"Lord I love the house where You live,
the place where your glory dwells."
Joel and I watched a movie a few weeks ago titled, "5 Flights Up" starring Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman. It resonated for both of us, this slow moving movie about an aging couple, and the importance of having roots in a place, a community, a home. A few days later I felt the need to watch it again and after searching every Redbox in our town, we headed to the one video store we knew of and found it there. We watched it together and then I watched it a third time, because I felt like it was "speaking" to us in this season of our lives and did not want to miss any of what God was telling us.
During this same time I came across the book "Roots and Sky" by Christie Purifoy. I read the first few pages on Amazon and felt a deep "need" to read this book. Like. Now. I tried to order it and it was already sold out so I waited until it was available and when it was I was so eager to get it that I was trying to find other books to order just so I could get my free shipping. Ha! Books I was not sure I wanted to read, especially when I still had books to read here at home! So, even though I love to underline and fold pages and hold a book in my hand, I downloaded it on Kindle. I knew this book was going to "talk" to me just the way this movie did.....even more so. I knew I would treasure what God was saying through the thoughts of Christie Purifoy. I have not been disappointed.
"Roots and Sky" is a true story about Christie, her husband Jonathan, and their children. A story about their quest for roots. A journey of how they were able to "leave their wilderness" and follow God to a place where an 1880 red brick house welcomed them. A place of roots and sky that became a "coming home" for their family.
Our family has moved a lot. Joel and I have been married nearly 48 years and we have moved 22 times. We have lived here 20 years this April, so those moves took place while we were raising children. Even though that is a lot of moving, I smile as I remember that my mom and dad were married 23 years when he died and she had moved with him 42 times. Lots of moving, little opportunity to put down roots. Our moving has been with the military and ministry, and roots do not run deep when you move every year or every few years. As adults our children have found places with their families to put down roots. Roots that are growing deeper in the places they call home. Even though we do not speak for them, we are pretty sure that it is mostly intentional. Our moves around the country and overseas gave them a world view and plenty of unique adventures, but there were many challenges, too.
In this season of our lives we are wanting to put down roots. We are just not so sure what that looks like for us yet. You might think that since we have lived here in Iowa for 20 years we would have roots, that this would be home. We were called here to serve a congregation and Joel did so for 10 years. He served another briefly, before Lyme Disease disabled him. He has filled in, served, and been staff support and Interim for 20 churches in the area. We have met so many wonderful people here.....have lots of good memories and more than a few of the not so good kind. The town is familiar and convenient, and our "family" has grown with the many churches Joel has served and the place we worship and fellowship now. And still, we find ourselves, like Christie Purifoy, looking for a place to put down roots in the final chapters of our lives. A place that beckons us to live for the next 20 years. And we want to mix that up together with a new purpose and adventure without the loss of family connections. Healed from the Lyme that kept us in chains for so long, moving forward after breast cancer, I guess we want it all. Maybe we already have it. Maybe it is ahead of us in our own red brick house.
This longing can draw us into living in the "not yet" as Christie describes it. Instead of living in the balance of the now and the not yet, our focus is only the not yet. We know God needs to be in the center of our lives, and it is our constant prayer, giving thanks and surrendering all as we say, "Lord we will follow you. Move where you say to move, stay where you say to stay, go where you say to go." Sunday morning Pastor Jeff described having faith while in our circumstances as being in a waiting room. It does feel a bit like a waiting room, this place of trusting God to reveal His plan for us in His timing. We believe this stretching, this pondering, this birthing is from God.
You may find yourself there too, in the waiting room between the now and not yet. Here is the good news. Jesus meets us there too. He is in the now. He is in the not yet, and He is in the waiting room. That place we go to rest with Him, trusting Him. Our "red brick house" will look different than someone else's. Our now's and not yet's will be unique. But one thing stays the same. Our God. He is good.
Lead us forward, Lord as your children, in the places you have for us. Whether in the now or the not yet, the waiting room........You are here and You are good.