In a world that is constantly changing, we are all tired. We may not realize it, but we are all longing for Home, for a place to lay our head and rest. What is “Home” to you? As I reflected on this question, I realized that, for me, it means many different things.
Home is a physical place filled with family.
It’s a sturdy, brick house, lived in for nine years in Cincinnati, Ohio. We have made it our own over the years: gutting the first floor, putting in a new kitchen and hardwood floors, painting the walls, moving furniture around. A vegetable garden grows out back, brimming with lettuce, tomatoes, and green beans, making my heart happy.
It’s my patio, where I sit every morning, my favorite place. It’s where I read my Bible and write my prayers as the sun rises over my big, green grassy backyard.
A husband and four kids have filled this house. There is constant action, always something going on. The mudroom that I thought would keep us organized is always overflowing with mountains of shoes and dirty laundry from sports well played or recent camping trips. There are doors opening and closing as kids run in and out of the house with plans for lemonade stands, rip stick games on the driveway, or hanging out with friends. Over the years, there have been ping pong tournaments, cookies baking and guitars and cellos making music in front of a wood-burning fireplace. Songs often fill the air as I clean up the dishes. This physical space is Home.
After a long week, my heart feels at home when I step into my mom’s house, and she makes comfort food from my childhood. It is my dad sitting in the stands at my kids’ sports games, and my mom helping organize my kitchen. It’s putting on a soft sweatshirt, a comfy pair of leggings, and holding a cup of tea after a long day of teaching. It is Christmas decorations, pumpkin carving, Valentine’s Day “fancy” dinners, and searching for hidden Easter baskets.
It is sipping wine on my patio and talking with my husband for hours. It means family dinners when all six of us gather around the table and share our highs and lows from the day. Home is family breakfasts and worshipping together at church on Sunday.
Home is my faith.
This past June, I had the opportunity to go to Israel with a group of fellow educators. When I was there, I felt a strange sense of being Home that I did not expect. I was physically far from my house and the people I love, but I felt 100% at peace. The Israeli culture is vastly different from the one I live in. But what motivates the people—their faith—is the same thing that motivates me.
Because of this, I felt kinship and sisterhood with strangers. I knew that many of them were devoted to the same King as I am. The land, stories, ruins, and monuments came alive within my heart. Walking where Jesus walked gave me a glimpse of what it may feel like to be in God’s presence for eternity. I will be Home.
During this difficult year, it has helped me to reflect on what Home means to me because it has helped me to reprioritize my time and efforts. It’s a chance to remember what is important.
As a young woman and mom, I had it all wrong. I sought after an organized and polished house. One that I could show others. Now all I want is a well-lived-in home, one that I can share with others. One where people can sit on my couch and put their feet up after a long day or help themselves to chocolate milk. My definition of Home has shifted from a physical place to connection with people, from presenting a polished space to extending comfort to those who step into it. My priorities have shifted as I have lived life.
I have realized that the phrase “Home is where the heart is” makes a lot of sense. It means that where I put my time and priorities is the place where my heart’s affections are cultivated. Whether Home is the physical structure of my house, the memories I hold and create with others, or my time on holy ground in Israel, I know that ultimately this is all a glimpse of what we are made for. We were made to reflect our Father, loving Him and loving others.
I’m looking forward to my future Home.
In this ever-changing world, we all are weary because this present world is not our Home. But let’s hold fast to the promise that He has created us to be with Him at Home in eternity, and He will make all things new.
“That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy” (Romans 8:19-25, The Message).
Until then, what is Home to you?
To learn ways to grow your faith while we wait for our ultimate Home, listen to this podcast episode of This Grit and Grace Life: If You Want to Grow in Faith, Try These Simple Things – 144