Being engaged this year is teaching me 2 key things. First, that without a doubt we need God at the centre of our relationship and marriage in order to be able to love and live well. Second, Jesus is inviting me to grow in being more flexible and adapt to hard things. This is (slowly) growing my patience and ability to respond well under pressure.
Lately I’ve been reminded that this applies to my home as well: without a doubt God needs to be at the centre of my home in order to be able to love and live well. Also Jesus is inviting me to be more flexible with my home and how I view it – and take steps of faith to invite others into mess.
My home, like my heart and the circumstances in my life, are going through a big change this summer as I’m prepping for B’s big move into my apartment when we get married. It’s both exciting and making me nervous – in great ways. I love to plan, dream, and shop IKEA like the next girl. I love to create, design, and organize how we will merge two lives into 1 space.
A desire to belong
There’s something about the idea of chasing home that has always gripped me. It’s often looked like chasing whatever vision of “perfection” was in my head, although now it’s much deeper than that. And perfection doesn’t really exist anyways. To me, chasing home is really about chasing belonging. And it’s hard to tear apart the idea of belonging from a physical place or the people who dwell there.
As a child I felt most secure and safe in my grandparent’s home. The house my mother was raised in, and that I was emotionally sheltered and raised in too. I deeply loved 1000 Wildwood Drive and many of my absolute best childhood moments and memories were in that home. I remember holidays with my whole family gathered around the table, standing in the hallway looking at them, I felt so loved and whole. I felt like I belonged somewhere.
My own home where my nuclear family lived was filled with pain and strife. Tension and emotional chaos. Which my mom did shelter us from a lot, but it was still there. It dwelled in the dark corners and lurked behind every sorrow. It was a broken home, and over the years we tried to mend it back together but we never reached full healing or restoration. Now, years later, we’re finally moving into new seasons of healing as God works miracles in the background.
Our feelings of home are often matched with our feelings of the people in that place. When my family had to sell my grandparent’s house, my heart broke. Was I ever going to feel secure or a sense of belonging again? My grandma reminded me that home was wherever the people were – it wasn’t dependant on a place. My mom reminded me of that last year when we had to sell my childhood home. My heart hurt then too, but for slightly different reasons. My feelings of security and belonging were attached to the people and memories of being in that place. If I left the place I felt like I would lose part of those memories and connection. My connection to that time in my life would be lost, and I feared losing a sense of grounding.
A sense of rootedness
Does the idea of “home” and belonging only relate to people? Or is there a special meaning in a physical house or location? I honestly think it’s both. I’m learning that I’m quite sensitive to space. It matters to me where I sit in lecture halls, where my desk is placed in my office at work, and how my bedroom furniture is set up. It probably makes me sounds over the top, or picky, but really where I am and the people around me, really do influence me. This applies so much more deeply to my home.
I’ve had many “homes” and places over the years where I’ve had to put down roots and connections, sometimes for years or sometimes for only a few months. Yet, no matter where I’ve lived, I’ve felt God’s presence and connection. When I move into a new place it’s almost as if I need to build some attachment with God there – it builds my sense of “home”. A safe space of belonging and security. Knowing that I first and foremost belong to God helps me feel at home no matter where I am.
In 2 Corinthians Paul writes that our true home is in heaven, in God’s presence (2 Cor 5:1). When we are living on earth our bodies are temporary dwelling places, that one day will be destroyed and then we will be together with God.
In engagement, I need to remind myself that the home that B and I will build is a temporary home. It won’t last forever, and those IKEA end tables that I’ve been coveting all winter won’t travel with me into eternity. The people who we welcome in though, might. That’s why as we build a new sense of home together, we need God at the centre. Only the presence of God in our home will help those who enter, experience his peace and joy. Not my throw pillows, photos hung on the wall, or paint colour. Those are just really for fun.
Needing to adapt
The second lesson: adapting to hard things, has come up all summer as well. With change and a new season comes letting go of an old one and there’s loss in that. About a month ago we “flipped” the bedroom and switched around the furniture and put together our new bed. I grieved for maybe 3 days about saying goodbye to my single bed. It just felt hard. But ignoring those feelings and walling them off would have been emotionally damaging too. Sometimes we just need to sit in the feelings and let others and God meet us in them. I’m realizing that when I acknowledge hard things, I move past the emotions quicker. I feel supported and encouraged to take a step of faith into something new, knowing I’m not going alone. And like always, it’s not as bad as I feared. In fact, there’s space for me to embrace it fully because I’ve had closure and fully let go of what I once had.
So the single bed is out and the queen bed is in. And it’s oh, so glorious. Especially since it’s a wooden sleigh bed and is fulfilling all my childhood adult dream beds.
The big move is under 40 days away and we’re getting closer to feeling “ready” as the apartment has evolved over the last few weeks. But more than just new furniture, there will be a new PERSON actually living here. The months of prep will turn into months of transition and adjustment as we face things that I can’t even wrap my head around now.
I just don’t know what I don’t know, until I know. You know?
One day soon it’ll be B and me chasing home together.
For those who enjoy reading
Some excellent books I’ve read this year on the idea of “home” are:
Placemaker by Christie Purifoy
Restoration House by Kennesha Buyuks
Homebody by Joanna Gaines
Keeping Place by Jen Pollock Michel
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