It’s been a few weeks since I last sat down to post, and my life has changed a lot since then. Three weeks ago I was surrounded by boxes and a nearly empty house. I was in Illinois. The summer was mild. I was saying a lot of goodbyes.

Today, I sit on the porch of my parents’ home looking out on a row of magnolia trees. A layered chorus of cicadas chirps in the distance, and a warm breeze washes through my hair. Within an hour it will be too hot and humid for me to sit outside, because it’s summer in North Carolina.

And I am home.

Ever since we moved to Illinois 4 years ago I have dreamed of the day we would return to North Carolina. And it’s been every bit as sweet as I imagined. We spent the 4th of July with Ike’s family eating hotdogs, fried squash, baked beans, coleslaw, and sweat tea. We sat under the shade of a tree in my mother-in-law’s yard, and it was perfect.

Yesterday I took Isaac to see my grandmother and aunt. We sat around the table catching up on life while Isaac ate fresh watermelon and played with the same, decades-old toys I enjoyed as a little girl. It was magical.

Being back in North Carolina has reminded me how much memory is connected to sense. The sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of North Carolina are, for me, connected to a thousand wonderful memories. That steady rush of happy recollections has given me a nearly constant feeling of peace, rootedness, and joy.

It’s such a sweet moment when you finally attain the desire of your heart. I’ve been yearning to be home for years, and now I am.

But. As Ike and I prepared to return home, we realized the importance of guarding our expectations. Like any other worldly desire, no matter how innocent or good, it can never satisfy truly and deeply. It cannot withstand the weight of our souls.

I’m reminded of the story of Jacob and Rachel in Genesis 29. Jacob waited 7 long years to marry Rachel. At the end of those 7 years, he finally achieved the desire of his heart and married the woman of his dreams. Or so he thought. The day after the wedding, as morning broke and Jacob turned to gaze upon his new bride, he discovered it wasn’t Rachel he had married. It was her sister, Leah.

In my life, this story has always given me a filter for my expectations. When I put all the weight of my desire on some singular thing, and then finally attain it, it never lives up to the hype. I strive after Rachel, only to wake up and realize it’s Leah.

(No offense to Leah!)

That’s why, as much as I have loved coming home, I keep reminding myself that what my heart truly desires, deep down on a soul level, is not North Carolina. What my soul really craves is my heavenly home. No home on earth will ever satisfy like the home for which I was created. Everything else on earth, the joy, the rootedness, the peace of being in my earthly home, it’s all just a foretaste of the perfection that awaits.

Atlas-Girl-button_3For the last month I’ve been giving away free books, and this week I am giving away the last. The timing is so neat, because the topic of this book couldn’t be more fitting. The book is called Atlas Girl, and it’s written by Emily T. Wierenga. This memoir is about journeying and home, but it’s also about the winding path of faith. If faith has ever been a struggle for you, if faith does not come easily, then you will want to read Emily’s story.

I’ll be giving away one copy of Atlas Girl, and if you would like to enter for a chance to win, please share a comment about what home has meant to you!

As Ike and I transition into this next exciting chapter I won’t be writing as much, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted. And speaking of journeys, can I just say that this entire experience has been a lesson in how little faith Ike and I have! God has provided again and again and AGAIN. And yet we have been so quick to doubt. Once again, everything is now coming together, and my steady refrain has been “We of little faith!” Seriously, y’all. When will we learn?

God is good. Can’t wait to share more about that in the coming weeks. Love y’all!

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 9.59.09 PMSharon

Sharon

Sharon

20 Comments

  • Avatar Page says:

    To me, Home means rest and peace.

  • Avatar Sadye says:

    The idea of “home” is/has been elusive as I find that “home” can mean many things and I question how I can be comfortable, or “at home”, in different places, with different people, in different circumstances, etc. Thank you for your post Sharon – I think it captures the conflict of why it is difficult to define “home” – it is not here on earth.

  • Avatar Michelle says:

    Home to me means surrounded by family at the dinner table. Each person telling what happened during their day. Whatever that may be. With support of family you can’t go wrong. We are there to laugh, cry & lift each other up. God Bless & thank you for the chance to win.

  • Avatar Lindsay says:

    I got married 6 months ago and never imaged that I’d be moving into my husband’s 375 sq ft studio apt with 99% of my stuff in storage. We waited, at times it was stressful, to find a larger place. We finally have and are moving this week! I’m having a hard time emotionally leaving our little space because I learned so much during this time – home is where the heart is and that we can trust God in His plan for us (whatever that may actually look like).

