I wrote this reflection four years ago after I had spent a couple of years at school, away from my home in Czech. God used all of that disorientation, to reorient me back to him. And I am clinging to His faithfulness in yet another season of transition.
When I feel suspended, uprooted and nomad-ish (def: someone with no settled home)...
When I am entrusting my future, my relationships, my hopes and my heart to him and desperately clinging to Him, waiting for Him to answer prayer and give me something to let down roots in...
...He challenges me yet again to redefine "Home" and find my roots in Him.
So, this reflection I wrote years ago spoke to me again today. And for those of you finding yourself in a similar season of feeling like a nomad without a concrete and defined "home" - I hope this encourages you, too.
Home is not what I expected to return to;
it isn’t what I thought I would find in a new place, a new house, or a new community.
I still turn to the kitchen when I want to go to the living room and find myself in the entryway looking for something to eat.
The view from my window doesn’t boast a beautiful sunset behind a red church steeple and the golden hay bales I would spend my lazy summer evenings on.
The old gate doesn’t creak every time I open it and I don’t smell the scent of fresh laundry flowing from the vent as I walk down the cracked sidewalk to the front door.
Poland is no longer a short walk away and the turns of the road leading to our house are unfamiliar.
There is no longer a pool made from the remains of an old silo in my backyard that I would spend my summers making whirlpools in and winters skating on.
I know none of my neighbors and the people that made this place home are now spread throughout different cities and countries.
Things just aren’t the same. They’ve changed. But - being back has made me realize that I’ve changed a lot as well - and maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.
I used to define “home” as the house I spent my childhood in, the village I rode my bike through and the "classy pink" room I fell asleep reading in every night.
"Home" was the place where I grew up.
Now I understand that my home is in the One who knows my inmost being, who knitted me together in my mother’s womb and who has laid His hand upon me and hemmed me in - behind and before.
My home is in the One who lived in that house on the hill with me, who watched over me every time I Ieft the house to ride my bike, meet a friend or run an errand, and who washed over me with His peace every night as I laid down to sleep.
My home is in the One with whom I have grown up and with whom I continue to grow deep.
I grew up as a Third Culture Kid (TCK), not fully identifying with my parent’s culture or the culture I was being raised in, both creating in me this third, unique culture.
So, "home" was my physical house - my safe haven.
It was there that I felt fully known, fully understood and fully loved. So, how do I find "home" when my parents sold and moved out of that house? Knowing I wouldn’t be coming back to this safe haven when I returned “home”, left me feeling unsettled, uprooted and, in a way, kind of insecure.
Now I understand that my safe haven can only be found in my heavenly Father - the God who knows me fully, understands me completely, and loves me unconditionally. There is nowhere that I can flee from His presence or go from His Spirit. He alone is my refuge and my place of safety.
I always thought that people and community truly made a place "home".
And they do. That is why goodbyes have always been hard on me; every time someone leaves, it feels like a piece of home is being taken from me.
Now I understand the beauty of goodbyes because of what they point to. Though it is imperfect, the depth of relationship between people made in God’s image is a tangible reflection of our relationship with our Creator. I have had the privilege of seeing glimpses of God and His glory through every person I have known. And this only leaves me longing for more - of deep relationship and of God.
The beauty of goodbyes is that they reveal the gift of relationship and stir in us a desire for deeper connection that can only be fulfilled by God. And more beautiful still is that we have that to look forward to! Right now, the Kingdom of God is limited in its scope and effects, but through people and relationships we get to see glimmers of what is yet to come and what we have assurance in hoping for.
Christ’s kingdom will come and be established in its fullness when his redemptive work in this world is finished and it is here that we will find our true, ultimate home.
It is here that I will spend eternity with all of the people I had to say goodbye to on Earth, and most importantly with my dear Jesus - the one who is with me now and who always has been.
See, my perspective of home has changed.
I know that I was never meant to find home in anything, anyone or any place on this earth. My home is found in Him, because with Him is where my home will be for eternity.
In the end, home isn’t what I return to, because it’s where I have always been.
So, today, in this new place, new house and new community - I am home.