If you’ve known me more than a few months, you know there is a passage of Scripture I quote often. In Jeremiah 29, Jeremiah sends a letter to the people in exile. They were in bondage and found themselves in a land not their own. They were hurting and alone, and Jeremiah had a message of hope for them. He said, “God is going to show up. He has a purpose and a plan for your life so great you can’t imagine it.” That’s the verse we all like to quote. Jer. 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But the verses before and after that one are often overlooked. They are the ones so dear to me, though, because they read somewhat like a biography of my life.
Jeremiah tells the people that yes, God has a plan. Yes, He would save them. BUT…it wouldn’t happen for 70 years. Talk about someone poking your balloon with a pin! God knew their question would be the same as mine, “What am I supposed to do while I wait?” so He made it clear. He told them to put down roots. He told them to embrace the place where He had allowed them to go. He said, “Build houses. Plant gardens because you’ll be there long enough to eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters and grandchildren. Pray and work hard so the land prospers.” But after those 70 years, God promised to show up. He promised that if they really wanted to know Him – if they would seek Him with all their hearts – He would bring them out of what was holding them captive and do amazing things in their lives. And He did. Not just for the Israelites but also for me.
Thankfully, God was gracious and didn’t make me wait 70 years. But He did wait until I learned the lesson of putting down roots. I have said before how much I fought our initial move to Texas. But once I put down roots, embraced the place where God had sent me and really, truly began to seek Him with all my heart, things changed. I found a joy and freedom I hadn’t known before.
And now, I find myself in another new place God has sent me. This time not a place of exile but one where He has sent me to proclaim that same freedom to other captives. But to do that, I have to put down roots. The DC metro area has to be my home, not Texas or Oklahoma. And this time, I’m not wasting any time. Not because it’s easier, but because I know the joy that follows. It’s not easy to start over. It hurts that my friends aren’t available for a lunch date and Brynna can’t go to the park with her play-cousins. (You can ask me later if you don’t know what a play-cousin is.) It’s sad that with each new way I settle in here, I feel further away from the people I love. But I have sought Him and I have found Him. I know He promised He has a plan greater than I can imagine. And I know that God keeps His promises.
I have a Virginia driver’s license
I have Virginia plates on my car
I have a great babysitter named Victoria (God bless her!)
I have a Fairfax County library card
I have a new House – DC Metro (www.dcmetrochurch.org)
I have made new friends – not to replace but to add (yay for Esther and Kristin!)
I know the difference between the groceries at Giant and Harris Teeter
I know the shortcut to get to the mall
I have a side entrance that means I can park at Nordstrom and feel like an adult even though I’m actually at the mall to go to the play area
I am planting…I have put down roots.