They say, “You can’t go home again.”
I don’t honestly know who they are, but I think I’m learning it’s true.
I have been serving in Germany for nearly four years now and, I’m not exactly sure where home is anymore.
My next expected return home to the states will be at the end of June and I am, to be honest, both looking forward to it with great anticipation as well as dreading it.
I love time with my family. This year, we are planning to go camping nearly every weekend I am there. Camping is something I love to do but haven’t done since I was a pre-teen. I am anticipating hiking up mountains, resting beside waterfalls, cooking over a fire, and just delighting in being out in God’s amazing creation with the people I love most in the world.
At the same time, I am dreading the moment when I have to leave them to return to Germany. Without fail, this is the most emotionally heart-wrenching moment of my year. I cry – sometimes sob – every time.
Up until I came to Germany, my family has always been my home.
Nearly four years ago, I said yes to God’s call to Germany with a whole heart – excited to see what God had in store for me. And I have been amazingly blessed in that obedience. God has provided for me beyond my expectations and I have grown in ways I never would have if I had stayed in the states. I am extremely thankful for all He has done.
But saying yes has its costs. Obedience has its costs. Returning to the states for good would mean giving up everything here – leaving the homeI have built here. I do love my home here. But returning here after a visit home to the states means leaving my family, the people I care about most. Home will always be where my family is. But home is also the life I have built here.
I can’t go home…because I have more than one.
Someone else has said, “Home is where the heart is.”
Where is my heart? Is it in the states with my family? Yes. Is it here in Germany? Also, yes.
Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Even more important than my family in the states and the life I’ve been blessed with in Germany is Jesus. He is my treasure. He is where my heart is. He is my true home and I have only realized recently how true this is.
A few months ago, I was really sick and in the hospital. I spent most of the first days there sleeping, but it wasn’t always very restful sleep because I felt miserable. One night, I was feeling particularly awful and unable to sleep peacefully and the thought crossed my mind that I could actually die.
I’m still surprised by my words in that moment, but I said, “Jesus, it doesn’t matter to me if I die tonight. You can take me.” Okay, so maybe those weren’t the exact words. I was rather sick at the time, but the sentiment is the same: I was surprisingly not afraid at the idea of dying that night.
Even more surprising was the presence of God I felt in that moment. The peace and the comfort was beyond what I had experienced before. And I had a life-changing revelation in that moment: should I really die now, I would not regret for an instant not having my biggest dreams of having a husband and children of my own fulfilled. I would not regret giving up everything (family, friends, familiarity, etc.) in the service of Jesus because, compared to the presence of Jesus, everything else is nothing. Jesus is everything.
Jesus is my treasure. He is where my heart is. He is my home.
So, I’m sure my heart will rejoice in returning to the states for a visit this June. I’m sure my heart will hurt when I return to Germany. I’m sure I will cry buckets of tears should God call me to leave my home in Germany and move somewhere else.
But, no matter where I go or what I do, my heart – my home – is with Jesus and to this place, this person, I will always return.
What does home mean to you? To what or to whom does your heart always return?