Pause. Renew. Next.

Tag: Being rooted

Bird on a Wire

Sometimes, it seems the Lord has to speak to me in multiple ways and at multiple times for a message to sink in. That has been my experience this fall. Certainly, I am a believer in reading the Bible daily to hear from the Lord. Still, in my life, the Lord often speaks in many ways, not just through Scripture. One of those ways is through nature. I believe as we seek His face, He will speak to us: through His Word and through His still, small voice. The key is to listen. To be honest, I am often distracted and not usually paying attention. Thus, in His great mercy, He reminds me on multiple occasions. Here is my latest example.

A few months ago, my mother-in-law was thinning out her garden and blessed me with strawberry plants. Her advice was to cut off the excess leaves and shoots of the plants, leaving the main root to be replanted. If all goes according to plan, this spring I will have an abundance of healthy strawberry plants in my garden.

As I sat, cutting off the excess leaves and shoots, I was meditating on the spiritual significance of “paring down.” It takes a lot of energy to be replanted and thrive. All of the leaves and extra shoots would sap energy from the strawberry root that needs to be established. Being pared down focuses the energy of the plant into fundamental growth. I felt the Lord impress on me that I too could use some paring down in my life. What did I need to focus my energy on, and what was “sapping” energy away from fundamental places of growth in my life?

Well, I wish I could tell you that I took that word and meditated on it, journaled about it, and prayed about it, but that would be false. I made a mental note and then practically forgot about it as my evening of parenting and everyday life continued.

Fast forward a few weeks to a day that I was feeling emotionally drained and physically exhausted. After a long week, it seemed I had a to-do list a mile long, and we were having guests over that evening. By mid-afternoon, I just wanted to escape. I didn’t feel like I could clean one more thing, break up one more argument among my children, or be around people, period. I asked my husband if I could go for a short drive by myself. Perplexed, but supportive, he responded, “Sure.”

I got in my van and turned on a podcast. Soon, I felt the strong tug in my spirit to turn off the noise and pray. So, I did. I poured out my frustrations, my feelings of being overwhelmed, and, like a good Father, the Lord listened. I drove down farm roads, taking in the scenery, and talking out loud in the safety and anonymity of my vehicle. I have found over the years, that praying and crying are best done on walks or drives.

Suddenly, I saw a beautiful hawk perched on an electric wire, high above me. He was looking out over a farm field, staring intently. Again, I felt the Lord impress on my spirit a similar word to before.

It seemed He was whispering, “See that hawk? He’s up high, because from there he has a full view and the best perspective. If he were in the field, he would be jumping around aimlessly, using up his energy, trying to catch his meal, but from up above, he can focus his energy and get the best result.”

Okay, Lord, I get it. I need to pare down and focus my energy. It seemed so clear. I felt so impressed by this, that I came home and told my husband all about it.

From above, perspective changes

Again, I wish I could tell you that my life immediately changed: that I came home and reorganized my whole life and all of my priorities, but that would again be inaccurate.

No, although I have been reminded now multiple times, I still only think about it in spurts. What does paring down mean? What needs to be eliminated and what should remain? How can I focus my energy? I have some ideas, and I see areas where the Lord is directing me, but it is an ongoing process of discovery.

Actually, I had a whole different blog post planned for today, but when I sat down to write, it just wasn’t going anywhere. Then, I looked out the window, and from my vantage point I could see a large black bird, sitting atop a tall and barren tree. From there, he had a clear and unobstructed view of the yard and pasture, and I was reminded again. So, with the Lord’s prompting, I took this blog for a turn. Perhaps this is a reminder for not just me, but for you as well.

Pause, Renew, Next: What about you? Where are the places that you find yourself using energy that you don’t have to give? Is the Lord calling you to pare down and refocus? How does your vantage point and your priorities change when you see your life from a “bird’s eye view?” I encourage you (and myself) to pray, journal, and meditate about this as we are reflecting on our year and preparing for the next.

