When we started the adventure of scoping out open houses and looking at realtor.com and making our list of would-likes and must-haves, it felt rather daunting. We knew a house is just a bunch of lumber and drywall, but it seemed so much weightier than that. It felt like where we lived said something about our future, our hopes and dreams, our very identity. That’s a lot of pressure for a piece of real estate.
My friend Brooke told me about this quote she heard somewhere: “Our homes are characters in our stories” (more on that here). And my apologies for the terrible pun, but that sentiment really hit home for me. We weren’t just finding a place to put our stuff or go to sleep at night; we were finding a spot that would become a key part of our story for the next undetermined number of years.
If there’s anyone who knows about longing for home, it’s Brooke. Last summer she and her family packed up their essential belongings, rented out their house, and bought a mobile home so they could embark on a yearlong, 48-state tour of the country. Her home has been on wheels for the past year, meaning that in some ways her home is always with her, and in some ways she’s never home. She knows what it’s like to have roots and to tear them up, how freedom is the other side of loneliness, and how home is both the place and the people.
I think God hardwired us to long for home—to want to put pieces of ourselves into the soil of a place, to make memories there, to let the love and the laughter soak so deeply into the walls that they are heavy with moments and days and years.
But here’s something else I’m learning: our desire for an earthly home is never going to be enough to fill the longing in our souls. Even if we manage to find the perfect paint swatches, line the walls with just the right decorations, and fix all the leaky faucets, it won’t be enough. That longing for a haven, a place to truly belong—that only comes when we make ourselves at home in Christ.
I’ve always loved this psalm, but it makes more sense to me now:
Lord, through all the generations
you have been our home!
It seems appropriate that this psalm was written by Moses, the wanderer. The guy who grew up with a family not his own and in a country not his own, the guy who spent forty years exiled in the desert, the guy who led his people to a Promised Land he never got to enter. I have a hunch this nomad never really had a place to put his feet up and get comfortable in.
But still, he found home. He learned the lesson we all need, whether we’re putting down roots or pulling them up: When you make your dwelling in God, you will always find home.
You never know where you’re going if you’re going by faith. If you’re going by faith, you’re always a stranger in this world, because your home is God.
Question for today: What’s something you wished you’d known when you moved into a new home? What’s something you learned from moving to a new place?
In honor of my recent move, I’m giving away a copy of Home Is Where My People Are by the talented and charming Sophie Hudson! It’s a wonderful book about the unexpected places and people that make up home, and what God teaches us along the way. To be eligible, tell me about your moving experience in the comment section below. I’ll give a free copy to one randomly selected commenter.