My eternal home

When Will and I got married, we bought a dear little three-acre patch of overgrown property in the country. A crumbling-down house stood in one corner of the lot, and most of the rest of the area was covered with trees–a luxury for Kansas.

We cleared out a space in the trees and moved in a small but sturdy house on top of a new basement that Will built with the help of some friends. The other house was carefully scavenged for beautiful old boards, then the rest was burned. In its place grew a lovely meadow where our chickens scratched happily.

As we fixed and tidied up the house, I commented dreamily, “Just think, Will, we can grow old together here! The house is big enough for a family, but small enough for old people to take care of.” I imagined us in our rockers by the woodstove, drinking tea and reading books and talking about new ideas just as we liked to do.

That comment about growing old has come back to haunt me. Because now when I think of growing old, I have no mental picture in my mind of where I will be.

Ten years after moving to our dream spot in the country, we left the fruit trees and goats and chickens and embarked on an adventure with God, because we heard Him calling us out.

Now we are living in our beloved town that holds sweet memories for us, different but just as precious as the ones held by the country house. I think of our book-laden family stepping outside the library at seven o’clock and hearing the church bells ring. I remember the rain slanting over the streetlight as I stood at the window and prayed for the people on my street. I picture myself walking around the lake, and how the curving, tree-lined trail always made me think of my childhood in Pennsylvania.

Most of all, I remember people, so many people, with their stories and idiosyncrasies, who have edged their way into my heart.

I see the things I love, and I wonder how long I’ll have them. I feel possessive of my town and of my street, as if they are old, comforting friends of mine.

Yet I feel an inner dislocation, an uncomfortable stirring, and I know that if God called us out of our homeland once, He could do it again. I don’t know where I will grow old.

Last week I went to hear my aunt speak at a conference, and she spoke of moving to new places and of putting down roots and living in community. Her spirit and her words touched me, and the longing to belong to somewhere for keeps grew so strong I felt pain in my chest. I wanted to have a dream for the future like a cherished book that I could occasionally pull out and lovingly turn its crinkly pages.

As I drove my five children home after the conference, tears seeped past the corners of my eyes. But in my sadness the words came to me, “Your future rests, warm and secure, not on finding a place but in knowing a Presence.” 

Where ever I live or die, God is already there, inviting me to the abundance of His house.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

Psalm 36: 7-8 (ESV)

It’s hard, yet freeing, to savor the fragrance of my daily blessings while holding them with an open hand, knowing that God is my refuge (Psalm 46:1). I may not always have my family or my house. But with God, I can live in the tension and uncertainty, knowing that He is my dream and He is my home.


O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while life shall last,
And our eternal home.

-Isaac Watts


 

 

 

 

 

 

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20 thoughts on “My eternal home

  1. Such good thoughts! Our family has done a lot of moving in the 33+ years we’ve been married. I have never been able to put down deep roots at any place. My husband and I are again planning another move in the Spring because of a job benefit. It will be closer ro the church we attend. We hope to be a blessing in that community, also.

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  2. Cindi

    Have you ever read Sally Clarkson’s book The Lifegiving Home? She wrote it with her daughter about how they were able to create a home full of memories even through many moves and full time ministry. I admire families like yours that are able to leave the familiar and follow God’s call to spread his love!

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  3. Jenny Miller

    Beautiful truth. This spoke to me so much. We have put down roots in our community, but often talk about pulling them up if and when we hear the call to move. So thankful that no matter the location, no matter the situation, His abiding presence IS my home. Blessings!

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    1. I’m encouraged to hear that you nurture a willingness to leave even while being called to stay.

      I think I saw you just in passing at the BMA meetings last week. 🙂 I had sick children so I was only there for one workshop.

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      1. Jenny

        That’s so interesting…there was one time we walked right past each other, and it took me a minute, but I thought to myself, “I think that was that blogger lady!” I was hoping to run into you again, but never did. I’d love to meet you sometime! Sorry you had to miss most of it…it was a great weekend!

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  4. Lisa

    I love this post!😊❤️💔 I don’t have a way with words like you have, but I love the way you write and express yourself. Sometimes I think you’re putting my thoughts into words for me. This one really tugs at my heart. I feel like I’ve spent my whole life looking for a place where I really belong, and while I’m so, so happy God moved us here now to a church and community that we love, I have found that the longing doesn’t go away. I think it’s because we will only be fully known and truly belong when we get to Heaven and get to live with Jesus, our Creator, Savior and Friend. I long for that day!
    P.S. I wish I could have heard your aunt speak. I found out later.

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  5. Dorcas

    This resonates so deeply with me. I continue to need to come to a place of peace at where I am at the moment. No place is perfect, except my heavenly home.
    I am a person who finds starting over difficult. But it really has increased my dependence on God, and not my circumstances and people. We have moved a lot. This year we will lived in this house for ten years—the longest I have lived in one spot in my adult life., and I am in my mid 50’s.
    I still find connections with my past deeply meaningful, but my life is rich because of all the different people I have gotten to know.

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  6. Lovina Baer

    This reminds me of the text our pastor used the first Sunday at our new church. “I shall be satisfied when I awake in His likeness.” The only truly satisfying change we will ever know. Isn’t it fascinating how in accepting that fact, it gives satisfaction in the changes here?

    Liked by 1 person

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