Transplant Trauma

January 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Kathy Carlton Willis –

We had just moved into our new home and the new sod, trees and landscaping floundered. Of course, it didn’t help that we were melting in a 100-degree heat wave. But the crux of the problem was transplant shock. Uprooting those green leafies from their old, comfortable setting and placing them into strange new surroundings traumatized them.

We did all we could to “love on” our greenies. They received refreshing drinks of water once or twice a day, requiring my husband to spend a good amount of time rotating the sprinklers to saturate the entire property. Even with the proper care, the bright green leaves of grass, trees and plants faded to a straw-like gold. Transplant Trauma.

We noticed it took time and proper care for the transplants to adjust to their new surroundings, and then they snapped out of the shock and turn green again.

Many Americans move to new locations as transplants. The month of May spotlights National Moving Month and Creative Beginnings Month. It’s no surprise that many of us look for fresh ways to start anew and learn to bloom where we’re planted.

I’m a transplant too. I’m not from around here. Perhaps you moved to a new area because of a new job or you moved your membership to a new church. God rarely has us planted in the same soil for life. God uproots us, taking us from the comfort of what we know and love, and moves us to a new area where we can flourish. Maybe God moves us to revive something that is parched and dry, to rejuvenate with our refreshing green ministry efforts. Hurting people and hurting programs look for a fresh new covering of green. Because of our faith in the Lord, we are part of the landscaping team to provide a spiritual covering, a layer of prayer support and green renewal of life.

But when we move to our new surroundings, sometimes it takes a while to get acclimated. We can’t minister or encourage others, because we no longer feel rooted as deeply into our spiritual nourishment. We fade as we go through a period of transplant trauma. Shock. The refreshingness of our green—the good intentions we bring with us—are temporarily turned to dry hay. With the right amount of time to adjust, and with the loving care of our new surroundings, we green up again. It’s good to know it’s just a temporary condition.

Sometimes we come to a new place still grieving the loss of our previous setting. We bring that trauma with us until we come to accept it. Other times, eager to get started in our new surroundings, culture shock stands in our way. We adapt. We add the water of the Word, confirming our calling to our new spot. We soak in the SONlight. We allow our Heavenly Master Gardener to tend to our needs while we tend to the needs of others.

And when in doubt, repeat this phrase, “Transplant trauma is temporary. God’s tender loving care is permanent.”

“They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:3 NLT).

About Kathy Carlton Willis

Kathy Carlton Willis shines, whether she’s shining the light on God’s writers and speakers, or reflecting God’s Light during her speaking programs. She is Christ-servant, wife to Russ, editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars faculty and AWSA member. KCW Communications encompasses her many passions. Schedule Kathy for a speaking event or contact her firm for promotional assistance. Learn more at
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3 Responses to “Transplant Trauma”
  1. Elaine says:

    I like your analogy. Very clever! Thanking God for your writing abilities.

  2. Elaine—glad you enjoyed the article. Blessings to you!

  3. Sandy says:

    Nice article, Kathy, and you are spot on. We have moved a LOT and understand the trauma. We are so thankful for each and every place God planted us…whether for a year or two or five. He placed people in our lives, opened our eyes to new experiences and caused us to grow and bloom wherever we were. It is difficult to imagine living my entire life in one house, one town, one state, or one country. Forty-two years of marriage, fourteen addresses, nine cities/towns, three states and four countries…and here we find God placing us in the BEST place AGAIN. He does that, you know…

    Love all your writing!

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