Home. They say it’s where your story begins. And they say there’s really no place like it.
Last month we visited the only place that I called “home” the first 22 years of my life. It’s the red-brick house my parents brought me home to as a newborn. In the pink bedroom, I shared a bed with all my dolls and listened to the whippoorwills and lonesome train whistles crying in the distance. In the cozy den, I listened to Mama play John Denver songs on the piano. In the backyard, I learned to swing and ride a bike and dig in the dirt. In the front yard, I played cars and trucks and cowboys and Indians with my brother. On the front porch, Daddy let me sit on the bucket as he cranked homemade ice cream on hot summer evenings. In the paved car port, I roller-skated with my headphones blaring Madonna tunes. In the kitchen, Mama let me lick the chocolate icing off the beaters, and Daddy shared his Dr. Pepper breaks with me. And through the big picture window, I often gazed dreamily, wondering about the future and waiting for the next package or the next visitor or the next season or just the next bus ride to school.
So last week, as we drove slowly down West 27th Street, I gazed dreamily at that red-brick house perched on two-and-a-half wooded acres bordering Lake Keystone. It had changed. In the front yard, many of the blackjack oak trees my brother and I played under were gone. Only their stumps remained. In the backyard, someone else’s swing set was placed closer to the patio than mine had been. And all around the house, new windows with white trim had replaced the old ones with brown trim. Even the big picture window overlooking the front yard was new and improved.
All those alterations seem subtle, though, when I consider how my view of home has changed since moving away from Oklahoma 12 years ago. Often, I’ve been confused. Is home where I grew up? Is home where my family is? Is home where I live now? Is home where my children grow up? Is home where everyone knows my name? Is home where I celebrate Christmas? Where is home exactly?
As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I spend a lot of time at our home here in Minnesota. Linnea and Laurel do, too. For us, home is more than a house to sleep in. It’s a comfortable place to grow and learn and worship and play and eat and rest and entertain. And I love it here; I really do. I love the memories we are making as our daughters twirl around these rooms on their tiptoes, making music with piano keys, guitar strings, made-up songs and girly giggles. I am so blessed to be home with them, teaching them and making this a soft place for Michael to land when his work day ends.
Yet my heart still longs for home. I am still wondering about the future and waiting for what’s next. These days the Bible is the big picture window through which I gaze heavenward. The Bible says none of us are truly home anywhere on this earth because God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…” -Philippians 3:20
Heaven is home. Jesus is from there, and He’s back there now preparing a place for us, just as He says in John 14:1-3:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Home is where Jesus is. And He’s busy preparing a place for me because my citizenship is in heaven. I’m just passing through Minnesota. How should I respond to that truth? Shouldn’t I set my mind on things above? Shouldn’t I prepare room in my heart for Jesus? Shouldn’t I trust Him with all of my heart?
Someday we’ll be together in heaven. But in the meantime, if Jesus is in my heart, then my heart is at home no matter where this earthly body roams. And no matter where you roam, we pray your heart may also be home in Christ Jesus this Christmas!