You know that feeling when you’ve been away for awhile and you arrive at that moment in time when you are ready to come….home?
Your own bed….your own fridge….your own stuff….the things that are comfy and familiar. But it’s hard to pinpoint just what it is that evokes that feeling, sometimes that longing, to come – home.
Four years ago I began a journey that would lead me to redefine “home.” Our safe, predictable Warren nest experienced its first tembler when my daughter, Kelsey headed to Texas for college. If you know Kelsey, you know that she has a unique energy that not only lights up a room, but electrified our home for 18 years. We were so proud to see her pursue her dreams, and encouraged her to “fly”….but it felt like some “home” left with her…..
“Oh God….remind her how much you love her….that she belongs to You. And always bring her home.”
Three years ago, when we accepted a call to ministry in Hanford, we began making plans to sell our house in Oakdale. It needed several repairs in order to fetch top dollar, so every weekend I took the train to Hanford, Tom and I would drive back to Oakdale Sunday night, and Tuesday morning Tom would drive back to Hanford. Every week….for a nearly a year! And I freely admit that “home” got a little blurry that year. When I was in Oakdale, that felt like home, and when I was in Hanford with my husband, that was its own type of “home.” But home, as I had come to know and love it – had takin’ a shakin’!
“Dear God…thank you for being there, wherever I am. Please keep us close to you as we walk these days ahead. Please help us find a home.”
Brett enjoyed his job in Oakdale and, at 21 was ready to fly solo. So, when our house sold, there would only be two Warrens moving to Hanford. Brett is my firstborn, my only son, my partner in creative sarcasm, and also quite irreplaceable in the family line-up. So, as he found a new place to live, and Tom and I made the move to Hanford….I wondered where…or when…or how… we would be “home” again.
“Loving God….remind him how much you love him…. that he belongs to You. And always bring him home (…….wherever THAT is!) Sorry….I trust you….it’s just hard right now….help me trust you more.”
After a year of house-hunting (yes….a year) we finally settled on a house that needed a LOT of work. And though we are far from finished with the house, I am sitting here thinking how much I’ve grown to feel at home here. And it has nothing to do with the carpet or paint or remodeled kitchen….it’s because we’ve actually lived here for over a year now. We’ve ~lived~ here. Those kids who will probably never be permanent housemates again have come and gone to this house many times now. We are slowly but surely beginning to fill these walls with our own memories. We’ve had dinners and parties and small groups and family over enough times now that it’s feeling less and less like “the house we bought and fixed up” and more and more like a…..well…..home.
“Dear God….It’s beginning to make sense now. You knew all along….thank you for being so trust-worthy! You are my rock. Where would I be without your care?”
Feeling homesick? I know I sometimes still do. But now I know that home isn’t necessarily a place. It’s people….the people you love and who love you. Instead of brick and mortar its walls are built with all the things that make up our lives….the holidays….the disappointments….the average days….the sick days…..the celebrations….and those with whom you share it all. It’s the people in your life, whether they live with you or not….and the everlasting, ever present, ever loving Spirit of God who nurtures us through all of life’s transitions. (Oh….and the bed, fridge, and stuff aren’t bad either!)
“Loving God….thank you for saving a place at your table for me. And thank you for reminding me that home is not where I am, but where You are. Even in times of doubt, or sorrow, or upheaval, may I always find my way……home.”