The Journey Home + White Chicken Chili Recipe

Recently, I asked the gals in my Connection Group (because they’re rockstars and we still chat regularly) if anyone wanted to write about “Home.” They had all been in their current home for a fairly short time, so I knew the topic would resonate. I was elated when Tina said, “Yes! Me!” 

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Tina Ferry, originally from Colorado, is currently serving in Ecuador with her husband of 14 years and daughters, ages 10 and almost 12. She bubbles with joy, laughter, and wisdom every time our group talks. It’s evident that she adores the Lord and strives to obey Him in this adventurous life.

 

The year before we left the States to live overseas, God gave me the meditation of “abide.” I searched the scriptures for synonyms and antonyms. I talked to everyone and anyone who would listen about abiding in Him. I camped out in John 15. Finally, “abide” was boiled down to my favorites, and to this date I chew on the depth:

STAY – to continue to be in a place for a significant amount of time

LIVE, DWELL, RESIDE – to have a home

BEAR – to put up with something painful or difficult

REMAIN – to remain indefinitely in the same state or existence

Just this week we moved into our new home overseas. We have lived abroad for a year and a half but have been in transition for over 4 years. You know how it goes – pack the house, sell the house, find transitional housing, language school housing, temporary housing in your country, and, finally, find your permanent home. I almost can’t type “permanent home” because it lacks meaning. Permanent isn’t a thing for me anymore. I feel like I’m floating along the surface of the earth asking the Lord, “What’s next? Where next?”

Home isn’t a place. It’s becoming a person for me now. My roots aren’t set quite so deep down into the earth’s soil anymore. They are growing deep into Him. Rooted and established in LOVE.

As a young girl I remember feeling that the time spent in worship was my real home. Sitting on my CareBear comforter sensing His presence and resting in the surety that I am His and He is mine. This sense of home and belonging has deepened with every refining year, with every refining move.

Living abroad has brought me home. The more I feel unsettled in this world, the more I realize He’s my home – my hiding place.

When I sit with Him on someone else’s couch, He tells me, “I am your hiding place. REMAIN in me.” When He calls me to his side for a chat while I wait in long visa processing lines He tells me, “RESIDE in my presence and you will find peace.” When I struggle to set up a house that will feel like home for our family he whispers, “DWELL with me daily and you’ll always feel at home.”

Can I get real? I’m sensing I need to change the way I’m communicating about this with my girls. I look into their almost 10 and 12 year-old faces and have told them for years, “Home is where we are together.” But that’s not completely true and I’ve felt it in my spirit for a while now.

Now I wonder, is telling my girls that “Home is where we are together” really helping them rest in their true Home? The conversation will continue as the refining continues. The concept of home on this earth, with or without family or in or out of our home country, is something that slips away more and more with every passing year. This is a good thing. This is a hard thing.

So now I will continue to carry with me my Home and root down in Him when everything around me screams, “You aren’t home!” By God’s grace I will allow God’s refining work in me to overflow onto those He places in my path as I daily journey Home to Him.

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When I think of foods that remind me of home, many come to mind: salads piled high with toppings, cheesy lasagna, all the Mexican and Indian food I can eat, and of course loads of desserts that don’t take an entire day to make. Although I don’t think I’ve ever made this recipe on American soil, it reminds me of home all the same. The familiar flavors and the warmth that comes from a bowl of soup are much-needed for this girl who doesn’t love Chinese food. It’s quick to put together and is packed full of flavor!

 

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I brought this zesting/grating beauty back from the States last year. I use garlic in nearly every dinner recipe, and this tool makes it quick! Plus, I’m not a fan of chomping into a huge chunk of garlic, knowing it’ll stay on my breath for the next 2 days.

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Onions and garlic: the staple for nearly every meal in my home!

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Apparently I got distracted and forgot to take pics of the rest of the process! But, you know how to dump and stir. 🙂 I will note, though, that I had some frozen turkey broth I made from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass, and it was oh so tasty! If you still have some, use it in this recipe! Yum!

White Chicken Chili

Serves: 4-6

Time: 45 minutes

Slightly adapted from Market to Meal

2-3 Tbs vegetable oil

1-1.5lb chicken

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper*

2 cups chicken broth

3 cups (2 cans, drained) cooked white beans

1 1/2 cups milk**

Heat oil in a soup pot. Add onions and cook until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.  Add salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper and cook a minute or two more. Add in the chicken and cook until done. Stir in chicken broth and beans. Simmer 30 minutes (or longer–just like other soups, the flavors meld together better the long it simmers!)

Add milk and heat almost to boiling.

*My littles can’t handle much heat, so I only add a pinch of cayenne, or leave it out altogether. You can add more, or even a can of diced jalapenos if you like extra kick!

**Various recipes for this soup all call for different milk products–sour cream, half and half, milk, plain yogurt, etc. I tend to use what I have on hand and all have worked fine. This recipe is very forgiving!

17 Comments

  1. Ana January 19, 2016

    Love you both fellow rock stars! 🙂 also I’ve never made this soup but I like it when I’ve eaten it, haha-so now I’ll have to give the recipe a try!

  2. Jenny January 20, 2016

    Truth. Thank you, ladies, for refreshing words this morning!

  3. Ashley Felder January 20, 2016

    I forgot to mention the obvious: I serve this with rice! At first, we started adding rice to our chili (the regular kind, too) to feed more mouths. Now, we like it better that way! Call m part-Asian if you will. 😉

    Tina, thanks for sharing your heart! I love the key words you pointed out. Something to meditate on, for sure.

    1. Tina Ferry January 21, 2016

      Thanks Ashley! It was fun to collaborate and skim the surface of such a deep discussion topic. I’m loving reading all the perspectives on HOME this week.

      You, my friend, are good for my heart.  I love, love, love how God brought our little group together.

      And, just FYI, I totally squinted at the picture and said to myself, “Did she add rice?!?”  Glad the mystery is solved.  xoxoxo

  4. T January 20, 2016

    Tina–I have kids who are 13,10, and 8…it is soo interesting to be growing in our understanding of God and ourselves and be leading our kids at the same time!  eek!  For better or worse, lately our kids have been saying something like “I hope that Jesus comes back tomorrow, like at 7:55am so I don’t have to go to school.”  I can’t say that was my default response to something difficult when I was a kid.  Since my mom died a few years ago, and we’ve read some books about heaven and the new earth, it has made our focus be on that a bit (maybe too much if my kids are saying this a lot!?!).  Anyway, on thoughts of home, and earth not being it, I was reminded of the book “Tell Me about Heaven” by Randy Alcorn.  It is a tear jerker, but definitely has a strand going thru that this life is just the intro paragraph to our lives and that this home isn’t our permanent one.  (But I am really glad for you that you get to settle into a “permanent” house now!  I’m exhausted just thinking of your moves!!!)

    1. Ashley Felder January 21, 2016

      T, your kids’ quotes are too funny! But, so great that the Truth has sunk in..even if they’re trying to use it to their advantage for now. 😉

    2. Tina Ferry January 21, 2016

      Yes, I completely understand what you mean about leading our kids while we grow in our understanding of God.  So often I repeat in my head, “Don’t freak out! He’s gently leading me while I gently lead my young.”

      I’ll check out “Tell Me About Heaven” for sure.  We too have lost parents “too soon” — tools to process and provide perspective are always helpful.  And now, I’m off to read before bed.  Would you guess my bedtime reading is a book about transitions? Ha!

      Many big blessings on you and your heaven focused kiddos 😉

  5. Wendy January 20, 2016

    One more thing you forgot to mention: when do you add the chicken?

    1. Ashley Felder January 21, 2016

      Thanks for catching that mistake, Wendy! You add it in after the onions/garlic are cooked. I’ll fix it. 🙂

  6. Anna January 21, 2016

    I love this quote “Living abroad has brought me home. The more I feel unsettled in this world, the more I realize He’s my home – my hiding place.”  I’m feeling that more and more as I realize where my true home is.

    I’ve made similar recipes to this, and I like to serve it with rice, too. 🙂

    1. Ashley Felder January 21, 2016

      Yes, Anna! What a great way for the Father to show us what’s not ours…by uprooting us over and over.

      Glad I’m not the only one to add rice. 😉 My American friends sure looked at me funny when  we were back last year and I served rice with regular chili!

  7. Elizabeth January 24, 2016

    This part:  “I’m sensing I need to change the way I’m communicating about this with my girls. I look into their almost 10 and 12 year-old faces and have told them for years, “Home is where we are together.” But that’s not completely true and I’ve felt it in my spirit for a while now.
    Now I wonder, is telling my girls that “Home is where we are together” really helping them rest in their true Home?”
    I appreciate this, because there are two equally true aspects of Home. One is that we are not home yet, not till we are with Jesus in glory. The other is that we can always be at Home because the Spirit of Jesus lives in us. And of course the idea that “home is wherever we’re together” is a picture of that love, that when we are with people who love us, we feel at home, because Home is Love and Love is Home, and it’s all just a dim reflection of Jesus and His love for us and how we belong in Him.
    So I definitely want to add that into our family conversations, that home is not just wherever the people we love are. Home is where God is, and that is both inside us and in the heavenly not-yet.
    Thanks for sharing this interview!

    1. Tina Ferry January 28, 2016

      I love that!! “Home in Love and Love is Home. Home is where God is, and that is both inside us and in the heavenly not-yet.”  It’s all a continued conversation isn’t it? And, so wonderful to walk through these realities together.

      1. Tina Ferry January 28, 2016

        Whoops – **is  🙂

  8. Bayta April 18, 2016

    Tried out the recipe today and it is so yummy! Thank you!!! Perfect accompaniment to the VA retreat 🙂

    1. Ashley Felder April 18, 2016

      So glad you enjoyed it! I just made it last night myself!! Hope the retreat was refreshing and enlightening for you.

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