Blessed are those who trust in the LORD; the LORD will be their trust. They are like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It does not fear heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still produces fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
Have you ever been curious about your roots? Perhaps you searched Ancestry.com, created your family tree, or listened to old stories of your family history. A part of me has always been interested in my family roots. My paternal grandmother was Italian and the rest of my grandparents were Cajun French. Most of my education on my family has come through conversations with my great grandmother, great aunt’s and my grandmother. I love hearing stories of how my Italian family settled in the states and how they migrated to Southern Louisiana. The Cajun stories are quite intriguing as well and not quite the same as your typical Boudreaux and Thibideaux jokes.
Our roots are a part of who we are. They set the foundational blocks of our unique features. We can learn quite a bit about ourselves when we go back to our roots. What I learned as I’ve searched my own roots is that they don’t define us in a sense of where our journey leads us. Our destiny and the road that leads to it is defined by our relationship with God. I’m certain that each family has generational cycles. Some of these cycles can be unhealthy and others very healthy when it comes to our relationship with God, ourselves and others. It’s the choices that we discern that break the unhealthy cycles, leading us closer to God. It may take perseverance, endurance and a greater trust in God’s plans for us to break that cycle but it’s not impossible. St Paul tells us in Philippians 4:13, “I have the strength for everything through Him who empowers me.”
This weekend I had an opportunity to go back home to Louisiana and take a swamp tour. The tour was fascinating. I learned about the settlers from Nova Scotia (the Cajuns), the vegetation, and the animals in the swamps. What I found most interesting was the roots of the cypress trees. The little stubs sticking up all over the swamp around the extremely tall cypress trees are called cypress knees and they come from the roots of the cypress tree. It is believed that these cypress knees surface above the water to provide oxygen to the tree. In other words, they surface to bring life to the tree.
I find it relatable to where I am in my journey today. I’ve been in a season of uncovering wounds that have been rooted deeply within. Understanding the roots of these wounds and the generational cycles that stem from my family roots has been very informative and helpful in moving forward in my life.
One of my favorite images of God purifying us is the process of purifying gold. He puts us in the pot above extreme heat, adds a little bit of grace and the impurities begin to rise to the surface. Then He helps us scoop them up and discard them from our lives.
These last few months, I feel like I’ve been in the pot a few times and each time the graces God sprinkles in transports another layer from deep within me. As they surface, He walks with me through the process of healing. He takes the pain, helps me understand its roots and then helps me to rebuild and renew that part of me that was wounded. Although painful, it has been very freeing and refreshing.
I’ve realized that I have stuffed a lot of past hurts deep within until one day I felt like I couldn’t stuff anymore. I had filled that space. Burying them was similar to putting a band-aid on a wound instead of properly giving it the treatment it needs to heal. Allowing them to surface and face them has been bringing more life to my spirit and deepening my relationship with God. Through it I’m able to see God’s hands through my life. I’m able to see my choices and the things I hold on to instead of surrendering to Him. In a sense it’s been a self awareness and education about me and how I process pain in my life and how to free myself from things I tightly bind up and stuff in this little space within me.
I want to place my trust in God in all things in my life and be like the tree in Jeremiah 17:8, “planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream. It does not fear heat when it comes, its leaves stay green. In the year of drought it shows no distress but still produces fruit.” Working through these wounds to heal brings me a step closer to being this tree I envision my life to become.
If you have wounds you have buried, I invite you to allow them to surface and let God help you discover the roots of these wounds. Not allowing them to define you but to heal the inflictions within, drawing you closer to Him.