Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What Is Home?

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.
John 14: 1-4

I sit in the office, brain trying to wrap itself around what to write, and I allow a slow-moving, slow-rolling wave of past experiences wind its way through my mind's screen.  Images of childhood, first days of school, climbing trees, swimming.  Images of high school, images colored in instagram sepia because the memories seem to come from a place long ago and far away.

I sit in the office and look around at the misplaced, the off-the-walls, the stacked, signs of work that's going on in this house.  Work going on to make it ready to sell.  Sell it so that we can move.

Once again.  Where the army takes us.

We have a list of everything that needs to be done to the house.  For the house, because this work has been more of a labor of love and we have gotten to know this house intimately.  We want her to shine; we want her to feel attractive and generous, and fulfilled.  We want her to feel needed.

Did I say 'her'?

Yes, this house has become a member of the family.  And we've only been here a year.  Does that happen to you?  I walk her familiar rooms and run my hands along her walls and woodwork.  I know her scrapes and scratches.  I heal her wounds.

My husband speaks of her construction.  She has good bones.  He says.  She was well built.  He says.  I watch him sanding walls that have been bumped - sand and touch, sand and touch.  He talks to her as he works - cajoling, soothing, laughing.  He wants her at her best.  I watch him dress her up with crown - it is elegant and fitting.  I help him lay tile - rugged and wonderful, right next to the gloss of dark wood.  I am amazed at the transformation and I feel the house breathe solid and strong.  Contrast between rustic and sheen.  I watch my husband custom craft and fit so that the new blends perfectly with the old.  Nothing shouts I am here, look at me - the beauty is in the whole, not the parts.

I sit in the office and look around at the red ladder, and the stacked-and-ready-to-be-installed door handles, and the door frame that is only half-painted.  This too shall pass.  Soon, she will be at her company best - all dressed up - eager to please.  And we will sell her so that we can move.

Once again.  Where the army takes us.

My sister once asked me about our many moves.  She said it was overwhelming to her - to think about setting up a new house in a new place - on a regular basis.  She said it would be hard to make all those new places into a home.  And she was right.  A house is only a house (even if I do insist on calling it a 'her').  It is only a place.  A building.  Home is the living that goes on inside the house.

Home is family, and love, fighting and making up.  It is shared decisions and planning.  It is working together on the house in order to sell it.  It is my daughter who hears "Neighbor Day" instead of Labor Day and insists that we go talk to the neighbors.  It is thanksgiving.  It is sweet dreams and security.

A little over two thousand years ago, Jesus left a home he loved to light our way in the darkness, to redeem us, to show us the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is preparing a new home for us - one that He bought to give to us.  And He bought it at a steep price.  It won't need to be spiffed up and polished; it is already perfect.

Our home will forever be with Him, wherever that takes us.

Linking with:  Three-Word Wednesday, #TellHisStory


  1. Thank you, Janet, for these lovely words. We're in a grieving process as my mother moves from her home of 40 years, and your post reminds me that home is more than a place - it is best found in relationships and a promise from God.

    I hope your new place will be just as generous and heartwarming to your soul. So glad to meet you today from #TellHisStory!

    Blessings ~ Renee

    1. Renee, I pray for God's guidance before writing - hoping that my words will reach someone in a positive way. Your comment gives me goosebumps (God bumps, I think)... because what I thought to be a not-so-solid post has turned out to be something you need.

      We do move more than most. Sometimes I find myself a little envious of people who actually grow up and raise their family in the same town, even in the same home...but then I think about the variety of places we've been, and the variety of houses and schools and churches and friends - and I am thankful for them.

      I hope your mother will be moving somewhere close to you so you can be part of her home, and back at you - I hope her new place will be just as generous and heartwarming as she must be. I know you will miss the house, but I'll bet you've been blessed with many good memories! Have a wonder-filled week.

  2. Thank you for the reminder that a home is so much more than a place. I loved reading your thoughts on what a home is. I need to remember that I will one day look back at this season in our home, and lovingly remember the toys on the floor and the crayons and coloring books on the table. I hope you have a lovely day!

  3. Jo Rose, I am so glad you could visit. I guess our blogs are kind of like a home, too - we want our friends to be welcome, and we want to be gracious hosts...

    I wrote a post once about the fingerprints and smudges (A Few Smudges) all over the house - they represent my daughter's independence and ability rather than a clean-up job... Yes, you will lovingly remember the toys on the floor and the crayons and coloring books on the table - you might even have fond memories of crayons and marker on the walls... Definitely because of what they represent. Your kids, laughter and joy, learning, discovering, creating....

    I love that Jesus said 'let the children come', and always spoke of His Father, and the rooms he was preparing in heaven. He knew about home, didn't He?

  4. Janet, I don't think it strange to refer to your house as "her." (Maybe you also name your cars? Or is that just us?) Thanks for sharing this link ... I love it!

    1. I leave the car-naming to my husband. He's the one who always discovers their idiosyncrasies. I'm glad you enjoyed...end of story, however, is that we didn't sell her, we rented her to a couple on a three-year lease, with the hopes of returning...


I know we probably haven't met in person, but I believe that the sharing of our ideas and thoughts, sometimes our hearts and souls, makes us more than strangers. I would like to say friends. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to my little space - I appreciate you.