Before I begin my little ramblings, I would like to point you to a wonderful blog posted by my friend, AquaJane. I enjoy her writing in general and her book, Beyond Betrayal, but this one especially hit my heart as have been struggling with trying to set up a permanent settlement in Arizona after being uprooted by my husband’s job change.
The roots theme has been running in my life for a while now. It started during the Winter/Spring of 2009 when I was working with some women to host a prayer seminar in our church. Most of my contribution was in praying with the women and giving a little bit of input, mainly because I felt like a lieutenant next to some four star general prayer warriors . One time, as we were praying, someone was reminded of a vision one of the women had our church being like prairie flowers that typically had their roots growing very deep beneath the earth’s surface as a representation of our church. As we were praying about that vision, I thought I heard God telling me that sometimes He removes healthy plants with deep roots to transplant in other areas. This came at a time when my husband had lost his job and there was a very real possibility that he would be getting a job out of state and had interviewed for a company in Arizona. One of the things the Women's Ministry did for conferences/seminars was to gather a group of women before the seminar to pray for God to give them scripture verses. AquaJane was given my name and the verse God gave her for me was this:
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."--Isaiah 43:19
God wasn't really being subtle with me, was He? No, he knew that I would need advance warning for the move he wanted me to make and was graciously giving me that advance warning. And two months later, we were down in Arizona. Many times in the last year, I have felt like a withered plant needing lots of fertilizer, water, and TLC. God has been providing the TLC and Living Water, either directly, or through others. I think I have been pretty good at creating fertilizer ;-).
As I have said, my husband and I have been putting down roots in Arizona for the past 18 months. We have found a church that we enjoy and, because we are people who need to be committed, we have been attending a membership class. We have been prodded by God to participate and serve in the church long before this. Last Sunday, before the membership class, I attended a luncheon for one of the groups that I had joined. The woman who was the leader in my group talked about the difficulty she had during her move and how she knew that she needed to become involved and serve in a church in order to put down deep, strong roots to weather the storms of life. Of course, because I have the tendency to cry at the drop of a hat, I could feel the tears well up as God brought the root metaphor up again, reminding me of how faithful He has been through this transplant.
However, God is reshaping my roots. Unlike prairie flowers, cacti don't have deep roots, they have wide spreading roots. I think there are two reasons for this: sand does not allow water to infiltrate deeply as quickly as loamy soil common in the Midwest. Downpours in Arizona can result in flash floods as the water cannot be quickly absorbed and just runs downhill. Most subdivisions around here have areas called "washes", where rainfall is directed onto grassy basins. So it makes more sense for the roots to be at the surface where the water will actually be, rather than digging down deep where water can't penetrate. The other reason is so that the roots can catch water even during brief rainfalls.
And yet, the blooms on a stodgy, cactus, with its bulgy, waxy, green-grey skin are some of the most delicate, translucent beautiful flowers you can find anywhere. So, somehow, God is changing this flashy, deep-rooted prairie flower to survive in the desert. And I am learning that you don't need deep roots or shallow roots to bloom and bear fruit. You need turn to the God who knows you intimately enough to give you exactly what you need to blossom.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” James 1:17