Let’s be Home for One Another {The Grove: Home}

Look up “home” in the dictionary, and you get the idea it can be identified by sticking a pin in a map. Such a simple word, a straightforward concept until…

Until you have crossed borders and rooted yourself in a foreign land. The concept of home deepens and widens and encompasses all the places and people you have loved and have loved you.

My favorite descriptor of home comes this post my daughter Sara wrote: Home is where the heart is known.

Being known is the core of our longings for home, isn’t it?

I have a dream, one I’ve discovered is common among us. A dream of establishing a place of rest and restoration for my brothers and sisters who serve cross culturally. A place where our hearts are known by one another.

I imagine a place with beautiful warm furnishings speaking value and honor to all those who walk into the room. Deep, rich tapestries surrounding leather couches next to a crackling fire. Woods for quiet walks. A gentle stream gurgling with benches and hammocks nearby to soak in the beauty of God’s presence through His creation. Sweet communion around a well-laden table.

A home for God’s friends to be themselves, to be listened to well, to unburden the weight of their stories surrounded by nods of recognition and understanding.

A place oozing with acceptance and affirmation with a welcoming culture of simple belonging. A safe haven, a sanctuary, a refuge for the weary. A home to come and just be – designed specifically for those who left their home for a purpose bigger than themselves.

Honestly, I don’t have much hope of realizing this dream as a physical place. But what if the picture of this place is a metaphor for the root of my dream: to provide a safe haven for others. To offer honor and express value to those who labor next to me.

You and I can be this for each other: a soft landing place for those in transition, a place of healing for the hurting, a place of rest for the heavily burdened.

We can speak kindness and life to one another. We can experience the refreshment of Christ simply by being with one another. We can believe the best in each other, knowing our Father is working in all of us to bring us to wholeness and Christlikeness.

And what if this is the fulfillment of God’s dream? To offer sanctuary and rest through His people? What if others experience the gentleness and compassion of God when they sit next to us simply because He dwells in us? What if we are meant to be persons of sanctuary to one another?

In the far flung places we live, we can be home for each other. A place our hearts are known.

Velvet Ashes is meant to be such a place. A place to be known by a sisterhood of like-hearted women. A place we can be ourselves, find camaraderie and companionship for the journey, and walk towards wholeness together.

This can only be reality if we each dwell in the secret place of the Most High, living and breathing His Presence moment by moment. It is Christ in us, the hope of glory, who allows us to experience Him in each other and through each other as He dwells richly and makes His home in us.

Who has been home to you? What reminders of home have you experienced through others?

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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 “Home”.  Click here for details and instructions

31 Comments

  1. Michele Womble January 21, 2016

    It’s funny how you mentioned that dream that is common to many of us…because that’s a dream of mine, too.

    I remember years ago telling some friends of ours (Russians) who were visiting us in our flat in Russia, that I dreamed of having a place like that…

    the wife came to me later and said, “you don’t need to dream about that.  You’re already doing it.”

    I resisted that thought at first.  Yes, but…the woods, the stream, the benches and hammocks, the crackling fire….I wanted the physical realities that we all associate with peace, rest, refreshing…

    Can we be to each other woods and streams, a crackling fire, leather chairs….?  or at least, be to each other what these things represent?

    I think so.  And it’s possible for all these physical things to be right and  spiritual rest, spiritual haven, to still be elusive.

    I think Velvet Ashes IS such a place – streams in dry places, a quiet meadow for weary senses, a crackling fire when life has been…cold…a place where the Most High makes his home.

    🙂

     

    1. Elizabeth January 21, 2016

      Oh this is beautiful, Michele! I’m so glad your friend told you that, and that you were able to hear her!

      1. Michele Womble January 22, 2016

        Thanks, Elizabeth…I WAS able to hear her, but not at first…I liked my dream of the nice cozy home with a meadow and a stream and etc.  But – our home was cozy – just not the way I was dreaming.

        Also – you know it’s kind of funny that sometimes you have to let go of your dreams in order to be able to see that they’ve actually already come true.

    2. Patty Stallings January 21, 2016

      Michele, yes, yes, yes!  You’ve expressed so well exactly what I’m talking about.  Be to each other the expressions of lovingkindness that the physical realities represent:  rest, comfort, refreshment, peace, value, honor…

      I hope you thoroughly embrace the way you are those things to others, Michele!

       

      1. Michele Womble January 22, 2016

        I like that: expressions of lovingkindness that the physical realities represent….Thanks, Patty

  2. Elizabeth January 21, 2016

    Beautiful Patty! This is the desire of my heart as well. Saving this, because it can be a guiding light for a small party of international women starting up a women’s ministry here in the capital city. These words are the desire of their hearts too. 🙂 Pray for us, if you get a moment. We just started, and our first event is in March. (And they asked me to speak at it, if you’ll believe that!)

