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A Roots Tour

“I have been so busy that I haven’t even had time to tend to my roots.”  Quickly abandoning my original thoughts of the roots of a tree, my eyes moved to that noticeable one-quarter inch of gray between my friend’s scalp and her reddish-brown strands.  She definitely needed to tend to her roots.

For the past ten years, busyness had prevented the tending of my roots.  Not the roots of my hair – every last hair on my head had long since been gray – but to my physical roots.   My brother Roger’s  diagnosis of lung cancer motivated me to suspend every other activity and cross the miles from California to Indiana ― to go back home to my Indiana roots.

Camera in hand, I began my roots tour.  I re-visited the familiar sites in the town where I was born and raised. The home and neighborhood where I grew up, my church, my school, the family business, even the gravesites of my parents, grandparents, and extended family members all flooded me with memories.

I recalled having felt so rootless after the death of my parents (my mother in 1991 and my father in 1993), even though I had been away from home for many years.   Where did I belong now?  Where would I go just to go “home?”  Deeply-embedded roots yanked out of the fertile soil where they had been fed and nourished for 45 years.  I had depended on those roots for stability as my husband, Jim, and I had moved from Costa Rica, to Spain, to Mexico, and finally to southern California in our missionary work. Now they were gone.

I keenly felt my responsibility to provide this same kind of place where our three children could place their roots.   Jim and I tried to provide in our home the fertile soil where our children’s roots could go deep, be nourished and refreshed, and grow.  Many times we had stood together arm in arm waving good-bye to our visiting adult children.  “Thank you, Lord, that Jim and I can make home a place where our children have their roots, a place where they can always return.  Thank you that we can wave good-bye to them together.”     I envisioned repeating this scenario often for many years to come.

Now, even though I had revisited my original roots, I once again felt rootless and so alone.  Three months prior, God had taken Jim Home to Heaven at the age of 65, shattering my dreams of providing our family’s roots as we grew old together. Home just wasn’t the same any more. How could I as a widow provide roots for my family? Where were my roots?  Where did I belong?  Everyone around me seemed to belong somewhere and to someone.  Even my great niece’s heifers were thriving as a twosome in the barn on m y brother’s property!

God sweetly reminded me of the verses that had impacted me many years before as a college freshman:  “And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him.  May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love (Ephesians 3:17*).”

Since then I have viewed my own life as a growing tree whose roots continually go deeper and deeper as they drink in God’s great love.  Even in the midst of life’s changing circumstances, I am still firmly rooted and grounded in His love with roots that just keep going deeper and deeper.  My stability is in Him!  My roots are in Him! I am secure in this truth.

I desire to continue my “roots tour” with Christ.  I pray that as others journey with me, we will all experience the words that follow in the Ephesians 3 passage:

“And may you be able to feel and   understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, (though it is so great that you will never see the end of it, or fully know or understand it). And so at last you will be filled up with God himself” (Ephesians 3:18-19*).

* the Living Letters paraphrase of the Epistles (Tyndale House Publishers, 1962)

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