Roots That Go Deep

by | Nov 26, 2011 | Saturday

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.       ~Jeremiah 29:11

When someone asks me where I am from, I usually have a hard time answering that question. Seems straight forward but since I entered the world, my longest stay in any one place is eight years.  And that happened after I married and had our two children.

My parents had to get married, well, because of me and not surprising, they divorced when I turned three.  I attended  six different schools from kindergarten through high school and lived in countless numbers of apartments and rental houses in Oklahoma and Missouri with my mother. 

When I met H, he was an anomaly in Phoenix – a native in a melting pot of transplants. After we got married I adopted into that sense of place. Phoenix feels more like home than the Midwestern towns where I spent my childhood; thus the struggle with answering what seems like a simple question.

But our roots didn’t have time to spread out long. We moved to California and Colorado before we moved back to Phoenix for eight years, then transplanted to the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina.

This is what comes to someone who chooses ministry as a vocation – a willingness to say yes, when He says go.

And though I can’t relate very well to someone who lives a whole life in the same house, in the same town, I have to admit I admire those who put down roots and let them spread wide and deep.

Recently, I discovered that I am a direct descendant of Sir Isaac Pennington, the Lord Mayor of London in 1642, a Puritan who oversaw the be-heading of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the father of the famous Quaker, Isaac Pennington, prolific faith writer and the stepfather to the woman who became wife to William Penn.

I leave for London, England on Monday alongside H. After meetings, we will visit some historic places where these men of faith walked, where my roots began. Even though I live as a transplant, this travelling back in time, gives a sense of destiny.  Because God orders family trees and if we look hard enough, themes erupt in the way he orchestrates life connection through the roots of geneology.

How do the chapters of our story impact the bigger story? 

Looking back, propels us forward, gives wide perspective on the way He moves in a life.  A sense of what needs to be pruned to bring new life as well as the certainty of deep abiding rootedness in identity.

Will you take this journey to England with me?  I want you to come along and walk it with me.  Starting on Tuesday, I will write from England and share thoughts along the journey.  I pray it inspires a sense of call and destiny in you too.

 Linking with Pause on the Path, I Love Saturdays, Jumping Tandem and Scripture and a Snapshot.


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  1. Robin

    London is beautiful. I love to revisit there. Looking forward to traveling with you as you visit and walk the paths of your ancestors. Prayer for you and H. as you travel and enjoy this time together.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Covet your prayers Robin as we make this journey, for us and for these we leave behind at home. I’m getting excited as I pack tonight.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh good Jennifer! So excited to take you along and I know you are a fan of England already.

  2. shanda oakley

    I cannot wait to take your journey with you. (You sound like me: I’ve never lived anywhere longer than 5 years; have lived in 7 countries and 19 cities. ) I look forward to reading what is going on with you in and around England!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yay! Thanks Shanda. Look forward to sharing what the Lord does while we are there and would love your feedback along the way. Hope you are feeling all better now.

  3. Deidra

    How long will you be there? Will you be there for Christmas? And have you been there before? Is that when you took the pictures? Can’t wait to read about your adventures!

    BTW: so thrilled you linked this 😉

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Deidra, I will be there until Friday, than to Chicago for a week and will be in Phoenix for Christmas. Busy, unusual December. I am travelling with H and yes, I have been before but this will be a different trip. I took those photos four years ago when we all went to Rwanda and stopped there for a few days. It will be great to have you along for the journey!!

  4. michelle derusha

    Can’t wait to hear more about your journey, Shelly. London is the only place I’ve been overseas (I went there in college) — I’m not a brave traveler type. So I will love vicariously through your adventure!

    Enjoyed getting to know you a bit better in this post, too!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Michelle. I hope one day we get to meet in person. It will be great to have you along on my journey. Feel like I am packing bloggers with me. It makes this trip even more exciting!

  5. momof M&MS

    can not wait to read about your journey… I grew up in essentially one spot, but my adult life has been a series of new homes and states.. would not change it for the world

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thrilled to have you come along. What states have you taken up residence? Would love to hear more.

  6. Lyla Lindquist

    Beautiful images. It’s funny, my family moved 7 or 8 times when I was growing up, but I marries a man rooted in a small community and here we stay. God puts us to work in all kinds of way, doesn’t He? Some coming, some going, some standing still.

    Safe travels go you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      He uses it all and that is why we cannot compare our circumstances to those of others. So nice to meet you here Lyla. I see you around the High Calling and in the comments of several blogs I follow. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Kristen at

    As a Pastor’s daughter, and now a parochial school teacher, I understand how ministry bids one move. We learn to put down roots where God leads us. May God bless your travels and time abroad!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Kristen. Thankfully we have only had to move our children twice and I hope not again until they finish school. I know what it is like to shift around schools in the highschool years and it is so hard. So glad you left a comment. Nice to know someone understands. Bless you!

  8. Paula

    I “think” I told you this before; but Grandma Cherry’s maiden name is Pennington and she always told us that we were decendents of William Penn. Hope you have a wonderful trip and I will be anxiously awaiting great photos and words as you make your journey.

  9. Uncle Dave and Aunt Tina

    Hey I just read thus article. You have an intriguing life may the Lord bless you as you travel to London. Seeya Later ps tell H grandpa would have been 101 today

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks for the blessings Uncle Dave and Aunt Tina. Geri is here with us and I relayed your message about Grandpa! Hard to believe.

  10. nance marie

    reading through the scriptures and seeing the lovely photos…
    Love to you.

  11. thefisherlady

    I followed my families roots to England as an 18 year old… all alone with a big God I actually found my grandma’s old home where she was born (1884) and a great aunt still lived there!
    The beauty was returning to tell her of my travels, my hikings through all her old stomping grounds.
    As she had not heard from anyone since she left England as an 18 year old, I must say this brought us so close together!
    Have fun!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Wow, what an amazing and heartwarming story! When I was around that same age I drove myself to Phoenix Arizona to find work after college. Had never been there before, only knew two people. Ended up finding my husband there. God is so good.

  12. roseann elliott

    I have passed on an award to you…I have never done this before…I am I will try to get the post up tonight….

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Roseann, I am so honored. Thank you so much. I pray you feel better soon. I have been a bit under the weather myself. Never great to feel puny around a holiday. Blessings my friend!

  13. Renee

    I love your beautiful blog! So glad I stopped in. Blessings!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Renee, so good to meet you. So glad you stopped by too!

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