I’m a horrible homemaker. Exhibit A: we’ve been in our house for longer than a year, and I still haven’t made an effort to thoughtfully hang things on the walls. There were random nails left here and there by the previous owners when we moved in, and I started a little game to see if I could cover each of them with something from my collection of outdated home décor we pulled out of storage. Since I’m a slow, indecisive decorator, that’s pretty much how things have stayed!
Despite my domestic delinquency, I find that my kids settle into a new place very quickly. We’ve had the opportunity to spend good chunks of time in lots of different places, and I’m amazed at their capacity to quickly identify with a new place. Whether it was an AirBnB where we crashed for 4 days, a company guesthouse apartment we lived in for 3 weeks or whichever grandparents’ house we occupied during the summer, they somehow associated it with the word “home” before I’d even unpacked the suitcases.
The saying “Wherever we are together, there is home,” rings true for them. Their philosophy seems to be: my parents are here, so we’re home! They don’t care if the place looks like the split-level house card in the game of LIFE that no one wants to get stuck with. They just go with it.
My third child still talks about the house where we landed for a few months when we first moved back to Texas. Even though she was barely three years old, she remembers details of her room. If you ask me, it was a shabby excuse for a great toddler space, but she fondly recalls that she had her very own toy shelf and a huge bed with a pink bedspread! In the grand scheme of things, the amount of time we spent in that house hardly qualifies as living there, but she remembers it as a home.
Gleaning from my kids’ attitude toward home, I dare say adults tend to over complicate the initial process of making a home (and oh, how it’s exasperated by HGTV). How much better could transition go if we were able to embrace the almost carefree “I’m here, my people are here, I’ve got my blanket and a big pink bed, so I’m home” outlook of my kids?
However, I do want to point out that feeling at home in a new place is much more arduous for a single person because, unlike my children, their people aren’t a package deal in every equation of their lives. I’ve always been thankful that wherever I go, my husband (who is also my best friend) goes with me. Singles don’t have that luxury, and I’m in awe of their audacious faith to trust God to provide them with “their people” wherever they go.
But, the bottom line for all of us, whether we’re married with kids, a couple or a single person, our home is ultimately in God. I’ve written about God being our home in another post (read it here), and I see that my kids naturally grasp that truth. My father’s presence is here, so I am home. When we faithfully believe that God is our home, we can fearlessly go forth to any place He calls us, whether it be the jungles of Costa Rica or a remote, rural town in America. Jesus promised never to leave us nor forsake us.
I don’t need perfectly arranged gallery walls to feel at home if I’m truly pressing into His presence. I do appreciate home décor, but it’s a scarce commodity for most overseas servants. If we’re dependent on our surroundings to give us a sense of home, we’re going to be disappointed most of the time! We all do our best to set up house wherever we land, but it’s probably never going to be Pinterest perfect, and that’s okay.
What mindset have you found helpful when settling into a new home? If you’re single, how are you doing at trusting God to provide your people in your new place? For those with families, do your kids settle into a new place quickly, or does it take a lot of time and effort?