Longing for Home

With the advent of a new school year, I’ve been thinking about what home means and especially what it means for my daughter when she returns from school. I want our home to always be that safe haven for her, a place where she feels secure, and a place where she ALWAYS feels she belongs. I like to make things as cozy and welcoming as possible. I’ve put out fall garlands and orange fairy lights and this morning I’m baking peanut butter cookies. I try to be emotionally available and ready to read books or just talk once she’s off school. Hopefully, she’ll look back in years to come and remember the welcoming and warmth of our home.

A lot of money and time is offered to consumerism in order to  create our own private haven in our homes. We do this with decorations and landscaping. I’ve heard people describe their yard as a “little piece of paradise.”  Our hearts yearn for that safety and satisfaction of home, and homemaking can be a redemptive act.

Home Sarah Clews

Home can be that place where we practice for a coming eternity with Jesus, mimicking what’s to come. It’s where we practice and employ the fruits of the spirit–where love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control can be practiced regularly.

Yet no matter how “homey” I make things, there is always that discontent, that longing for something more, that sense that something is missing. Selfishness, impatience, and sin seem to always come in and try to spoil the peace of our homes.

This quote from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity comes to mind, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

We should not be surprised then that there’s no true satisfaction to be found in this world because we were made for a DIFFERENT world. Jesus tells us in John 14:2, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? ” The ways we make a home here on earth offer just a shadow of the true home that awaits us in heaven. I get chills when I hear the lyrics of the song “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong United.

“I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me”

It’s the kind of home that will always satisfy. It’s the kind of home where we always belong. It’s the kind of home where we’ll look around and say, “Ah yes, this is what I’ve been longing for.”

Sarah Clews Home

This doesn’t mean I’ll stop decorating my house or trying to create a haven for my family or stop imitating Jesus. It just means that I’ll know that whatever is missing, I’ll find in the next life. Because my true home is in heaven. I’m just a traveler here on earth making the best of what God has given me.


Sarah Clews HeadshotSarah Clews loves being the wife of Carson and mother to three little girls. She received her degree in English from Corban University and still loves the craft of writing. She also helps her husband run a martial arts school. In her free time, Sarah enjoys talking with grown-ups (!), finding new authors, doing online research, and reading her favorite childhood stories to her girls.
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The Journey Home

Author: Jessica Stinson

Recently, I was sitting in a coffee shop with a friend.  We got to talking about Romans 8:28. We acknowledged it is easy for us to think when it says “all things work together for good,” it means good for us, but a lot of the time, good for us is not really what is best.  

Sometimes God leads us to good after what seems like a lot of bad.  Yet His good is way sweeter than the best good we could have imagined.  That is because when we surrender our lives to God, He orchestrates every moment to bring glory to Himself.  This describes my last year, and the seven moves within it perfectly.

The first three moves were a result of graduating college and waiting out fifty applications.  By July, I was offered a 4th-grade teaching position, and amazingly already had housing lined up; things seemed perfect.  Three weeks after moving in, perfect was farthest from the truth. My uncle’s sister offered me a safe place to live while I searched for a better situation, and within hours my belongings were in a pile in her garage.  That moment seemed so backward. Here I was now living 1-1 ½ hours away from work depending on traffic, not to mention a different state! Yet, I wouldn’t trade those next 11 weeks. I began to heal and got to spend precious time with her parents who were visiting from Nigeria.

Jessica Stinson Home

 

Each night as I walked in the door, Grandpa would look up with a warm smile and sparkling eyes and say, “Jessica, you are home.  Welcome.” My aunt was happy to let me rent from her and joked I could stay until my wedding day. However, we both agreed the commute was killer and could be dangerous come winter.  By then all the other housing situations I had looked into had fallen through, and I told God that I gave up on looking.

Isn’t it funny that the next Sunday at church I was approached by a friend and asked to consider renting a room from him and his wife?  It was everything I had been praying for, except I couldn’t afford it. I was so disappointed. I cried and asked God why He would show me such a great situation but not make it possible?  Silly me, 3 weeks would change that.

The weekend after Thanksgiving I moved in with my two friends and their two kids; knowing that we would move again when they bought a house. I’m not going to lie, though I was excited to move in with them, I had fears of everything falling apart.  What if it turned out to be everything like Move #4? I’m so glad it has been everything but. I have continued to heal and come back out of the shell I retreated to after being hurt. It has been refreshing to witness the genuine love they have for each other, and a joy to play with their kids.  Every day I find myself thanking God that I get to live with them, knowing only God could have carried me through this crazy year.

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Clearly, I have thought a lot about home this year.  Home is not just a place to rest your head, home is a place to be at rest and belong.  The thing is, I can guarantee no matter how great your home is now, it is not perfect. That is because as Christians, our true home is in Heaven.  The fact that Heaven is home, gives us hope and freedom while we remain on earth.  This year has been an adventure.  But my ultimate adventure is following Jesus every day.  Which means home is wherever God has called me to be in this moment.  That is why I have been able to call the side of a mountain, a foreign country, a dorm room, where I live now, and so many other places home.  It does not need to make sense to others, because God will be faithful to provide for me.

