As I was flipping through my journal this past weekend, I came across a note I had jotted down a few months ago when I had no knowledge of the changes to come. The single, messily written word read: ‘transplanted.’
I remember making a note of the concept one day when I was spending some time in one of the places I love most, my garden. My rosemary bush of two years, which had been at a standstill in its pot for a while, was beginning to look increasingly brittle and lifeless. Having recently learned of the term “rootbound,” I decided that maybe my plant was at a point where it could no longer grow or produce new leaves until it was removed from its current pot and transferred into a new environment. By uprooting it, I was able to see that the roots were still strong and healthy, but they had no room to grow deeper. Three months later, the rosemary plant has tripled in size and is livelier than ever.
Even before I knew it was important and even before I came to know of Preston Taylor Ministries, I dug my hands into the soil to free the roots of a plant and this concept truly amazed me. I am in awe of the Lord’s goodness and sovereignty and gentleness in speaking to us through His beautiful creation.
The thoughts that were stirred that day in my garden have now become so real. Sometimes we, as followers of Christ, need to be transplanted. We come to spiritual stand-stills and we slowly, subtly stop growing. However, if we are willing, we can ask the Lord for His direction and he has promised to continue changing us and molding us to look more like Himself. He uproots us into new, unknown environments so that we can continue to grow deeper and deeper. So that we will be challenged and stretched and used. So that we will flourish. It does not mean the transition will be easy, but it does mean that we will produce more fruit and better reflect the glory of who He is. And isn’t that what it’s about?
The day that I read Chan’s blogpost, A Letter to PTM’s future Volunteer Coordinator letter, I sat at my computer and cried. I cried because I felt the Lord literally turn something in my heart that affirmed what I had been asking Him for. In my spirit, I heard these words: ‘I have a PLAN for you, and it is specific to who you are. It will use the gifts and talents and longings that I have put IN you.’
One month later, through much prayer and the Spirit’s leading, the Lord opened the door for me step into the role of Volunteer Coordinator at Preston Taylor Ministries. I am really excited to be here, and the welcome has been so warm. God continues to affirm that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. This is where He has transplanted me, and there truly is not a better feeling.
In closing, I want to share part of my cover letter which I used to respond to Chan:
Dear Mr. Sheppard:
The team at PTM, I would imagine, is like family: each member contributing unique gifts and special skill-sets, but always functioning in one rhythm of heart. There is a spirit of freedom, not pride, when gathered around an open table as everyone shares successes, failures, struggles, and goals of the week, collectively learning from each other and regaining momentum as you make each other better and, in turn, make the whole stronger. Isn’t that the purpose of a body? Here are the ways I hope to contribute to the body of PTM:
I am creative. And with specific direction of somewhere to channel it, my right-brain wheels are already turning. With just enough experience in Photoshop, photography, design, public speaking, and professional writing, I feel that I could contribute to the various mediums of publication and promotion. I am brainstorming ideas of how to best present PTM in a way that appeals to Nashville while effectively portraying the mission and heart of the organization.
I am a strong communicator. I majored in Organizational Communication, a fancy term for public speaking, as I once wanted to be the next Beth Moore. I soon realized this wasn’t the Lord’s current plan for my life, but thankfully nothing is wasted. In each season I am both surprised and thankful all over again for getting to use what I’ve learned in new ways. Of all communication styles, I am most partial to writing, and I will continue channeling that love into my journal, blog, and the bi-weekly newsletter until I figure out what to write my book about.
I am relationship-builder. I am one of those people that rides the extraversion/introversion line, forever unsure of what to deem myself. I can feed off the energy of a crowd but when it comes to food for the soul, the fewer people the better. I love connecting with others, hearing their story, and learning what makes them tick. A gift that the Lord has continually affirmed in my life is that of discernment, and by determining the different temperaments, communication styles, and interests of a person, I think each volunteer can be set up for satisfaction and excellence in their work and service when gifts are appropriately matched with opportunities.
I am both task-oriented and people-oriented. A few good tears over an inspirational conversation and being challenged to achieve some specific projected goals are equal motivators for me. My husband can attest to the fact that I am an unusual mix of structured and free-spirited, and I am definitely most productive when fueled by both relationships and to-do lists.
I have no doubt that this job will be demanding, exhausting, and potentially even draining at times. I know the expectations are high and I know there is much work to be done. Consider me forewarned. Having only worked in the world of nonprofits, it’s nothing new. I also know that the staff are there because of how much they care, how hard they love people, and how fulfilled they are by seeing Christ’s love really make a difference. And that’s what I’d like to be a part of.
I greatly appreciate your time and thank you for your consideration. May we both just rest in the fact that we will never go wrong in trusting the Lord’s guidance. I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope for the opportunity to meet with you face-to-face.
With much thanks,