Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Getting to the root.

Have you ever thought about how many things have roots?  I never really had before yesterday.  The reason I was thinking on roots is kind of gross.  I am risking eminent embarrassment and possible social ostracization by sharing whence these thoughts came.  This may be, therefore, one of those blogging moments that actually does hurt.  But, here goes...

I was thinking about roots because.... I have a plantar's wart!!  Okay.  Leave now if you must.  I understand. 

Here is a picture of pretty feet in the ocean to remove the image of my foot!

While I was looking for some ideas as to how to deal with said disfigurement and source of shame, I read multiple times that you have to get the root out.  Now, in further reading, warts don't actually have roots, though many people believe this medical myth.  Nonetheless, before I realized that I had fallen pray to the wart root fable, I started thinking about how many things have roots...

movements (grass roots)
numbers (square roots)
music (the base note in a chord)

With so many things having roots, surely they must be important.  Of course, they are.  Roots are foundations.  They are origins.  They are building blocks.  They are stabilizers.  They are transmitters of the things that sustain. 

And, in thinking more about roots, I came across the following description:  

What do a plant’s roots do? They keep the plant from wandering away from where it was put. They take in nutrients from the soil to feed the plant. They take in water to keep the plant from drying up and dying.

I really like that definition.  It is simple and to the point.  My 5 year old could understand it.  I could understand it.  And, I especially like the part about keeping the plant from wandering away from where it was put.  We would all be a little freaked out if plants suddenly wandered away from where they were put.

If roots are so simple and yet so important, what about my own roots?  What are the things that give me nutrients, keep me from wandering, and keep me from drying up and dying?

I kind of feel like moving back to Minnesota was a return to my roots.  Even though I was born in Virginia and moved to Indiana in high school, most of my childhood shaping was done in Minnesota.  Most of my immediate family is still here.  Coming back to Minnesota and spending time with family has offered some great nourishment.  It has fed me.

Yet, these "roots" are not necessarily permanent for me.  If for some reason my family moved away or something should happen to them, my presence of roots would no longer be here.  The sentiment of rootedness would be, but the tangible sources of encouragement and sustenance would not be.  In honesty, if my family was not here, it is unlikely that we would have returned to this area.  Even though I like the area very much and have fond affections within the memories made here, it is family that brought us back "from wandering away from where (we) were put".  Many of the things that once shaped my memories and root system are no longer active in the shaping of new memories.  And, as a result of many moves, I have been uprooted again and again from the physical places I have enjoyed and the people that I have loved by birth or grown to love.

Granted, I have my own direct family - 4 amazing people that I am deeply rooted into.  There would need to be some major earth shaking to undo the roots of my husband and children.  Yet, in reality, one day my children may move away and my husband (I cannot bear to think it) may pass away.  I refuse to even imagine that my children might pass away before me, but...  And while those roots will still exist until I'm old and gray wise and graceful, they will be different.  Always invaluable, irreplaceable and true, but changeable nonetheless.

So, what then?  If the things that seem to hold me into place are sadly, but humanly, temporary, where might I root?  What can I have a forever kind of confidence in?

My only answer is the One who is the beginning and the end...and the everything in between.  I can dig down deep and root myself into God's love for me.  I can trust that no matter where I go, I can draw up nourishment from Him so that I will not wander away from where I was put (my purposes in life) and so that I will not dry up and die emotionally or spiritually.  With each address change, every goodbye, and the repeated packing away of my material things, the truth of God's love for me carried me further than I would have imagined. 

It is my rootedness in Christ that has sustained me in challenging moments as a parent or a spouse.  It is the nourishment that comes from God that has kept me confident when I've had multiple medical scares.  It is the foundation and friendship with God that has kept me from fully drying up when I felt lonely or afraid.  And, while there were times when I felt like I was in a dry season, it was my history with God that reassured me that the rain would indeed come and quench the ground around me again.  These roots are not the temporary type.

Yes, it is good to come home to the roots I once left behind.  However, it is far greater and sweeter to be rooted into One that will never leave me behind.  

Ephesians 3: 14 - When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.


  1. Amazing! Your words touch my heart.. Thanking you for sharing with wisdom and grace!

  2. Amen.

    We talked about belonging in small group this week...about how complex one's associations are in our society compared to in other places or periods of history...how that can easily lead to a fractured sense of belonging and even to belongings becoming a source of identity over belonging in some form of community.

    How sweet to be rooted in our God!

    Into the will of Jesus,
    Deeper and deeper I go,
    Praying for grace to follow,
    Seeking His way to know;
    Bowing in full surrender
    Low at His blessed feet,
    Bidding Him take, break me and make,
    Till I am molded, complete. --Oswald J. Smith

  3. So true, Kristy! Community is not what it once was...making rootedness all the more cherished.
    Thanks for the Oswald Smith quote too!


Share your thoughts, feelings, or your own related experiences. I love that! And, as always, thanks for stopping by!