It is quite awhile ago now that a sweet friend shared with me their desire to buy a large, older home near where their children went to a charter school. Prayer was requested on whether this was God's plan or not. As I prayed, I saw screen doors! Old fashioned screen doors. It was an odd thing to see, but I shared it with my friend, asking her if there were any screen doors in the house. She told me there were 5 doors! Five doors. I could almost hear them slam as I visualized her kids running in and out in the summertime. After much prayer and confirmation on their part, K. and her husband stepped out in faith and bought the large, in need of repair, stately home with so many doors. I dream of visiting them some day, standing in their place of nesting to see how they have made it theirs, and see all God is doing as they continue on their family journey in a home with 5 doors.
At the time, I was reading Christie Purifoy's book, "Roots and Sky: A Journey Home In Four Seasons" The book tells the story of Christie and her family as they move back to PA and purchase a large, older home in need of repairs, with stately trees and gardens to tend. Maplehurst is the place where they found beauty, are creating beauty, and in the process are putting down roots. It was not lost on me that my friend is doing the same thing. Nor was it lost on me that Joel and I, after then 48 years of marriage were still seeking roots in a land we could call our own. We were in the taffy-pull place of processing my journey with breast cancer and not moving to AZ. God is very good at weaving things together for us, if we are listening.
"We did not put down roots in a place, but in a calling."
I have shared before that wherever Joel was serving was where we called home. In the military we called, Illinois, New Mexico, Utah, Minnesota, and the Philippine Islands home. In the ministry we called St. Paul, MN, Malta MT, Medicine Lake MT, Zimmerman MN, Donnelly MN, Mason City IA, New Hampton IA, and again, Mason City IA home. In our early years, our community was centered on the military base where we were located. As a minister and family, our community has always been centered around the church Joel served. We did not put down roots in a place, but in a calling.
Each of you have stories to share about your own homes, cities, communities. You have either embraced the gypsy lifestyle as part of you, or planted deep roots in a place you have called home for years or even generations. Life is an adventure for everyone, written by us and by God.
Talking with my friend K. last week brought the roots theme into the light again. We do recognize a few roots we have here, in a place we did not think would hold 21 years of our lives. Mostly they are planted in people, churches, and in our neighborhood. We love our association, and are grateful for good neighbors, great walking paths, and green spaces.
Our future may not hold a large house with 5 screen doors, in fact I can almost guarantee that, putting aside any surprises Papa God throws our way. It may not hold the deep roots of those who spend a lifetime in one place, but we have come to the conclusion that our roots are deep in Papa God. And some day He will reveal to us the land, the city, the place where we are called to dig deep. It may require travel and it may not. And that place we long for? If is it not here on earth, then it will be in our Heavenly home where our spiritual roots are strong, anchored in our Father's love. I wonder if there are any screen doors or rose gardens in Heaven?