  • Avatar Kathleen says:

    I’ve lived many places over the past few years…Portland, Cleveland, Palo Alto, and now Durham. Each of these places has been home because of the community of family and friends. Of course I miss my favorite restaurants and uniqueness of the previous cities I’ve lived in, but I most fondly remember the people with whom I spent time just living life with and building relationships with. Durham wouldn’t be home without my awesome community and our shared love of Christ.

  • Home is beautiful, safe and loving. Home is a place where laughter is found and tears of joy are cherished. Home is making mistakes and coloring over them. Home is what is created when you no longer live in a house.

  • Avatar Kelly Dierberger says:

    Home means a place of refuge, a place of rest. It is warmth and freedom to be. It serves as a re-routing station when life throws you off track. It is front porch rocking, guitar playing, memory recalling, long walks sniffing honeysuckle, a place to catch your breath, laughter abounding and loving deeply.

  • Avatar laura says:

    Such a sweet post, Sharon. I’ve been enjoying Emily’s book too. Don’t worry about entering me, since I already have a copy. I just wanted to stop by and say hello.

  • Avatar Tim says:

    I am so glad you are all settling in to your new/old/returned-to home, Sharon. I’m praying for this new season in life to be full of God’s blessings.

  • Avatar Lori P says:

    Being Home is so important. Blessings in this new chapter of your life.

  • Avatar Kristel says:

    What a great post for me to read today! We moved back home almost two years ago…and it’s definitely not all I expected it to be, but it is pretty great. In recent weeks I’ve been thinking about what home really means and if my family could ever make another city/state its home. I love Miami and I’m so happy to be close to family and friends…but I’m not sure it’s truly HOME. And I think you’re right about heaven being our true home that we long for. And then there’s that great song that says, “home is where ever I’m with you…” And I think as long as I’m with my husband and kids (before they grow up and leave me!) then I’m home.

  • thank you my friend… so grateful to be here! welcome home sister. xo

  • Avatar Terri says:

    Welcome home! I am a native
    North Carolinian . I think home is where all of the sweet memories of childhood is.

  • Avatar Deb says:

    We moved alot as a kid, The most I lived in one home was 4 years. The home my parents lived in the longest (25 years) I was already on my own. When someone asked me where home is, I don’t really have one answer. but I do have this to say, back home is wherever my loved ones are and I certainly pray that someday, that we are all together in our real home – heaven. Thanks for the post, it brings to focus the most important thing in life is relationship, with Jesus and others.

  • Avatar Peyton says:

    There’s a saying in our community that home is where the Navy sends you. As a Navy spouse, I’ve come to agree with Big Bird that “home is not a place, it’s a feeling.” When I’m with my husband and daughter, wherever I am, there I am home.

  • Avatar Sarah Farish says:

    Home is where I return to after long days, where I sometimes have to make two cups of coffee in the morning because it’s “just one of those days”, and where I’ll always have a little mess pile in my room because I feel safe enough to be my messy self.

  • Avatar Alex says:

    Because of my constant moving and traveling for ten years, home has only meant the place where I can take a deep breath, let my baby have a little freedom, feel confident in my water source….and if I am lucky…do laundry

  • Avatar Camille says:

    The concept of home is a difficult one for me. I equate it with peace and ease, but as you’ve said, every time I anticipate that something/someone/some situation will feel like home, I am left wanting more. Still searching. All the best to you and your family as you settle in

  • Avatar Catie says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words, Sharon. Your posts always cause me to look deeply inward and pull up thoughts and ideas that stir just below my conscience, where God does His best work! Forever, home was the same place geographically for me. Then, as adulthood took over, home became a fleeting desire to just be somewhere that I felt comfortable. Although I’m not sure that I’ve truly reached that “comfortable” place, I’ve realized that anywhere the Lord leads us is Home. Capital-H Home is in His presence. That is where I’m most comfortable and at peace. Again, Sharon, thank you. You are missed here in Illinois already. Love and Prayers.

  • Avatar Stephanie says:

    I can relate so, so well with you. My husband and I have moved several times – major, drastic moves. The last move brought us back to my own hometown, and I had such huge expectations. Some of them lived up, many did not, and it was hard to accept. I’ve come to realize, as you said, that in the end, my desire is for a heavenly home. That’s why no place we’ve lived on this earth has fully felt like home. I can’t wait to experience that heavenly home.

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