Finding Home Amidst The Trials Of Life
Home...the word itself paints a different picture for everyone who speaks it. It can bring pictures to mind of so many kinds. What is home to you? Do you have a picture in your mind of your inviting home right this very minute? If so, then congratulations! You are blessed.
For many people, including myself, finding home amidst the trials of life has been more of a journey. My family moved quite a few times in my youth. My family moved quite a few times during my marriage. The world we live in today has become worldwide for many many people, not just for me. Military families know this moving part very well, not just preacher's families.
There are many jobs that allow for work from home now. This has opened up a world of possibility for many new families today. However, today I am writing from my heart to yours. I have a longing for home. Jesus speaks of home in John 14:1-4.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
As children, we see our homes as huge...we are small, so almost everything looks big and spectacular. I was no different as a child. My father was an Episcopalian minister, so I spent the first twelve years of my life living in the rectories (the houses owned by the church wherever my father was the preacher). Some of these homes were big, and some were quite small. These homes represented home for me, and I learned that 'home' was an environment subject to change. Heaven was a place to look forward to - there your address stays the same FOREVER!
In the photo above, I see the idealism of homes that I experienced as a child. We were free to wander with the neighbor kids and friends during the day, and then we went HOME at dusk. Home was the safe ending at the end of a day of adventure.
"Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
And righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
The work of righteousness will be peace,
And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isaiah 32:16-18)
Upon graduation from high school for many, we then embark on a new journey. I went to college, and 'home' became a place that I got to spend holidays and some time in the summer. The world was just opening up for me, and the future was ripe with opportunity ... wide, wide open.
Traveling overseas opened up the possibilities to me even further. There was no place that was off limits with regard to where I could potentially make my own home. Wow! This was intoxicating, alluring, and even frightening (I was responsible for myself financially now). I dreamed of living in all kinds of places, all over the world. Visiting foreign countries and meeting people from all over the world is STILL one of my favorite pleasures in life! The whole world became my 'home' during this time in my life.
Then the reality of young adulthood settled in on me. I had my college degree and it was expected of me to 'grow up' and get a REAL job. I took a job as a microbiologist, moved in with 6 other young women my age, and my 'home' became a place of gathering for lots of people. It was kind of like a version of a commune...without the drugs and alcohol. Home was a part of a big group of friends who were also trying to establish a new adult home, with all the responsibilities that come with it. We kind of resembled the early church in Acts 4:32-35;
"Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need."
All things said, the collective mindset of 'home' didn't last too long. Different roommates met boyfriends and made plans to get married, etc., but it was a fun time while it lasted. Next step, for all of us, was marriage. Now 'home' became a term that was defined by me and my spouse and our growing little family - but in my heart it was what I made of my house for my family wherever we lived.
Then something incredible happened. My middle son, Jon, got really sick with pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. He was just a baby, two and a half years old. The doctors thought it was viral pneumonia. He had a three day stay in the hospital. The next year, when I was pregnant with my youngest, Anna Mae, he got sick again. This time he was in the hospital for seven days. We found out it was allergy-induced pneumonia.
That turned our 'home' into a place that we had to be vigilant to keep the outside pollens, etc. out of. My home became a safe bubble where we lived, and at the same time became a kind of cage. No longer were the outdoors safe for several months of the year. God used it to move us ... to a most unlikely place ... LAS VEGAS. While for many people, this place is nick-named 'Sin City', for me it represented LIFE.
My babies were healthy there (it is over 350 miles from any major pollen source that affected my kids). Not only that, but from the very first moment that I drove into the city it felt like 'HOME'! I don't know if I can explain it other than to say that for the first time in my life, I felt connected to a physical city. I wanted to purchase a home and sink roots twenty miles down into the soil. I love it!
Do you have a place that is like that for you? If you do, then you know what I am saying. It may defy logic, but it feels like home and you love it. Many of my closest and dearest friends I met there. Two of my three children also share this love for Las Vegas. For us, it will ALWAYS be 'home'.
We settled there, got involved with our church family, and made wonderful memories and friendships. We loved it! We had so many fun times with our friends; Easter egg hunts, swimming classes, basketball teams and games, Bible Studies, teas, group vacations to Southern Utah, and on and on. We felt HOME.
Unfortunately, our livelihood was derived from businesses located in Oregon. My spouse was therefore, not with us as much in Nevada. He didn't share my love of Las Vegas, but our children needed to live in Las Vegas for their health. It was hard, and the stress was thick in the air. My HOME was imploding before my very eyes.
As a result, my home became a place that I endured the stress. My world shrunk. On the outside, I tried to remain positive, thankful and upbeat. I turned inward, and became the scripture in Psalm 127:1-2;
"Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep"
I was uprooted, and didn't know how to fix it. We relocated to Oregon, but to no avail. The end was divorce. I was without 'home', and felt like it had been ripped out of my hands. My daughter, oldest son, and I moved to Florida for a 'fresh start.' Six months into my oldest son's time in Florida, he moved back to Las Vegas...he knew that was where 'home' was for him. We were happy for him.
My daughter and I experienced the fresh air necessary to reflect and once again build confidence to embrace life and all of it's adventure in Florida. The hurts down deep in our souls have had time to heal a bit. God has met us here with the same promises that he gave to the Israelites when they were taken captive to Babylon.......
"For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive." (Jeremiah 29:10-14)
Through these changes I have had to look inside and contemplate my perspective on 'home'. When my home was ravaged by circumstance and trials, I became fearful. A fresh start was needed. Just like the Lord God encouraged the Israelites who were taken captive to Babylon, we have found healing in seeking the "peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." (Jeremiah 29:7)
Through all of this, He has been at work within me. Some things haven't changed...I still look forward to the day when I will be face-to-face with Jesus in my forever home. Being in a new state, a fresh new place, has given me the peace and quiet to look inside. I have come eye-to-eye with a lot, been able to keep the good and discard the unnecessary, and see what is really important to me. But first, I had to see, really see, what was going on inside of me.
I had to be willing to be vulnerable and to feel the loss of 'home'. It was important to sort through all those feelings and experiences to get to the heart of the matter. Our experiences in life carry with them the opportunity for us to grow in one of two ways....either bitter, or better. I chose to become better - in little ways every day.
I have chosen to be thankful. I have chosen to let the hurt soften me up in good ways. I have chosen to feel and then lay the hurt at the feet of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been my counsellor, my teacher. He has guided me, just like Jesus said in John 16:13-15;
"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you."
I have become more compassionate, more grateful, more courageous, more determined, more creative, more resourceful, and more appreciative of all that this life offers. How then could I not be committed to becoming a little better person every day? What about you? When life's trials strike home, how do you take it?
In conclusion, I have found balance and a deeper sense of 'home' within. I have come full-circle in a manner of speaking. My children I love with everything within me. I am blessed with rich relationships with all three of them. God has given me wonderful, rich friendships with some very outstanding people. My life is enriched by all of the above.
I am ready to make my home where my heart is...without the weight of old expectations and fears. I have found home.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my journey. I would love to hear about yours as well. Please leave your story and/or comments either in the comment section, or to me directly (confidentially) at margie@LoveLife2Day.com. Visit my website for more articles and Bible study books - www.LoveLife2Day.com.
Have a great day!