Giles’ fourth album, released in 2008, Planted Here is a refreshing, root-soaking drink of piano ballads and acoustic guitar-driven hymn arrangements and worship songs, grounded in the stories of fathers, new life, struggle, journeys, and commitment.
In a land far away in a time long ago… I found myself fresh out of college employed with Baptist Children’s Homes in Kinston, NC, newly married, what I thought was an awesome repertoire of original songs, and dreams of a record deal and CCM stardom. I worked hard toward that end – taking pictures of myself, singing my songs onto a cassette tape, writing bios, putting together the perfect promo package…and getting some pretty decent rejection letters along the way…always rejection letters. But it was along that time when someone told me something I’ll never forget – and it totally changed my focus. He said, “Bloom where you’re planted!” And that hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was with such an opportunity to pour into the lives of these kids at the children’s home and yet I was expending soooo much time and energy and thought toward this very nebulous and intangible record deal.
God had placed me in Kinston for a purpose, a season, for those kids, and whether consciously or not, I was telling Him I thought I should be in Nashville. But after I began to see Kinston as the opportunity to bloom, I poured my heart into those kids (though I know they nurtured my faith in ways they’ll never know); discovered relationships with other couples and families that have nourished Kelly and me since; started playing at local coffee shops, churches, bars in bowling alleys, wherever; and ultimately, through a partnership with BCH, recorded my first CD…in Nashville. No record deal, no stardom, but lots of growth and meaning and life and friends and relationships and community.
And so it has become somewhat of a mantra for me over these years since Kinston: Bloom where you’re planted. And as I look over the song list for this project it seems only right that its title reflects that: Planted Here. Save one song, all the songs on the album were born out of my time here with the community at Snyder (where I serve as a worship pastor), growing with them, leading worship with them, living with them: songs written for a sermon series or drama, sung by our church, etc. From worship to life to family to carrying one another’s burdens to “Ants,” these songs speak, at least in my belief, to the very things God uses to grow and prune and deepen us, the very things that will, if we let them (and sometimes we can’t help it), fashion us after the image of Christ, a beautiful thing indeed.
May we bloom where we’re planted. May we find our awakening and growth as we open up to a life following Jesus. May we find that he has given us deep roots as we trust his Spirit and hold one another, roots deep enough to sustain us when the uprooting comes and the replanting begins.
With Love, giles