Home. It’s been my passion my whole life. Growing up southern, the second, if not the first, question everyone asks is “Where are you from?” Surrounded by family, drinking in the patterned, familiar rhythms of life, I learned one thing well – it is a gift to know where you’re from. It’s a gift to have a place that is right for your soul, a place where you belong and you are wanted. The trouble is, circumstances rarely manage to serve up the home we long for. In fact, the longing is never fully settled in a place.
I have lived with my husband and our five children around this continent – Alabama, Texas, New Jersey, Iowa, Canada and now North Carolina. Every place has brimmed both with richness and with ache. And for all the beauty every place offered, something has always been missing. For a long time, I thought it was the unrecoverable pieces of childhood – the smell of fried chicken and sweet tea in my grandmother’s kitchen, swarms of fireflies on a summer night, or the way the pine trees in the back yard filtered the afternoon sun.
But the more I lived into the ache, the more I discovered it wasn’t about the South, or about any place. The growing, joy-giving discovery of my life is that the Triune God himself wants to be my heart’s home. What St. Paul said is really true -- our lives can be rooted and grounded in a love that will never let us go. The One who leads us home to the heart of God is ultimately Christ himself. We meet him in the Scriptures. We meet him in the everyday stuff of life, in the wrenching difficulties, in the moments that make us shout for joy and in those times when we weep for the sheer beauty of what we see. The incurable longing for home is a gift from God to help us find the path that leads to him and to keep our feet on that path.
Does it sound too farfetched? I don’t think so. The longer I am privileged to be alive, the more I continue to find that this generous God calls us home to himself. As a writer and speaker, my desire is to live out with words what I am experiencing in my life: there is a home in the heart of God.
One of the joys of the last five years of my life has been to be part of the development of a ministry called JourneyMates, a small group spiritual companioning ministry. Through my own participation in JourneyMates, God is expanding the spaciousness in my own heart as I learn to "notice his presence with me." As four of us lead this ministry together, we are watching God give opportunities to foster the development of JourneyMates groups in other cities. He provides these connections with others who are seeking ways to learn to notice and enjoy his presence. For more information, check out the JourneyMates website: www.journeymates.org.