Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Rooted - established deeply and firmly

I strolled the streets of downtown Homewood a few weeks ago while my car was having some work done nearby.

One storefront always catches my eye-- the bright lighting and retro furniture.

Among brightly colored fiberglass shell chairs, vintage depression glass, and modern furniture was an exact replica of my great-grandparent's metal glider.

I could picture that white frame house and concrete front porch, screen door propped open to allow a breeze to swirl into the unairconditioned interior.

Over the decades, gallons of sweet tea, homemade cake, and stories flowed as steady as the that rusted green rocker.

My great-grandparents never turned a visitor away.

Those were the days when folks would just stop by to hang out on the front porch for hours, swatting at flies, and laughing until the sun set low-- a hazy golden glow settling over the vegetable garden.

I recall my great-grandfather always wiping beads of sweat from his brow with a folded handkerchief from his pocket.

He smelled of hard work and earth-- a self-made man who lived off the land and survived the Great Depression.

Raised on cornbread, the ripest pick from the garden, and lukewarm milk direct from the udder.

As a young girl, we collected vegetables from rows of twisted vines and stalks, hung clothes on the frayed clothesline outside the back screen door, and collected fallen pecans from the large shade trees that edged the border of their backyard.

My great-grandmother was spunky and sharp-witted until she died in her early nineties.   Forever adorned in handmade calico dresses with her long gray hair pulled high in a bun.

My great-grandparents also loved Jesus deeply.  Firm roots.

When they were moved to a nursing home, I was in my early twenties.  I drove north to help clean out their home so it could be put on the market.

Most of their belongings would be sold at an estate sale to help with their expenses, but we each could choose something special for ourselves.

I wasn't a Christian yet, but I knew the first thing I would ask for-- a weathered angel in their front rock garden.

My mind holds a faded memory of me in white leather sandals and a baby doll dress as I balanced on the rocks in their front rock garden.  Two white concrete angels watching me.

It may have been Easter or a reunion, but  I couldn't have been more than three or four-years old.

I wanted one of their angels.

She still occupies a very sentimental place in my heart and home.

I spent my childhood riding up and down winding two-lane country roads to visit my family-- all only living a few miles apart.

Lots of family reunions-- cornbread dressing, congealed salads, fresh cakes, pies, and deviled eggs.

Most of my cousins were nearby as well.  Time lulled by as we ran barefooted with full bellies playing tag in their spacious backyard.

My heart was wrecked a year or so ago when we took my kids by the place-- their home run-down, a trampoline in the yard.

How quickly the things of this life fade and waste away.  A reminder that this is not our forever home.  

Family stories are gone if someone is not intentional about writing them down.

This week Little Bitty was perched comfortably in my lap, gazing down at her outstretched legs and declared, Jesus filled my life with brown.

I said, Yes baby girl, He did.

I considered how my family roots and those of Little Bitty have merged.

Oddly, she and I were born in the exact same small-town hospital.  Nearly forty-years apart.

Her birth mama and I are almost the same  age-- birth mom spent some time overseas and finally came to rest in the same Alabama county where I was born.

She graduated from the tiny high school just a block from my grandmother's house.

We passed that high school every time our family traveled the narrow back-roads of that small town in North Alabama.

I wonder what birth mama's life was like growing up?

I have a foggy picture of a life filled with deep sorrow and brokenness.

Life has weathered and broken her like salty wind bends and twists trees in a hurricane.

I wish I'd known that girl back then.  In that place where both our roots sprouted.

Because I love her children deeply.

This week, Little Bitty held tightly to an iron railing as her tiny feet stood on a splintered wooden bridge.

Watching and waiting.

It had been three months since she'd seen them.  Her brothers.

I didn't tell her who was coming.

The reaction was priceless.

The roots go deep for these kiddos.

Their hearts deeply bound.

Survivors of their own storms of life.


It feels so heavy and broken when I think about her brothers.

I want so much for them.

I can't fix it.

I grieve and beg the Father to provide a mama and daddy.

When I'm looking at their lives in my finite way, it seems hopeless.

The Father's passion for the fatherless is relentless, firm.

I remember an ancient promise, rooted in truth:  He executes justice for the fatherless... (Deu 10:18).

When my eyes are not focused on Him, I despair.

I still desperately pray for a forever family for the boys.

A mama and daddy to give them what they've never had.

A family to be the hands and feet of Christ.  A home rich in love, hope, and promise.

For all the children of my home and heart to have a fuller understanding of His redemptive story in their lives.

A firm knowing of a Father who will never abandon them.

For that is the only way for true life-- to be firmly rooted in Him.

{photo credit:} wording added by me
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