My closest friends know that I tend to have certain, quirky rants I like to express from time to time. They are always weird little things that no one else seems to bother thinking about, but to me they are true and important, and often times they turn into a blog post...like this one I suppose.
All my years as a college student I have struggled immensely with this.. There is a place in my heart where I was born and raised. There stands a mother and father who love me dearly and will always be a large part of my life. I also have a brother who is very active and involved in every activity under the sun. When I'm home I get to watch him excel in all these wonderful joys of his life.
In this place, I have a bed covered in a quilt my grandmother gave me. It has her and my grandpa's wedding anniversary date written on it. On top of that quilt sets a large black cat who stole my heart fifteen years ago. He eagerly waits for my next visit home. Next to my bed I have a closet full of T-shirts I earned at camps, vacations, and 5K races.
From the house, to the family, to my friends--this is a special community and place I can call nothing less but...home.
Now you may be thinking, "that's all very well and nice dear, what do you have to struggle with there?" You're right, nothing. I love this place. I lived there for twenty years, and I wouldn't mind stayin' around another twenty if it came to it. Everything is full of love, support, and trust in this part of my life. But, this place becomes a struggle when it meets place number two.
In place number two I have a nice spacious apartment all to myself. My living room is a joyous place for company from all my wonderful, loving and encouraging friends to come over whenever they please and sit and talk for hours at a time. A few strides away, these same wonderful friends are often seen hanging around my own personal kitchen. It is in this area, that I bake brownies, nutter-butter marshmallow bars, chimichangas, tacos, and anything else their tummy yearns for.
Some of these friends are die-hard disciples of Christ. They put their life on the line every day as they creatively find ways to share the gospel with the darkness of this city. We spend hours together praying, discussing, and chewing on the Word of God. Nothing can be sweeter than this time spent together, except heaven itself. Iron sharpens iron when I am with these friends.
Other friends that sit on the same couch, are people hungry and hurting. People who desperately need the love of Jesus in their life--even if they don't know it. I spend hours discussing theology, politics, and life with these dear people whom I love. Friends like these stick closer than a brother, and they are always open for a new discussion or event. I treasure the times I spend with this circle of people.
My own kitchen, a couch full of Jesus, and a kitchen full of loyal friends--this is a dear location I have learned is nothing less than the definition of, well...home.
So maybe you still don't see the conflict. You are sitting here thinking, "Gees, the woman is spoiled! What in the world does she have to be complaining about?! Go spend some time with the children in Africa for crying out loud!"
Believe me, I don't blame you for thinking these things, but I promise you there is a point in this description.
As a disciple of Christ, I pour my whole self into anything I'm doing, or anyone I'm around. I want each person I come in contact with to feel deeply the love and devotion of Jesus Christ. This is the way we were meant to live life--fully and completely each and every day.
However, conflict hits my heart hard when I am at home with my family. My spirit longs to love on the hurting and hungry. They to experience their daily dose of Jesus. I need to hear about the exciting events in their lives this week. What did I miss? How are they doing? What have they learned?
And yet, when I am in my apartment at school I desperately desire to watch my brother excel in sports, or speak at church. I want to pet my cat and listen to my Mom's weekly update on the extended family. How are Dad's crops? What's going on in the community? Where is the basketball team playing tonight?
Two wonderfully rich worlds, two divinely orchestrated mission fields, and two entire pieces of my heart--split right down the middle. Of course, I have made it my goal to live fully wherever I am present, but the longing for the other half never fully goes away.
The point I want to make, is that we all have two homes. As Christians, our home and our heart is in heaven. Mercy Me paints a better description with lyrics from their song Homesick.
"I close my eyes and I see your face,
if home's where my heart is then I'm out of place.
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow,
I've never been more homesick than now."
In his first book, Peter calls us (Christians) "aliens and strangers in the world." How clear that makes it! As children of God and heirs to the throne of Christ, we aren't at home in this world! Yes, we are called to live, and work, and love here all the days of our life on earth (Ecclesiastes 8:15-16,) but we will never fully be home until our maker and creator comes to take us back to the place of full redemption and rejoicing with the very one who made us. Then, and only then will we be able to say we feel completely at home.
"He who testifies to these things says,
'Yes, I am coming soon.'
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."