May you have the peace and focus of a bird on a wire.

Pause, Renew, Next!

Growing Gnarly Roots

The redbud tree in our front flower bed

 In our front yard, between the rosebush and the daylilies, grows a Redbud tree.  For one week in the spring, our Redbud tree flowers gloriously, bursting into beautiful purple blooms.  The rest of the year, however, it is a rather ho-hum kind of tree.  You wouldn’t know this though by the way it procreates.  It produces so many seed pods, they practically look like leaves falling off of the tree!  

Thus, we find baby Redbud trees growing everywhere: in the yard, in the flower beds, and even in our gravel driveway.   A couple of Saturdays ago, I decided it was time to do a little yard work and started cleaning up my front flower beds.  My battle with the baby Redbuds began.  Their roots reached not just down into the ground but also horizontally, making it almost impossible for them to be uprooted. To pull them out required a shovel and good old muscle power.  I worked out a system: pulling, digging, pulling, digging, and pulling some more!  It was a really great workout routine.  The back of my legs were sore for a few days afterwards!

These little Redbud saplings have an important concept all figured out: to grow and thrive, it is essential to establish a root system.  A secure root system defines the life of a tree.

We often hear people talk about being ready to “put down roots.”  Usually this means they’re tired of moving and are ready settle down, to plug into their new home and community.  There is a grounding quality to being “rooted.”  It makes us feel safe, stable, and established.

Perhaps this is why, throughout Scripture, there are many references to being rooted.  Let’s take a look at three of them together: 

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3

It’s all about location, location, location!  Want to thrive?  Find a good location!   Want to grow strong, healthy, and yield fruit in season?  Plant yourself next to life-giving water.  Trees flourish when they have access to a constant water supply.  

Jesus says that through Him, we have access to living water and will never thirst.  The water He gives will become in us like a spring of water, welling up to eternal life.  (John 4:14-15)  If we are rooted in Christ, and His Spirit lives within us, then we are already overflowing with the very water we need to grow!

Ephesians 3: 17 b – 18  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together, with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.  

Paul’s prayer is that God’s people would be rooted and established in love.  It’s possible to be rooted in anger, grief, envy, or self-righteousness.  Or maybe like bitterness, they become rooted in us if we allow them to take up residence.  But Paul prays that God’s people would be rooted in love.  Just imagine how well-nourished and established we could become, if we were growing roots in soil of love.  It makes me think of a far-reaching forest.  Silently, underneath the forest floor, a vast root system is growing together, a web of roots establishing the forest.  That is what the church is like, when in love, we have the power to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.  Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

In Colossians,  Paul again writes of being rooted.  This time, he says that we should be rooted and built up in Jesus himself.    In this way, our faith is established.

Establish: set up on a firm or permanent basis

My own tiny greenhouse

One of my favorite spring and summer activities is gardening.  Last winter, I received an heirloom seed company magazine in the mail and ordered seeds in the middle of winter.   I started growing my seeds inside, long before the first frost. I watered them,  placed them in the sun, and watched them grow.  They grew slowly at first and then picked up speed.  By April, they were outgrowing their tiny containers.

What if I had not transplanted them into the garden when it was time?  They would have been unable to grow further, because they could not have established a robust and healthy root system in the place they were designed to flourish.  According to Colossians 2, we are to be rooted in Christ, allowing us to be built up and our faith to be established.  Then we too will flourish!

Pause:  Spend a few minutes outside or near a window.  Allow your body and mind to calm as you enjoy nature.  Take a few deep breaths.

Renew:  Take time to think about seasons in your life and in your faith where you have felt deeply rooted.  What was it like to feel established and plugged-in?  If you have not experienced that, what do you think has kept you from being able to put down roots?

Next: Pray or journal this week about ways that you can be rooted in love in your family, community, or church body.

Let’s grow some gnarly roots that will not be easily uprooted – with streams of living water, in love, and established in Christ.

Pause, Renew, Next!



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