I've been thinking a lot lately about home; I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss days in the coffee shop with snow sparkling in the window, chatting with some of those dearest to me. I miss game nights, and I miss lacing up my skates.
I miss my Newy family, too. I miss staying up until the final minute before curfew, deep in conversation with my brothers and sisters. I miss late-night snack-and-craft time with Holly (and sometimes, Cookie) and, more than anything, I miss the people who really invested in me during my lecture phase.
I guess for me, it has always been the people - the relationships - that make a place "home".
But now, I find myself moving around on outreach, meeting all kinds of incredible people, on the go all the time. I can't shake the feeling that everything is so temporary. Even when I find I've formed a solid relationship with someone, I know that I may never see them again.
I know that I will always have a sense of home with my parents, and with my brother and sister. Mum, Dad, Alex and Katty, you know me better than anyone else. We might argue lots but I love that we forgive more. I hope you know that I'd do anything for any of you in a heartbeat.
I know that I will always find home with my senior camp family. I know that I have a home in Newy, and I know that I have a home in all kinds of places because of the beautiful relationships that I have with people in those places; The Chans, The Wockners, The Miskiewicz's, Trinity, Saint Mike's, Jackie, Mel, and so many more. But what about here, in the villages of rural Cambodia? Here, where it's hard to communicate even my name with the people I so desperately want to get to know?
How do you build home where even relationships are temporary? How do you build home where relationships only run so deep because of circumstance and language? Do I let timing and language determine that I simply don't persue "home"?
Here's the thing:
" They say 'home is where the heart is', so if you give your heart to God... home can be anywhere." - Micheal Cooke.
If I give my heart to God, then I find home wherever He is - in service, in joy, in peace,in hope... In love. I find home in the kingdom of God.
When I love, and when I give, and when act out of grace, then I bring heaven to earth. I build the kingdom of God. I build my home.
Because my heart is God's, my home is in relationships. They are a reflection of God's character, and in the space between two people who care about each other, the kingdom of God is found.
Because my heart is God's, I am able to build my home wherever I go. I make space for the kingdom of God in every circumstance - a smile with a stranger, a cup of tea with an old friend, a cuddle with my dad. I establish heaven, I make space for God, and in that space I find rest and peace... And home.
My house is mine to build, not out of bricks but out of love.
So I'm charging into hell, and I'm bringing heaven with me. I'm building my home where there are the remnants of hell. For me, home is where brokenness was, but restoration is found. Home is where the was selfishness, but now there is humility. Home is where integrity and love reside. Home is where the kingdom of God bridges the gaps formed by race, ethnicity and language.
Home, they say, is where the heart is.