If I Had THIS, My Life Would be Complete {The Grove- Metaphor}

I’ve got two announcements for you before today’s Grove post.

How would you like to be part of a video that we’re doing for Velvet Ashes? We want to show the amazing breadth and depth of our community around the world! Here’s what we need: A really short video of you getting on your computer. We’d love for it to be in a noticeable environment that clearly expresses the culture where you live.  If you’re in your passport country, we want those too!  Outdoors would be great, but in your home or a restaurant (or other location) would also be good.   Here’s a quick example:

Yep, that’s it! Easy. What we’re going to do with it will be way cooler, promise. Send your videos to us at: [email protected].  Iphones can send with Mail Drop.  Dropsend.com is a really easy way to send videos through other phones/devices.  Be sure to tell us the name of the country or region you’re in (or you can say “undisclosed.”) This has the potential to be amazing, but it’ll only work if LOTS of you send us videos.  So will you send us a video? We need these as soon as you can, no later than Feb 8.  Thank you!

Secondly, if you saw my post on Instagram, you know I’m teaching a very special group of ladies this semester for a class called “Women in Intercultural Life.” One of their assignments is to interview a woman who is (or has been) working cross-culturally in an area of the world and a kind of work they are interested in. Would you check out this list and see if you or someone you know would fit their area of interest? Then if you (or someone you know) would be willing to do one Skype or Facetime interview, please enter an email address on the list, and then the students will contact you to do an interview. They are so excited to learn from you! How many of us wish we had been able to do this before we arrived on the field?! Thank you for gifting your experience to the next generation!

Ok, back to The Grove…



I pulled the sliding glass door shut behind me and walked barefoot across my mother-in-law’s back porch. I sat on the big porch swing.

Sigh… a slice of solitude and quiet in a summer of travel and transition.

I pulled out Amber Haine’s Wild in the Hollow, ready to escape into someone else’s story.

But soon the pages blurred. I blinked. Tears fell.

This book brought me straight into the heart of my own story. After uprooting with my family from our life in China, snapping tender roots in the work of transplanting, I sat there raw and exposed.

The Spirit in Amber’s words hit straight at desire, the longing of my heart.

I craved home and permanence and belonging and please God, NO. MORE. MOVING.

More than a heart pining, this was an everyday ache.

I didn’t know for sure where this home was supposed to be, and I almost didn’t care, anywhere as long as we could stay there, no more transitioning, no more heart-wrecking goodbyes.

But I knew our next transition was just ahead, looming on the horizon.

How do you live in the tension, knowing what you long for is not yet and might not ever be?

Home was my metaphor. The metaphor I thought would save me. It was my “If only I had this, then my life would be complete.”

“We live as if the metaphor will save us, when the metaphors were only ever made to point us to God.” – Amber Haines

I sat on that swing with tears of repentance.

“Repentance is the grieving of something lost or something that feels wasted; it’s the recognition that you chased other desires when you could have had God—your satisfaction—all along.” –Amber Haines

Turns out repentance is the grief that brings new life. It was a realigning of my heart that set its course towards a deepening desire for him. It was a recognition that any home I have here will ultimately ring hollow, just as a taste never satisfies, it merely stirs up the appetite for the full meal.

Five months later we pulled our borrowed car into the garage of our temporary house. We’d just arrived back from our road trip to Grandma’s house for Christmas. When we first stepped in the door, my daughter was jubilant. “It feels good to be home,” she declared.

But shortly after I found her sitting on the couch, looking forlorn.

“What’s wrong?” I ask her.

“I’m feeling sad, and I don’t know why,” she said. “I think it is something about ‘home.’ Do you know why?”

Deep sigh.

“Yes, I think I do. Is it because this is our home, but it doesn’t feel just right?”

She nods, her eyes filling.

I continue, “We were just at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and that feels a bit like home, and we had our home in China and we’re about to have another new home? It’s hard to have so many different places that are our home, and none of them feels just right, does it?”

“Yeah,” she says. I can tell we’re resonating deeply now.

She says, “It almost feels like home is in a country I’ve never been to before.”

I smile. “You’re right. It is. Do you know what that country is called?”

She looks up with her watery eyes. “Heaven?”

“Yes. Heaven. That is the only home that will feel just right.”

“But it’s hard to wait for heaven,” she says.

“Yes, yes it is.”

She gives me a hug, and I hold her tight.


“We homeless ones will find our home, though it may take a walk through the wilderness of unmet desire to get there. It may take exposing the hollowness of our own desire to know the satisfaction of the wild love of God.” –Amber Haines


What’s a metaphor that you’ve been living for? What’s that something you’re longing for that you think will bring completeness to your life?

What metaphors point you to Jesus?


This is The Grove.  It’s where we gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art.  So join us in the comments.  Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt “Metaphor”.  Click here for details and instructions


  1. Michele Call January 28, 2016

    I have been discovering these past few weeks and months that I have been living for the sense of a job well done, of feeling like I am competent at what I have poured my life into. I struggle with contentment when circumstances are not allowing that I get that reassurance.  But it pushes me to discover that Jesus is the bread of life, my true food. Thank you for your insightful post in pointing us to Jesus.

    1. Danielle Wheeler January 29, 2016

      Thank YOU for your insightful comment.  That reassurance, that affirmation of competency… Yes, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in a longing for that.  And you’re right, sometimes circumstances are such that we’re just not getting it.  And yeah, I think Jesus allows those times to point us to contentment in him and an identity grounded in him and not in what we do.  Such good things to think on…

  2. Elizabeth January 29, 2016

    Good grief, Danielle, now the tears are flowing for me!

    I so get this. I hate moving. Moved too many times in the Army as a child.

    “Home is a place I’ve never been to.” Wow that your daughter could articulate that. And heaven feels SO FAR AWAY to a little child. I know, because we’ve had those discussions too.

    As for the thing I want, that would complete my life? More time with God, ha. Never seem to get enough these days.

    That, and a few more mended relationships, you know, the ones that just never seem to mend. I’m more and more convinced that God cares deeply about our relationships, that they are at the core of His commands in both the Old and New Testaments, yet I’m sometimes faced with relationships that never heal, or that seem to heal and scab over, and then get ripped open again.

    So those two things are what I want: to go deeper with God and to get right with people. The fulfillment of the law and the prophets. And sometimes it feels I’ll never get them all completely this side of heaven. Lately that’s just been wrecking me.

    1. Danielle Wheeler January 29, 2016

      I sense a loving Father smile when he knows of your longing to have more time with him.  Won’t that be the absolute best thing about heaven??  To have that longing fulfilled.  Constant communion…

      And oh, aching with you for mended relationships.  Feeling stuck in a relationship without any idea of how to move it forward, to move out of the pain or stagnation and into healing and wholeness…  Yep, I know that feeling.  Praying you and your reopened scab relationships.  xxoo

  3. Kelly January 29, 2016

    Simple as it is- I’m living for sleep these days. If the baby would just sleep through the night. If the toddler would just stay in her bed. If I could just get a nap. Then everything would be ok. Sleep is my idol right now. Asking Him to tear it down and be all sufficient.



    1. T January 29, 2016

      My husband and I had that idol at that time in our lives, too!!  (don’t know what else to write…but I commiserate!)

    2. Danielle Wheeler January 29, 2016

      Oh my, yes.  The baby + toddler season is so. incredibly. exhausting!!!  Sleep becomes “my precious.”  None of my babies slept through the night when the books said they should.  The expectation set by the books just made it that much harder when they continued to wake up.

      So powerful to recognize sleep as an idol.  May he be your sufficiency today.  May he sustain you today.  And also may he grant you a blessed nap!  🙂

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