Our Home in Christ

What do you do when God closes every door you see in front of you? When you have listened to His call to leave your church home, not yet knowing what is next? When you know that leaving was the right thing to do, but it doesn’t take away the heartbreak or homesick longing for what you once had?

Isaiah 40:31 ESV
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

My natural inclination, built upon my old life of conflict aversion and fleeing the hard, is to sink into the quicksand of my circumstances. To allow my fear of the unknown to speak louder than God’s Word to me. It is then I feel torn between wanting to run back to the home I have just left and wanting to pack my bags and fly “home” to my own country of origin.

But thanks be to God, the Holy Spirit knows exactly what our homesick hearts truly need. When I recently faced such a period of waiting, He shifted my eyes away from all the unknown toward the known: toward the Home I already have in Him. As I looked back at my past, He reminded me that He had always been good, always been true, and always been faithful to me. And as my focus shifted to this Home – to my holy God – I suddenly began to notice that He had already been speaking so tenderly to me each step through all of the unknown before me through His Word- through my Read the Bible in a Year Bible, through devotionals and worship songs that had dropped into my inbox and even through the blog posts I read at Velvet Ashes!

All along He had been showing me that this path into the unknown was His chosen path for me, a path to renew my waning strength and to raise me up on eagle’s wings. It was His way of yet again opening my eyes to the beauty of who I already am in Him, irrespective of where I am, whose company I am in and what ministry I am serving in. He reminded me that He:

    • has “set [me] free” (Romans 5:1 ESV) from a yoke of slavery,
    • makes my face “radiant” as I “look to Him”, that I might “never be ashamed” (Psalm 34: 5 ESV), and
    • has already given me “Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God” because I have gotten “to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited [me] to God! The best invitation [I] ever received” (2 Peter 1: 2 – 4 MSG).

I had been obedient in surrendering my ministry and my children’s church home into His hands, and this period of waiting was His beautiful reward for me. If you are anything like me, then waiting can feel like punishment- as if you’ve been placed on the naughty chair for doing something wrong. If that’s you, I would like to encourage you to ask God to help you see such a period of uncertainty and waiting with new eyes- with His eyes.

You see, sometimes He closes doors and asks us to sit with Him so that He might refresh and re-affirm us in our calling. And I don’t mean a calling to a particular ministry, but a calling to live as His beloved children, to live in such intimate communion with Him that His fragrant perfume pours out of us into the lives of others, leading them to Him, without us even trying. Sometimes the waiting is His way of loosening a yoke of slavery that has unknowingly begun to wrap itself around us again. It is not punishment, but His love that leads us into a period of waiting. And in this waiting He asks us:

Do you trust Me that my purpose for you is for your good? Not to harm you, but to give you a hope and a future?

Do you trust Me that I know the way, that I have gone before you and that when you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice from behind saying: “this is the way, walk in it”?

Do you trust Me that I have made you to be wholly you? Not to hide, not to slink back in fear or shame, but to run and leap and sing?

In the quiet of our waiting upon Him, may our Lord and Savior give each one of us His eyes, that He might yet again raise us up on eagle’s wings, as He has so faithfully done in our past. 

My Home

When You’re silent
It doesn’t mean
You’re not here.
When no Word
My heart revives
It doesn’t mean
You’re not breathing, still.

For You’re in the silence
You’re in the moments
Gone and passed
You’re in the here
And in tomorrow
Even when
Each tomorrow hurts.

You’re in the tension
In my heartbreak
And the strife
In my peace
And in my flight.
You’re never far
And always near
You’re never gone
But always here.

For though the battle wages
No weapons forged
Will tear me from
The One who holds me
Strong
In doubts and fears
And all my unbelief.

For You’re faithful
When I’m running strong
And You’re faithful
When I’m not.
You’re faithful
In the anger
And You’re faithful
In my pain
You’re faithful
In the longing
And You’re faithful
In my weeping.

For I know I will yet see
Your goodness
Even here
In the silence of the shadows
And all yet hidden deep.

For You know the pain
And know my sins
You know the blame
And know my shame
That’s why you walked toward
And not away from me.

You walked the path
I should have walked
To bear each one
My pain, my sins
My blame and shame
That I might bend my knees
And cast them here
Your grace and love
In silence breathe.

For You breathe in trees
In rustling leaves
And insects’ beats
In birds own tweets
And blood-red sky
Of sun You set to sleep
In moonlit bed.

See, I know You still
In beating heart
In finding
Silence speaks
In grace and love
Of One who’s come
My heart to sing
Of Hope
That’s never lost
Or gone
But breathes in me
My Home.

How have you experienced God’s nearness through periods of homesick longing?

Photo by Linford Miles on Unsplash

7 Comments

  1. Amy Young September 27, 2017

    Anna, this touches something deep. Those closed doors can be confusing. Sometimes they feel gently closed, others slammed. I love the line, “the silence from the shadows.” Thank you. These thoughts are also sparking conversation on Instagram! So thank you for that too!!

  2. Anna Smit September 28, 2017

    Thanks, Amy. And thank you for pressing me even deeper into God’s arms with your editing questions.
    Yes, they sure can be confusing. So thankful for His compassionate leading. So glad to hear God is using this to spark conversations. May God bless these discussions.

  3. Hadassah Doss September 28, 2017

    Thank you! I have also been struggling with doors that are closing or simply not opening, and in your post you put into words exactly what the Lord has been revealing to me: that He is giving me this time to develop in me a deeper awareness of who He is and to set me free from sins in my life that are keeping me from knowing Him fully! I LOVE poetry, and your poem is definitely going in my journal to be read again and again. May God continue to bless you and others through you in this season!

  4. Anna Smit September 28, 2017

    I’m so glad it encouraged you, Hadassah. YES- this is exactly what this period of waiting was for me (and I’m still learning from it):

    “He is giving me this time to develop in me a deeper awareness of who He is and to set me free from sins in my life that are keeping me from knowing Him fully”

    Poetry goes deep, doesn’t it? Touches the soul. God is so good to bring the right Word at the right time. Your response encourages me too. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  5. Dorothea Guglielmetti September 28, 2017

    Thank you so much for this! It was exactly what I needed right now in the Transition time and being homesick for the ministry place and many beloved People we just left…

    “You see, sometimes He closes doors and asks us to sit with Him so that He might refresh and re-affirm us in our calling. And I don’t mean a calling to a particular ministry, but a calling to live as His beloved children, to live in such intimate communion with Him that His fragrant perfume pours out of us into the lives of others, leading them to Him, without us even trying”

    This gives me so much new HOPE and purpose!
    Thank you!

    1. Anna Smit September 28, 2017

      So thankful God has used what He has been taking me through to encourage you so much too. He sure does love to multiply His blessings. May our Lord continue to speak encouragement to you, bringing fresh affirming Words daily, as you wait upon Him and His beautiful timing.

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