This week I was a guest blogger at baaaaa.com with the tagline "bleats, from God’s sheep." My post follows:
Home. Just saying the word conjures up all kinds of images. What do you envision when you think of home?
I see myself cozily tucked under an afghan in front of a robust fire, hot chocolate in hand and my husband beside me, while a vicious wind piles snow outside our cabin windows.
I’ve never lived in a cabin. But the idea of home stirs up feelings of a safe haven; of warm belonging that insulates me from the cold.
We either remember – or long for – a home filled with laughter and closeness. A place where we are understood and even delighted in. In the security of home, we gain the courage to soar on our path to becoming all we were meant to. And then we can retreat to our refuge to heal our battle wounds.
I’ve lived in a lot of places –three countries, eight states, and I’ve lost count of the number of towns. Each time, I love the newness of the honeymoon-like beginning. But then homesickness is bound to come unbidden.
The other morning, it accosted me once more. After two years of courtship with our new town in the Southeast, my husband and I are still not “one of them.” And we probably never will be. We’re viewed as Californians here, but in California I identified with Eastern Europe. And in Eastern Europe I was The American Girl.
Haven’t I been down this road before?
After one move, I felt particularly sorry for myself for always having to go it alone. Jesus gently realigned my perspective. He reminded me that I’m not alone. He is my home – my forever home – and he makes the move with me to each new earthly home. He takes up residence in my heart and I abide in his heart.
Even when my external world is turned inside out and upside down, He is the one constant who never changes. I may feel lonely at times but the truth is that I am never alone. And neither are you. The one who understands our tumultuous emotions better than we do ourselves will never leave us.
“I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (II Cor. 6:16.)
Years later, on my first morning of life in Romania, I sat on a park bench and poured out my fears to God. Did I have what it took to make it in a place so different from any I’d ever known? As I finished praying, I noticed my favorite deep purple flowering bush from my last home in California, thriving in the middle of Bucharest. If God could provide something purely for my delight that I didn’t need at all, I knew at that moment that He could take care of the rest.
God whispered to my heart that it didn’t matter if I could do it. He had what I needed, and He was going to lavish me with his grace and infuse me with enough strength for each day. ”The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (I Thess. 5:24.)
By the time I returned to the States a decade later, my values had expanded so much through life and ministry in another culture that I had changed, forever marked by the experience. I had to accept the fact that I would never fit in anywhere again. Just as I was an alien overseas, I’d be an alien back in my “home” country.
And that’s a good thing. I’m not meant to become so comfortable here on earth that I stop longing for heaven. My true citizenship is nowhere on earth.
God can plant us and sink our roots down deep wherever we live. But when the cloud moves and He calls us somewhere else, we need to trust him as we pull them up. Again.
This time when loneliness hit, I remembered that I was created for eternity. And someday I’ll be welcomed home.