    1. Patty Stallings January 21, 2016

      Elizabeth, I’d be surprised if they DIDN’T ask you to speak at the kick off event.  You are so engaging and warm with fresh insight and depth of understanding.  I know that about you and we’ve never met in person.  🙂

      Father, thank You for this group of women who desire to be light, truth, and grace for one another.  I ask that you would infill them with Your presence so they overflow with Your character and Your ways.  As they carry Your fragrance to one another and those they influence, may their community become richer and deeper as they love each other well.  Give them the desire of their hearts as they fulfill Your desires!  In The Name, Amen.

      1. Michele Womble January 22, 2016

        Me, too!….know that about you although we’ve never met in person…

        And me, too, praying….

    2. Kelly January 22, 2016

      Girl- love that! I host something similar here in Kampala! Once a month expat ladies gather over food, a discussion question and prayer together in small groups. It is so life-giving! I call it Oasis Gathering 🙂 Praying for you ladies!

      1. Patty Stallings January 22, 2016

        Oasis Gathering = sweet!

    3. Anna January 22, 2016

      Good luck with your speaking 🙂

  3. Jennifer Ott January 22, 2016

    Velvet Ashes HAS been just that for me!  In this transition, later in life than many, with four kids overseas, I have been comforted and convicted by the words I read here.  The community I have found (on IG, too!) has become so dear and precious to me.  Thank you guys!

    1. Patty Stallings January 22, 2016

      Jennifer, I’m so glad you found a home here!  We need you here!

  4. Jenilee January 22, 2016

    I’m and learning very deeply the connection between “home” and “being known”. I am in a situation now that is difficult truly because people don’t know me and I don’t know them. The knowing is a slow process and definitely a difficult one because so many come and go, expectations change, things change… life changes. And home shifts once more. Loved this post because I do want my home to be a welcoming place where people are known and sense the feeling of home.

    1. Patty Stallings January 22, 2016

      Jenilee, I hear you – being in a place where people don’t know you and you don’t know them is a difficult path.  Especially when you think you might have some aspect figured out and then it changes.

      So, I’m going to hope on your behalf. I hope you find a kindred spirit there. I hope you have a friend that sticks close. I hope this hard place and season of “unknownness” is a catalyst for you as your home becomes that welcoming place where others are known and loved well.

    2. Anna January 22, 2016

      I’ve realized that connection recently, too.  There are places I travel & pass through, and some feel like home and some don’t.  I had to stop and think about what it is.  A big part of it is acceptance.  Somewhere that you can be yourself and relax, and there’s enough history there to know that you can do that.

  5. Anna January 22, 2016

    For me there are several levels or categories of home.  I’ve always liked the quote by Robert Frost, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” I know that my family in the US would always take me in no matter what, and that gives me a certain foundation from which to travel.
    I’m in another “home” now, in the small town that holds our sending church, a church we attended for 4 years and has been with us every step of our journey since then.  It’s nice to go into church and be a known and accepted person and know others as well.  On a practical level, it’s nice to know where the grocery store is, and the bank, and so on…
    Then there’s the home I left in Africa, and my community there.  And the promise of my eternal home in heaven and the hope that brings to all my homes here!

    1. Patty Stallings January 23, 2016

      Anna, I really like this thought of home being a “foundation from which I travel”.  In a broader sense, Jesus is that home that gives us the confidence and sense of well being that allows us to extend out to other relationships with the security of always being tethered to Him. I’m going to ponder more on that thought.

  6. Joyce Stauffer January 22, 2016

    Home… I feel like I have had many homes. Yet often feeling like an outsider, a foreigner, a “laowai.” After 30+ years in China, I was still considered a “foreigner” there even though I was familiar with the language and culture and had close local friends. And now I’ve returned to my passport country and even am settling in the area I grew up in. Yet, it doesn’t seem like “home” and I feel like a foreigner here, too. I know it takes time but it’s hard.
    One of my favorite quotes in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia Series, The Last Battle, is spoken by Jewel, the unicorn. He says: “I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”
    So as others mentioned before, perhaps only in heaven will I feel like I have truly come home at last! And only there will I feel like I truly belong!

    1. Elizabeth January 22, 2016

      I LOVE that quote from Narnia, Joyce, thanks for reminding me of it!

      1. Joyce Stauffer January 23, 2016

        Sure! C.S.Lewis has so many!!

         

    2. Patty Stallings January 23, 2016

      Joyce, yes, thanks for sharing the Narnia quote – so fitting.  I think those who have lived as a foreigner (especially in a place where the most you can become is an “accepted outsider”)  have a unique advantage in understanding what it means to be a sojourner and nomad in this world, looking for a better home prepared and waiting for us. (Hebrews 11).   I wonder how God will use that unique knowledge where you are now…

      1. Joyce Stauffer January 23, 2016

        So so true, Patty!!

    3. Anna January 23, 2016

      Yes, I love that quote. 🙂  We listened to that on audiobook recently (for about the zillionth time.)

      1. Joyce Stauffer January 23, 2016

        And I LOVE “Come further up, come further in”… And … And… 🙂

  7. Ellie January 24, 2016

    *Beautiful* Patty!

    1. Patty Stallings January 24, 2016

      Thanks, Ellie!

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