This isn't home.
My roommate and I recently moved to a house a couple of miles outside of the city. We are both from areas of southern US, and a house in the country feels like home to us. You know what they say... "You can take the girl out of the country..." you probably actually do know what they say so no need to finish it. Anyway, we've been making efforts to organize the house in a way that makes us feel settled. It's normal to want that feeling. It's human nature to want a safe environment that you can call "home."
In moving, I've thought a lot about my move here in 2018. That summer, a friend of mine connected me with a missionary family that was working at the school I was coming to serve in. They were in the States for the summer visiting their supporting churches and staying with family not far from where I lived. I found the wife on social media, and not long after we met for lunch. I don't remember all of what was said when we talked, but parts of the conversation I'll never forget.
I remember she told me that they were getting ready to head back to the DR from their summer in TN, and I asked her if she was sad to be headed back. I knew how sad I was to leave. The thought of a year away from my growing nieces, close-knit family, and loving church seemed like an eternity. Her answer shocked me. She said, "Oh no! We are so ready to be back! That is home, now. Our things are there. Our routine and our ministries are there. We are excited and ready to go home!" I just remember thinking, "Lord, please don't let me love it like that. THAT is NOT home. This is home!"
It seems silly to think I would have asked Him that... that I would WANT to be uncomfortable so that I could excuse my return at the end of the year. I know, now, that He was gently preparing my heart for something it couldn't possibly have been ready for, and I'm thankful for the way He works. He so sweetly nudged this stubborn, southern girl into a life I didn't know I wanted. It didn't take long for this country to be "home," but for "home" to still be "home" as well... if that makes any sense. You may never understand if you've not found two completely different places to be "home" yourself.
Fast forward almost three years from then, and the family that considers this place "home" is being called back "home" to TN. In my almost three years on the field I've watched multiple, long-term missionaries make the adjustment back to life in the US. My heart aches for them each time it happens. I read their social media posts sharing with their friends and families about the transition, and I cry for them because I know the tears that were streaming behind those words. I see the comments from people excited to have them back, and I know the joy and heartache those comments must bring. As this family gets ready to make their journey "home" on Saturday, the Lord has been using their move to speak to my own displaced heart.
This isn't home. That isn't home. This world is not my home. The Lord can call me anywhere He pleases, and He can give me joy for the journey, but HOME is with Him. Home is where tears are no more and pain and suffering are non-existent. Home is where no one is running for president, wearing a mask, or arguing about what to eat for dinner. Home is eternal. Home is rejoicing and worship. Home is with Jesus. So, if ever I feel like I don't belong or I get a longing for something that this world just can't quench, it's because I still haven't made it home.
The first pic is a view of my Papa's farm in TN. In the center is my family this past year at my parents' house for Christmas. The last is my new house in the Dominican Republic with my roommate and our dog... All so different, yet all parts of my temporary home!