God, my gardener



by Joan Yap, Columban Lay Missionary

You can only fully appreciate life when you allow yourself to let go,  just like seeing the real beauty of a flower when its petals are opened.
Whenever I am in a retreat, I am always enamored by the beauty of the flowers in a garden. It gives me joy and tranquility whenever I gaze at their beauty and color. It gives me an opportunity to thank God of his magnificent creation. God is so perfect that he is able to give us all of these to appreciate. Everything undergoes a process of blossoming, such as life.
My life journey is not at all perfect but it is God’s loving care who perfected my imperfection. I was young and broken. I had my own weaknesses and limitations. I struggled to overcome my insecurities. I thought of so little about myself whenever I think of God’s other creation. I was lost and I could not find my own life. I was fragile but like the flower through the Maker’s hands, He slowly allowed me to open up at  His own time and space.

My vocation as Lay Missionary is one of the greatest turning point of my life that I blossomed to be where God wants me to be. It is where I find the invitation of God to let go of the many things that hinder me to grow and bloom. It is when I started to open up and His grace overflows. The real beauty of the vocation is opening our hearts to God. And in the heart of God, we find the true of meaning of love. And this is where we can reach others to love as we are loved by God. In being open to God’s grace, it is feeling the joy as I give myself to others.
The challenge I need is to fully trust in God. I am His creation. He knows me more than I thought I know myself. It is when I allow God to work in me, that I surrender my life in Him. My prayer is that God will teach me to be humble by accepting my own weaknesses and the courage to transform it as it becomes a  gift to others. My experience of His unconditional love saves me and keeps me grounded.
My yes to this vocation is a grace for me. I am forever grateful to God for this invitation of another 3 years. He has a way of courting me that I can’t refuse. It is my faith, that wherever I maybe, God will always find and lead me where He wants me to bloom. This vocation is a wonderful gift for me.  I have always said, it is a  journey of getting to know myself, others and most especially an invitation of being intimate with my God where there is no one I can cling on except to Him. As a line in a song says, “bloom where you are planted.” That’s how I see my life here in Taiwan… to be open in giving myself to others.

The flower blossoms itself to beauty because from the start, the maker/gardener knows how beautiful that flower is for his garden. God chose me to be here. I believe I am God’s own creation, in His own image and likeness. And like the flower, I just have to patiently allow God, the maker, the gardener to apply His expertise for the flower to bloom, and for me to grow faithfully in the loving hands of God.

TMU’s warm welcome when She, Reins, and I came back to Taiwan for
our second term as Columban lay missionaries

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