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.