Looking for Home?
I was raised near a small town in Virginia in a rural area; I can still picture our home place; the flowers Dad planted each spring, the rope swing hung from a sturdy branch of the poplar tree in the side yard, the wood pile stacked near the shed. I also picture a later “family place” on a lake in Pennsylvania where we vacationed every summer with my second parents – my pastor and his wife who “adopted” me after my parents died when I was a young woman. It’s been sold now.
My husband and I have lived in many different places during the course of our marriage and ministry – from New Jersey to Kentucky to four different locations in Massachusetts, to three different locations in New Hampshire. We’ve lived in rented apartments, in the home of a friend, and in four different parsonages.
When we were in full time itinerant ministry, though we loved being on the road, we always looked forward to getting back “home” – the place where we could kick off our shoes, have our private space, regroup, recoup, let down, and catch up on rest.
David and I have often said to each other, “It doesn’t matter where we live; as long as you are there, it feels like home.” We have found over the years that being “at home” is not a place, it’s a feeling. It’s a comfortable, peaceful and secure sense of belonging, of being accepted, of being loved.
But we both have had those times of stress and personal life challenges when the presence of the other person does not meet the need of being perfectly known and understood. Where the heart cry cannot be put into words, where the desire cannot be fully articulated. Where the need cannot be fully met, because the spirit has deep longings another person can’t reach. It’s a place that feels lonely, and a time when we crave a place where that deep longing can be satisfied; a place called “home”.
Many years ago when David and I were in our early itinerant ministry, doing concerts and spiritual renewal weekends in whatever churches God sent us to, I had such an experience of loneliness; that experience set me on a road to discover where “home” really is.
We were invited to come and minister in a renewal weekend in a rather legalistic fundamentalist church where we had not been before. In a meeting with the pastor and elders on the Friday morning prior to the start of the weekend I sensed a definite “men-are-in-charge-here” spirit. All the questions were directed to David, even though many of them were in relation to the areas of the ministry that I generally handled. If I offered an answer, the eyes of the leadership looked downward as they listened.
I definitely felt marginalized, minimized, ignored. And it hurt. I wished we had not come to this place and felt like running to the security of “home”. However, we were some 10 hours from where we lived, so that was not a real possibility – plus, we were committed for the weekend.
As we left the pastor’s office, headed to the parsonage for dinner before the evening meeting, I excused myself to slip into the ladies’ room; I entered one of the stalls and quietly cried. I asked the Lord, “Why did you send us here? I can’t minister here.” I then felt a comforting warmth of the presence of the Lord wrap around me as He answered, “Yes you can, because I am the one ministering through you. And I will minister to you.” I then felt the peace of “home”.
There have been many moments since that long ago instance when I have needed that kind of assurance and comfort. It’s at those times of mental or spiritual “aloneness” that I have found a “home” to run to. And the same is true for my husband. When no one else can meet the longing, the need, the uncertainty, our heavenly Father has an open door, and open arms.
I read a poem this past week that resonates with me. The author is unknown. It’s a bit “old fashioned” in style and wording, but I’d like to share it with you here.
My Home Is God
My home is God Himself, Christ brought me there.
I placed myself within His mighty arms;
He took me up, and safe from all alarms
He bore me where no foot but His has trod,
Within the holiest, at home with God;
And had me dwell in Him, rejoicing there.
O holy place! O home divinely fair!
And we, God’s little ones, abiding there.
My home is God Himself; it was not always so.
A long, long road I traveled night and day,
And sought to find, within myself, some way.
Nothing I did or felt could bring me near.
Self-effort failed, and I was filled with fear.
And then I found Christ was the only way,
That I must come to Him and in Him stay,
And God had told me so.
And now, my home is God; and sheltered there,
God meets the trials of my earthly life,
God compasses me round from storm and strife,
God takes the burden of my daily care.
O wondrous place! O home divinely fair!
And I, God’s little one, safe hidden there.
Lord, as I dwell in You and You in me,
So make me dead to everything but Thee;
That as I rest within my home most fair,
My soul may evermore and only see
My God in everything and everywhere;
For now I know, my home is God.
The Scriptures reveal the truth of this poem for the true believer: it’s found in Acts 17:28
“In Him we live and move and have our being.”
Have you found this comforting, healing place in God’s presence? Or are you still looking for your “home, sweet home”?
©2013, Marcy Alves
Posted on September 4, 2013, in Christian Growth, Follow Me, God Encounters, My Journey, Reflections and tagged coming home, finding home, God, home in God, home sweet home, in search of home, our place in God. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.