and a season of putting down good roots, the following year is usually a year of exponential growth because of that new and bigger and stronger root system.
  • In a greenhouse all the elements of growth are pretty much controlled, disease and insect problems are very common place the longer a plant stays in that greenhouse, but plants really thrive in an outdoor environment where there is an element of risk and storms and the wind blows freely around them, so they become strong.
Some of the parallels I drew back then would be more real than I could have known at the time. The season of stunted growth, at least in my own life, was right on. The necessity for extra water and fertilizer, well I might not have had such an extended season of stunted growth if I had known to put myself in the way of more water and fertilizer (prayer, reading the word, absorbing truth). I did however spend a considerable amount of my strength upon arriving in making new friends and building new relationships (putting down new roots).
So all in all, I would say it has been a very successful transplant in so many ways. The growth has begun again (going deeper in my pursuit of Jesus and His word), and my root system is now more diverse and deeper in some ways than ever before (new friendships and interactions). There was definitely some pain involved in the pruning portion of the process (saying goodbye to job, friends, house, familiar things, etc), but the sacrifice has prepared me for new growth and an environment where I can flourish and produce new fruits (new ministry opportunities, using what I learned in KC in this new community).
The reason I write all of this now is because we have been here almost a year (8 months +), and I feel as though all of the benefits of being transplanted are finally starting to come about. That good root system has begun to pay off with some new and exciting ministry opportunities. The fact that we are no longer in full time training mode (greenhouse) has caused us to put what we say we have learned into practice, and in the midst of a community that doesn't always understand where we have come from (winds of adversity, challenge of growing in new soil). There are certainly challenges in doing what we are doing here, especially as the Spirit continues to show us favor. The spiritual attacks we have encountered here are much more so than what I recall encountering in KC, but it is to be expected. We are playing the part of a pioneer in some ways and contending for more of the Lord in this place. That makes us targets for attack in the Spirit (harsher environment outside the greenhouse teaches us how to grow steady and strong despite the elements) no matter where we would have landed.
Like I said though, we have been seeing a lot of favor from the Lord, and it makes all the challenges and pain we have been through worth it to see His will being done through us. Are we doing it all perfect? Of course not, but thankfully the Gardener is pleased with our weak efforts and still supplying all our physical needs, as well as spiritual ones.
I can hardly wait to see the rest of what this transplant will mean in the coming months and years in the way of visible fruit! It was worth everything we gave up to get here.
Recently the Lord whispered to my heart at a mom's meeting, 'you are lacking nothing', and since He has spoken it, I have repeated it to myself often. If for no other reason than to remind myself that we really have lacked nothing, and we are lacking nothing still.
Be encouraged!


lifeinthevillage said...

I love it when you talk about flowers. It's like the arena where the spirit speaks through you most easily. :)

Or maybe the one that I receive most readily. ;)

love to the brooks clan!!

abbie said...

I love how the Lord used the example of the greenhouse plants to speak to you! You guys are awesome :) And your posts are really encouraging!