The last 11 years of our lives, the entirety of our marriage, the idea of "home" has been a very fluid one.
We had started raising funds to move to the foreign mission field before we were even married, and so our first two years of married life was spent living in a government housing apartment that cost us $300 USD a month and living in my childhood home with my dad, both of us working full-time and putting every penny on college debt.
We paid off every cent virtually the same time we reached full-funding, and moved to a tiny, cracky block home in Haiti. I remember laying in bed at night in that old house, drenched in sweat, watching the moon through the large cracks in the far wall, thinking about how tarantulas could come in without even squeezing.
When Lily was 36 weeks in my belly, we headed to Ohio again, bringing our first baby home to my my home, and three weeks later, to our Haiti home. Each summer after, we leave one home and family for another home and family, traveling and speaking most of our time Stateside, resting in Canal Winchester in between. It's been my home my whole life, the place I brought all my babies from the hospital, the only home in America the girls have ever known, the place where everything we own resides.
When I stand in the kitchen and watch the girls play in the yard, I'm washing dishes with my mother, watching me...every time. When I walk in the front door I remembering bundling tiny Lily up right there, in her yellow snowsuit, loading her into the car to drive to Florida and back to Haiti, wondering how to trust Him with this tiny bundle.
When I come down the stairs, every sweet pine memory of Christmas hits me. When I watch the girls play on the play kitchen my dad built my sister and I, I remember wanting to cook like mom. When I serve Lily and Sofie and Evie lunch at the counter where my mom served us 10,000 lunches...when I serve my family dinner at the table we ate around my whole life.
And when we swing on the back porch, the girls ask for Haiti. And when we play under the mangoes, the girls ask for Canal. And the houses we visit, year after year, they all have become homes as well...Uncle Martin and Aunt Sharon's, full of memories of pancakes in the camper and fireworks that still make the girls clap their hands, the pretty bedspreads at Grammy's new house and her fancy shoes to clomp in, the popsicle shop by Aunt Lisa's and the cousins, evenings in the pool with Indy at Uncle Don and Aunt Brenda's.
We have so many homes.
and yet not one of them has our names on them.
And this summer, we lose the place we've all longest called home, and suddenly I'm forced-stepping out on Him like never before. When He asked us to follow Him to Haiti, I was able to keep my happy place, as well. My place of peace. The scent of my mother. A home for my children. A place to store stuff. A place of rest.
I was able to follow Him to a foreign land and some rented houses and still always know that if we needed, if we had babies, if someone got terribly sick, if we needed rest, we could always come home.
Suddenly, what I've always SAID--that we must trust Him, that we must step out on Him, that we musn't hold anything but Christ tight in our fists--suddenly it's my dilemma.
Suddenly Jesus said to ME, "The foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."
Suddenly, Jesus is saying to me, "Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers or farms for My name's sake will inherit life."
Suddenly, Jesus is reminding ME to be content with what I have, for He will never desert nor forsake me.
Suddenly, the comfort and memories and peace and back-up and security and home for my children I've been holding on to is being asked of me.
And as I have wrestled and wrestled and wrestled, my God has become newly physical.
I have asked Him many hard questions, and He has answered EVERY. ONE.
Tomorrow we leave one home and culture for another, Kansas, then another for another and another for another, and packing and selling replace peace and rest for this season.
But when I asked Him where I would root my family? He said He'd be the place where we rest our heads.
When I asked how exactly to never return to the last place I can still find my mother, He told me to trust Him. To trust Him with my mother, and my heart.
When I ask Him how to let go of my deep desire to have a safe and happy place for my children to run wild without feeling indebted, without apologizing for spilled drinks and touched treasures, without running over into someone else's home, into someone else's kitchen, into someone else's lives...
when I asked Him how to let go...
He's asked me to hold onto Him.
Home is where I do the holy work of caring for my people, and many more.
And I will not stop doing that. I will do that, wherever we are, at home in Him.
I'm saying all this because we're back in suitcases tonight, sad to be leaving and happy to be coming, and remembering this world is not our home at all. HE is.
I'm saying all this because maybe He is asking you to let go. Of something. Of everything. Of a person. Of a place. Of an opinion, of a right.
I'm saying all this because maybe you're heart is homeless tonight, and I'm believing with MY whole heart that He is somehow STILL going to BE ENOUGH. He is STILL going to take care of us. He is STILL where (the ONLY where) we can be firmly planted.
I'm saying all this because it's time for me, it's time for us to truly step out on faith.
It is not FAITH to give five dollars when we have 50. It's not faith to follow Him when we're still holding tight to home. It's not faith to love kind and like hearted people. It's not faith to trust Him on healthy days, on happy days, on easy days.
It is faith to step out on Him NOW and BIG and PAINFUL and unrestrained. And when we are fully persuaded--staking everything on it--that God is able to do what He has promised, that God is gonna be who He says He is...that is righteousness.