02 November 2012

Five Minute Friday ~ Roots

"Come join a weekly flash mob of writers <chez Lisa Jo's> for Five Minute Friday ~ 

Where a beautiful crowd spends five minutes all writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here. Last week a bunch of us happened to be together at a conference and got to write live and in person – it. was. the. bomb.

Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right."

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on ~ "


Where I grew up, most trees didn't have tap roots. They didn't need them. There was dense, nutrient rich and moist soil - and so the roots would go down some, but then spread far and wide... sometimes three times the girth of the branches.

On the backside of the desert, it is a very, very different story. The soil is mostly sandy with very few minerals and nutrients necessary for life and very, very dry...

Perhaps that is why it never fails to amaze me when I see one of those huge African trees. We have two in our yard - one that is decades old and another that is just a few years old, but growing amazingly fast because it was planted near a septic tank. On of our Hausa friends has told us that its name in Hausa means "You-give-me-water-I'll-give-you-shade!"

Sometimes when a tree is planted where conditions are less favorable to growth, cultivators don't see much growth or change. The plant is obviously still alive... leaves continue to bud and perhaps there are additional small branches that begin to push out from the trunk... but the actual difference is minimal. It is less than impressive.

Until our guard reminded me that here, trees must send down their tap root first. They must put that root down deep, penetrating to a more secure source of water than just daily surface watering. That deep root also helps secure the tree during storms because in sandy soil, winds can easily take out a tree with out a profound anchor. 

Sometimes it is easy to look at that tree and assume that nothing is happening, only because I can't see it.

Maybe all of its energy is focused on plunging deep to find that sustaining source and once it has a good strong root, a more widespread foundation form, the tree thrives and begins to reproduce and bear fruit.

Maybe it's the same way with people: for those who've not had the advantage of rich, moist soil where roots can quickly tentacle in every direction, obvious change may not immediately appear. Only God can see the growth... the ranging, stretching, lengthening and searching...

What might happen if until that time, instead of giving up or assuming failure or insincerity, those around with well established roots committed to providing the surface water necessary to sustain life?


  1. Those last two paragraphs. That is me. The slow growth in places only God could see. And now, deeper roots and finally, something to show for those years. Loved this post, Richelle. Love seeing the pictures of Africa and soaking in your stories.

    1. thanks, Alia. Heading over to see what you've written today, right now!

  2. I love how you encourage us to help others along instead of giving up on them - that's great! Thank you for writing.

    1. i'm so thankful for those who've been patient with me... encouraged me through those sorts of times!

      glad you popped by today!

  3. Beautiful truth here, I appreciate taht so much happens underneath, where we don't see, and yet, He does...Bless you, new friend, these words are full of life, and truth.

    1. I so appreciate that, too. It also encourages me when I look at my children!

      Thanks for stopping by today, and I'm also thanking the Lord that you were encouraged by these words.


  4. Thank you for reminding me this morning that not all growth is visible to me. I need to remember that especially with those closest to me. Sometimes my perspective skews my vision.

    1. perspective changes so much, doesn't it! and sometimes it is hardest to be the person we so wish we could be around those who know us the best and who are closest to us.

      hope you've had a great Friday, Linda!

  5. I loved the ending to this. It's true- you never not what is happening under the surface of anything. Sometimes growth is happening, even if slowly and unnoticed to the naked eye.

    1. i know i'm ever thankful for those who've chosen to believe the best about me even when it didn't always look so good from the outside... because they trusted what God was doing on the inside!

      Thanks for popping by!


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