If you’re like me, you jam. And lately, a good jam for me has been ‘No Roots‘ by Alice Merton.
And it strikes me as somehow familiar, because it feels like my 2016.
At the beginning of that year, I prayed to God for a word or an intention, and ‘roots’ is what I got.
Roots, grounded, home.
I wrote them down on a post-it to later jot down in my journal. I wanted to remember what He said to me to see later how it came to fruition. At the time, I hoped with all that I could that it meant my then-husband and I would find a house. We were in the process of house shopping on a limited timeframe because our lease was up that June.
Sure enough, we found a house. I had peace about it. I was hopeful that this is where we would plant our roots. I thought this was my word coming to life.
But it wasn’t.
A day or two before close, and just a few more days before our lease was to end, the deal fell through, and we were out of time. It was a crappy deal, let me tell ya. It shook me hard – and not just because my family with two little ones was essentially homeless.
After that, we lived with my dad for a minute, then a place opened up for us to rent, and then the marriage fell apart, and before the end of the year, I was living with my kids at my sister’s.
I tried not to think about those 3 words for a long time.
Until recently, it just hurt. I’ve written before about God meaning what He says, so it’s not that I doubted Him giving me those words, it’s just that 2016 was full of so much chaos and heartbreak that was in direct opposition to that theme and what I was hoping it would mean.
Sometime later, we moved into my second husband’s house and made it our home. We’ve been here just over two years. We painted and built furniture and decorated and created so much more than just a place to live. We’ve built a home. Our little 3-bedroom, 2-bath number is our safe space, our place of joy and peace and sanctuary.
It is the ground in which we have planted our seeds and dug our roots.
And I don’t even mean these four walls – I mean just the way we’ve done family here, what we’re building within the walls of our home. We’re rooted in each other. And I happened completely by accident. I mean, we chose it and pursue it with some intention, but it’s by-and-large been a fairly easy and natural pursuit. My kids and I have our relationship and our own rhythms that come from being born of my own womb, but it’s more than that. But my husbands best buddy is my son. My daughters greatest resource for advice and information is my husband. He’s just as much a parent to them as I am, and as he is to our newborn son. He loves them, cares for them, provides for them, and sacrifices for them. And in turn, they have invested their love and trust in him as well. They’re learning about love from us, and being together is our favorite place to be.
Nothing about this life looks like I imagined, but I don’t know that I could appreciate the depth of the blessed goodness we’ve been fortunate enough to find in each other and in our home in 2019 without the completely broken and disrupted year I had in 2016. I don’t think of it so much like God was up in heaven, coordinating the mess so much as He’s worked in my heart through the things I lived through, and brought me to a place of humble gratitude for the life I have now.
And I think that’s what we miss sometimes about answered and unanswered prayers. So often, we’re looking for circumstantial changes, when Gods not really all that often in the business of changing circumstances. He’s in the business of heart transformations, of spiritual maturation, of human growth, and of intimacy with his children. I was looking for a house when God was preparing me for a home. When He said ‘rooted,’ He meant in Him and in each other, not a physical community or even a church. When He said grounded, He meant in humility and appreciation. When He said ‘home,’ it was my people, not a place.
So, now… now that I see that, His answer doesn’t hurt anymore. Instead, it fills my heart with such joy and peace and contentment that it just spills out of me.