"I will walk by faith....even when I cannot see."
The words struck my heart like an iron hammer and tears welled up in my eyes. It was time to go. It was always time to go. This was my sign from the Lord that I should just drop everything and trust that it was all going to work out. And so I moved to South Carolina.
I never meant to be a runner. I never meant to never stay long. But when you spend a couple years in the most intense bondage of fear that you have ever known. So strong you were afraid to leave the house because you thought you might die...literally. So strong you hadn't slept for more than a few hours a night for over a year and that was only because you passed out. So strong you are failing out of high school because the meds the doctors put you on don't leave much more room in your day for homework because you slept away your senior year. Well...when that freedom finally comes, you run with it. And you run and you run. Sitting still would prove you weren't really healed.
So I drove my little red truck to the next destination in my continual quest for the perfect place to call home. I moved once a year for ten years. I'm not always sure I knew why. Most of it was because I thought it was the Lord. Some of it was because I was always trying to find where I belonged. I never felt I did. I thought I was healed because I could finally leave the house. But I had never really shook the loneliness years mental anguish had left.Its not hard to pick up and take off when you feel unwanted. You don't really care if anyone will miss you when you feel unloved. I don't think it was ever anyone's intention that I felt that way but I was suffering. But I never let myself sit still long enough to notice.City after city, nothing ever satisfied.
Since moving to the Cincinnati area, I have been on an intense journey and one that is not close to over.The Lord let me know early on that this is where He wanted me and I was safe. I could plant roots here. Unsure of what that
meant completely, I began to see how important it was to fully heal and face the demons I had been running from.
So I did.
Over the course of several months, the nomad in me shook and fussed. She wanted to run. It was too hard and too painful. I had enough of dealing with all this alone. I knew that the only way to survive was to become a part of something bigger than me to distract from the discomfort.
Then my salvation came.
I was taken in by an amazing family who is continually showing me the depths of unconditional love and what it means to be adopted in the kingdom. Its not easy. It challenges my heart daily. I realized though, that as a single woman, it was the safest place for me to be. As a person who lived her life for her next adventure, I had become very self-centered. Families don't let you be that way. True families make a place for you to function and it is a daily death to self to meet the need of all the other members. You take care of each other. You serve each other. You forgive each other. You lean on each other.It makes the discomfort settle because I have no time to sit and dwell on it. My family needs me and I need them. It gives such an honest picture of the heart of Jesus and what He desires for the body of Christ.
So what's the point?
In the midst of the chaos of daily life, this is what I see:
I have struggled my whole life with feeling unwanted. I never felt like I fit. I never felt like I made sense. Sometimes I still don't. I spent years living in different cities, meeting some of the most amazing people, having some of the craziest adventures...but it was all vanity to me.It never shook the ache.It was never going to.
I thought for so long that eventually, if all the stars alligned and the moon was just so, someday all my dreams would come true and life would miraculously make sense. I would feel understood and like I belonged. But I don't. You don't either. We don't belong here. It took me 31 years to figure that out. We're not meant to get comfortable in a sinful world full of death, distruction and perversion. We are just meant to make the best of it until we get home again. We are all on a journey. "Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage." (Psalm 84)
We are blessed in the discomfort but often focus on the wrong home.
I think I'm done running now. Not to say I will never move again. I probably will. And that's okay. If I move a million times before I die, that's fine. Digging our heels in the ground and planting our life in the soil of the American dream is not the ideal for the Christian life. Planting yourself in the firm and honest belief that you belong to the family of God and let everything else grow from there....now that's wisdom. There is no one right or wrong way to make your way in this life...only right and wrong ways of taking ownership. Knowing your adoption into His household is a firm and binding contract that says you are always wanted and eternally loved. You can be anywhere in the world and nothing will ever change the address of your home. Peace can abide in every location because you are never forsaken.
artwork by Scott Fairchild
I'm a nomad in this world and that's okay. The journey I am on will lead to a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. Who would ever want to leave that?
"For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens....For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight..." 2 Cor. 5 ESV