Ask any MK where home is and you’ll see an impressive display of pre-syncopal symptoms: the eyes roll back, sweat beads form, and sometimes an involuntary twitch appears. For most of my life, I’ve answered the question with a vague “it’s complicated” met by raised eyebrows and loss of interest. More recently, I’ve perfected a run-on sentence that reveals the bare bones of my complicated homeness and allows for a mildly intrigued, “Huh—that’s pretty cool.”
Some of you (the faithful few!) may wonder why it has taken over two weeks for me to post this new entry. The plain truth is that I’ve been overwhelmed with pondering and creating “home.” I moved to Wheaton on August 10th, accompanied by my ever-faithful mom. We spent a couple of days running the errands that turn a rental space into a place of living: buying groceries, hanging wall decorations, reorganizing cupboards and learning how to work appliances.
And then my mom left. She returned to her life in Canada and I stayed here, contemplating my new life in Wheaton. I must admit that I spent quite some time on that first day sitting on my couch, looking around at my beautifully appointed “miracle apartment,” feeling the walls and floor shake as trains lumbered by outside, and thinking to myself, “How exactly does a person begin a new life in a new place?”
I’m pretty sure the process begins with accepting that it is indeed home. Twenty years ago, it was as a scared and angry college freshman that I moved to Wheaton. The smile on the photo above cost me the very last shreds of my courage. I spent the week before college began in tears, endured orientation feeling nearly paralyzed by the nauseating knot in my stomach, then somehow made it through my first semester despite crippling depression and crying jags that sometimes woke me up in the middle of the night. Had you asked me then what would make me feel better, I would have answered “Home.” I needed my family nearby and a physical space that felt familiar and comforting. AND I wasn’t remotely willing to start calling this place home.
But where exactly is home for those of us whose lives are currently (or constantly) transient? There was a CD left in my car when I took possession of it earlier this summer. One of the songs on the Hillsong album is called “My Heart, Your Home.” It’s a beautiful song of commitment that sticks in the mind. But it wasn’t until I inverted the words in the title that I discovered a Truth that may be applicable to others whose sense of “homeness” has vanished or been damaged recently. Because, you see, I am finding that “homeness” can be mobile and changing (ie. can follow me) if it is based on HIS heart being MY home. This is an active concept—one that demands obedience and surrender. It is the mindset that whatever God has for me, I will pursue it, I will embrace it, I will be content with it: I will enter into it as if it were my home and I will dwell in it.
What is in His heart? Love for others, eternal purposes, compassion, truth, hope, service… The list is daunting and inspiring. If I can dwell in those—if I can make of them my home—there will be a constancy in my life that will transcend time zones and cultures. If I can set my goals according to His heart, fueled by the urgency of our limited time on earth, if I can find my fulfillment and familiarity in embracing His priorities, if I can pitch my nomad’s tent on the foundation of who He is and all I know He expects of me…there will be much less lostness, because I will have His love to keep me grounded and His purposes to keep me focused.
Will I still be lonely? Without a doubt. With I still long for fireplaces, antique furniture and a picket fence? Until the day I die! None of us is immune to the craving for a physical place called “home,” populated with those who know and accept us. But making of God’s heart my home keeps me anchored to something greater and more noble than my material human needs.
Tonight is the first night that it’s been cool enough here for me to open my balcony doors and let the late-summer breeze in. In just two weeks, this apartment has seen lunch guests, dinner guests, overnight guests and weekend guests. In the coming week, it will see a BFA alumni gathering and a visit from my friend Mari Ellen. And then—if ever I find the time to send out information packets and plan my trips—it will become the staging ground from which I travel to visit supporters and launch a speaking ministry on the topic of multi-culturalism (TCK Identity, helping churches and missions to better understand and welcome home their MKs, etc.). Sometimes the best way to live in the Heart of God is to develop new ways of using the gifts He’s given us. I plan on spending this year in my new home doing exactly that.
(There is a new TCK / MK RESOURCES section on this website! Please feel free to browse through videos, articles and other offerings! If you’d like some more information on the speaking I’ll be doing this year, send me your address and I’ll pop a brochure in the mail to you!)