Sunday, October 26, 2014

26 | Be Rooted

In my midwestern corner of the world, we are all going gaga over the fall foliage. The maples have blazed up in brilliance.  The birch have witnessed a golden glory. And even the oaks have peaked in deep auburn and chestnut hues.  Each tree is majestic in it's crowning colors.

But today, in our stillness, I'm not going to wax poetic on autumn leaves.  Their blaze is amazing, but temporary.  Today we are going to turn our attention to what makes this short-lived show possible.  We are going to get down to the root of the matter: the roots.

For all the beauty we see above ground, trees replicate their span and shape below ground in their network of roots.  If a tree's visible crown overshadows its root system, it becomes weak and vulnerable.

That's why today, while the whole neighborhood was out raking and mulching and piling and bagging leaves, many were also turning attention to getting the trees through the dry fall and the frozen winter.  Long trickling drinks of water nursed the underground growth of both young and mature specimens.  Thirsty trees can't be flooded quick — they need slow drips, a drink that runs deep.

Our faith lives are not so different from these towering plants.  Our outward acts of faith get the reaction.  When we serve as God's hands and feet, voice and love in the world, we reflect the amazing hues of who he is.  But these acts fall and fade away. They will be replaced with new labors, new favors.  And the cycle will repeat.  It's not our acts that sustain our faith — it's God's grace, and our belief in that grace and prayers for that grace.  It's what the Holy Spirit does quietly, invisibly beneath the surface.  And so we nurture our roots, our relationship God.  

Which, most likely, is exactly why you've stopped by today: to be still, to grow deep down into God.

When we are still, when we quiet our minds and our hearts, we make room for the seeds God sows.  We invite God to grow into our lives.  But if we get distracted in our days, if our busyness crowds out our connectedness to the Lord, the living word can't build stable roots to sustain us.

Sometimes this sneaks up on me in strange ways.  Here I am, 26 days into daily meditating and writing about being still, about nurturing our relationship with God, yet I'm feeling... well...  a bit distant from my Heavenly Father.  How can that be?

It's like the posts I've been sending forth are falling and fading into dull browns and tired tans.  It's been a glorious month of sharing God's peace and connecting with you all.  But it's been so outward and visible.  I've been focusing more on external expression than invisible, interior depth.  I'm looking forward to November. I'm needing more of the stillness where my voice is silent and God's voice is strong.

Do you ever find yourself in this place?  Your ministry might be nurturing your family, fulfilling your professional work in a faith-filled way, reaching out to your community as God's hands and feet and hugs and service.  And you find yourself loving what God is doing through you, yet drifting all the same?

Let's lift this up to our Lord.  Won't you please pray with me?


Today I want to stretch my roots deep into your grace and peace.  Help me to focus solely on our relationship.  Be with me as I drink deep and slow from the well of your word, your will, your way.

You've given us this powerful parable of the farmer sowing his seed.
"As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root...  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  Matthew 13:4-8
I know that our quiet time together is that good soil.  Being still with you on a frequent basis provides rich fodder for your Holy Spirit to grow deep in my soul. Remind me to savor your word with meditation and prayer.  I want to receive the seeds of your good news with rich and welcoming soil.  I want to produce a crop of your loving kindness that feeds everyone in my midst.

I know that you can do this in me, in all who ask you to build a deep and healthy root system in their faith.  Just as Paul prayed over the Ephesians (3:16-19), I similarly pray that you might strengthen my inner being through your Spirit, so you may dwell in my heart.  And I ask that you continually remind me that I am rooted and established in your love.  I pray that you will give me the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is your love, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the greatest possible measure with your heavenly fullness.  Lord, make this drinking up with your fullness is my biggest thirst, my most important priority, in all that I do.
I eagerly look forward to the fruit of this deep root system that continually reaches for your strength and sustenance, Lord.  When I build my life on you, you grant me strength to get through the dry spells and cold snaps, you help me to overflow with thankfulness.  You insure that I am not weak to the power of temptation or negligent in our relationship.  My roots hold me firm in your way and your will.

The greatest blessing of this root system entwined in you, Lord, is that it continually holds me up.  It reminds me that I belong to you, my heavenly Father, King eternal. The winds and storms of this world may blow, but they cannot move you.  And they can do little more than rustle my leaves and bend my branches when I am rooted in you.  Thank you for naming and claiming me as your own child, for building me up in your amazing grace.  



  1. I loved the pictures of the brilliant Autumn colors in your neck of the Northern California our leaves have yet to turn. I appreciated your thoughts even more. May your roots grow deeply today. I know the "pruning process," painful though it may be helps me grow too!

    1. Enjoy your precious days of not-yet-fall. Thank you for your words. These roots are getting longer, growing deeper, bit by bit. Especially as I sign off the computer now and snuggle up with my Bible!

  2. Great post! I sent you a message because at first I could not post.

  3. I think blogger ate my comment.

    I am finding that, after a period of drifting like falling leaves, I am looking to deepen and nurture my roots. This 31-day challenge has helped with that.

    Glad to have found your blog.

    1. Thank you, Shelby.

      I feel the same way. This challenge has been good for me, a good way for God to grow in me. And yet, the public nature means it's a different kind of growing. I need to stop peeking at stats and focus on the comments and connections that are happening. THAT'S why God is nudging me to put his words/my words out there!

  4. Be still and grow down deep - that's wonderful.
    Interesting, I referenced Matthew 13 in my post today. It was nice to read how you incorporated it.

    1. I'll stop by tomorrow to visit your take on Matthew 13. I love it when God plants his word at several points along our path.

  5. Oh Liz, this bit resonated deeply within my heart: "It's been a glorious month of sharing God's peace and connecting with you all. But it's been so outward and visible. I've been focusing more on external expression than invisible, interior depth." I'm actually looking forward to the end of this challenge that I may refresh my "roots". Beautiful post! Stopping by from 31 Dayers - and so glad I did!

    1. Thank you for commiserating and letting me know I'm not alone. I'm looking forward to wrapping up this series. But truth be told, I know I'll miss it once it's done. I need to just. be. content. with what each day brings. I don't want to fast forward and I don't want to rewind. I want to find joy right in this moment. November will mean tending to my roots and finding a balance. I pray you can do the same!


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