My family and I recently moved to a new suburb. While still in the same state, we are now almost an hour away from many friends and family. In my old area I took much for granted. Like knowing where the nearest grocery store was, and being able to drop the kids at mum’s without embarking on an epic journey.
Until I moved I didn’t realise how powerful being in familiar surroundings was. There’s comfort in waking up to a house – and a suburb – full of memories that in a way, define your existence. When you leave your house – either to relocate with your family or to start out on your own for the first time – there are some strong feelings associated. You are leaving the home you’ve created to this point. You are farewelling the familiar, the safe. You are taking a chance – testing out your independence in a sense.
Leaving the area I had lived in for over 15 years was a big decision, but one I was ready to make. I felt God urging me to move away a little from the familiar in order to, in a way, redefine the meaning of home.
A couple of weeks ago my Grandma died. She was 99 so she had lived a long time – though living with dementia for more than 10 years made us question her quality of life. But she loved Jesus and put him first in her life – and we felt a peace that when she died, she went to be with him in heaven, her true spiritual home.
What has your quality of life been for the last 10 or more years? What is your home like? What was it growing up?
For those of us who have known the feeling of being unconditionally accepted in our homes for simply who we are – not what we offer, what income we bring in, how proud we make our parents or how we meet their emotional needs – this is a priceless feeling.
But let’s face it. For many of us, unconditional acceptance was and is far from us – or at least only a fleeting feeling. When we have it, it’s like we’re flying – but where there is condemnation or judgement on what we did or didn’t do, something inside us closes up.
I like the feeling of going to my mum’s house, knowing that when I visit she’ll enjoy preparing a a snack or something refreshing for me. She’ll often tell me to sit down and rest, and will fuss over me. She does that well – and even though I am over 30 and a mum myself, this nurturing feels important from time to time… But you and I both know that no matter how nurturing, loving or kind our parents or spouses are or weren’t… there will always be something lacking. They can never really provide for all our emotional needs. I think part of the growing-up process is learning how to care for our own needs and parent ourselves in a sense. Putting the proverbial bandaid on our daily wounds.
But despite all I have discovered about self-reliance and care, I still find, unless filled, there is a hole in my heart. It’s crying out for something or someone more. Especially when I stuff up, or walk away from the familiar to go my own way…
In the Bible, Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of a lost son who left home in order to find himself…
He threw away his father’s money, much to the aggravation of his brothers. He did everything he could to turn his back on his family. Yet when he came home, this is what his father said: “When he [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!'”
No matter what you’ve done or how far from your spiritual or physical home you’ve gone – the Father’s arms are always waiting, calling you back. He delights in me as his child no matter what I’ve done. When I return to this relationship with him he welcomes me back with open arms and throws a massive party. How cool is that?!
I believe Luke 15:11-32 captures the heart of God beautifully. And how amazing is this? In his house we can be who we are. He knows his children and loves us despite everything, because of who he is. Nothing’s gonna take his love for his kids away.
Are you connected with a church home which resonates of the Father’s forgiveness, grace and acceptance, no matter who you are or what you’ve done?
I am far from the perfect parent. I stuff up so much, every day! But I have a heavenly father who never does. And in his strength I can be a better parent. In my relationship with God the Father, I have access to endless mercy and love. It’s scandalous that he should offer me so much, given who I am and what I’ve done to reject him. But he can and does. In the person of Jesus, his death on the cross for my sins paid the price needed to restore our relationship. His coming alive from the dead showed us he was really God. And he has the power and the willingness to welcome us – those who choose to spend our lives loving him – home. Forever.
And I tell you what… knowing where my true home is, and that Jesus is with me wherever I go – gives me the courage to make my home anywhere in the world…
Before you go, why don’t you check out this video: