There’s something to be said about snail mail. Social media shout-outs are great, but there’s nothing quite like getting a card in the mail. It’s an experience.
Spotting that envelope nestled between junk mail and bills is like spying a dear friend in a crowd of strangers. My eye always heads straight to the return address to see who it’s from. The thickness and shape of the envelope sheds light on whether it’s a plain paper letter, a note on stationery, or a greeting card. The gentle tearing of the envelope’s seal feels like opening a present wrapped with love and care.
And then there’s the reading. From the pre-printed message to the handwritten words to the scrawled signature, it all spells love.
This week is only half over, and I’ve already received two cards in the mail. Both cards were scattered with tiny messages of get well and promised prayers from sweet Christian brothers and sisters.
The first card was from my Sunday School class at Woodridge Baptist. As I read the messages, I pictured the card passed from person-to-person as they held their styrofoam coffee cups between their knees and tried to write without making a mess.
The second card was handmade with stamps and scrapbook embellishments and filled with messages from my Girlfriend Ministry ladies. Some of those gals and I go way back, and others are new friends, but all of them are sisters.
Now, I’m sure both of these groups just wanted me to know I’m loved and thought of, but God had a deeper plan.
As I held those cards in my hand, I heard the Spirit say, “Those are invitations to a garden party. Time to get planted.”
You see, I’ve been living in Shreveport, Louisiana for 18 months, but, for the life of me, I haven’t been able to make a life. It’s hard to bloom when you refuse to put down roots.
Shreveport is my hometown, but I left right after high school. I spent the bulk of my adult life in Arizona raising sons and building my tribe of loved ones. The death of my marriage was an uprooting I never expected, and it has taken more than three years for me to come to a place of acceptance. Honestly, I’m still not quite there, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.
While my three young adult sons hold a huge chunk of my heart and always will, Arizona is not my home anymore. It’s time to set down roots here.
I have people here who’ve been busting their tails trying to do life with me, but I’ve been holding back.
Sure, I checked out the soil here and there. I’ve been friendly-ish at work and church. I’m the children’s choir helper/crowd controller/note plunker. I know my way around the grocery store and signed up for the frequent shopper card. I found an amazing hair gal who’s now a dear friend. I reconnected with a few childhood friends and got acquainted with several new ones. I successfully completed my first year as a Caddo Parish Public School employee. And I’ve basked in the sun of quality time with my mom, sis, and other Louisiana family.
But, for the most part, my connections have been surface level because I have been unwilling to go deeper, unwilling to find my place in the garden.
I’m tired of hanging out in one of those temporary pots. It’s time to get planted. Replanted in the garden where it all began. As my friend, Melanie Dorsey said to me today, “Sometimes, returning to our roots opens up new opportunity for growth.” I’m ready for that.
If not for You, these last few years would have done me in. I’m a little wilted around the edges, but I’m still here.
You are my True Home, and nothing will ever change that.
But you created us for community, and it’s time for me to sink some roots in this Southern garden where You planted me at first. Give me a new beginning where it all began. My confidence is in You.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV).