Returning Home

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?


    1. Kimberly Kolb May 31, 2018

      Great article! It’s always nice to know I’m not the only one who feels the way I do. 🙂

  1. Kim May 30, 2018

    Funny, we had someone over today that asked us if this was our home. I answered quickly with an ‘of course!’ It did cause me to pause when he asked if this was our only home. Hmmmm…..yes and no…..

    1. Kimberly Kolb May 31, 2018

      I know the feeling. I once had someone here (in Germany) ask me which I consider to be home – the states or here. I said both – home will always be where my family is, but home is also the life God has given me here. I have multiple homes!

  2. Abby May 30, 2018

    I’ve realized that home is with HIM, in HIS presence but it was only when he took me out of my comfort zone that I realized i couldn’t live this life based on my emotions, , I needed to press into HIM like never before. As my 9 year old says, ‘well mum God musr have huge hands to fit all His children into’. I’ve learned that my identity and stability come from HIM and not my circumstances (as someone who is majorly sensitive to their environment it’s taken my years and I’m still learning!) thanks for your post and being so open.

    1. Kimberly Kolb May 31, 2018

      God has also brought me on a journey of learning that my identity and stability come from Him and not my circumstances. It’s NOT an easy journey, but any journey with God is worthwhile in the end. Thank you for your comment! It’s nice to know there are others on a similar journey. 🙂

  3. Mandy Carpenter May 31, 2018

    So very true, our family has been in Nepal for 4 years, last fall we went for a 4 month furlough, and I too dreaded and anticipated it. Yet, was shocked at how difficult it was for me to leave our life here to go there, yet, just as difficult to leave there to return here. It was a whole new set of emotions I had yet to experience. Having experienced the good there for 4 months, returning to the difficult wasn’t easy or fun. I too have learned my home is where God has me then, and am seeking to embrace the place He has me now. Thanks for your post.

    1. Kimberly Kolb May 31, 2018

      Thank you for sharing! May God bless you in the place He has called you to be.

  4. Bayta Schwarz May 31, 2018

    I was just recently reflecting on this topic (for the umpteenth time…) and ended up attempting to express the disjointed nature of “home”, as well as the richness found in that, in a visual way. This was the result. BTW, “my” places are Berlin (where I currently live), Hamburg (where I grew up) and the UK (where I served for 15 years). There were a few other stops along the way, but not as significant.

    1. Kimberly Kolb May 31, 2018

      I quite like that! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Sandra June 2, 2018

    My home is where my family and my friends are. So I have at least four homes. My true home is Jesus.

  7. Rebecca Fuller June 4, 2018

    Thank you for your wonderful honesty, Kimberly. Boy, do I relate! After living away from my family for 8 years (California for 6, England for 2), I’m now living near them in the Pacific Northwest, and I absolutely love it. However, I know that God has called me to return to overseas m’s, and my heart aches at the thought of leaving them again. Oof, it’s so hard! Thank you for the true reminder that Jesus is our home, our heart, and our rock. He is the constant in our life, and our relationship with Him comes first. <3 God bless you, dear sister!

  8. Spring June 4, 2018

    Oh Kimberly you share the heart of so many! It is good to hear about that peace that God brought you to in the moments of chaos/uncertainty in the hospital. It is so good to remember where our true home is. Thanks for letting us see a little of what God is doing in you.

  9. Stephanie June 19, 2018

    Thank you for sharing! I laughed and teared up as I read. I moved away from family 9 years ago. The cultural shift was hard. Home was always where family was. I get to visit but I still cry every time I leave my family. Home is where I live but also where family is. I also got really sick last fall and ended up in the hospital and ended up going to stay with my family for a bit. I’m doing much better and I’m back home now 🙂

    1. Kimberly Kolb June 20, 2018

      I’m glad to hear you’re back at home, Stephanie! 😉 I unfortunately wasn’t able to be with my family while I was sick, but I was so very blessed to have various local friends come visit me every day I was in the hospital so I wouldn’t be lonely. I didn’t know I had so many friends until then!

  10. Kimberly Kolb June 20, 2018

    Thank you for your comment, Rebecca! It IS hard to leave our families. I’m about to see mine again after nearly a year apart and I’m so looking forward to it! I think being apart has made me value them all the more. <3

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