Welcome Home

It was my very first Sunday teaching children’s church at my parents’ rural church in Eastern North Carolina. My class of two preschoolers—Steven and Mariah—repeated after me solemnly and in a sing-song voice: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20) Today, I don’t remember why I chose that verse for them to learn. But I still remember Steven’s dimpled face repeating it with me.

I can identify with this verse. As a pastor’s child in a denomination that doesn’t believe in leaving a pastor in one place for too long, I learned not to get too attached to one place, because we wouldn’t be there for long. I learned how to pack up my belongings and adapt to new surroundings and to make a niche for myself in a house full of someone else’s furniture. (Because that’s what a parsonage is—a house full of someone else’s usually ugly and uncomfortable furniture.) But you move. You don’t cry for long over those you leave behind. You make new friends and learn where the closest grocery stores are. Life goes on and you pick up the new purpose in the new place you’ve been planted, and you run with it.

I know people who have lived in the same home their whole lives. I’ve known people who have known for as long as they can remember, exactly what they wanted to do with their lives when they grew up. And while I have envied both sets of people, I have never belonged to either set. When people ask me where I’m from, I don’t really know how to answer them. I was born in a town where my parents didn’t live, went to seven different schools over thirteen years, graduated from a town where I only lived for about four years, and then moved to a city where I moved so many times over a decade that I lost count. The town I live in now has never felt like home to me and I’ve been buying a house here for over five years. Where is “home”? I don’t know.

I can identify with Katie in this week’s chapter of Kisses from Katie. She grew up in a home in the United States—comfortable and safe. But then God asked her to set her plans aside and sent her to Uganda—probably the last place in the world she ever dreamed she would end up. Once she got there, she fell in love with it—the place and the people. She knew she was finally where she belonged; doing what she was created to do. But then, in keeping a promise to her family, she left it again. She finds herself asking the same question I’ve been asking myself for more than thirty years—Where is home? And even at her young age, she finds an answer.

When she said “Welcome home,” it was as though a floodgate broke open from behind my eyes and the tears came in an unstoppable river. “Welcome home.”

I wanted to ask her, “Where is home?”

I have come to the realization that I am somewhat of a nomad on this earth. I am learning to be okay with that. Human beings long for a place to call home, a nest, a sanctuary of their own. I have many and none….

My heart lives in so many places. With so many people. But God whispers to me that I really have only one home, and that is with Him. I will never be content on this earth. I will always be a nomad. It was meant to be that way. My heart was created with a desire for a home, a nest, a sanctuary, and that can be found only with Him in Heaven. And I will continue bouncing from one home to another, loving with everything I have in whatever location I currently reside, excitedly awaiting the day when I am called heavenward and He says to me, “Welcome home.”

–          From Kisses from Katie, by Katie J. Davis

That Sunday morning, half a lifetime ago, I taught that verse to Steven and Mariah, but I didn’t know why. Maybe it’s because God knew I would need to remember it on this Sunday morning, many years and many miles away, to help me remember that wherever I am, Christ is my home.

This post is part of a weekly discussion that my friend and co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen, a group of our friends, and I have each Wednesday. We’re discussing the book Kisses from Katie. You don’t have to read the book to join the conversation. In fact, the more, the merrier! If you’ve written a response to this week’s chapter, visit Jason’s site to link up at our widget. Thanks for joining us!

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. I was raised a nomad as well. We counted it up once, and by the time I was 17, I had lived in two countries, four states in the US… and 28 houses. (Missionary Parents, not military)

    My home is in the eternal… all that I experience here is fleeting. The only permanent security I have is in God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

  2. What a great promise we have. No matter what our situation, how removed or connected we feel, our true home is on the other side of eternity and we can live from there and that citizenship. Boy, it’s not easy sometimes! But it is beautiful. Thanks Sarah.

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Thanks so much, guys! I think both of you know what I’ve felt and what Katie’s felt. I’m glad we’re on the journey together!

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