Tuesday, August 16, 2011

when I think about Home {these days}

byShellyAu_1429 (1)

Those of you who have spent any kind of consistent time here know that my word for 2011 is ‘Home’.  I picked it because I knew that in all that I would experience in this year of great transition would mean that Home would not be bound by a physical place, because, well, in that sense we would be spending most of the year ‘home~less’.

It has been a priceless thing to constantly come before my Abba Father with the weariness of exile and sojourning and all that feels unsettled and ask Him again to show me what Home is.

One sermon by Tim Keller, I have listened to close to ten times is called ‘We Had to Celebrate’ and it is one in His amazing series that goes with his book ‘the Prodigal God’.  They are available free on-line and I highly recommend each one.

In ‘We Had to Celebrate’, Keller talks about what C.S. Lewis refers to in his sermon, {also available on-line} ‘The Weight of Glory’, as all of our desperate longings for the happiest places and times of our lives, the places of belonging, are really memory traces BECAUSE WE REMEMBER THE GARDEN.  A collective unconscious memory of a time of perfection and perfect communion with God and one another.  And since the Fall, we have all longed for that to be recovered.  We all, in a certain sense, live our lives as exiles.

Lewis also says that even if you could go back to a favorite family place or friend memory, it would cheat you.  You would find it so much less than it was, even then.  You see it was a moment, a place, in time and history as well as a specific group of people and physical place.  And the joy found ‘there’ was a closer rendering to the Perfect Garden and a foretaste of our perfect Home in Heaven.  Necessarily, these ‘homes’ can not be duplicated or even maintained over the years…buildings are torn down, people die or rifts and falling outs change relationships.

I am living in this understanding of Home right now.  We are staying in my hometown as we finish our support.  However, none of my family lives here anymore.  The closest I have is the grave marker where my mother is buried a couple of towns away. 

What is exquisitely ironic, if I may call it that, is that although I am staying a mere mile from one of my homes of ten years, it is no longer there.  Earlier this year, it was torn down as the home was in such terrible state (and had been even while we were living there).  The park that I go to walk almost daily is right across the street from the site of where our home was and I am walking a trail at the park my mom walked so many years.

Even more, just two miles or so from this Home, is a farmhouse which stands but a barn and pastureland which are also gone.  Vanished.  This is where I lived for ten years previously.

Somehow I have to come to grips with a concept of Home independent of the physical space or its inhabitants.  I have to internalize this Home I loved and allow it to become an ever~growing soul longing for the Forever Home that awaits one day.  Somehow.  And boldly to ask that the pieces of Home that remain though physically have literally vanished will not only sustain me, but inspire me to be a person who embodies Home wherever in the world I may be and with whomever I may be.

I have recently come to receive these verses from Psalms 84 (our family psalm) as a word over my life.


Blessed are those whose strength is in You,

In whose heart are the highways to Zion.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca

They make it a place of springs.

The autumn rains also cover it with pools,

They go from strength to strength;

Each one appears before God in Zion.

~Psalm 84:5-7

How about you?  What does Home mean to you?  I would love to run a series of Guest Posts on different people’s concept of Home.  If you would be interested in sharing your thoughts here at Fan the Flame, leave a comment or e-mail me directly at aalleman_03 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Use it on Monday SoloDeoGloriaSisterhood

Now for thanks…

Precious Lord who is showing me the way Home:

  • Thank You for your never-ending patience as You help me find my way Home
  • Thank You for the love that embodied Home in my mother—28 years of it!
  • Thank You that You have placed in my heart the highways to Zion 
  • Thank You that we need so very little of what we think we need~you make valleys of Baca’s warm and loving Homes
  • Thank You for all of the ways You are providing for us right now:
    • A wonderful Home to stay in as we finish our support
    • The love of Home and welcome all around
    • Home-cooked meals and recipes
    • It’s a joy to be together
    • Time is precious because soon we will be far
    • A sweetness of appreciation that comes from separation
    • All around, reminders of Your goodness over EVERYTHING!
  • Thank You for the little precious joys I can call my own:
    • For picnics pretend and real
    • For another Happy Place right where we are
    • For playground equipment that was the same I used now my own climb it
    • For my old elementary school in the backyard of where we are staying and their enjoyment of its playground
    • For conquering fears and ouchies
    • For walking in the rain drenched grass
    • For a daughter who will not call me anything but ‘Daddy’ and ‘Abby’…oh my!
    • For a little buddy who always says ‘Yes, Jesus is in my heart.’
  • Thank You for the feeling of homesickness for our Home awaiting in Hungary
  • Thank You for showing us more of You
  • Thank You for a peace that surpasses understanding
  • Thank You for all that is Life
  • Thank You for Your hand holding ours…carrying us when we can’t go on
  • Thank You that in You the BEST, FOR ALL OF YOUR OWN, IS ALWAYS YET TO COME!




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