I still live across the state border from work.  But God has blessed me with a reliable car, a safe place to live, a joyful place to work, great music for the ride between, and funds to survive. Plus, who else gets to see skyscrapers, mountain sunrises, a pink limousine, and cows in their commute?

In return, I will be faithful to go where God leads me and do what he has called me to. Looking towards the future can be ominous sometimes. But by trusting God, and doing what He says, I can be sure that He will make a way.  It may not always be perfect, or what I imagined, but it will definitely be good and leave me with a grateful heart as I follow my Savior to my true home.


IMG_5532Jessica is a lover of laughter and adventures. She enjoys pointing out the fun and beauty of learning to her 4th-grade students. The best compliment she ever received from a student was, “Miss Stinson, I feel like everything you do relates to Jesus, math, or singing.” Outside of the classroom, you will most likely find her hiking and taking pictures. Mountain summits, sunrises, s’mores, hot apple cider, dalmatians, and puns hold a special place in her heart. Her ultimate adventure is following Jesus each and every day.

Finding Home

Author: Karly Grant

What do Chris Daughtry, Macaulay Culkin, Bowflex, and The Bible have in common? They all, in varying ways, have used their platform to influence our culture’s ideas about home.

What is this vague, yet familiar idea of “home” that we all use in our daily lives, yet have a hard time defining? Is it a place? Is it people? Is it an ideal? Is it a concept that can never be fully understood or reached?

This elusive ideal seems difficult to pin down because it is subjectively based on our own life experiences. Below are some of the influences that have shaped my view of this seemingly abstract word.  

Music

Music has always played a huge role in my life.  Often songs can put my thoughts and prayers into words better than I can. Musicians have long tapped into the nostalgia that we create around this place called home. From classics like “Home on the Range” to holiday comforts like “I’ll be Home for Christmas” something about our dwelling places awakens our emotions.  

This is where Chris Daughtry comes in. If you recall, Chris Daughtry was on the fifth season of American Idol (and got sent home way too early in my heart-throbbing opinion). After the show, he successfully made a career out of being a musician. One of his most popular songs is simply called “Home,” with lyrics such as, “I’m going home, back to the place where I belong, and where your love has always been enough for me.” Is home a place? Is it people? Is it about having somewhere we belong?

Growing up in the church, another voice that influenced my teen years was Steven Curtis Chapman’s. In 1997, he released the song, “Not Home Yet” and you better believe that CD was spinning in my Discman on repeat. The idea is that, no matter how comfortable we are, we will not really reach our home until we’re in Heaven praising God. There is a longing only met outside of this world, a longing that awakened after the exile from Eden.

Movies

Another vociferous influence in our lives is the film industry. Home is an ideal that we can all relate to, so there are several movies that focus on this. One of the first things that pops into my head is Macaulay Culkin and the beloved Home Alone franchise. I can’t tell you how many times I watched and laughed through these movies as a kid. I watched the first two again around Christmas this last year, and sadly (maybe proudly) could still recite most of the lines. Just in case you need a refresher, Kevin McCallister is accidentally left home alone while his family goes on a vacation, people try to break into his house, and hilarious shenanigans ensue. By the end of it, while he had technically been home all along he misses his family. So what is home? Is it people more than a place? Is it knowing to whom we belong?

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Advertisements

Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all influenced by advertisements every day. From billboards to infomercials, from radio ads to catchy jingles, it is impossible to avoid. One major selling tactic that is used is to convince you that you never need to leave your house because you can use this product or that “from the comfort of your own home” (i.e. Bowflex home gym)! Whether it be online shopping, working out, or even taking college courses, these advertisers are all about comfort. So what is home? Is it where you’re most comfortable? Is it our belongings?

The Bible

Why is there so much confusion about this idea of home? Is it about comfort? Is it about people? Is home where your family is? This is something I’ve been pondering a lot in my own life. If it’s about people, how does that fit with where God has me as a single person who lives alone? We often use comfort or familiarity to define home. For instance, our place of employment is often called our home away from home because it’s where we spend a large chunk of our lives. We call our places of worship our home churches. All of these things seem to play a role in what we see as home, but I think that maybe the reason we have a hard time pinpointing what exactly defines this idea is because Steven Curtis Chapman had it right all along. We’re not home yet.

Karly Grant Home

Our home is ultimately with Christ, in a world without sin, where we will know ultimate comfort, peace, and be in the presence of our perfect King who loves us more than anyone in our current lives ever could. It is where our hope belongs.

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2, ESV).


Karly is a single 30-something who is striving to follow Jesus and trust Him in every situation. She can be found with a cup of tea or a good beer in hand while cozied up with a good book or enjoying a laugh with family or friends. God has her on a wild journey. In the last year she has quit her job of 15+ years and gone back to school full-time to pursue a career/ministry in the realm of adoption.

 

 

Images found at Pixabay