“Home Sweet Home”
At this point in the story, it was early November of 2011. As I was praying and praying about possibly moving back to Reno, I started to discern something inside of my heart that caused me to pause. The more Chris and I talked about Reno and what areas we could look at to live in/move to, the more we butted heads. He was thinking to move closer to the center of town, and I was feeling adamant about moving back out towards the side of town that I grew up in, which is pretty far from the city of Reno itself. I noticed that I would almost start to get angry when Chris wouldn’t agree that we should move back out towards where I spent my life as a little girl. I even found myself searching on real estate sites & Zillow.com for my childhood house and the surrounding neighborhoods, and I kept saying to Chris, “I just want to move back to Callahan Ranch!!” (that was the name of my old neighborhood.)
Something wasn’t quite right here, and it took a few months before I could even decipher what could possibly be going on in my head.
I started to realize that my restless heart was hungry for more than just something new.
My restless heart was hungry for home.
Now, maybe it is just me, but I have found this to be the most difficult part of growing up and becoming an adult. There comes a point, after the days of reckless youth (when you couldn’t wait to flee the nest), when all you want to do is go back. You flap around for a while out on your own until you start to realize that your arms are tired and the worms tasted better in the dirt back home, and you go searching for the nest you once knew.
But you can’t go back.
It’s not natural or healthy or good for anyone to go backwards- being beak fed your worms and playing video games in your parent’s basement until you’re suddenly 38 and probably balding. You’ve got to start building your own nest… you’ve got to let go of the past… you’ve got to grow up and start gathering some sticks.
For me, this is when things started to shift. It was almost like the second that I uncovered where my deepest longings were truly coming from, EVERYTHING was back up in the air again. The need to get back out to Reno as soon as possible instantly stopped pounding in my ears and I felt… lost. I knew now that God was unearthing a part of my heart that needed healing, and to be honest, I just didn’t know if I had the strength it would take to allow it. I was SO weary at this point from all of the questions and the unknowns and the excitement and the tension. I felt like a weary traveler who had been walking for miles and miles only to realize that I had been doing a complete circle and was standing back on my own welcome mat.
Now what? Now where? If not there… WHERE, Lord?!?!!
I felt a bit angry. I felt a bit hurt. I mean, all I had wanted from the very beginning was to go where God wanted me to go, you know? That was really my desire. I just wanted to BE where He wanted me to BE. Why wasn’t He honoring that heart cry of mine?? Why was I right back where I started… full of longing and empty of direction?
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was actually EXACTLY where God wanted me to be. He was so good to show me where I was broken. He was so kind to show me where this longing was coming from before I forced my way back home and then realized once I got there that I was still unsatisfied… still swelled up with longing… because there is more to home than familiar scenery! The sweetest memories of my whole life are from the piece of land my parents raised us on. I used to spend hours on the trampoline looking at the mountains under the stars and I know for a fact that God spoke to me there when I was little and He did it through the beauty of His creation. This whole time I had been longing for that sense of home, and now God was telling me clearly:
“Emery Josephine, I am your home.”
Only He can satisfy the deepest longings for home in our hearts. HE is our home. He is our home. HE is our home!! And on this earth, there will always be a longing for home that can not be completely fulfilled on this side of eternity. It’s this longing for home that pulls us in to Him. It’s this longing that keeps us seeking after Him like children who need their father.
The beauty in all of this is that if we will just run to HIM to satisfy us, despising the things that lie to us and tell us that they can satisfy us instead… a new house, a new car, a new wife, a faster boat, a new social media time suck… then He WILL prove Himself to be enough for us- whether we find ourselves in a dark prison cell or a cookie cutter house buried deep in the jungles of suburbia or on the wind swept plains of Oooooooklahoma! He is our home and He is everywhere.
My heart began to slowly heal. I started believing that God was enough and could satisfy every longing my heart could dream up, just by being Who He Is.
Suddenly, the book of Nehemiah took on a whole new, beautiful light. In the book of Nehemiah, the people rallied together to rebuild the walls of their broken down home town. But the way they did it was breathtaking. Each family was in charge of repairing just the section of the wall that was in front of their own house. Everyone took their own section of the wall, and in 52 DAYS the entire wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt, after it had been in ruins for over 150 years. Isn’t that awe inspiring? It was a team effort, led by the heart of a man who had been stirred by God, and the people were faithful to do the work that was set directly in front of them. I started to think of Nehemiah as a picture of the Church, the global Church, caring for the communities they had been planted in, until the city of God was rebuilt and restored. And I started to ask God what my part in that rebuilding would be… what was right in front of me that He might be calling me to.
But the most stunning part of when I started to think back on all the things God had been speaking to us up until that point was the pairing of Nehemiah with JOHN 15. John 15 says:
“ABIDE in me, and I will ABIDE in you.” (John 15:4)
The Message translation of this verse says it a little differently:
“Live in me. Make your home in ME, just as I do in you.”
And, just like that, even though we had just sold our house and had no idea where we were going to end up or what we would be doing or what life was going to look like, I had never felt more at home.