cutmypic.png

Motherhood. Neighboring. Grief. Sarcasm. Jesus.

Writing what I’ve learned along the way.

Home is Hope

Home is Hope

edited.jpg

Home is foundational. 

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” {Isaiah 28:16b}

Twelve years ago, I left the home I grew up in. First, for college. Then, for Guatemala and Chicago, and now Milwaukee. Years one through twelve, parting from home felt mostly an adventure. Leaving behind my grandparents and parents and siblings was hard, but easier to simply chalk up as my allotted sacrifice.

Over the past few months, guilt and sadness and homesickness for all I’ve missed hit me hard: friends’ weddings, sisters’ graduations, nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays. Now I feel the sacrifice of “hating” my blood in order to surrender my life’s plans to Christ’s leading. Now, I miss home as the hearts I grew up among, as my loving upbringing.

Home is relational.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. {Colossians 3:14}

Seven days ago, I turned 30. My husband, the Birthday Grinch himself, put aside his low-key tendencies and showered the weekend with outrageous displays of love – including a surprise party with some very dear people. The next day, I pulled tape off the walls where streamers had hung, vacuumed chip crumbs off our floors, and opened the gifts and cards of kind words I never made it to during the actual party.

For as much as we’ve sacrificed by leaving our first homes, we’ve gained through the richness of being part of healthy churches and close friendships. We’ve gained by finding home in each other as husband and wife. 

Home is physical.

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. {Hebrews 3:4} 

Five days ago, I went with my neighbor to court. I sat beside her as she spoke with an attorney to try and convince greater powers that she and her four children should not be kicked out of what has been their home for the past three years. She’s fighting to hold onto a physical space – the one sense of stability through what has been the vicious cycle of a tenant’s late payments, a landlord’s neglectful lack of upkeep, and a painful web of other circumstances that just don’t seem to ever let up.

As more court dates are ordered, I pray for miracles – for answers to complex problems I can’t solve. I pray for the Lord to mercifully restore this home.

Home is an invitation.

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I’m going there to prepare a place for you?” {John 14:2}

Fourteen days ago, I invited an 18 year old to live in our home. He has shared a meal with us every Wednesday for the past two years. Last fall, he started walking to our house after school so he could help make dinner or assemble a dessert. It didn’t take long for vague phrases like, “I’m just so stressed” to turn into detailed pain spilling over whipped cream and crushed Oreos.

When I asked him if he wanted to move in, he looked at me with the weight of an unkind life on his brow and asked, “What do you want me to do?”

Home can be a lot of things, but sometimes home is really, really complicated. But even when home is complicated, even when it’s one’s deepest human longings left wanting – that doesn’t erase the profound attachment to the foundation, the relationships, and the four physical walls one has known as home their whole life. That doesn’t erase the battered desire for things to be different – for reconciled relationships, resolved anger, and the ability to walk through the front door knowing you are loved.

“What do you want me to do?” is a question that wasn’t my place to answer. So instead I replied: “I want you to have hope.”

I helped him stuff the remnants of his belongings into a backpack and three ripped trash bags.

Home is hope.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. {Psalm 91:1-2}

Over the past ten days, we created physical space for this young man – our friend – to move in with us. We laid out the relational expectation that whatever our family does, he is welcome to join. We mapped out basic goals we pray will lay a solid foundation for his launch into adulthood – things like finishing high school and finding a job. Our friend is not a Christian, but every time he thanks us I say, “You’re so welcome. Any love we give you is because Jesus first loved us. It’s my prayer that you’ll understand that one day.”

More than the growth of basic life skills, I want this young man to know he is loved – that he bears God’s image. Some days he senses it: “It feels weird. It feels warm inside.”

Oh, that this home could be the birth of hope.

Home on this earth is not perfect.

Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling. {2 Corinthians 5:2}

And our homes were never expected to be perfect. But any home operating out of repentance and grace is ready to be a roar of hope shining through the cracks of humanity’s fragile, hurting hearts.

As Christians, our homes shouldn’t be barricaded bubbles from the rest of the world when they can be our sweetest offering to those suffering in isolated loneliness or disillusioned worthlessness. We know, because we’ve had plenty of days we feel like we don’t fit in, days we don’t feel complete, days we feel empty or worthless or cynical, and other church homes have been the powerful salve to our wounds. They’ve been the reminder that fragments of home are here and now, but it’s purest fulfillment is still to come.

So, we open our doors. We drag extra chairs around the table. We prepare spare bedrooms. And we find excuses to say that Jesus is the reason for it all.

I might get more homesick as I get older. But I also understand more and more, what home is supposed to mean.

Home is hope.

 

Grace and Peace,

Kendra

This Weary World {includes free Advent Mourning calendar}

This Weary World {includes free Advent Mourning calendar}