The fruit of belonging
We're nearing the two year mark since we moved to Austin in July 2014. This post has been floating around in my brain (well, technically, my heart, because I'll be forever be a feeler, rather than a thinker) for awhile. Everywhere we've lived, I've had moments where I've thought, Uh oh. This is it. Here is the proof that I don't belong here. More often that not, this is rooted in the soil of insecurity. Specifically, on a run the other day, I kept thinking the words, you don't belong here, you don't belong here, you don't belong anywhere.
Nicholas' response: "We belong in Austin for now." He's got us here. This is key: He's got us. And He's got this [life] under control. Only God knows the detailed trajectory for the DeVries family. (Please note, I'm advocating for a existence of trust and assertiveness, not passiveness).
But this lack of belonging can come from being in a place where I don't feel particularly fruitful. And if I'm not bearing fruit, what's the use? Why not just relocate and replant, right?
Not every single season produces fruit. But there can be purpose and growth, without visible fruit.
I'm endeared to Austin, and we're not moving away right now. We're here for the time being, and sometimes that's hard. Because plants without deep roots are not likely to produce fruit, or at least not a bountiful harvest.
But I need to look closely for other evidence of growth—new leaves, buds, a slightly stronger trunk, one that's not so easily weathered by circumstances. And roots? Well, I think mine are deeper than I give them credit for.
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:10 (ESV)
Digging deep into the place we call "home" allows us to be more generous and that leads others to give God thanksgiving.
While I can't anticipate the bounty of next year's harvest, or even what type of fruit it will be, I can be mindful of the best way to care for the new bits of growth that are happening right now.
Our culture praises wanderlust and touts the idea: You've outgrown ______, or if you don't move around a lot, you aren't really living. I'm arguing the contrary. It's worthwhile to stay in a place long enough to really live there. Already, if I turn my focus away from fruit in Austin, I can clearly see growth because of Austin.
In the grand scheme of things, regardless of whether we move 5 or 15 times, I think of this:
But will we have lived in the fullness of our salvation during our time on earth? Or will we have merely passed through, missing the joy of keeping company with God? [...] You are a person, a citizen of the kingdom of God. Live there, Kingdom child—live where there is always enough, where there is unending grace for you." Jennifer Dukes Lee
So, for right now, what can we do in our belonging in a place for now? Notice the little growth (and expect the bigger harvests too)! If you know and trust Jesus, you can trust in your citizenship of heaven. Know that He's got this life under control. And know that even if uprooting may be in the future at some point, putting down roots and flourishing is what He intends for us. With lots and lots of help from Jesus. for our good and growth, and for His glory.
Starting sometime in the fall, I made a point to be a bit more creative and find new to us trails to hike on and explore. Since then, we have found several new favorites for when we are in the mood for a hike, regardless of the season.
2022: A year in review
Welcome to my annual post of our life in the last year – a review of all the big and little events, travels, habits, heartbreaks, and joys. These posts require a lot of time and energy, in part due to sifting through all the posts I wrote in the last year, but also because these posts spur me to reflect and sit with the previous year for a moment, before stepping into the next one.
2021: A year in review
Every January, I assemble a blog post of sorts that catalogs our year. Largely organized in list-form, I touch on the big and little things, events and thoughts and experiences that shaped our life over the last year. I do find this incredibly helpful as a sort of reflection, a glance back on the Lord's faithfulness, to show me, time and time again, that He is a good God. And with that mindset, I feel less encumbered as we continue on into the new year, more ready to face a full year of new, fresh days, with the heart attitude that regardless of what the days will hold, mundane or exciting, difficult or good, I can walk into the future with hope and trust in Him. Plus, I do enjoy looking back on a lot of the little details of our life, the ones that make me smile or think, Oh, yes! We loved that! What a little joy in our life.